Our Vatican Unit continues – we have been learning about Castel Gondolfo, the summer retreat for popes since 1628. So, if it is August, it is likely that the Pope Francis is in residence at the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gondolfo. We learned that the Pope travels the 15 miles (we had NO idea it was so close) between the Vatican and Castel Gondolfo by helicopter. The palace grounds overlook Lake Albano. Lake Albano immediately grabbed our attention because the lake is so round, with very little beach area. It made sense when we read that the overlapping union of two volcanic craters created the lake.
Counting on it – we continue to learn to count to ten in foreign languages – not because counting to ten is such an important skill, but because I want my son to have an awareness that languages change from country to country (in other words, there is more to the world than just us). We have mastered Spanish, French, German, Japanese, and Vietnamese. Now we are tackling Finnish – such a fun sounding language: 1, 2, 3: “ooksie, cawksi, colomay” (BTW, that’s the flag of Finland). Here is what we do every so often: I call out a number, and my son writes down the number and the language I am speaking.
Le Fictitious Local Diner starts “The Bus Driver Project” (from our story problems last week) – if it is August, the start of school is just around the corner, and the employees at the diner have been thinking about how difficult it would be to be a school bus driver. The responsibilities are substantial and sometimes the kids (we are looking at you, JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL PEOPLES) can be so rambunctious. So, the diner decided to honor all local school bus drivers with a free lunch and slice of pie, once a month, during the 9-month school year. There are 20 bus drivers in the district, lunch runs $8.00, and a slice of pie (pecan, apple crumble, or lemon meringue), $3.00. When the diner turns in its contributions list to the CPA at the end of the school year, what will be their total “bus driver project” donation?
If it is August, we need “Music for Going Back to School”– here is what we selected:
- “Flight of the Bumblebee” – composed by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1899 for his opera, “The Tale of Tsar Saltan”. This is background music for moms anxiously hustling offspring out the door before the bus leaves. This video is spectacular – we have the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by the unsurpassable Zubin Mehta, AND watching the violin section is mesmerizing – they all sort of twitch in rhythm, and the fingering is SO fast.
- “Entry of the Gladiators” – composed in 1897 by Julius Fucik (well, there’s an unfortunate name), who had quite an interest in the Roman Empire. He did NOT intend for this to be used as a SCREAMER (how can you not love this term?????) (we learned that a “screamer” is an invigorating circus march). Is this not THE music that should be blaring in elementary school halls on the first day of school? This video was filmed around 1950, featuring the over-the-top energetic Red Nichols and his Five Pennies. NOT TO BE MISSED.
- “Song of the Volga Boatmen” – a traditional Russian folk song (first published in 1866), this is classic “we feel your pain” and “is there more to life than drudgery?” music. This is the comrade-in-arms music for woebegone students AND teachers dreading that first day back.
Welcome to the best part of my day!
– Jane BH