Sunday, June 29, 2014

Cornerstones of Freedom- Chronological Listing

Great finds at Friends of the Library used book store at our local library. Within 5 minutes of returning home, littles opened the tote bag, eager to listen to me read. We chose The Pullman Strike. Three paragraphs in, we were hooked, moving fast toward the back cover.

Our afternoon of reading made us curious about others we could acquire. Paula's Archives to the rescue. Not only was there a list of the books in the series but they were in chronological order. Double win! You may find a Cornerstones of Freedom title for your next living history study in the used bookstore of your local library. Happy hunting!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Mentors Matter: Aviation

One of our favorite spring activities this school year was participating in Young Eagles Introduction to Aviation class. Recommended for ages 10 through 18, this 8-week class was taught by pilots and aviation professionals. Each class focused on a topic: weather, air traffic control, flight planning, pre-flight check, and  aviation careers. Students toured hangers and took a field trip to a working air traffic control tower. The final class included a graduation flight on which the class was divided into groups of three, each group having the opportunity to fly one leg (after safe take-off by the pilot) of a three-leg flight, flying in and out of three airports. Participants were given their flight log (which they continue to log for their aviation career) which was signed by the supervising pilot, a certificate of completion, and a code for ground school should the student want to continue their journey to becoming a pilot. 

It was an experience we will not forget, and definitely one of the highlights of our year.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Picture Speaks....When They Cannot: A Secret for Evaluations

Children nervous about annual evaluations? 
Photos to the rescue.

New situations (and even not-so-new situations) can bubble up anxiety. Annual evaluations are no different.
Amazingly, children, even nervous ones, come alive when photos are included in their portfolio of work samples. Photos supply visual cues, reminders of events and activities. They provide hints for conversation starters, offering pictures for unspoken words. An astute evaluator can use photos as vehicles for unobtrusive questions, inviting dialogue. Adding photos to the portfolio of work samples can be one of the greatest gifts a parent can provide an anxious child.

Photos talk when children are short on words during annual evaluations. With pictures, children are warmly invited into a conversation about their school year progress. Our experience has been children quiet, quickly become talkative and engaged, excited. Adding photos to the portfolio is well-worth the effort taken to include them. Photos talk when words are scarce.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Wonder of Marble Runs

"Mrs. Bastian, I found 118 marbles in your house!" 


No wonder. We have created marble runs with paper tubes, plastic tubes, and ramps. Experimenting. Trial runs. More redesign. More trials. Marbles rolling down, launching into tubes, landing into paper cups placed strategically. Some marbles going astray. Excitement in the room. Ideas shared. More trials.

Laws of motion. Centrifugal force. Momentum. Potential and kinetic energy. 

More runs. More ideas. More fun!

No wonder our young visitor found so many marbles. 

They had been launched with purpose, some going astray. 

He indeed found 118 misfired attempts. 


Ready-made runs can be found online. This particular one has blessed our friends with family fun. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Read What Interests YOU!

"Honey, this is a great book!" 
Words from an engaged read-aloud Dad, spoken sitting aside his daughter; the two of them engrossed in the plot of Kit Carson: Boy Trapper by Augusta Stevenson.

Read what interests you!
Little leaner chose the book from several she pulled from our home library. Eager, she carried her treasure to Dad. Together, they read. Together, they learned. 

"Mom, we just read 36 pages!"

Another learner needs a new read...

"Mom, help me find  a book."
At the shelf, I locate John Wannamaker: Boy Merchant by Olive W. Burt. I bubble over with excitement! As a child my parents took me to Wannamakers Department Store in Philadelphia to see the Christmas play and hear the organ. 

I was hooked! I reminisced, telling my daughter of our train rides to the city and the day in the store. She was hooked, too! We read together. We learned together.  

"Mom, read another chapter, please!"

Learning is contagious...

Read what interests you!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Messy Nachos and a Family Movie

Messy nachos. A family movie. History. The makings of a great evening. 

This 1943 black and white Warner Brothers movie captured our attention with a quick plot and helped bring the lives of Marie and Pierre Curie alive. A great culmination after reading The Story of Madame Curie by Alice Thorne (Signature Series).