Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Learning in the Flow

Noah was using the text-to-speech synthesizer on one of our old programs (DK Children’s Encyclopedia) this morning, practising spelling that could be properly pronounced by the computer. He discovered the use of periods in creating sentence breaks. He wrote: "Age of Mythology is a game of heros and montsters. You build reinforsments. You create beasts." He had help with ‘build’ and ‘create’ and ‘beasts’. It was a useful exercise for him from the standpoint of reading and spelling. He also got some practice at putting thoughts and explanations into writing.

Erin asked for a chance to "do school". By this she means a game and a schedule whereby she and I outline a bunch of semi-structured activities (a lot of them bookwork) for her to do through the day. She asked for some "research questions" as one of the activities. This was a new idea for us. I put together the following list:

What is a "pixel"?
Who was born first, Brahms or Beethoven?
What's the capitol of El Salvador?
What do iguanas eat?
What is "6!" (6-factorial)?
Where does the word "tesselate" come from?
Who said "we have nothing to fear but fear itself"?
Who wrote "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea"?
What does chlorphyll do?
Who was Marie Curie and what did she do that was so important?
Where is the magnetic north pole located?
What is a "bearded dragon"?
Who was Guy Fawkes?
Where does the word "bonfire" come from?
What is the origin of Hallowe'en?
What is a menorah?
Draw an isoceles triangle:
She got about 6 of these in half an hour or so and is saving the others for another day (or two, or three). She quite enjoyed it.

Noah was right into group class this evening. It was the second group of the year. Last spring he started participating, after a long period of saying he wasn’t quite ready. Boy, is he ever ready now! Other parents were pulling me aside to ask if he was always this "attentive and full if joy" or always "such a model student". He had lots of grins and laughs, lots of ideas to contribute, tried hard at everything and obviously loved the class.

Erin spent some time writing today (on the computer). She says she’s got farther with this latest story than she ever has with a story before. I didn’t press her on details. She’s intensely protective of her writers’ privacy.

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