Thursday, May 31, 2012

Week 4 of First Grade

Okay, back on track!  Phew!

So, we're back in Mesopotamia, now learning about the first Sumerian dictator, Sargon, and how he united all the ancient Sumerian city-states into the first recorded military dictatorship,The Akkadian Empire.  Yeah, I didn't know any of that before I read it this week, either. ( I should probably have failed first grade, but I think my teacher passed me just because I never shut up and she was tired of the sound of my voice.)  For our history project this week, we made cylinder seals like the Sumerians used to sign their personal documents and business agreements.  I didn't know they had toilet paper back then, but the cardboard rolls probably made it pretty easy to make their seal.  I'm sure every 5 and 6 year old child had one.

 First Ancient effective communication tool.

Of course the Sumerians didn't have Crayola Washable Poster Paint or, probably, wax paper. 
Or bright pink casts for broken arms.

But the end result of our projects were pretty fun to see.  

I only got pictures of G-girl's before my camera battery died, but just picture this with race cars, stop signs and, for some reason, crosses, all done in beautiful blue paint and you'll have a good idea of what J-man's looked like..  

For those of you who need things a little more spelled out- we put foam stickers on empty toilet paper rolls, rolled them in paint spread onto wax paper, and then rolled that onto cardstock.  They're supposed to emulate the cylindrical seals made to "sign" the paperwork the Sumerians used.  But it was windy, so it more emulated, "Holy cow, catch it before it flies into the house and Dad yells at us for getting purple butterflies on the sliding glass door!"

I think our favorite subject this week, by far, was science.  I still haven't nailed down how I want our Animal Classification chart to look, but I will probably have something put together by the time the kids graduate high school.  Anywhoodle, we've moved on to the Phylum Arthopoda, Class Insecta.  Yep, insects.

After we got the bothersome reading and narration work out of the way (although I cannot recommend DK's First Animal Encyclopedia enough!) we got to start our nature journal-ing.  We've done a nature journal project before, but it was something I structured pretty carefully and the kids were just sort of along for the ride.  They just filled in the blanks of my templates.  Now we're moving to where they are looking for things, sitting down and sketching them, and labeling them.  So we took a walk through our favorite place, Bear Creek Lake Park, along Bear Creek, and found lots of insects to draw.  I tried to take pictures of the specimens as we went, to put as a supplement in their journal, so they can see how their drawings match up.  When we got home, we looked up on the Internet (aka Dad's brain) and tried to find the names of some of the insects we drew.
This one is Bob Boxelder Bug.

This one claims to be Patrice, but I remember her as being much bigger than this.  I think the South Beach plan must be working.  Good job, Patrice, if this is really you!  (Patrice is a grasshopper.)

We took another walk Thursday morning, because we like hanging out with our friends. There was a competition to see who could collect the most roly polies, even though those were annelids, which we studied last week.  I somehow managed to get them all left there at the park, none enjoyed a ride home in our car.

In the afternoon, we came home and made our own insects out of pipe cleaners.  First the kids picked an insect from our Wildlife Explorer books and then tried to make them by twisting colorful fuzzy sticks into shape.  I made an ant, G made a honeybee and J made a dragonfly.

After that, each of us created our own unique imaginary insects.  The only rules were they have to have the three main body parts of an insect- the head, the thorax and the abdomen- and six legs- other than that, it was a free for all.

But we forgot how devious insects can be, and while we were distracted, our insects got together and plotted some deviousness.

The honeybee is clearly the look-out here, while the dragonfly is his usual bossy self. 

What we discovered was a true testament to the cooperativeness and team-work seen in the insect world.

 The honey bee gathering some nectar.  Pretty harmless.

The dragonfly trying to prune our tree.  WHILE THE ANT TRIES TO GET INTO THE HOUSE.  DEVIOUSNESS!

After we called the exterminator, the rest of the week was spent continuing through math, spelling, reading, phonics and grammar as usual.  Our new read-aloud literature book is Wind in the Willows.  So far it's getting a "meh" rating.

Next week our history will take us to a study of the ancient Jewish people and our science will keep us in Arthropoda, Insecta with the study of butterflies and moths.  I hope our butterfly kit shows up by then!


  1. I love the pipe cleaners creatures!!

  2. Looks like a great week! I love reading your blog :)