Monday, January 12, 2009

Writing Workshop

It's been a real joy to see my boys finally enjoy writing. They have both always had active imaginations. They are also fabulous story tellers. But they didn't see the connection between those two things and writing. Now, it seems that something has clicked.

This morning we may have gotten to the genre for which they were waiting! I always thought they both loved fantasy, but we started talking about historical fiction and...boom! They were excited.

It's interesting to me that both want to write a mystery. I don't know why it should be. I love mysteries. But I didn't lead them that direction. After explaining what historical fiction was and asking them to point out some examples in our home library, none of which were mysteries, I asked for their ideas. I was really surprised that they made that leap.

Super is working on a mystery about King Tut's "murder". His plot is that Tut's wife Ankesenamen suspects that Tutankhamun was murdered by his successor (and her new husband) Ay. While she is investigating his murder, she is discovered, she is also killed but she is able to leave behind evidence. But Ay is able to destroy it before anybody else finds out. Happy ending, huh? A little too much Discovery Channel, I think.

Tutone is writing a mystery involving a death in Windsor Castle to be solved by a friend of King Edward III. They are so excited that when that class ended and they had to start Math, they were devastated. Both swore that they were going to work on their stories at lunchtime instead of playing a game. Wow!

Explorers Fun!

My boys love food. Pancakes make a great lesson tool. I have made them into all kinds of things, including plant and animal cells. But this morning, since we were reviewing Explorers, I decided to mark the pancakes with parallels and meridians.

Now before you go imagining some great creation, don't! They didn't look fabulous. But they didn't need to in order to get the point across. And I wish I had pictures to show you, but my boys ate them before I could even get the camera out!

This is a very simple project. I dyed the pancakes batter blue and put them on the griddle in simple circle shapes. When they were set but still a little "liquidy" (if you know what I mean), I used the food coloring as if it was a marker and wrote on them. I drew one red line across the pancake to be the equator. And green lines up and down.

The red line was to stick in their minds that the equator is "red hot". We talked about the parallels and how the equator is at 0 degree latitude. I told them, "Remember, 'lat' equals 'flat' for horizontal." Then I told them the reason that I used green lines for longitude or "long" ways. Is because those were the meridians and the Prime Meridian or 0 degrees longitude is also called the "Green"wich meridian.

If you have any other great ways to tie school into breakfast, I would love to hear them!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Poetry

I love Christmas! My Christmas tree is decorated with angels. I call it my Luke 2:13 tree. This year, I was looking to add a few new ornaments made by the kids with some Bible verses about angels on them.

Always on the look out for a new school assignment, I realized I could have them write some Christmas poetry. I am going to print these out and hang them on the tree as well. I asked the kids to think about what it would have been like to hear from the angels about the birth of Jesus. I gave them choices of Mary, Joseph, or the shepherds, but they both picked the shepherds. It's perfect because it goes with my tree theme anyway! One thing they definitely discovered, expressing yourself in poetry is not easy!

Shepherds of Bethlehem

by Tutone

Shepherds of Bethlehem
Peaceful, silent
Watching the sheep


Angels of the Lord
Bright, loud
Singing their song

The Son of God
Great, awesome
Laying in a manger

Glory to God, the Most High!

Silent Night
by Super

It was a silent and peaceful night.
The shepherds were watching their sheep by the star light.

Suddenly, an Angel of the Lord appeared!
Singing with joy,
The angel told the frightened shepherds
The Son of God was near.

The Messiah, the shepherds ran to see,
When they arrived, they happily fell on their knees!