Thursday, December 02, 2010

Ups and Downs

The Up--

Sweetling and Toa of Boy were finishing adding the eastern European countries to their maps of Europe. I had already checked their outlines and labeling, so I left the room while they colored the countries on their map. I was cleaning the bathroom when I heard Toa say,

"Wait a minute! What's this?"

I heard Sweetling's chair push away from the table, presumably so she could go around to where Toa was sitting and help him. A moment later she started singing, "There's a hole in the bottom of the sea."

"No really," protested Toa, "what is it?"

"I don't know," admitted Sweetling.

"Mommy!" yelled Toa.

"Wait!" cried Sweetling, "Let's just look it up ourselves!"

Ah, that, dear ones, was truly music to my ears. Rock on you empowered learners you!

(And, for those who are wondering, the thing which puzzled Toa was-- a small white space in the middle of his map of Europe. It was later discovered that this little white space was not a tiny country, nor a misprint on his map, but a little corner of Slovakia which had been inadvertently cut off from the rest of the country by an overly large capital S when Toa was labeling his map.)

(For those who weren't wondering, Toa has decided that "Slovakia"  sounds like a Bionicle name, maybe a bad guy villain name, thinks Toa.

The Down--

In November, we wrapped up our unit on Norway. Now, call me crazy, cause that was a whole month ago, but I kind of expected at least some of the main points to stick.

We watched some clips of Rick Steve from the travel channel in Norway. We found pictures of the fjords. We discussed extensively what a fjord was. Toa, in fact, proudly found a picture of one of Norway's fjords in an unexpected place and pointed it out to me with great excitement.

We also started reading a book called Snow Treasure. We did a cool hand's on project about just how heavy 75 pounds of gold would be. We talked about how it would be to be one of the children' trying to smuggle gold on their sleds past the Nazi soldiers. We talked about it as we read, we made references to the story at other times.

Today, we were reading the last couple chapters of Snow Treasure. I don't want to give out too many spoilers, but the main character of the book is forced to make a hasty get away by braving some of the cold waters of the fjord. The book described how the water was so cold it felt like it was biting him when he first put his feet in, but the character pushed on, plunging into deeper water.

"What's happening?" asked Toa. "Is it flooding?"

"No," I said, "Peter is going out into the water of the fjord."

"What's a fjord?" asked Toa.

In retrospect, I should have told him it was a giant Lego construct built to battle the Bionicle villain Slovakia.

No comments: