Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Perfectly said!

Excellent presentation and the message is the right one. I just don't understand why some people in the audience felt the need to laugh...

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Doors Open Ontario :: Windsor

Adrienne and I spent Sunday visiting several locations in the city of Windsor that were participating in the Doors Open Ontario event. Throughout Ontario, some private homes, businesses, schools, churches and others open their doors so that the community can learn about its history, culture and architecture.

We had a wonderful time and visited nine different places. I am sharing with you a few of our favourites.

Our first stop was at the Windsor Airport. There is one remaining World War II hangar there. It was the home of the #7 Elementary Flying Training School from 1941-1945. This hangar is now the location of the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association.

Our next stop is a very square two storey building built in 1914. It served as Walkerville no. 1 Hydro Sub Station until 2003 and now is home to an architectural firm. The highlight of that building was the iron staircase!

I couldn't manage a full photo of the front of the building, but it looks very similar to the back shown in the photo above.

We went to Willistead Manor next. Adrienne and I were really looking forward to seeing the inside of this Edwardian mansion (you can see the outside here). We were not disappointed! There were guides in most rooms sharing interesting details about the history of the manor. We were told about Yuletide Festivities at Willistead and we'll make sure to come back for them!

We thought maybe this opening was a secret passage to another room, it was actually a safe!

 There were many wood carving details all throughout the house.

All the furnishings from Willistead were moved out when Edward Walker's widow moved to the USA,
but the restoration of the manor included acquiring pieces that would reflect that time period, along with the choices of wallpaper.
Below is the master bedroom:

More wood carving details can be found outside too:

On our way to the next site, we noticed the house in the photo below. Adrienne took the photo. We were both amazed at the roof and how it curves on the ends, where the eaves normally are.

We went to a few other places after that, but we didn't take many photos. We visited a school built in 1927 that is still open. They kept a few areas with original flooring and chalkboars. We also visited a Tudor style home that, after being a private residence, was once a convent and is now a private school and retreat centre.  

We also went to a private home (that happened to be for sale). It was built in 1915 and has an Arts and Crafts design. We both really liked the entrance.

Our next stop was the Francois Baby House which is now the Windsor Community Museum. This Georgian-style home was built in 1812. The house is surrounded by tall modern buildings, it looks out of place, but I am glad it has been preserved.  There was a small exhibition inside called Windsor Weddings.

We also visited a church. This church started as a mission to the Hurons in 1728, the current building in the Gothic Revival style was built in 1842-45, the tower and sanctuary in 1870-74. We couldn't take photos inside, but it was gorgeous. The stained glass was amazing. It is nice to see these style of churches, they reminded me of the churches in France. I took a photo from the front entrance.

Adrienne and I really enjoyed our day learning about the local history
and looking at the architectural details of some of the buildings.
If you live in Ontario and are interested in this event, you can read more on the main site Doors Open Ontario for locations and dates. This yearly event starts in April and continues until October.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Book Sharing Monday :: Author Focus: David Wiesner

Thanks to Fiddler from Rockhound Place, my children and I discovered David Wiesner amazing picture books! We had read The Loathsome Dragon a couple of years ago,
but we hadn't looked for more of his books back then.

Last Monday, when I read Fiddler's Book Sharing Monday, I wanted to find that book "Art and Max", but our library doesn't have it yet. I did request some of his other titles and we have received so far "Flotsam", "Tuesday", and "Sector 7".

These magical books do not have words, just pictures, 
and I think they are perfect just the way they are.

Flotsam is about a young boy that finds an underwater camera washed up on the beach. He gets the film inside processed and buys a new one to replace it.
The photographs that he sees are from the underwater world of the ocean and more.
Truly magical!

Another title we "read" was Sector 7.
This time the story is about a field trip to the Empire State Building.
A young boy makes friends with a cloud who brings him to the cloud dispatch centre.
The two of them try to change the designs of the clouds...

My family has really enjoyed looking at these award-winning titles
and making up the story in our heads. We will be requesting more
of David Wiesner's books!
Thank you again Fiddler!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Year 5 :: Week 7 :: Changing Things a Bit

I am not changing our curriculum choices but how I do this report. I am already bored writing these every week, so I can imagine how it might be for you, the reader! 
I will share our week's work by highlighting the interesting parts. If for example, we studied something unusual in Canadian history or science, I will write about it here.
Every school day, we work on math and language arts (grammar, spelling, phonics for Celeste, handwriting, reading aloud) , these are the basics. The rest of the subjects get done over the week, sometimes once, others 3 to 4 days a week.

This past week, we focused on world geography and in particular learned more about Mexico. After completing the trivia questions and the map work, we read two books from the library. The first one was P is for Pinata: A Mexico Alphabet written by Tony Johnston. I love this series of alphabet books (if you check the link, there are teacher's guides to go with most book titles). P is for Pinata showed us more of the Mexican culture and history. As we read along, we paused to google some extra things, like this video of the Danza de los viejitos from reading the page on Mexican dancing.

The second title was Cinco de Mayo: Celebrating the Traditions of Mexico by Dian Hoyt-Goldsmith. This story follows a young Mexican American girl from California as she learns about her heritage and prepares for Cinco de Mayo celebrations. There is a lot of information in this book about food, history, music and dancing with many colourful photographs.

Through My Wonderful World Newsletter from National Geographic, I found out that from September 15 to October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month and many links were included for extra information and activities in the e-mail newsletter. We went to the Smithsonian Latino Center's Theater of the Dead and learned about the costums and beliefs around Dia de los Muertos. We also took turns building a virtual altar.

