November 30, 2011

Pharaoh Masks

Zak's Mask

We are just about half way through our mini books of the Kings and Queens of Egypt and we took a break from the 2-D projects we have been working on to do these fun 3-D masks of an Egyptian Pharaoh.

T.J.'s Mask

Max's Mask

And we listened to Jim Weiss tell us the story of The Mummy's Tomb from his album entitled Egyptian Treasures: Mummies and Myths

It was a nice change of pace to do something different.

November 27, 2011

Composer Study...Mozart

We have been listening to music by Mozart for years. I compiled an MP3 CD with his music and we play it often as the boys go to sleep. Of all of the choices we have, Mozart is one of their favorites. When we began this composer's study, we knew we liked Mozart's music and already had an appreciation for it, so my main goal in this composer study was to get to know Mozart as a person and to take a close up look at one of his operas.

Last year I purchased a package deal of Opal Wheelers biographies of famous composers. I am still glad I did. The coloring pages and the music on CD have been very useful to us. While I read from the book, Mozart the Wonder boy the boys work on coloring pages, two from each chapter which they colored with felt pens or water colors. They can listen for hours if their hands are kept busy.

I love how all of Opal Wheelers stories of the composers begin by telling us about the lives of the composers as children. We read about how they grew up and what people were in their lives. We learn about their families and what kind of children they were. We can see if they had a good life like our own or if there where difficult thigs in it. Her way of telling their stories makes it easy for my boys to picture themsleves in the lives of these little geniuses and see them as real people with family and troubles etc. Knowing more of the realities and personalities adds so much to the understanding of the music we are enjoying.

After reading Mozart the Wonder boy, we filled out a biography notebook page about Mozart and said what we liked about him. (his music of course!) We put him on the composer timeline to see when he lived compared to Beethoven and Bach whom we learned about last year.

Zak's Lapbook cover
Also,we added his picture to our mini book in our composer lapbooks which we began last year.

I read to them a picture book I found at Goodwill for 69 cents entitled Mozart Tonight. Which is a richly illustrated book that takes us behind the scenes on the night Mozart is to perform the opera Don Giovani. The story fills in the gap where opal wheeler leaves off and tells us more what he was like once he grows up and marries. It was also a wonderful introduction to our look at the opera The Magic Flute by showing us what an opera is and what all goes into performing one.

Once we completed many coloring pages and had a grasp on the flow of the life story of Mozart, we turned our attention to Mozart's last work, the opera entitled The Magic Flute.  I used Classical Kids Mozart's Magic Fantasy to introduce them to the opera.  We haven't listened to an opera or seen an opera before so I was thrilled when the boys REALLY enjoyed this production of it. They really like the birdman character and so we did a few activities with him.

First of all we made bird masks. And we learned the birdman song. Then the boys put on their bird masks and lip synced the song. So cute! Here is T.J.'s video

From one of my digital copies of "The Tutor" I found a 'story' of the Magic Flute which we read through and narrated and then did some copywork of their narrations. I wrote down on a white board what they remembered about the birdman, and then they copied it onto the notebook page. There is a notebook page for the birdman and one for the queen of the night.

For fun to end our study of Mozart, we ate cookies and cocoa and listened to the whole production of Mozart's Magic Fantasy from start to finish with out any breaks. (When we listened to it the first time I broke it into smaller sections so we could talk about what was happening in the story etc. We did one section, maybe half of an hour, twice a week until it was completed.)

If you ask the boys before we did this study on Mozart they would say that He was their favorite after the study HE STILL IS their favorite composer. What is it about the music of this young man who endears himself to us so well?

BTW One of the best spots on the internet for getting ideas and finding resources for a Mozart composer study is Jimmie's Mozart lense. And....she has pages and pages of these wonderful lenses for just about any topic you may be studying. Check out her lense master page. I just them!

November 23, 2011

The Girl I Used to Be

"The Girl I Used To Be"

She came tonight as I stood alone,
The girl I used to be,
And she gazed at me with an earnest eye
And questioned reproachfully.

Have you forgotten the many plans
And hopes I had for you?
The great career, the splendid fame
The wonderful things you'd do?

Where is the mansion of stately height
With all it's gardens rare?
The silken robes that I dreamed for you
And the jewels in your hair?

And as she spoke, I was very sad,
For I wanted her pleased with me.
This slender girl from the shadowy past,
The girl that I used to be.

Ever so gently, I took her hand
And guided her up the stairs,
Where peacefully sleeping, my babies lay
Innocent, sweet and fare.

I told her that these are my only gems,
And precious they are to me.
The silken robes are my motherhood
Of costly simplicity.

And my mansion of stately height is love.
And the only career I know,
Is serving within these sheltered walls
For the dear ones who come and go.

And as I spoke to my shadowy guest,
She smiled through her tears at me.
And I saw the woman that I am now,
Pleased the girl that I used to be.

-Unknown author

November 21, 2011

Field Trip to Sri Lanka

My husband had a business meeting in Sri Lanka and the whole family was invited. The meetings only lasted  few days so we tacked on a few more and spent two fun filled weeks exploring this wonderful country. To make it even more fun my parents were planning a trip to Thailand and decided to add Sri Lanka onto to that trip, so they spent a week in Sri Lanka with us.

