Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mt. Hope Chronicles @ The Live and Learn Studio ~ November 2013


Food for Thought

LOCAL-ish FRIENDS~ Andrew Kern will be speaking on Teaching from a State of Rest and Assessment That Blesses (and more) in Medford, OR on February 18th. I’d love to see you there! (If you can’t listen to him in person, be sure to check out the audio of Assessment That Blesses at CiRCE’s free audio library.)

::  Concerning Beauty @ The Rabbit Room

“To refuse to see beauty—to call a green leaf grey—is to say that God is not good. Beauty is a kind of grace. It comes from outside and changes something on the inside, and it usually comes as a surprise when it does.”

::  Algorithm finds beautiful and goofy haikus in the pages of the New York Times [15 pictures] @ 22 Words

"The words are pondered
briefly in silence before
the roaring begins."

::  20 More SAT Words Quiz from Write at Home (I aced this one, but I wasn’t confident about a couple of my answers and changed them at the last minute. Sometimes multiple choice works in my favor…)

::  Grammatically Speaking Grammar Quiz @ Staples

::  A Textual Analysis of The Hunger Games @ Slate (In comparison with Twilight and Harry Potter—quite fascinating!)

::  The Hunger Names @ Slate (Possible origins of the names in The Hunger Games—again quite fascinating, because I LOVE words and history and depth of meaning.)

::  "Jabberwocky" & the Value of Nonsense @ CiRCE

"As the poem progressed, my kids laughed at the silliness of the words, but I could see their minds trying to grasp what was going on. What is a Jabberwocky? Is it dangerous? Was it like a dragon? Should the “son” have killed it? Should the father have celebrated this? They are used to stories about knights and dragons that need slaying, but they also know that sometimes dragons are Eustace in the midst of repenting."

::  What College Profs Wish Freshmen Knew: Write Well @ Small World at Home

“The professors felt a true urgency to communicate how critical essay skills are for college students. Writing well is a crucial determining factor in whether a student is excellent or just average.”

::  Why Johnny can't write, and why employers are mad @ NBC News

"In a 2011 survey of corporate recruiters by the Graduate Management Admission Council, the organization that administers the standardized test for business school, 86 percent said strong communication skills were a priority—well ahead of the next skill. (When recruiters were asked in a separate question what changes business schools should make to meet employers' needs, the recruiters overwhelmingly called for something different: practical experience.)"


::  How to Teach: The Remarkable Mr. Frost @ The Imaginative Conservative

“Frost believed deeply that we approach life with true meaning only through metaphor.  What follows from this conviction is that we must teach metaphor, which in its highest form is poetry, but includes all the humanities.  He insisted that science is metaphor: Freud’s, who was probably a fraud; Darwin’s, whose Voyage of the Beagle was one of his favorite books; Einstein’s, which Frost considered one of the great poetic insights in the history of human thought.  Einstein, Frost knew, saw no gulf between religion and science because the duality of spirit and matter is the essence of the created order.  How full of wonder the world is, when we accept its mysteries and even its contradictions!”

::  I’m working my way through The Question (a logic-stage follow-up to The Core) by Leigh Bortins. I’ll have more quotes later.

“Contentment in questions and mysteries seems to irk the world.”

“How do you know what questions to ask if there are not copious amounts of ideas in your head?”

“Humans long for relationship, and thinking together in an interesting way about hard things is very rewarding.”

“Having questions is a mark of humanity.”

::  Stupor @ Sesquiotica

“The words stupor and stupid originate in the Latin verb stupere, ‘be stunned or benumbed’. (Incidentally, in some parts of Canada, and perhaps elsewhere, stunned is also a common colloqual word for ‘stupid’.) That became, still in Latin, the past tense form stupidus ‘stunned, numb’ and the noun stupor. So stupid is to stupor as torpid is to torpor (and, originally, horrid was to horror). And I suppose you could say stupid is as stupor does…”

::  Homeschooling and the Fear of Man @ Adoro Amoris (On fear and fallen homeschool gurus)

::  Homesick in the Cosmos @ The Imaginative Conservative

“One reason we feel out of place in the universe is because we begin with the universe and not with ourselves.  This is an odd thing to do since we are part of the universe.  Clues to its nature are as likely to be found inside of us as they are to be found someplace else—actually more likely.  But that possibility is denied by modern people.  Our desires, our hopes, our fears, our dreams, all the taproots of humane society, are believed to have no real connection to the universe as it is in itself.  But when we remove the most meaningful features of human interest from our study of the universe we find ourselves on the outside of everything.  Is it any wonder that the world appears indifferent to us?”