We will be baking some Pan de Muertos tomorrow and eat some more Mexican foods this coming week too.

Tuesday was International Day of Peace and we made a point of having a very peaceful and quiet day. We painted some rocks with the word Peace on it. You can see them here.

In science this week, we learned all about gravity and did some basic experiments (dropping our pencils from various heights!). We also had a lot of fun with this activity, finding out how much we would each weigh on different planets. Celeste weighs 48.5 lbs on Earth, 8 lbs on the moon, and 114.6 lbs on Jupiter!

We also managed to start our Art and Music Appreciation study this week! We are following this Harmony Fine Arts program  . I wasn't able to purchase all the music and art books, but I have been able to find enough music CDs and related art books at the library. We have been listening to Felix Mendelssohn during our lunches and I even put it on while I was cleaning today!

The artist this week is Rembrandt van Rijn and I read aloud Rembrandt and the Boy Who Drew Dogs by Molly Blaisdell, which was a lovely story about Rembrandt and his own son Titus. The story included some of the artist's paintings. 

We looked at more of Rembrandt van Rijn's art online. I chose  Night Watch as our current wallpaper on our computer.
Adrienne, Andre and I are all keeping a notebook for this subject. This week, we started with the two artists biographies and the beginning of our time line. The time period is from 1600 to about 1850, we made ours go until 1900.

I hope you enjoy reading our weekly report in this way better. I know I enjoyed writing it much more than the list I had been doing the previous weeks!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

a glimpse into our world

the "school" table...
lots of books, binders, notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers,
tiny snack bowls, stamps, and math manipulatives that become art...

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

IEW Poetry Memorization :: A Curriculum Review

Memorizing poetry is something I have always wanted to do with my children but it just wasn't happening on a regular basis these past few years. I read last year a review of the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW)'s Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization on Curriculum Choice. The review was written by Bar from Harmony Art Mom and after talking with her via e-mail and reading the company's website, I decided to give it a try this year.

So far, all three of my children love this. Here are two videos, Adrienne didn't want me to record her, but she is really enjoying memorizing poetry as well.

The program is divided into five different levels, and we started at level one. We aim to practice all the poems memorized so far every day, but some weeks, it has been less than five days.

The poems in level one are short and fun so far. We are planning on going through each level at our own pace, taking longer with the more challenging poems as needed. My youngest, Celeste, who is only six might not progress as fast as we get through the poems, or maybe she will!

The level five in this program gives recommendations of speeches and passages from some of Shakespeare's plays for memorization instead of poetry.

Level five seems far away right now, since we are only at the beginning, but it has been a great start so far!

Lego Quest # 26 :: Playgrounds

Another great Lego Quest challenge! This time, Adrienne had to build a playground.
Here is her description of it:

"This playground has different parts, a merry-go-round, a seesaw, and a spinning ride. There are green areas for running, a black bench, and a snack stand for when you get thirsty or hungry. The snack stand owner keeps a small rooftop garden."

Sam at Lego Quest received so many entries for this quest, you can see more here.
She also mentions a great free unit study "Learning with Lego".

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Peace Rocks

After typing my title, I smiled to see it could have a double meaning!

Today is International Peace Day, and the kids and I had a day full of peace.

We completed almost all our school work this morning and this afternoon we spent it reading books on our current world geography country study Mexico (more on that soon) and painting peace rocks.

Here are all our peace rocks:

This is Adrienne's, the reverse side is the one with the tree in the picture above:

Celeste did this one below, writing out peace and making little circles all around:

Andre's peace rock "Live in Peace" :

and finally mine, peace, plain and simple:

I wish you peace today and everyday !

Monday, 20 September 2010

Book Sharing Monday :: Over in the Jungle :: Over in the Ocean

Today I am sharing two books, both from the same author and illustrator. Over in the Ocean and Over in the Jungle are written by Marianne Berkes and beautifully illustrated by Jeanette Canyon. The art in both books was made completely with polymer clay. I am always amazed by the details!
Celeste still loves to check out baby board books from the library, so these two are in that format. Both are counting books and include many animals from each habitat. The story also rhymes, they are both a lot of fun to read aloud. At the back of each there is an activity suggestion to go along with reading the story. The Over in the Ocean includes a fingerplay activity, while the Over in the Jungle has some body movements suggestion to go along the story. You could also sing the story.

"Over in the ocean
Far away from the sun
Lived a mother octopus
And her octopus one."

"Over in the jungle
Where she knew how to wait
Lived a mother ocelot
And her ocelots eight."

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Battle of Britain Parade :: Air Cadets

Adrienne's first parade as a brand new Air Cadet was today, for the Battle of Britain 70th Anniversary Parade. She just started last Monday. We all learned a bit more about this World War II battle as part of the homework she had to do.
"The Battle of Britain was the first major campaign to be fought entirely by air forces, and was also the largest and most sustained aerial bombing campaign to that date." (wikipedia)
You can read a lot more about it here.
I think we will be learning more about the Canadian Forces this year!

Adrienne marched along with her squadron:

We couldn't hear much of the speeches, their microphone wasn't very loud, but we sure heard the gun fires, they fired three times:

There was a flypast as well:

I thought this was too cute to not take a photo...
Andre and Celeste watching the parade:

The ceremony is done at that point,
 the Cadets were receiving their orders to start marching back:


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