Well, it’s been two weeks again since I posted, but I’m only going to count one of those weeks as an official school week. Unfortunately, we have suffered another loss in my family, but it was preceded by 10 days in the hospital, so much of my time has been spent there or babysitting Emily again. As well, Elizabeth and I have both been sick with some horrible cold that knocks you out for a few days, but then hangs on forever.
Last week, we did pack a couple of school days in (and we actually did yesterday too, but I’m not going to count this week as a school week…) We were able to finish up our music unit, and I have to admit that this was one of my favorite units of the curriculum. We did some of the activities outlined in the guide, but I added some others, which I thought were pretty cool.
In my last reflections, I included the YouTube video that I added as a modification to the Moving Beyond The Page curriculum of instruments from around the world. I actually really like the video because it does have some great instruments that are usually left out of most curriculums, which focus most on our history of European descendancy. (Spell check tells me I made that word up: descendancy. Did I make that word up? I feel like that is a real word…)
Other modifications that I added to the unit were rhythms. I think rhythms are easy and interesting things for pre-k and kindergarteners. We pulled out the drum and discussed rhythms in speech and syllables, and practiced with our own names and words with a different amount of syllables. I also tried to think up a hard word that had 5 syllables, like: Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras.
Then, we moved onto rhythms in nature. Since Elizabeth loves the outdoors and can ID some of the local birds by sound, as well as a few non-local birds by sound because I sometimes listen to the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs, I just surfed YouTube again for some videos of owl calls, cardinal songs, mockingbird songs because they are complicated but rhythmical, as well as for the American Toad, and American Bull Frog.
I had been thinking I was wanting the spotted owl’s call, when what I had really wanted was the barred owl, because the barred owl says, “Who cooks for you?” Quite distinctly, check it out at this link, it’s really cool. But, instead of the barred owl, I searched spotted owl, and happened upon a video made by a college student about the Northern Spotted Owl. Elizabeth got watching it and was really interested in the parts about the logging and deforestation as perils to it’s survival as a species; this led us into a discussion of sustainable forestry and deforestation and whether it was ok to cut down some trees at all (yes it is). This actually linked in awesome to the next day’s lesson about instruments and natural resources, and goods and services, as outlined in the curriculum. We were able to pull in what she had learned about the spotted owl and deforestation and make the connection there with materials used to make instruments, as well as objects in our homes, and also about other materials that are part of the earth and how they may be used. I thought it all worked out really well, and Elizabeth is so bright and takes things in so quickly (as all it takes is one pass and she’s got it), it was really a home-run lesson for me.
Northern Spotted Owl and Barred Owl.
Actually this last sentence that I wrote has got me thinking…maybe she needs more challenges during the day? We are going through some tough times right now, no doubt, but I had happened upon a blog about gifted kids the other day, and though I don’t know as she would be considered gifted (though maybe?), and she has such intense emotions, that I’m wondering if maybe she just needs some extra tasks during the day that are challenging but achievable. Hmm, I’ll have to give it some more thought. Argh, if money were no issue, I could just continue on and be totally available for homeschooling, but as it is, it’s is an issue and I’m still trying to figure out how to make it all work.
Share your thoughts: What are some fun modifications you have added to your curriculum?
Kitty drum: mine
Northern Spotted Owl: by Pacific Northwest Regions USFWS
Barred Owl: by Kameron Perensovich
Both owl photos via photopin.com. Click on photo to be redirected to photographer’s Flickr page.