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!