School Year is finished+ round up of two weeks in May (5/11-5/24/2015)

Unbelievable, our school year is finished! The past two weeks were crazy, but we made it.

Photo of the week:

It's been wet and overcast  on and off for a couple of weeks now, yet I love it

It’s been wet and overcast on and off for a couple of weeks now, yet I love it

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Bird Banding

Today, we had an amazing experience attending a class in our local Audubon Society . We had a pleasure of taking a Bird Walk  here before and attended another class for homeschoolers. Today was extra special as we got to see how the birds are banded, and we learned about migration.

First we took a walk among the wetlands and trees that were so full of life comparing to our late autumn and winter visits.

There were so many of Red Winged Blackbirds and the air was full of their song.

There were so many of Red Winged Blackbirds and the air was full of their song.

Children learned about beavers being active again and spotted a white heron that was a bit far, but there nonetheless 🙂

Before long we reached the bird banding station (which is open to general public on weekends until May 31,2015, folks in the area hurry up and visit!) and got to see a little Lincoln sparrow that got caught in the net and was ready to be banded. Another little Lincoln sparrow was caught later. Just as we were about to leave more birds came up from other nets, too bad we couldn’t stay to see what kind they were.

lincoln sparrow

Little leg is being measured for the band

Little leg is being measured for the band

The bird’s leg was measured for the band and a band quickly attached, then the wings and tails were measured and carefully recorded, then the fat on bird’s chest was checked- we got to see its little heart fluttering through the transparent skin- so tiny and so fast! Finally the bird was weighted

weighting the bird

and the little kids helped release the bird back to nature.

releasing the bird

After kids learned about things that help and hinder the migration. It was a lovely walk and we were very lucky to have a warm sunshine after two days of rain.

For more information on migration check out PBS video

And Winged Migration is an excellent film on the topic.

Two weeks roundup: March 30- April 12, 2015

What a whirlwind!

Photo of the week:

Spring has officially came and settled in

Spring has officially came and settled in

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Book Spine Poetry

April is National Poetry Month, so exciting!

Saw an awesome idea at 100 Scope Notes about creating book spines poetry. We decided to give it a try today. Kids pulled down half of a bookcase and here’s the very first cento  they came up with:

One Big Rain It's Raining Pigs and Noodles. The Cat in THe Hat Buying Mittens, The Vasa Piglet  Instruct[ion]s Blue Chicken To Fly Outside Your Window. Shapeshifters Hop on Pop, Maps  Sing a Song of Popcorn

One Big Rain
It’s Raining Pigs and Noodles.
The Cat in The Hat
Buying Mittens,
The Vasa Piglet
Instruct[ion]s
Blue Chicken
To Fly
Outside Your Window.
Shapeshifters
Hop on Pop,
Maps
Sing a Song of Popcorn

Quite silly, but the part about blue chicken is quite beautiful too.

Such fun game, I’m curious to see what they will come up with next.

Silk Road Study part 1

This week we began our Silk Road Study, this is part one.

We had an awesome visit at Denver Museum of Nature and Science exhibit. It is called Traveling the Silk Road. It was most interesting visit. We got to learn a lot about major stops of the Great Silk Road. We learned about market life, means of transportation, tales and perils.I highly recommend this exhibition, it is on for another month.

Silk Road exhibition

Before visiting the museum we watched TED video about Silk Road

I decided to use Marco Polo’s travels as a guideline for our study. A biography video for Marco Polo can be found here. I got a very good book at the museum’s shop. Marco Polo for Kids: His Marvelous Journey to China by Janise Herbert. This book is great, it talks about Marco Polo’s travels and provides around 20 activities.

Marco Polo for kids book

This week we talked about  Marco setting off on his journey. Children created a medieval map. We looked at a few  old maps and tried to re-create them, not forgetting to include monsters that lurked in the seas and lands long ago. The fact that we visited Mythic Creatures exhibit earlier this week helped a lot. Children painted their maps on paper grocery bags, I made little boats for them out of polymer clay.

medieval map making

medieval map and clay boat

Our next stop this week was Turkey. We located it on the map, learned a bit about its history, practiced saying simple words in Turkish( a video for common words and phrases can be found here)

We talked about carpets that were made there (children actually got a couple of souvenir bookmarks from the exhibition) and children found it fascinating that making of a carpet could take months. We tried cereal box weaving at home.  It is very simple to make a loom cut a large rectangle out of a cardboard box, make notches to string the yarn and start weaving using yarn, fabric or embroidery thread. Children used grandma’s knitting left overs.

cereal box weaving

final result

final result

Children loved this project.

We also visited Denver Mint this week and besides learning how the coins are made, we had a chance to discuss what was used as a payment among the traders of long ago.

This was first part of our learning about the Great Silk Road, stay tuned for more.

Car game

We had to drive a lot today and sometimes kids were bored. So they came up with a game that I found quite awesome.
C. is allowed to ask D. any question and he can answer it truthfully or make stuff up.
C’s questions included “Why do we eat? ” (so we survive), “Why do we wear clothes?” (long winded explanation involving pre-historic people), “What are we made of?” (of love:)) and so on.
I found it super touching how C. trusts her brother to provide the answers and how D. tries his best to make it easy for her to understand. Tomorrow C. will be the answerer and I am already excited about things she’ll come up with.

Week’s Roundup: Two weeks edition: March 13- March 22,2015

Wow, I realized I skipped a roundup last week, we were so busy and life got so chaotic. I must make an effort and do better.

Picture of the week:

Spring is here and ground is slowly being covered in flowers

Spring is here and ground is slowly being covered in flowers

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