Creativity AND Business Skills – We just completed a unit on Thomas Edison and his brainy brilliance that brought the world incandescent light bulbs, phonographs, movie cameras, etc. The DK Readers book we read is entitled, “Thomas Edison: The Great Inventor”, but the underlying message is “Inventor? Yes, but this man ALSO possessed extraordinary business skills that were more than a match for his relentless inventing”. Wow. My son and I had as many conversations about Edison’s unerring business sense as we did about his creations.
Good books about bad people – so far we have learned about Napoleon, King George III, Rasputin, and Alexander the Great via the outstanding Scholastic “A Wicked History” series. The books are well researched and written to our level of comprehension, meaning NOT juvenile, but not mind-numbingly erudite. The only negative: the photos are always so small, in grey tones/very hard to decipher. We are currently learning about a really awful person (from a really awful family chock full of bullies, thugs and thieves), Sir Francis Drake. I had NO idea he was so reprehensible. AWFUL.
“Greetings from Nowhere” – our new novel, by Barbara O’Connor is an original, entertaining book, just the type we look for (young adult themes my son can understand without the awkward “coming of age” element), with lots of concepts for us to discuss: motel, kitchenette, adoption, and for heavens sakes, last night we had to Google Image CHARM BRACELETS.
Art at the Vatican – to prepare ourselves for a Vatican art survey, we are reading “Michelangelo” by Diane Stanley. Excellent resource.
Art at Le Fictitious Local Diner – this story problem revolves around the diner gussying up the place with selected pieces of what some might call art. Of course, they are installing the classic “A Friend in Need” (the rest of us know it as “Dogs Playing Poker”) by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, purchased for $45. A portrait of Elvis on black velvet has also been purchased for $90. Posters of Batman, Superman, and Marilyn Monroe round out the collection, the lot acquired at a garage sale for $10. How much has the diner spent on “artwork”? (Heh, heh, the answer is not “zero”.) Money to purchase the exciting wall decor came from the diner’s tabletop jukeboxes. At 25 cents per song, how many songs had to be played before the art could be purchased?
Inventions for Inventions: our classical music theme last night – we celebrated the inventions of Thomas Edison by listening to a few inventions by Johann Sebastian Bach. First, we needed to understand what a Bach invention is. For this, we viewed a superb 7-minute video starring killer pianist Simone Dinnerstein. This video is a jewel! Just watch her flying fingers!
Bach’s 15 inventions were composed as keyboard exercises in 1723. We listened to:
- “Invention No. 8 in F major”, played by Simone Dinnerstein. Seriously, we love her! We want to know where to get our SD Fan Club badges.
- “Invention No. 13 in A minor”, played by little mighty mite, Annie Zhou, an 8 year old, competing in the Canadian Music Competition a few years back. Watch her attack this piece.
- “Invention No. 6 in E major” played by a banjo and double bass. We watched this for comic relief, but were so pleasantly surprised by the high quality of the performance! Kudos!
Welcome to the best part of my day!
– Jane BH