Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Interesting day of lessons ahead. ;)

I just finished planning Suaemoc's lessons for tomorrow. What we'll be learning about is quite interesting, so I thought I'd share a little bit with you. :)
Little Miss will be continuing to learn about the job of the Senate. Additionally, I have created a 20-question quiz on the first ten presidents of the United States. Did you know that two of the first ten presidents were homeschooled? ;) They are George Washington and James Madison. Another factoid about the first ten is that six of them were born in Virginia. William Henry Harrison had the shortest presidency on record. After 31 days as president, he died of pneumonia on April 4, 1841.
Little Miss will be required to do some "less exciting" work, too, such as word problems involving percentages, ten grammar questions where she will have to identify if the sentences contain a compound subject or a compound predicate, and a Reading Comprehension activity on the infrasonic communication of elephants. I also prepared a review of multiplying fractions, and finding the surface area and volume of cylinders. She should be able to breeze right through these assignments.
One of her more complex assignments will be a lesson on making responsible choices, titled: "The Missing Money." The objectives of the lesson will be to distinguish between facts and suspicions, practice brainstorming to determine a course of action, and explore personal feelings about when it is right to "inform" on an offender. This addresses the code of behavior that abhors "tattling" or "squealing," and the circumstances when it would be right to tell when you know someone has done something wrong.
Little Miss is also working on her development of a fictional story. Writing is her forte and I always enjoy reading her works. For her fictional story, she has already sketched out story ideas and now she needs to develop her story. She will be prewriting a story map, outlining her setting, characters, the plot, or conflict, of her story, and the solution. I'm looking forward to seeing how her story unfolds! :)
In eighth grade, I felt it was important for Little Miss to be learning about the human body. We've already gone through some of the basic labeling of body structures, learned about bones, the muscular system, and the circulatory system. We're now learning about the digestive system. Tomorrow's lesson will be focusing on the small intestine. She will be required to label the parts of the small intestine, as well as fill in the blanks of ten statements regarding this 20-foot long hollow tube which runs from the stomach to the beginning of the large intestine. ;)
The most interesting topic of discussion, I feel, will be a geological perspective on The Mediterranean Sea. Part of the lesson will focus on the saltiest sea on earth, the Dead Sea. On researching the Dead Sea as part of the lesson on buoyancy and density, I was able to find some fascinating facts. I put them together to create a little poster for our classroom. ;) Some Dead Sea factoids include:
  • The Dead Sea gets its name because nothing lives in it
  • It is nearly six times as salty as the ocean and also contains magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, and potassium chloride in large quantities, making plant or animal life impossible
  • The Dead Sea is actually a lake, but unlike other seas or lakes, no river originates from it - the water depletes only be evaporation
  • You can never drown in the Dead Sea, since the amount of dissolved minerals is very high, making the density of the water very high
Other than a Reading Comprehension lesson on farming in the 1860's, a quick review page on short and long vowel sounds, a grammar lesson on using commas when writing a letter, and nine word problems reviewing multiplying, the Little Boy will be doing a few things that will challenge him a bit.
His current math lesson focuses on money and time. While it is somewhat of a review, he has struggled a little with the concept of counting money and making change. We have been taking this particular lesson slowly, and his assignment planned for tomorrow is a simple activity involving making change.
The Little Boy always chooses to complete his Spelling assignments first. He says they're the "easiest." This time, that may not be the case! He will be starting a new lesson on easily misspelled words ~ words that aren't spelled the way they sound. Once he familiarizes himself with the ten spelling words of the lesson, his assignment will be to put those words into context by filling them into the appropriate blanks in a short story.
A General Health Review quiz is planned for the Little Boy, as well. I don't think he'll have a problem completing the quiz. He's very aware of things he needs to do to keep himself free of germs and illnesses, as well as the importance of hand washing.
The Little Boy is the exact opposite of Little Miss when it comes to writing. I have been trying to take a different approach with him, so that he might be able to become more creative in his writing. We've been working on writing for "him." Basically, trying to get him to explore his own feelings about any topic he wants, then recording his thoughts and ideas as if writing in a journal. His first journal entry simply reads: "Yesterday was an ordinary day, just doing school, going on the couch and watching t.v., but it was fun playing the Wii." As you can see, this process drains me because I feel like I'm pulling teeth to try to get the Little Boy to dig deeper. I'm planning to have him write about something he has learned and wants to remember. We'll see how THAT goes. :P
Perhaps he will be inspired to write about his Science lesson. ;) We are going to be learning about our solar system and the role the sun plays in our lives. This is a little bit of a review, but, being "old school," I had to brush up on the fact that Pluto is no longer considered a planet in our solar system. I created a poster for our classroom on the planets and stars, and what I found about Pluto is:
  • In August 2006, scientists defined what a planet is and gave three criteria an object must meet in order to be classified as a planet: it must orbit the sun, it must be big enough for gravity to squash it into a round ball, and it must have cleared other objects out of the way in its orbital neighborhood
  • Pluto is not big enough to pull neighboring objects into itself or sling-shot them around itself, so Pluto is in a new class of objects called "dwarf planets"
Scientists believe that out of the 200 billion, billion stars in the universe, many are likely to have planets orbiting them, just as our solar system orbits the sun. We will be discussing that, as well as Alpha Centauri, the next closest star to earth. Do you know how far away Alpha Centauri is? It's 25 million, million miles away!
The final assignment for the Little Boy will be a Geography lesson on Precipitation Maps. He learned about the need for clean water and the natural process of the water cycle. We discussed precipitation, evaporation, and how clouds are formed from the condensation of water vapor. We also touched on the ways people pollute water, what that means, and why wetlands are an important natural resource. Now, the Little Boy will be looking at a map of the average annual precipitation in the United States to find out which states get the most precipitation, and which states would be in desert regions.
Overall, it will be an interesting day of learning at Suaemoc. I'm really looking forward to it! :)

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