Category Archives: Writing

DW’s Compare and Contrast European Paleolithic Cultures

There are many different types of hominoids. The one with the most complex life-style is Homo Sapien. Homo Sapien is divided into smaller people groups: Aurignacian, Gravettian, Solutrean, and Magdalenian. All of these people groups lived in Europe and some lived in Asia, and they  all lived when mammoths were on the Earth.  They lived during the last global maximum which was below 15 degrees celsius.

Aurignacians lived in southern Europe and Asia. They lived during a period where the Earth was entering an ice age. Aurignacians used stone, antler, and bone to make their tools. They had spears, knives, scrapers, and invented the bow and arrow. They ate fish, large game, and a variety of plants. They lived in caves. They were not nomadic. They did not bury their dead which leads us to think they did not have a religion. They had simple, artless drawings which backs up the theory that they had a religion. So, if they had religion or not, that remains a mystery.

Magdalenians lived along the western coast of Europe from what is now Portugal to Poland. They lived in a period when the Earth was coming out of the ice age, although it was still cold. They used mostly bone and antler to make their tools, though they still used stone in small amounts. They made very complex tools like harpoons and weapons made for only one type of animal, though they still are using simple tools, too. They ate: herd animals, plants, and seafood. They lived in mobile homes that they carried with them. They buried their dead, leaving the dead with food, clothes, and burial rituals. They had cave art and sculpture; all of these things lead us to know that they had religion.

Both Aurignacians and Magdalenians were Homo Sapiens. They both lived before humans were recording things. They lived in Europe and hunted big game. During very cold temperatures, both cultures expressed themselves in art. Unlike later cultures, neither farmed nor raised animals. They both lived during a period called Upper Paleolithic and were stone age peoples.

Although they are very similar, they were very different. Magdalenians buried their dead and had a religion, while Aurignacians more than likely did not have a religion. They lived in different locations in Europe. Magdalenians used mostly bone for tools and weapons and had harpoons and snares, while Aurignacians used simple tools, like the bow and arrow.

Although Magdalenian died out about 9,000 years ago we still continue the generations of Homo Sapiens. Even though Aurignacian and Magdalenian had complex tools for their time, we have even more complex tools, like computers. No matter how complex our tools get, we owe some credit to them.

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Filed under "Coming of Man", DW, English Language, European History, Geography and World Studies, Students, Writing

DW – Australopithecus

Australopithecus was a early hominid.  Australopithecus Africanus lived 2.66 million years ago to 1.66 million years ago.   Males were four and a half feet tall, while females were three and a half feet tall.   They lived in Africa, mostly found in Ethiopia and Tanzania.   Africa was covered in abundant rainforest and forest.  They were half-way between human and great ape, because they did not fill all of the fundamental needs of man. But they were more than just apes because they walked on two feet.

Australopithecus ate beetles, other insects, plants, fruit, small animals and fish, and roots.  They were not hunters, they were scavengers.  A small animal would have been a treat. They mostly ate plants and fish.  They did not cook their meat, and ate it raw.

Australopithecus sheltered in the woods.  They mostly tried to use shelter that was already there, rather then make one.  If they had to make a shelter they would cover themselves with leaves or shrubs.  They did not have any clothing.  Because they were living in Africa, they were warm.

Walking was the only means of transportation.  They used simple tools and weapons.  Their tools and weapons were like chimp’s tools and weapons.  Chimps use primitive tools out of grasses and sticks.

They did not have art because they were not advanced enough. Many scientists believe they did have religon. While others say they did not.  There are also two theories that they talked or had means of communication. While the others say no.

They did not have clothes, art, like we do. They did not bury dead like we do.  They might not have had a religion or communication like we do.  But we know they are more advanced than great apes because they walked on two legs.

