Monday 24 February 2020

Project 123: The Face

This week's project needed to coincide with a trip to the North-East, and as there was a workshop at the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens on designing a portrait through collage, we decided that 'the Face' should be the subject of this week's project.

The workshop was inspired by one of the art works in an accompanying exhibition about lifelong creativity. The children had lots of fun rifling through various magazines and putting together their portraits.
Collages at the Museum
They completed a number of Twinkl worksheets: labelling parts of the face, expressing emotions, and drawing self portraits.
Twinkl Worksheets
We watched Wonder to instigate a conversation about what it might feel like to look different:

And finally they were asked to create a Brickheadz self-portrait:
Solomon and Monica Brickheadz
Next week's project: Fruit

Sunday 16 February 2020

Project 122: Quiz

This week's project was prompted by a family quiz night at the local church - unfortunately the quiz night was cancelled, but the children wanted to go ahead with quizzes as the week's project anyway.

The week started with a lecture on the history and variety of quizzes, and was followed with watching TV quiz shows and playing general knowledge board games.

 As well as watching clips of University Challenge, Mastermind, and the Weakest Link, they enjoyed episodes of Bullseye, Blockbusters, Pointless, Eggheads, and the time their aunt appeared in the 1980's classic Worldwise:

We also played plenty of quizzes, including Bookchase, Pointless, Bullseye, and two versions of Trivial Pursuit:
A Pointless Bookchase
Bullseye and Trivial Pursuit
The Bullseye questions were a bit tricky for the kids, so we used questions from an old Puffin Quiz Book. Trivial Pursuit was a big hit, although Solomon preferred the 1990s kids version to the more recent family version, as he thought it was now too easy to get wedges.

The children also had to create their own quizzes for each other. Solomon had to give Monica questions on a story from Shakespeare, while Monica had to give Solomon questions on a Dickens story. The quizzes were based on the highly recommended Usborne Complete Shakespeare and Usborne Complete Dickens, and it turned out to be a really good way to get them to engage with the texts.

Solomon's Hamlet Quiz:

  1. Who is the main person?
  2. Who was the main baddy?
  3. Who drowned?
  4. What does rumour say about what killed Hamlet's father?
  5. What the dead jester's name?
  6. Was Hamlet attacked by pirates?
  7. Who is Hamlet's fellow student?
  8. What is the queen called?
  9. What did King Claudius do to make the duel unfair?
  10. Who is Ophelia's father?
Monica's Old Curiosity Shop Quiz:
  1. Who is Nell's friend?
  2. What the names of the two Punch and Judy men?
  3. What has Grandfather taken to?
  4. Who is Fred?
  5. What does Nell and her Grandfather shop sell?
  6. What does Quilp exult to do as well as make people fearful?
  7. Who lives in a caravan?
  8. What had Nell brought with her when she left the city?
  9. What did Nell sell?
  10. Who is Sampson's new clerk?
Solomon managed to get 8.5 out of 10 on Monica's quiz!

They loved making quizzes, and made others during the week on their own initiative. We will endeavour to include quiz-making as part of the learning process in future projects.

Next week's project: The Face.

Tuesday 11 February 2020

Project 121: Illustration

This project was prompted by a home education workshop at the local museum about the illustrator Nick Sharratt.

The workshop involved drawing pictures to illustrate a story they made up themselves, completing a workbook which encouraged the children to read and engage with the content of the exhibition, and making a pop-up elephant.
Nick Sharratt exhibition and workshop
We explored the role of illustration in a wide range of picture books, and classified them as symmetry (where illustrations mirror what is written in the text), augmentation (where illustrations add something extra to the text), or contradiction (where illustrations show something contradicting the text). The children then added their own symmetry, augmentation, and contradiction illustrations to an extract from a book of their choosing.

Symmetry, augmentation and contradiction
Finally we looked at the different styles and techniques different illustrators use for making their pictures, and we got the children to choose a Mr Man character to do in different styles: Hargreaves, Tenniel, Blake, and Child.
Mr Clever (Solomon) and Mr Happy (Monica)
Finally they had to choose their favourite illustrator and write about why they liked them. Solomon picked Quentin Blake, Monica picked Lauren Child.

Next project: Quiz.

Tuesday 4 February 2020

Project 120: Birds, birds, birds.

As it is our third year of home education, we've found projects start to emerge as annual events. This not only includes religious festivals (e.g., Christmas and Easter), but also competitions (e.g. 500 Words) and coordinated citizen science. This was our third year taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch (see also Project 20: Local Wildlife and BirdsProject 68: Birds of the World).

The week started with our hour bird-watch, and as with previous years, we saw very little. Just one robin this time.

Waiting for the birds
We had a more successful bird watch walking around the local nature reserve, and Solomon was pleased to identify a bullfinch with the help of the bird book.

Spot the Bull(finch)!
We also went to two bird-centred events (one at a home ed group and one at The Green Backyard), so ended up making three different bird feeders this week!
Bird feeders
Other activities included a birdwatch Top Trumps style game, some differentiated reading, and some bird snappers:
Bird snappers
We also got the children to copy some pictures of birds.
Solomon (top) and Monica's (bottom) birds
We also watched the classic feel-good bird-centred movie Fly Away Home, which everyone enjoyed.

Next project: Illustration