Monday, November 22, 2010

A Last Week of Autumn

I awoke to a humdinger of a thunderstorm this morning, a real giant of noise, lightening and pouring down rain. I took it as a reminder not to rush into winter, not to join the Christmas craze already beginning, but to linger a little in autumn, in today. Our lesson plans for the week reflect that desire, I thought I would share them here.

A poem from Robert Frost:

The Last Word of a Bluebird

As I went out a crow
In a low voice said, "Oh,
I was looking for you.
How do you do?
I just came to tell you
To tell Lesley (will you?)
That her little Bluebird
Wanted me to bring word
That the north wind last night
That made the stars bright
And made ice on the trough
Almost made him cough
His tail feathers off.
He just had to fly!
But he sent her Good-by,
And said to be good,
And wear her red hood,
And look for skunk tracks
In the snow with an ax-
And do everything!
And perhaps in the spring
He would come back and sing."

I love the joyful, hopeful note to this poem. Winter is coming, but spring will follow, so "wear your red hood and do everything!" This was actually the last part of today's lesson that I discovered, but it so beautifully complements the rest that it made the whole scheme shine like a gem.

Grade Three
Alienor has been working on Native American stories and culture these past two months. Today's story is a local one, from the Sioux nation: "How Turtle Flew South for the Winter," that can be found in "Keepers of the Earth," by Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac. Last night we finished up "The Turkey Girl," by Penny Pollock, which is not about Thanksgiving, but rather a Zuni Cinderella tale, minus the happy ending.

She requested to cook us lunch today, so she will make us "stewed pompion," from the book, "1621, A New Look at Thanksgiving," by Catherine O'Neill Grace and Margaret M. Bruchac. Tomorrow we'll cook up another recipe from the same source; "Nasaump." This will be our group read-aloud for the beginning of Thanksgiving week. It is a National Geographic book, with fantastic re-enactment photography and a realistic look at the culture of both the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people at the time of the legendary first Thanksgiving meal.

Alienor's other projects for the week; finish her tepee, made on the model given here:
She will also be weaving on a lap loom, making projects for Christmas presents, and she and Lily are both busy with some top-secret knitting.

Arthur and I will read from Grimm's Fairy Tales; The White Snake, a tale of struggle, sacrifice and gratitude for good deeds done. (It too, seemed fitting for this week.) We will read verses from "Autumn" by Wynstones Press. We will paint a turkey today and paint from the story tomorrow.

Seventh and Eight Grade
Lily and Aragorn are in their last week of an astronomy study. The moon is the topic. Today we'll study a lunar calendar and look at two peoples who have used or continue to use one; the Egyptians and the Muslims and paint a picture from one of their festivals, au choix.

Have a great day and, for the Americans, a lovely Thanksgiving week, more recipes coming soon!

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