Saturday, December 10, 2016

Understanding the Standing Rock Conflict

We spend the good part of many days discussing the conflict at Standing Rock over the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline.  We read about the reasons for the conflict, watched a number of videos and discussed what we felt to be the motivations of each side of the conflict.  We discussed our right to protest and what it means to support a cause you believe in.  We talked about striving to understand both sides of the issue and peacefully and thoughtfully supporting what you believe in.  I hope this lesson will be one that sticks with them throughout their lives.


Creating an Explorer's Notebook

The big project for the unit study was to pretend you were an explorer and travel to a few different Native American tribes and record what you learned about them.  They each did quite a bit of research on each tribe, really focused in on a few facts that they found interesting and really went into a lot of detail (which I loved!).  They basically each ended up writing a few multi-paragraph essays with illustrations which was much more than I was expecting.  This was a great format and we'll definitely use it again!


Native American Timeline

Each day we researched a person or event from Native American history and pulled out a few facts and photos that interested us and created a timeline during our month long study.  


We started to learn the art of weaving!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Natural Weather Prediction Experiment

We asked ourselves, "Which natural events can reliably predict the weather?".  

We read about various ways to predict the weather using pinecones, trees, clouds, animals, the moon and the sky.  The girls each created a spreadsheet to test at least 5 of these events for the next 30 days by observing each event, using them separately and combined to predict the day's weather and then recording the actual weather for the day.

At the end of the month the girls concluded that .....

  • in order for a pinecone to predict the weather, it might still need to be attached to the tree
  • a ring around the moon does in fact predict precipitation the next day
  • a cloud cover at night does mean the next day will be warmer than normal
The rest of the predictions did not reliably predict the weather or did not occur often enough to give an accurate result.

Art Lesson ... Colored Pencil Feather

Simple feather lesson from Derrick the Artist!

Pajama Program

I started volunteering with the Pajama Program and what a great organization!  

Image result for pajama program

I thought it would be great for the kids to participate so I told them about doing a pajama drive and they loved the idea.  They came up with the idea of having a Pajama Day at dance where you could wear your pajamas to class if you donated a pair to Pajama Program.  They presented the idea to the director this morning and we will see what she says!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Native American Celebration

Today we had Native American Culture Day.

One of the girls organized the making of rain sticks then a little rain dance.  (It did in fact rain later in the day.)

Then lunch of Hopi Corn Stew and Fry Bread.

Followed by a Cherokee dice game using beans and sticks.

And dessert of Choctaw Grape Dumplings.


Writing A Story About a Horse

 The girls each made a comic involving horses.  (I honestly don't understand either story but I applaud the effort and hate to stifle their creativity with a critique!)


Monday, December 5, 2016

"Little House on the Prairie"

No idea how the topic came up but I found myself describing "Little House on the Prairie" to the girls today.  We piled on the couch to watch the first episode and I was delighted to find that the entire episode documented the family's trip from Wisconsin to Kansas, the building of their home and their life as homesteaders.  Which was great because this is what we have been talking about over the past month and now they got to see it come to life!  

Image result for little house on the prairie season 1 episode 1

National Museum of the American Indian, New York NY

We took a field trip to the National Museum of the American Indian in New York.  

There were a few really interesting pieces and we were able to relate some of what we have studied so far to what we were seeing.  But it is a VERY small collection and while we did enjoy seeing the intricate beadwork up close and the artwork on the animal-hide cloaks it felt like most of the items were fairly from fairly recent times. 

Image result for museum of the american indian ny

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Art Lesson ....Dubuffet Figures

Another Carla Sonheim art lesson... Dubuffet Figures.   Crazy little figures using salt, watercolors, crayons and paint.  Liked the technique but probably should have left the face off my guy like my daughter did!

Building a Gingerbread Longhouse

We learned about longhouses and then we found the typical measurements of a longhouse, converted the dimensions into a gingerbread house size and created a plan for building the house.  Then the girls made their batches of gingerbread and cut out and baked the pieces.

The next day they began assembling the longhouse.  Loved to see them be creative when Plan A wasn't working.  Impressed that they kept their cool too!  Gingerbread houses can be frustrating!

The completed project came out great!  Totally looks like a longhouse to me!