Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lincoln for All Ages

Recently one child's interest in Mary Todd Lincoln's seamstress intrigued a younger learner. Off to the local public library. Happiness! Mary Todd Lincoln: Girl of the Bluegrass, an original hardcover version from Childhood of Famous Americans series.

Arriving home, one of our littlest learners announced "We have Meet Abraham Lincoln!" She retrieved the book from our Step Up collection on the bookshelf we reserve for younger learners. Before long our family, all at different levels of learning, were snuggled in the living room, all learning about the Lincoln family on their level. From their reading we were able to discuss what each had learned, how what they read differed from what others learned (with a rabbit trail discussion about bias and perspective), and how it wove together in the tapestry of our country's history.

Lincolns at All Levels

Elementary Level
Abe Lincoln's Hat by Martha Brenner
A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln by David A. Adler
Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books by Kay Winters
Abraham Lincoln by Edgar Parin D'Aulaire
Meet Abraham Lincoln by Barbara Cary

Upper Elementary/Middle School Level
God's Leader for a Nation: Abraham Lincoln by David R. Collins
Abraham Lincoln by Edgar Parin D'Aulaire
Abraham Lincoln: The Great Emancipator by Augusta Stevenson
Abe Lincoln: Log Cabin to White House by Sterling North
The Story of Abraham Lincoln by Nina Brown Baker

High School Level
The Gettysburg Address
The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Henry Ketchum (available on Kindle)
Behind the Scenes, or Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House by Elizabeth Keckley
A collection of Lincoln works
Speeches and Letters of Abraham Lincoln 
Speeches and Letters of Abraham Lincoln, Kindle store

Please note: Some of these resources are written authentically (especially the high school resources) and may include vivid descriptions of the treatment of slaves. Parents, consider content before handing any reading to your children. Books might appear on book lists but that does not mean they are the best book for a particular child at a particular stage in learning, or that the book is the best book written on that subject.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Real-Life Learning: Photography

Real-life photography problem demands solutions. Finding a solution offers learning. 

Problem: Mat 30 photos for entry into the fair with a deadline looming, T-minus 36 hours

Possible solutions: 
  • Buy pre-cut mats
  • Hire framer to cut the mats
Scenario: Shopping several craft stores reveals pre-cut mats are not available in bulk quantities. Smaller group packs of three mats begin at $3.99, however none of the craft stores have enough group packs to fill our need of 30 mats. Single mats ranges from $2.00 to $5.00, pending size. Dollar signs begin to appear about the same time a young gentlemen rounds the corner. He had another solution, a solution I didn't want to hear, a solution nonetheless.

Solution: Use the 40% off coupon from the craft store to purchase our own mat cutter ($27.99 less 40%) and buy the LAST bulk package of mats (without the inside frame pre-cut). Bulk package contains 35 mats, just enough for our project and a few to spare should be over cut or scratch a mat. 

Conclusion: "Perfect mom! If I am going to be a photographer and mat my own work, economically this is the best solution."

Real-life photography problem demands solutions. Finding a solution offers learning. 

What a grand lesson for our daughter, a budding young photographer! Math, Economics. Design. Practical life skills. Photography application. Can't beat it! 

We will let you know how the photos do in the fair.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Weighty Matters: Kitchen Scale FUN!

Kitchen scales bring math to life. None threatening. Almost unnoticed. Naturally. 

When our oldest was five years old we replaced our familiar preschool bucket balance scale (the simple one which determined lightest and heaviest without numerical connection) with a $9.99 kitchen scale from Walmart. The minute the box opened items were placed on the scale: a potato, a toy car, a box of tea bags, mom's slipper. Anything that could be weighed was. Even liquids were weighed, thanks to the nifty plastic bucket which could be placed on the scale. Which is heavier, the potato or the slipper? Which weighs more, a cup of sugar or a cup of rice? By the end of the day, our son knew how to read a mechanical kitchen scale, purely due to his interest in our new found measuring tool.

We've also had opportunities to use digital scales. Experiences with digital scales has offered a nonthreatening opportunities to teach greater and less than using decimals. Decimal scales also sparked an interest in adding decimals; a concept often not introduced until third or fourth grade but understandable when taught earlier with real life application.

Eighteen years and six children later, our mechanical kitchen scale continues to be one of our favorite measuring tools. Our scale introduced and helped us to express comparison of weight, measurement terminology, measurement conversion, and number operations using weight units. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of using our scale has been our children having the opportunity to once again take math off a one dimensional page and apply it to their very active lives.

Our children want to know more about scales? Click here!