Monthly Archives: November 2010

A child in pursuit of wonder!

This story begins yesterday when 7 year-old AR came to ask a question.  The beauty was that I was giving a lesson to 12 year-old JV on the relationship between circles.  She came and sat near me.  She listened as I spoke with JV about tangental circles (internal and external), exterior and interior placement, secant circles, and even concentric circles and their annulus.  She waited staring at the circles as we reviewed the nomenclature.  She then interrupted.  I didn’t stop her because her question was germain to the topic, “How do you measure a perimeter of a circle?”

We’ve been spending lots of time in geometry. She and BW have covered the nomenclature of lines, closed figures, triangles (including the theorem of the relationship of the length of the arms to hypotenuse), and quadrilaterals.  She has the background for polygons; but circles?  I was still in my lesson and time was short.  I led her to the book case and handed her the Sir Circumference book series.  She was hooked.  She poured over the books.  Then the day was over.

Today, she spent the day reading and working on her own thoughts.  She wondered about measuring circles.  She tried several ways to measures them by inscribing them in squares (lunch circle was a blur to her as she was very pre-occupied with this problem).  She worked out making a square shaped object into multiple shapes from triangles to parallelogram to an approximate circle.   She read some more and decided she didn’t get cones as pure geometry, but she liked the circles and the angles and the story.

All this wasn’t part of the plan. Lucky for us, following the plan is not the goal. Learning is the goal.  AR is in the pursuit of wonder. Goal met.



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Filed under AR, Classroom, Educational Philosophy, Geometry, Montessori, Projects

Advent – remembering others

During Advent, our family will be remembering that Jesus’ birth was first told to shepherd.  Shepherds weren’t the highest folks in the social order.  In fact they weren’t even in the middle of the social order.  The shepherds who had to work the night shift were the lowest shepherds among the shepherds.

To this end, the boys and I are collecting shirts, sweaters, coats, pants, hats, gloves, shoes and blankets for Doug Born.  Doug works among folks who sleep out under the stars most of the time.  (If you are local, he is worth a visit with to see our city in a different light.  And he loves and can communicate well with children.)

We are willing to make house calls to pick-up items. Doug has a pick-up and we have a station wagon.  We dare you to fill up of vehicles.  If you need motivation check out this website: 100 Item Challenge – #1 or watch an episode of Hoarders.

I will also pick-up donations at the 6am Flydog Fitness class or by arrangement. Comment and we’ll figure it out.

Join us and let’s take care of our own.

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Filed under AV, Going outs (Field Trips), JV, Moral Compas, Practical Life - Elementary

Writing on the fly.

We’ve been struggling with the timeliness of creative writing assignments.  So, today we tried something different.  I provided them with an adventurous writing prompt and 15 minutes to write a paragraph telling what had happened next.  I modified this from the excellent writing thoughts over at Montessori Muddle.

Our prompt began:

The phone rang and the voice on the other end said, “They are coming.”  The phone went dead. . .

Here are several of the children’s thoughts.  Remember perfection was not the day.  Throwing something down on paper in a mere 15 minutes was the goal.


As soon as the phone went dead, it started to ring again.  I said hello.  The woman on the other side was apologizing so profusely that it took her five minutes to get around to telling me what went wrong. Apparently she had hung up the phone too fast because it was her first day on the job and she was very nervous.  Se got around to telling me what in fact was coming was two hippopotami I had ordered two weeks earlier, one from Mississippi and the other from Norway.  They were arriving by helicopter to my house in a couple of hours.  I thanked her and hung up.


As Steve stood at the street corner, his cellphone rang.  “They are coming,” croaked the voice on the other side.  Then the phone went dead.  Steve heard sirens off in the distance and picked up the black duffel bag and ran. The sirens got closer and three police cars screeched around the corner.  Steve broke the nearest car window, got inside and hot wired it.  He slammed on the gas and sped off with the stolen weapons and money.


I put down the phone with fear. “What does that mean,”  I asked myself.  I picked up the phone again and called 911, but my line was dead.  I looked out side even though I didn’t want to see anything.  It is too dark to see anything.  The only light is on my neighbor’s porch.  I walk back in thinking it is just a practical joke.  I turn on the TV.  There is only static.  THUMP!  The house shakes.  I hear screaming.  I look outside; everything is flames.  A large mechanical foot is in the street.  Then flames shoot at my house.  I run outside.  Then everything collapses.  What is that? What. . . .


I was sleeping.  Then suddenly I heard the telephone.  It said,  “They’re coming.” I hid under the bed.  Then I was taken, put in a van, and brought to a building.  I couldn’t see.  It was my birthday.  Everybody took of their masks and said, “Happy Birthday!”  It was a surprise birthday party!


The light went out; it had been a stormy day and it was 10:30 in the middle of January.  Suddenly the fire went out.  I got up.  I poked the fire, but not a coal was on fire.  I slowly walked to my window.  I opened it.  Cool air blew into my face.  But after a minute of silence, I heard bombs, guns, crying, screaming, sirens.  But over the noise I heard something I wished I hadn’t – Hitler’s voice.  My town was under attack by the Nazis. I heard a boom and fire rose as pieces of the city call flew everywhere.  I quickly ran from the window but I was crushed.  I woke up in the hospital.  The destruction outside was horrifying.


Filed under AV, BR, DW, JV, LR, Writing

Of tractors and turkeys

Saturday we went up to Monks Corner (yes, we have real monks and they live at the corner) to observe a tractor pull, farm tool auction, machine/engine show, nature hike, and turkey science lesson.  So many things to do and all in one day.   The location was the Old Santee Canal Park.  Tons of tractors, motors, food, and tractor pulling.  AV took some lovely photos.  We attended the park ranger’s talk about turkeys and learned some great nomenclature.  Afterwards we went out into the park to walk the nature trail.  The geology is interesting in this particular area.  There are limestone bluffs overlooking the Cooper river.  Hills!

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Filed under AR, AV, BR, Charleston, DW, Erosion, Geography and World Studies, Geology, Going outs (Field Trips), JV, Science

BR and JV’s project on Earthquake Safe Structures.

JV and BR created a work for the classroom so others can experiment with safe building techniques. They both wrote papers (BR’s is inserted in a previous post.) JV did not work to his full potential.  However, BR worked on aspects of this projects so well.

JV and BR demonstrating base and building structures.

BR and JV building one of their demonstration buildings.

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Filed under BR, Earthquakes, Geology, JV, Science

DW’s project on Liquefaction

DW presented a well balanced project about the way sand particles react often during an earthquake.  She had a good balance among demonstration, paper, and illustration.

DW showing a map of probability and a photo of its effects.

DW showing the way liquefaction works.

The children touching the damp sand before the demonstration.

The demonstration proving the water displaces the sand and it causes the buildings to sink.

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Filed under DW, Earthquakes, Geography and World Studies, Geology, Science

LR’s project on pre-earthquake Charleston

LR presented a rather weak project on the entertainment, food prices, and transportation in Charleston prior to the earthquake.

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Filed under Charleston, Geography and World Studies, LR