::  Helping Difficult Students Read Difficult Texts @ Stanford

'Roberts and Roberts (2008) make a powerful case that our current school culture, which allows savvy students to get dece...nt grades for minimal effort, cultivates surface reading. They argue that the prolific use of quizzes and other kinds of objective tests encourages "surface learning based in... short-term memorization for a day or two... rather than deep learning that is transformative of one's perspective and involves long-term comprehension" (p. 127). Moreover, they argue, many students don't value a course's "big ideas" because deep learning isn't needed for cumulating a high GPA.’

…'In the jargon of reading theorists, students do not have access to the cultural codes of the text-background information, allusions, common knowledge that the author assumed that the reading audience would know. Knowledge of cultural codes is often essential to making meaning of the text. So significant is this cause that E. D. Hirsch has tried to create a national movement promoting "cultural literacy," lack of which he claims is a prime source of students' reading difficulties in college.'

::  The Stereotypes About Math That Hold Americans Back @ The Atlantic

::  Why young kids are struggling with Common Core math @ The Washington Post

::  The Purpose of Mathematics in a Classical Education @ The Imaginative Conservative (I have linked this article before, but I think it answers the problems of both the previous conflicting articles.)

::  Biosensors to monitor students' attentiveness @ The Chicago Tribune (Is it possible to boil down effective teaching to an algorithm? Do spikes in teenagers' emotional arousal necessarily correspond to learning? Do we as a people have "measurement mania"? Is it because we think science and math can teach us everything we need to know? Is there no room left for heart?)

::  Magnificently fragile photos of individual snowflakes [10 pictures] @ 22 Words

::  Rabbit embryo, water flea, dinosaur bones, and more — 2013 Small World Photo Contest winners [19 pics] @ 22 Words (My friend and CC director was a winner back in 2000!)

::  New homeowner opens shelter sealed since 1961 @ The Eagle (I had to go and watch Blast From the Past again—so hilarious!!)

::  Grammar Land: Cycle 2 English Resource @ Further Up and Further In (my friend Danielle shares a charming (free! vintage!) grammar resource)

::  I don’t agree with your parenting choices. Now let me explain how you should raise your own children. @ The Matt Walsh Blog

“OK, I’m calm. But seriously, this is nuts. Parenting is hard enough as it is. We don’t have to turn every movement, every choice, every strategy, into a battlefield, where the bruised and bloodied bodies of unsuspecting parents are strewn about; beaten and defeated by the barbarian hordes who descended upon hearing news that some stranger was raising their kid in a way that doesn’t align with the beliefs and perspectives of every other person on the globe.”

::  3-foot-wide house squeezed into a tiny Polish alleyway, between buildings [20 pics & video] @ 22 Words (I find stuff like this intriguing! If I were going to down-size, though, I’d do it this way.)

::  How not to say the wrong thing @ The Los Angeles Times (Do you know someone in a crisis? This is a revolutionary way to think about relationships and what to say (and to whom) when someone is going through a crisis.)

