Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Beyond FIAR Co-op: The Cricket in Times Square #3

It has been so much fun to learn about New York City during this unit.  We seem to have focused more on the city this time than I remember doing the last time we studied this book.  It has really made me curious about the city.  Made me want to do a little exploring of it myself.

We spent some time in this co-op learning about Coney Island.  We watched an online video clip which showed some of the rides.  They learned about how the shape of the island has changed over the years.  In fact it isn't really even an island any more as it is connected to land.  And of course the 5 cent hot dog.  
 The focus of our day was learning more about the judicial system.  (Yes, there should be 12 in the jury box.)
 After some discussion on the court system and how it works, it was time to put what they had learned into action with a mock trial.

They were given parts to play in the trial of B.B. Wolf v. Curly Pig.  (The story of the Big Bad Wolf - familiar but with a different twist and perspective.)

The students spent some time looking over their roles and then it was time for the trial.

We set up our room to resemble the courtroom pictured above.  Isaiah is the judge there in the front of the room.  The bailiff is standing to the right.

 Joshua served as the lawyer for the plaintiff - B.B. Wolf.  He really got into his role.
 The jury heard testimonies from both sides.
Also from a witness.

The lawyers examined and questioned.

 The script was fully written until you got to the end.  After hearing all of the testimony, it was time for the jury to make a decision.

 The jury was able to weigh the evidence on their own and come up with a verdict.  Want to know who they found guilty?  The pig!  Based on the evidence they stated their reasons and thus the trial ended.
 We finished up with a Coney Island treat - hot dogs with chili and fixings, popcorn and ice cream cones.  Yum!
Another delightful day with friends!  I love these days and am thankful for this group!

Hope you are having fun as you explore your world and learn new things!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Salamander Room

This is such a fun book!  I highly recommend a read ... and some fun projects to go along with it.  Who can resist the imaginative story of a little boy who turns his room into a habitat for a salamander friend? We actually did this book in May, but I forgot to post about it and thought I'd do a little catch up post.

We delighted in seeing this out on our front porch.  Its a skink.  Not exactly a salamander, but kind of close, don't you think?  And still fun to watch.

 A nature scavenger hunt is always fun.
 For this hunt, Daniel drew the things that he found.  I love his pictures!  Its a fun thing to keep in his notebook.
 One of the fun finds on this day was that we had lots of honeysuckle growing on a bush in our yard.  I loved this lesson on how to get the "honey" from the flower.
 I think that they are so pretty.  Love the smell too!
 Daniel found a bug and put him in a jar with a magnifying glass on top to examine him more closely.  Later he made a habitat for his new little bug friend.  He did eventually let him go again into the wild.  He enjoyed creating a space that he thought the bug would like though.
 One of the lessons was on balance.  A small scale was a great hands-on way to show this lesson.  Adding in the jellybeans just made it a sweet learning moment.  :-)
 The conversation in the story is between Brian (the little boy) and his mom.  She asks questions or makes a comment and Brian answers it.  His answers are reflected in the changes he makes to his room so that it becomes the best possible place for the salamander to live.  Eventually the room is the great outdoors - with his bed in the middle of the forest.

We used building blocks to show the balance of the conversation.  Thanks Ami for the fun idea!
 Fun book.  Sweet memories.  So thankful for the opportunities to learn in this way.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Joshua!

I officially have 3 teens.  Its hard to know what to say after that.  LOL  I have found these years to be not so bitter as they are portrayed by many.  Its not to say that there aren't challenges - there are.  But the sweetness of developing a relationship, deeper conversations and growing maturity all make this age one that is a lot of fun too!

Happy 13th Birthday Joshua!  I remember praying for you for a long time before God graciously allowed you to join our family.  Your arrival was sweet and the years since have been filled with much joy, laughter and love.  I'm so very thankful for you!

I love watching you grow in your interests and desires to understand more about your faith, history and the world around us.  I enjoy the conversations that we have on a variety of topics and the ways that you challenge my thinking.
Joshua's day started with the breakfast of his choice - on the red plate!  If you notice the chair, my children love having a "throne" for the birthday person to sit in while he/she enjoys the meals of the day.
Its hard to be patient when you have a gift you are just so excited to give!  Swords, a shield, a mask - all important things for a hero to have in hand.
Lunch was outside and it was a beautiful day.  Pizza.  Most of us ate it as it was.

Joshua wanted his with ice cream on it.  He thought it tasted good.  None of the rest of us were swayed though.
We made a trip to the Lego store as he had something in mind that he wanted to get.

Home for cake!  A fun day celebrating Joshua.
For our family, the 13th birthday is a special one.  We have chosen to mark this year as a transition to adulthood.  We invite friends over to share with and then to pray over the newly turned 13yo.

The men had a time of sharing and then we all joined in for a time of prayer.
We had a barbecue dinner which was catered and gluten free!  (Q Shack for anyone local.  I was thrilled with this and they even delivered for a very small fee!)  It was delicious.
It was a fun time with family and friends.  I'm thankful for this sweet way of celebrating this milestone.
Joshua, I'm proud of you and love you more than I could even explain.  I know that God has great things in store for you and I pray that you would continue to seek Him with all of your heart.  I pray that you would stand firm in your faith.  I pray that you would be a strong, hard-working and caring man.

I am thankful for you and so glad that you are a part of our family.  I'm thankful for your heart and for your curiosity and desire to learn.

I love you!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Beyond FIAR Co-op: Cricket in Times Square 2

More fun with Cricket in Times Square.  We started with a devotion.  We often use the devotions that are in the Bible supplement.  I know that I used this as a springboard for discussion when its my turn to teach.  I love that this is an easy way to relate what is happening in the story with something that God is teaching us in the Bible.

 The focus of our lesson to day was on China.  The children learned so many interesting things from one of our moms who has Chinese heritage.  The history of the Emperors was told while the children looked at a picture of the Emperor.  Each child was given a card to hold and they made a visual timeline with them.
A cricket cage.
And a cricket found by one of the students.
As part of their lesson on China, they took time to practice writing some Chinese words/symbols using calligraphy.
From learning how to wet the ink and use just a small amount in the dish to how to hold the pens correctly, there was a lot to learn.
Each student was given a paper with numbers on it and also their "name".
Joshua wetting the ink in preparation for writing.
It was a lovely day and this was a fun activity to do outside.
I love seeing them all engaged and having fun.
Some were more familiar and comfortable with the writing, but all enjoyed trying.

A shot of the whole group that I forget to take the first time that we met.
While waiting for their snack, we had an impromptu lesson on how to use chopsticks.
Our table represented two different foods - one side was Chinese food.
The other Italian food.
All of it was delicious and it was all devoured!
What a fun way to explore other countries and cultures.  I love learning with friends and remain thankful for this opportunity!