Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Making a Movie ... The Egyptian Mythology Adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast"

I thought of a fun way to study Egyptian mythology.  I asked the kids to write a screenplay and then film a movie.

The movie had to be based on a common fairytale and then had to introduce at least 10 Egyptian gods and goddesses into the story and change it based on their influence.

The kids choose "Beauty and the Beast" and chose to work together developing the story.  They decided to actually replace the characters in "Beauty and the Beast" with gods and goddesses.   They did a great job selecting gods that had the personality traits of the "Beauty and the Beast" characters.... Ra (the Sun god) became Lumiere (the candlestick), Thoth (the god of wisdom) became Cogsworth (the know it all clock!), etc.

They wrote a great screenplay that told the story of a young mortal who wanted to be a scribe.  SHe is harrassed by two hilarious mortals who don't believe women should be scribes ad then follows her father to the Underworld to rescue him after his boat sank in the Nile.   She enters the palace of Anubis (the creepy jackle god of the underworld) and meets a number of gods and goddesses who have been turned into animals because Anubis killed people dreams.

The young woman grows to love the gods and goddesses and becomes friends with Anubis.  He grows to care for her also and helps her to fulfill her dream of becoming a scribe.  All of the animals return to their god-like state and her father is released from the underworld and they all live happily ever after.

One of the kids wrote the screenplay and the other drew the characters and then they filmed the entire movie!

This was a great writing assignment!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Metropolis ... Planning Your Own Green City

Amazing find!  The American Planning Association has an awesome activity that teaches kids about urban planning by having them plan their own city!



Metropolis is a curriculum that covers edges, districts, public spaces, landmarks and transportation.  Each chapter provides an overview, talks about pros and cons, provides real life examples and the asks you to incorporate the element into your own plan until you have created a plan for your own green city.


We read each chapter together and talked about our own real life examples from our own town and places we have visited to really bring the elements to life.  The walled city of Monterchi and the island of Venice, Little Italy and Newark airport, the Highline and the Piazza del Campi, the NYC subway system and the canals of Venice.  It was fun to compare and contrast what we liked and what we didn't about all of the places we have been.

After completing their plans, they each created a brochure selling us on the 5 best things about their town and then communicating how schools, garbage, libraries, grocery shopping, doctors/hospitals, getting out of town, getting out in nature, entertainment and getting around work in their town.

Not only did they get a great overview of what you need to think about when planning a city, they also started to notice what works for them and what doesn't in the world around them.

Archi-Doodle ... An Architect's Activity Book

Each morning we have been getting our creative juices flowing with Archi-Doodle a great little activity book that provides prompts to dream, create and draw.


Each activity gives you a picture to complete by adding roofs, islands, bridges, decorative details.  The pictures are primarily great line sketches of real buildings and places that you add on to.  There are also a few activities that prompt you to create something from scratch.  But all of the activities work for all levels of artistic ability.


Monday, January 1, 2018

Seven Habits Activities ... Habit 3: First Things First

This habit from Seven Habits for Highly Effective Teens is all about prioritizing.  



Here are some of the activities we are doing to help learn to prioritize....


Start using a daily planner.



Make a list of your top 5 biggest time wasters.  


Use the Urgent/Important chart to keep track of everything you did today.
Image result for urgent important chart


Pick one thing you want to get done this month and block out time in your planner.


Each Monday, think about the big, important things you need to get done this week and schedule them in your planner.


Plan to do one thing you have been afraid to do and have been putting off.


Use the Eisenhower Chart for a day to help you decide how to handle each task that comes up.
how to be more productive


Architecture, Design, and Planning Curriculum

We are kicking off 2018 with a look at architecture, design, and planning.  





History and Culture
Understand the roles of architects, designers, planner and engineers.

Learn about the important periods of architecture.

Read "From Mud Huts to Skyscrapers" and "The Story of Buildings" together.

Watch videos on architecture, architects, design, planning and engineering.

Learn about Feng Shui.


Writing and Comprehension


Write a poem or story about a building.

Complete an urban planning research project on our town.

Watch a Bill Nye special on architecture and answer a few questions.


Reading List



Science and Technology

Design a house.

Design your own city.

Play SimCity.

Take the class "Everyday Engineering".

Build a landmark using Legos.

Build a house model.


Art and Design

Keep a design journal.

Daily architecture doodles.

Create an interior design proposal for a room.

Create a landscape design plan for the front yard.


Field Trips and Experiences

Take a masterclass from architect, Frank Gehry.

Go to the MOMA to explore chair design.

Redesign a flea market find.

Math