June 21, 2011

Don't Break The Charm!

T.J. came running up with a big smile saying, “I’m ready mom.”

Lessons for the day were done and it was time for......(drum roll please)  DESK INSPECTION! This is how it works: they clean their desks, when they think it is ready for inspection they come tell me. I then inspect their desks and if only one thing is out of order they don’t get the daily reward which is usually a small treat, like a handful of raisins. I like to ham-it-up and make a big deal out of finding one piece of paper out of the garbage etc it makes them laugh and lessens the dissappoinment if they are found wanting. But rarely are they wanting for we have discovered the secret of orderliness, a habit worth having.

“But that was so fast! How could you have had time to put your desk in order?” I asked. He had only been gone a few minutes.

“I didn’t break the charm!” He said.

We learned about not "breaking the charm" from Rollo. Rollo had learned it from an older boy, Jonas, who works for his father. In the story we read from Rollo at School, Jonas had just finished building a tool shed and Rollo had helped Jonas put all the tools in place. There was a peg or a spot for each tool. “Now,’ said Jonas, ‘if we always put our tools back into their peg right after we use them we won’t "break the charm". If we miss doing it just once, and get hasty to get on with the next thing, if we just throw the tool in anywhere then whole tool shed will soon become a big mess.” Rollo took this idea to school with him the next day.

Once Rollo arrived at the school the children were out front playing with a trap for a mouse. They were having trouble getting the door fixed just right so that it would close once the mouse went into it. Rollo thought he could fix it with his knife. He turned to a boy near-by and asked him to put his slate on the nail on his desk so he could work on the trap. The boy set it down upon the rock nearby instead for he didn’t want to miss seeing how Rollo would fix the trap. Rollo said, “No, Tommy please put my slate on the nail on my desk.” So Tommy reluctantly went inside but instead of doing what Rollo asked he just set the slate loudly upon the desk. Rollo heard this and asked Tommy if he had put the slate on the nail. Tommy said no so Rollo got up and put it on the nail himself. All the children wondered why Rollo did this and he said, “So I don’t break the charm!”

In our school, my boys have caught on to this idea. If all your things have a place, and if when you use them you put them back and never once put them in another place your desk is never out of order so it never needs to be put in order. The boys after hearing Rollo’s story spent a part of a day finding a place for everything they needed for school. Then I showed them what was allowed to be kept on their desks and what was my idea of neat and tidy. From then on each day after school we have desk inspection. Rewards for those who pass are getting very common due to the lesson we learned from Rollo,

Don’t Break The Charm!!

BTW it works for moms too! Try It!

June 16, 2011

A Walk in My Backyard

This last week we haven't been getting much school done in the classroom but we all know kids never stop learning. I took time out to look into a recent health issue I have. I missed my flow last month and discovered I have headed into a new season of life...menopause. The symptoms are not many just nausea and acid reflux. However it is making everyday eating a big hassle. This week I have been getting educated about menopause and learning how to eat on a eruptive tummmy. So for relaxation and deversion I took a walk outside today and found some real photo treasures. Come along and see.

We haven't done much with the yard except to encourage nature to grow in such a way as to give us some shade and provide areas for our few pets to thrive. Here I have captured some wild flowers growing by the rock wall. They are very small and hard to get into focus.

Around back I found Zak and his little bunny "little guy" he is the smallest of our three rabbits and slightly lame because a rat got to him when he was young and bit his leg. Max is trying to get his collection of flowers into the picture. Ok Max, in you go.

Ok now one with just Max. You can see the lighting on these is perfect. It is an overcast day and we are under a tree for shade.

Well Max doesn'y really want to be photographed and I can he has a good reason. He still has mango all over his face from lunch.

This is the flower Max has been collecting in his old tuna tin. They grow like weeds all over the yard and have a terrible scent. But are they not lovely?

Along the way I spotted this array of things one of the boys has collected for some reason I do not know. It is a pleasing arrangement to the eye. Waaalla! Instant found object art!

It is the season for figs and our fig tree though not very large has been producing well over 10 figs a day. That is far more than anyone should eat daily and stay regular. But oh are they scrumpscuous!

If the figs grow low enough on the branch the boys are allowed to eat one right off the tree. If they touch it with their hands it makes it dirty. This is Zak taking a not forbidden bite.

Look tasty? hey Zak come back and finish this....chomp!

Last year, around this time of year, we tried to see how many different types of grasses we had growing on our lot. This is just one of them. Simple, yet elegant.

This is our rooster, Cocky Locky. Along with our rooster we have a small white speckeled hen, a cat, three white rabbits and a fish. Cockey Locky and dove, our hen, roam about the yard as they please until night when they rooster in a small house my husband made for them. Isn't he beautiful?

I really love taking junk, re-working it and making it into something useful. So I was thrilled when TJ showed me this bird house he made with his dad out of an old planter, a tin plate and some wire. I hope some bird will like it as a home. TJ put grass inside to make the bird feel comfortable.

Just as I was about to go back inside, Max and I spotted this little white butterfly (or is it a moth?) with orange tipped wings. How thrilled I was when he landed right at my feet and I was able to get a clear shot of him. I really enjoyed spending the afternoon outside with my boys just hanging around and seeing what is there. I hope you enjoyed it too!

June 7, 2011

Mini Murals are fun!

These mini murals are fun! My boys are really cranking them out. We have done three so far. We started out with Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, then we did a butterfly to accompany our current mini unit on butterflies, and today we did a Tahitian landscape as part of our artist study of Gauguin.

The makings of the butterfly mural.

We used pastels for this mural and it was a bit messy. The colors however came out great. I cut out the finished butterfly they made to get rid of the finger prints. The blue really seems to show off the colors they put on.

My two youngest have such a natural drive to finish that when I suggested that they only do one panel each out of six they both bawked. I didn't want to push them, make them tired and then hate the whole project. Secretly, I really love the idea of all three boys working together making big art projects, so I was thrilled they wanted to go for it! But to be sure, I had them do the first panel and see. After they each finished the top panel three panels, Zak was begging for more. They took a vote and they all agreed to each do three panels so they can finish the mural TODAY! I was in there with them. YIPPPPPEEE it was so much fun seeing these bright and wonderful colors all coming together with their primative strokes. Gauguin would have loved it...I think.

We used regular old poster paint I had in the cabinet. It had dried out alot, so prior to this I added water to all the jars and it was a little watery but it seemed to still have what we needed to imitate Gauguin's use of vibrant colors. We also tried something new. The instructions on the panels told us to paint one color and then use a different color over the top that to create a new color. It gave us a new look, more painterly. I think it adds alot of interest.

Here is a close up detail of the panels once put together.

"In painting as in music one should look for suggestions rather than description." Paul Gauguin