(I usually link all of these articles and whatnot on my facebook page and then go through them to list here at the end of the month. This month there were a ton of fun Myers-Briggs personality charts. Star Wars, Harry Potter, Downton Abbey. I’d link them all here, but I’m tired of linking. You’ll just have to friend me on facebook. {grin})

Lists and Lessons

Classical Conversations (Cycle 2) Weeks 5-7 Foundations classes (includes public speaking). Essentials: (Levi and Luke)

Telling God's Story, Year Two: The Kingdom of Heaven 
Independent Bible Reading

Teaching Textbooks (Levi—level 6, Luke—level 5 (finished!!), Leif—level 4)
Life of Fred (Kidneys, Liver, Mineshaft, Fractions, Decimals and Percents, Elementary Physics, Pre-Algebra with Biology)
Math work samples for charter school
Timed drill worksheets
Mathtacular 4 (Word Problems) (DVD)


CC memory work 
CC weekly science experiments and projects

Swim team practice and meets (Levi and Luke), Swim lessons (Leif)
Archery 4-H (all 3 boys)

Fine Arts:
CC Drawing, Tin Whistle and music theory 
Joyful Noise Choir (weekly rehearsals + music theory homework)
From Mud Huts to Skyscrapers: Architecture for Children (lovely!) (library)

Language Arts:
CC memory work (pronouns)
Vocabulary Cartoons: SAT Word Power
MCT Grammar Island (with Leif)
Essentials (Levi and Luke) grammar
IEW Medieval history-themed writing  
All About Spelling (Levi and Luke: level 4, step 18-; Leif: level 2, step 10-) 
Read Theory (online reading comprehension quizzes, Luke)

CC memory work (conjugations)
Song School Latin DVD (Leif)
First Form Latin DVD lessons (Luke and Levi (Levi completing workbook lessons), lesson 8) 


CC memory work 
Daily map tracing and “blobbing”

CC memory work (timeline and history sentences)
The Story of the World Volume 2: The Middle Ages (Ch 20-24) 
A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver by E.L. Konigsburg
The Wise Fool: Fables from the Islamic World (library)
Through Time: Beijing (library, I love this one!)
We're Riding on a Caravan: An Adventure on the Silk Road (library)
Marco Polo (Discovery Biographies)
The Silk Route: 7,000 Miles of History
D is for Dancing Dragon: A China Alphabet (library)
Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Imperial China (library)
The Great Voyages of Zheng He by Demi (library)
The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean (library) (historical fiction, 13th century China, Levi and Luke-IR)
The Sea King's Daughter: A Russian Legend
Sir Nigel: A Novel of the Hundred Years' War by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (historical fiction, 377 pp, Levi-IR)

Literature Studies:
Moby Dick: Or, the White Whale retold by Geraldine McCaughrean
Book Detectives Literary Analysis Book Club (Sam, Bangs & Moonshine)

Miscellaneous Picture Books:

Fog Island by Tomi Ungerer (library)
And a bunch of others I didn’t take the time to list and link
The Golem's Latkes by Eric Kimmel (library)
The Magic Dreidels: A Hanukkah Story (library)
Stone Lamp, The: Eight Stories Of Hanukkah Through History (library)
Runaway Dreidel! (library)
The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco
(Various Thanksgiving-themed books)

The boys are working their way through this list of Top 100 Children’s Novels. Levi had already read about 55 of them. (We’re skipping The Golden Compass and books by Judy Blume. Harry Potter is on our list for this coming year. Does anyone have any opinions about City of Ember and The Dark is Rising series? Or any other books on the list?)

Levi’s Free Reading:
Son by Lois Lowry (the 4th book in the Giver series, Levi loved it) (library)
Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher: A Magic Shop Book (library)
Holes by Louis Sachar 
The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya (library)
The BFG by Roald Dahl (library)
The Bad Beginning: Or, Orphans! (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1) (library)
Magyk (Septimus Heap, Book 1) (library)
Maniac Magee (library)
Harriet the Spy (library)
Where the Red Fern Grows (library)

Luke’s Free Reading
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
Peppermints in the Parlor
Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher: A Magic Shop Book (library)
Holes by Louis Sachar
The BFG by Roald Dahl (library)
The Bad Beginning: Or, Orphans! (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1) (library)

Leif’s Free Reading
The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog
The BFG by Roald Dahl (library)
Geronimo Stilton (bunches, library)
Life of Fred (always)

Thanksgiving and Green Friday

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