Animals all over the place – this week, all of our current reading seems to be focused upon les animaux.
First – the stunning “Animalium” by Katie Scott and Jenny Broom. The idea here is that the reader is walking through a natural history museum learning bits and pieces about biodiversity (vocab). Information is clearly presented, illustrations are sensational, and my son and I look forward to opening this book every night. BTW, our favorite animal phylum so far? Cephalopods (vocab). Each member of this group is so very weird.
Then – “This Side of Wild”, a new book by Gary Paulson, a favorite author of ours. We have read his “Hatchet” many times, and the follow-up stories, “The River” and “Brian’s Winter”. This book is autobiographical (vocab), with Mr. Paulson writing about his relationships with several animals. Side note: due to something Mr. Paulson had written, we were provoked to view a youtube video demonstrating how to use “anti-bear” spray. Yikes. (More zigzag learning. LOVE it!) (and this video is surprisingly excellent).
Finally – we are are working our way through Ogden Nash’s book of poems, “Zoo”. Each of his funny, astute (vocab) poems seems to need an explanation, so each becomes a conversation starter. This book is delicious.
Language Arts Class is now in session –
– A few nights ago, my son and I used “Mad Libs” to work on parts of speech. I don’t think my son saw this as a tremendously hilarious activity, but it was a passable diversion.
– As for even more new vocabulary – so many concept pairings from our animal unit: Matriarch/Patriarch, Predator/Prey, Carnivore/Herbivore, Bones/Cartilage
New menus at Le Fictitious Local Diner! We worked our way through a really involved story problem last night: the diner is printing up new menus and they can’t decide whether to pay to have the menus laminated or to purchase a laminator and do the job themselves. A laminator can be purchased for $200, and a package of 100 plastic “pouches” costs $55. It takes 30 seconds to run one menu through the machine. So:
1) if the diner wants to laminate 200 menus, how long will it take?
2) if a junior employee is paid $10 an hour, how much will be spent on the labor of running the menus through the laminator?
3) how much will the diner spend at the office supply store with the purchase of the laminating machine and the pouches?
4) how much will the diner spend on supplies and labor to laminate 200 menus?
5) if the local print shop will laminate the menus for 85 cents each, is it more cost effective for the diner to pay the print shop to do the laminating?
Music! Inspired by the nocturnal (vocab) animals we’ve been reading about, we decided to find out what musical “Nocturnes” were all about. After listening to a few, we decided that a nocturne might be described as a mature version of a lullaby. Then, I gave my son a list of events that might or might not be enhanced by a nocturne as background music…on the “NOT” list: a birthday party, on the “YES” list: many Robert Frost poems, like one of our favorites, “Good Hours” (which we reread).
- “Nocturne No. 2” by Frederic Chopin, composed in 1832. We learned that Chopin is considered the go-to composer for nocturnes, having completed 21 polished works. No. 2 might be the most famous of all nocturnes and is used in SO many movies.
- “Nocturne No. 3”, (also known as “Liebestraum”) (Love Dream) was composed by Franz Liszt in 1850. This nocturne is neck and neck with Chopin’s No. 2 for nocturne popularity.
Yes, yes, yes, both quite reflective and beautiful, but then we played “Harlem Nocturne” and WELL, we were overwhelmed! WOW. Had to listen to it two more times in a row.
- “Harlem Nocturne”, composed by Earle Hagen in 1939. Lush and SULTRY (vocab). This is the music used for Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer (hard-boiled detective) TV series. (I deemed it unnecessarily confusing to explain “hard-boiled detective”). We listened to this recording by the Duke Ellington Orchestra and it is PERFECTION. My, oh my.
Welcome to the best part of my day!
– Jane BH