Tuesday 28 January 2020

Project 119: Scotland and Burns' Night

As the 25th of January was Burns night, we decided to have a project on all things Scotland and Robert Burns.

As well as revisiting our own trip to Scotland as part of a journey around Britain (see Project 41: Britain), we made use of a wide range of resources online to explore Scotland, Scottish culture, and Burns' poetry.

The children also had to fill in a country profile for Scotland (previous profiles have been done for Norway and China), and pick a Scots word for an animal and draw it.

Of course you can't discuss Scotland and Robert Burns without some haggis, so we had a trip to the local Wetherspoons, as well as cooking some ourselves. Solomon was a big fan of haggis, whereas Monica was a bit more wary.  Unfortunately there was a distinct lack of 'neeps' in the local supermarket, which was a shame.

All things haggis - including a burger with haggis. 
Next project: Birds, birds, birds.

Friday 24 January 2020

Project 118: 500 Words (third time lucky)

It was time for the 500 Words short story once again: Solomon's third attempt, and Monica's second (see Project 21: Writing a short storyProject 71: Another 500 Words!).

The big difference this year, in comparison to last, was how easy it was to get them to sit down and write a draft version - they may not enjoy the rewriting and editing, but they can now at least be left alone to write a first version without any help.

As well as writing a story, they completed some of the 500 Words worksheets, and watched the Live Lesson.

Writing their own comic strips
Live Lesson on the big screen with more worksheets
Monica's entry: The Land of Colourful goes Grey 
In the land of colourful, everything is colourful. The grass in the land of colourful isn’t just green, it is all the colours of the rainbow! Houses in the land of colourful aren't made of bricks, they are made of bright colourful crayons! One day, everything went grey and everyone was sad. Nobody knew why everything had gone grey except one little girl called Maddy.
 Maddy was seven, had blonde hair, and liked sweets and the colour red. Maddy had a special magic rainbow crayon that wrote messages to her to tell her when anyone had done something bad in the land of colourful.
 The next day Maddy told everyone the reason why all the colour had gone, and it was because a witch had cast a spell to get rid of all the bright colours. The witch’s skin was grey all over, she wore black clothes from head to toe, and her pants were grey and black, and she hated colour. She especially hated orange, pink, and red. So she cast a spell to change all of the colours to grey.
 Maddy wanted to try to reverse the spell, because she knew that everyone else was too scared of the witch. So that night Maddy stole the witch’s wand from the witch’s house in a cave when the witch was asleep. Maddy then tried to take the spell back by waving the wand around in a circle but it didn’t work. The witch started to stir, and then grabbed the wand from Maddy shouting, “One little girl isn’t powerful enough to reverse my spell!!” Maddy ran out of the cave.
 Maddy realised that it would take the power of two people to reverse the witch’s spell, so Maddy persuaded her friend Melody to go back to the witch’s cave with her the next night. This time the girls did a counterspell together and they waved the wand around in a rectangle and shouted “colouricious!” All of a sudden the colour started splatting back onto everything and the witch woke up and she was very angry so Maddy and Melody ran away with the Witch’s wand so she couldn't do any more mean spells. Everyone in the land of colourful was happy again to see all of their favourite colours back. They celebrated by baking the biggest rainbow cake ever!  

Solomon's entry: The Family Kidnap Caper

In the morning there was a knock on the door. My sister Monica went to answer the door but there was a vicious pirate standing there. The pirate had a cutlass and a dagger and a big black beard, and he kidnapped Monica! Me, my brother Sam, and my Mum and Dad chased after him, but he captured Mum and Dad too and stuffed them all into an old sack which he slung over his shoulder before running down towards the beach. Me and Sam chased him towards the beach, but we knew we needed to try to find a weapon. All we could find on the way to the beach though were some measly plastic spades, so we bought one each with our pocket money. We then saw a pirate and secretly followed him, but when he turned around we realised he didn't have a big black beard, and so wasn’t the pirate we were after.
 In the distance we saw Black Beard getting onto a pirate ship and setting sail, so we knew we needed to get a boat. We ran to the nearby harbour, and as we didn’t have any pocket money left, we decided to borrow a boat instead. We set sail and sailed for 10 days through big waves and ferocious storms, and the strong winds blew us to an island with lots of monkeys on it. The monkeys started to attack us, so we attacked them and won. We started to dig in the sand to make a shelter for ourselves from the strong winds, and when we were digging we dug up Monica as the pirates had buried her there on the Monkey island.
 We still hadn’t found Mum and Dad. We searched the island and couldn’t find a single trace of the pirates. We set sail again and saw Black Beard’s pirate ship through some rocks next to another small island nearby. We sped up and the boat and lost control, and accidentally crashed into the rocks. The damage to our boat was making it start to sink, but we leapt off just in time. We threw ourselves at the pirate ship and clambered aboard. Sam tried to free Mum and Dad while I fought the pirates with the spades we had bought. I killed the Captain by poking him in the eye with the tip of the spade, then, the rest of the pirates jumped off the ship as they were so scared of us. We eventually got Mum and Dad out of the sack which had been tied shut with rope, and when we freed them they said that they would give me and Sam £20 each for being so brave.
 Once we had sailed home we always remembered the valuable lesson we had learnt from the pirates, and that is to always look out of the window first before you unlock your front door. 
 Next project: Scotland and Burns' Night

Monday 13 January 2020

Project 117: Five Children and It

With bugs still doing the rounds, and a back-log of 'thank you' cards building up, we decided to have one of our literature-focused projects this week*: 'Five Children and It'.

We had enjoyed watching the BBC series as part of Project 113: The Victorians, and so we planned to read the original story and watch the BBC's follow-up series: The Return of the Psammead. While the children loved both of the series, enjoyment of the book unfortunately suffered from being so close to the original TV series. In an age when TV and film executives seem to relish departing from source material, it came as a bit of a shock to find a series following a book so closely!

This week's materials...
The Vintage edition of the story had a number of activity suggestions, and we got the children to write their own list of wishes, draw their own interpretation of the Psammead, and do the included quiz. We also got them to write their own story about finding the Psammead and making a wish: Three Children and It.

Solomon (Left) and Monica's (Right) Psammeads
Nesbit is, undoubtedly, a writer we will return to again in the future: the children want to read The Phoenix and the Carpet and The Story of the Amulet, while it's hard to believe we haven't studied The Railway Children already as we know it so well.

Next project: 500 Words (third time lucky)

* Previously covered literature includes:
- Project 115: ... the Pilgrim's Progress
Project 98: Doctor Dolittle

Monday 6 January 2020

Project 116: Winter and Snowy Habitats

As we are still in the heart of winter, we decided to have a closer look at winter and some snowy habitats, especially as there was a programme on Snow Animals.

We mad use of a lot of Twinkl resources this week, with PowerPoints on How Animals Keep Warm in Winter, Winter Arctic Animals, and The Antarctic,  and a differentiated reading on Igloos.

We explored the picture The Sea of Ice by Caspar David Friedrich with the help of the Old Master Rock: How to look at Art with children:
Exploring Old Master's Rock
And watched White Fang on Netflix, which the children have previously been resistant to, but loved in the end:

Finally the children created their own snowy splatter pictures:

Monica (left) and Solomon's (right) splatter pictures
Next project: Five Children and It.