We stayed at Mount Lavinia which was an old British fort years ago, and has recently been remodeled into a five star hotel it was delightful! While there we happened to catch the old movie "Bridge Over the River Quai" on the TV and this hotel was in the movie as a Mount Lavinia hospital. How cool is that!
We spent many hours in the hotel pool from sun up to sun down some days. The boys had a blast meeting other children and getting better at their swimming skills.
In Sri Lanka they drive on the 'wrong' side of the street. It took a few days to feel safe in a tuktuk the local cheap taxis.

Here is a pretty red tuktuk. Like riding in a motor cycle car. One driver told us you can buy a used one for around 2,500 USD. All five of us can fit into one and once we crammed all seven of us in plus the driver. Glad that was a short ride.

One of the best things about Sri Lanka was how close you can get to many of the 'wild' animals. In this picture Max and Zak and TJ are at the bathing river near the elephant orphanage. These elephants all have been orphaned and are taken care of here. We were allowed to go right out into the river with the elephants, touch them watch them bathe. There were over 30 of them.

In this picture a girl is feeding one of the baby elephants.

My dad getting personal with a mama elephant.

When traveling between cities we took the train. It is about $1.50 for a four hour ride. Less for shorter distances. Unfortunately while we were there it was the Buddhist moon festival so everyone in Sri Lanka was traveling and the trains were packed. Our second class tickets ment nothing as we were pushed into third class just to get a place to stand up. Luckily we discovered where people were traveling to and avoided those towns. Having seats on a bouncy, old train is nice.

This picture is taken by one of the boys. They are learning to use the camera. The people we met were so gentle and kind. I could really get used to living there.

We often took early morning trains to miss the rush and on this trip I noticed a monk brushing his teeth along the tracks.

Grandma Jean with TJ by the pool.

Zak in orange and the orange and pink lanterns

Grandma and Grandpa on the balcony at our hotel in Kandy a mountain city inland.

The flowers in this land were lovely.

And the beach was quiet and the ocean waves warm. It was a wonderful place to relax and unwind at the end of the day.

The boys had a wonderful field trip and we saw so many new and interesting things Thanks Grandma and Grandpa for joining us!!

November 20, 2011

Something I have been dwelling on...

"Based on Psalm 91, a prayer of protection, with a bridge from Isaiah 54:17, the title track, “Dwell,” is one of the defining moments on the record, Aaron says. “Our personal worship, our willingness to abide or dwell in the shelter of the Lord, it’s so connected to God moving on our behalf, moving for us, to the Kingdom of God advancing around us. It’s about more than we can see with our eyes. You can see several pictures in the Old Testament over and over again, where the worshipers go out and then everything changes. That dwelling in the presence of the Lord is so critical to everything. The enemy can throw things at us, he can even take our lives, but he cannot prosper... we will ultimately triumph. And it’s all wrapped up in our willingness to wait on the Lord. As we wait, he wars for his people. As we abide, he acts. As we rest, he moves, he shows up.”

Sight Words

A sight word activity from Reading Made Easy
This year I am introducing sight words in a more direct way. Though we have always encountered sight words in our phonics lessons and more now that we are reading, I have waited until now to focus on them. There are many games out there for learning sight words but we like these games:

Erudition: The object of this game is to move your pawn through the streets and be the first one to the library at the end. To advance along the spaces the players roll the dice and move that nimber o spaces. Then the player will selct a card from one of the four piles. If the card is read correctly the player gets a bonus roll. The crads are divided into four levels. Letter and phongram sounds (blue cards), beginner sight words (green cards), intermediate level sight words (yellow) , and finally advanced level sight words (red).

Along the street there are fun things that deter the players or advance them forward.

Another good reveiw of this game by half dozen mama.

Sight Word Bingo: We are using a set of cards we got form our Sonlight, but there are many free resources out there.

Mrs. Perkin's Dolch Words

Bingo Card Creator

Sight Word Bingo FREE Download

Sight Word Go fish:

Sight Words Kindergarten by The Smiling Teacher has cards ready made to print. She has designed go fish cards, concentration cards, domino cards and more. They are color coded to their level and easy to use. We are using the go fish cards we have from Son light.

Make your own with unlined 3 X 5 cards.

There are many ideas out there and many you can do yourself without spending alot of money. Here is another website with more ideas for learning sight words. Top ten sight word games.

November 19, 2011

Sand Dough Maps

As promised, by me to the boys, we made sand dough maps of Egypt after doing the map flip book. When we did the flip book the upside down terminology became apparent to the boys and they were confused by upper Egypt being in the south and lower Egypt being in the north. By making the sand dough map we were able to see that up, and down meant elevation not north and south. And that the rains fell upon the mountains in the south and flowed into the Nile river and down towards the Mediterranean sea.

 Before doing this project I was only familiar with salt dough maps, but I found a recipe for making sand dough which I thought would make the sand desert on our maps more realistic. The sand we used was fine and dark, it would be fun to use a coarser sand that is lighter in color. The dough comes out more rubbery than usual salt dough but it worked fine for our maps.

Once we had the sand dough made, we smooshed the dough onto the cardboard using the print out of a topographical map of Egypt to guide us. The dough has glue in it so it dried very quickly we had to work fast to stay ahead of the drying.

Zak is making a last minute check of the map before he finishes his map.

It took a day or so for the map to dry. Once it was dry we painted it. TJ has just mixed a nice brown for the sand. Once he finishes that it will dry before we add the green parts just on the edge of the Nile River.

Waaala! The project is finished. TJ's map is on the left followed by Zak's map and finally Max's map.