Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Classical Music Week

Thing One picked the theme "Tchaikovsky", and momma expanded it a bit to cover classical music in general. We are learning about orchestral instruments and a bit about the science of sound.

We found a neat book at the library. It's a great survey of classical music in general. It covers each era, then each instrument in the orchestra. The accompanying CD has nice, short, well-chosen samples for each era and each instrument. It's called The Story of the Orchestra by Robert Levine.

We listened to tons of music of course. Our favorite fun cds are Beethoven's Wig I and II. I found some great online lessons at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's website.

Here are some other neat online music links.

Sphinx Kids

Creating Music

Funschool's Boomthang

We practiced clapping rhythm along with simple songs. It's also fun to make up verses to songs like Old MacDonald had a Farm, and Down by the Bay. We also found the echo spot in our stairwell.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Africa Week

Thing One and I made a list of topics he wants to study more so I could put together some unit studies. One of the things he chose at random was "South Africa." I broadened this to include all of Africa and it ended up being a really fun weekly theme!

We studied African animals, focusing on elephants, lions, and giraffes. We talked a bit about primates, too. Movies we watched were The Lion King and Elephant Tales. We made some foam animals from a kit I had (elephant and lion). We learned "elephant breath" and a "lion stretch" during yoga time. Our yoga pretzels deck was helpful with this. My kids aren't too interested in the kids' yoga videos we have, but they adore these cards!

We listened to a ton of African music cds from the library. We also listened to Uncle Remus (Brer Rabbit) stories. We discussed what makes a folk tale special, and we read a bunch of African folk tales. The Anansi tales were the favorites.

We discussed basic African geography, and talked about the seven continents. We considered how different parts of Africa are from each other. We revisisted the savannah, desert and forest habitats. We read a book about students in different parts of Africa, and how they are similar to us in some ways and different in others.

We looked at some African art and some masks. We practiced drawing faces and masks. We made a mancala game with an egg carton and some beads.

We ate chicken peanut stew, and couscous with almonds and currants (both big hits).