July 2, 2015 July 31, 2015
Blue Moon! My son and I observed the blue moon on the final evening of July. We learned that the term “blue moon” (the second full moon, if there are 2 full moons in one month) (very rare) does not refer to the moon’s color, but rather to the centuries-old phrase, “once in a blue moon” (something that occurs with preposterous infrequency). For the vocab list: lunar. And preposterous.
Our first research project! The question was, “which letter of the alphabet begins the greatest number of words and which letter of the alphabet begins the fewest number of words?”. My son guessed that the most words started with “E” and the fewest number of words started with “Z”. We used a real (non-electronic) dictionary and simple subtraction to find the number of pages (2 letters per night). We saved “E” and “Z” for the final night (he was pretty darn close with the “Z” choice). This was such a simple assignment, but surprisingly, it started a number of conversations. We want to do another research project!
The tally, in order of most words to fewest: S with 167 pages, C, P, T, A, M, B, D, R, F, E with 52 pages, H, I, G, W, O, N, V, U, L with only 15 pages (this was a surprise, we thought there would be loads of “L” words), J, K, Q, Y, Z with 3 pages, X with 2 pages.
What we were reading this past week –
- “Albert Einstein”: two thumbs up for this DK Biography by Frieda Wishinsky (regretfully, we have been disappointed with several DK books, but this one is excellent).
- “The Merchant of Venice” (Shakespeare, obviously): we are reading a retelling of the play by Charles and Mary Lamb (this is a complicated plot line, and this version is OK, not great, but OK).
- “Surviving the Applewhites”: our fourth time through this novel by Stephanie S. Tolan. This book is a treasure! It is funny, it is quirky, it is a hot mess – and the message! Wow. It is all about the single-minded pursuit of one’s passion. LOVE THIS BOOK.
Breaking news (and story problem) from Le Fictitious Local Diner! No more baskets of mish-mashed teabag options at the diner! The hot tea service is being classed up and now only English Breakfast Tea (regular or decaf) will be served. The diner’s supplier sells a tin of 200 regular teabags for $35 and a tin of 200 decaf teabags for $40. On an average, 150 customers drink hot tea every week, half of them drinking decaf. How many tins of each should the diner purchase every month? How much should be budgeted annually for the purchase of teabags? If one fourth of the tea drinkers want a thin slice of lemon with their tea, and there are 8 slices per lemon, how many lemons should the diner have at the ready every week?
Tunes for Blue Moons –
- “Moonlight Serenade”, by Glenn Miller. HUGE hit in 1939. HUGE. This melody was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1991. We talked about Glenn and listened for his trombone.
- “Rhapsody in Blue”, by George Gershwin. This piece was written for piano solo and jazz band, and was composed in one big hurry (5 weeks!), premiering in 1924. We love this video, showcasing not only Leonard Bernstein at the piano, but also clarinet master Stanley Drucker.
- “Clair de Lune” (the 3rd movement of his “Suite Bergamasque”) (we did not know that!), by Claude Debussy, published in 1905. Soothing to the extreme. This video clip features piano virtuoso, Claudio Arrau, and was recorded in 1991, when Arrau was 88! This should give us all hope!
Welcome to the best part of my day!
– Jane BH