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Filed under "Coming of Man", DW, Geography and World Studies, Letter Work, Projects, Students, Writing

DW: Sugar Gliders Compered to Flying Squirrels

Sugar gliders and flying squirrels look alike and live a similar life style.  My family and I discovered a creature in the attic.  We narrowed it down to two animals, a sugar glider and a flying squirrel.  Using observation and information at hand, we discovered it ate nuts and formed a theory of which animal it was.

Sugar Gliders compared to Flying SquirrelsSugar gliders are marsupials.  They are native to Australia and Indonesia.  Sugar gliders are rare because people will cut down trees, and destroy sugar gliders habitat.  Since sugar gliders live in cavities in the trees, the cut down trees will leave the sugar glider falling to their doom.  For these reasons, it is illegal to even to touch or get to close to a sugar glider in Australia.  Sugar gliders feed on insects and fruits.  Sugar gliders also eat sap, nectar, or anything else sweet.  Export or breeding of sugar gliders is illegal, but people export them illegally.  Now people in the United States are breeding them, and sugar gliders have  become popular pets.

Flying squirrels are found all over the North American Continent.  Flying squirrels are common, but are not see because they are nocturnal.  They make nests in birdhouses, tree cavities, high-up holes, abandoned buildings, and attics.  Flying squirrels feed on nuts, fruit, sap, bark, seeds, and insects.  There are many predators to flying squirrels such as: owls, cats, raccoons, snakes, and fishers. Flying squirrels are often pets.

Both flying squirrels and sugar gliders are similar in size.  If you held both a sugar glider and a flying squirrel together they would fit into you hand.  With eyes to big for their body it makes them look super cute.  These eyes help them see in the dark.  The both have a flap of skin and a flat tail to help them fly.  The flap of skin is called the patagium, and stretches the front wrist to the back wrist.  They both have extremely soft fur.  Their tail not only help the fly, but adds to it’s cuteness.

Although sugar gliders and flying squirrels have a lot in common, they also are different in many ways.  For starters sugar gliders are marsupials, flying squirrels are squirrels.  They both live on opposite sides of the earth.  The facial markings are different, sugar gliders have a stripe down their face ending on their back.  Also their ears are pointy, like elves.  The foods they eat are different than the other.

You might have guessed, we thought it was a flying squirrel.  The flying squirrel is now released and back into the wild.  So it was a happy ending, because we learned about something, the squirrel learned something (never go into an attic.) And we had an experience we would never forget.


Filed under Biology, DW, English Language, Science, Students, Writing

How many words do we really use?

The lead in to this story caused quite a stir at circle today.  How many common words do you think the average American has in his working vocabulary?  Are you an abecedarian?

The Globe and Mail, a Canadian paper, issued an article back in 2007 with different numbers but the same sentiment.

“If Little Princess is an average child, she’ll know 6,000 root-word meanings by the end of Grade 2. That’s okay, but nothing special: At that point, the top 25 per cent of children already know twice as many words as the lowest 25 per cent, and the gap grows exponentially. Roughly 35,000 more words get stuffed into Little Princess’s average head by the time she leaves high school.

But by then the foundation of her so-called mind has hardened. Limited by early lexical laxity, the average North American adult knows only 30,000 to 60,000 words, out of a potential “working vocabulary” of 700,000. If only Little Princess had learned more words earlier! If only you were a better parent!”


Filed under English Language, Writing

DW – looks at a cedar

Cedar Tree

Cedar is a fragrant wood, that keeps bugs away. There are 17 different types of cedar, including the Cyprus Cedar and Eastern White Cedar to name common ones. Cedar symbolizes healing, cleansing, and protection. Cedar does not rot because it keeps bugs and moths away. It does this by  making a toxic poison to bugs, the strength increases by age. Cedar grows all over North America.
People make cedar chests to keep clothing in; it makes clothes smell good and protects it from moths. The smell is created by oils the cedar produces. The smell is calming to people and reduces stress. The Cherokee have a legend were they wish it was always day; they receive this wish from the creator. They soon wish it was always night; again they receive this wish from the creator. People began to starve and die. The Cherokees begged that the creator make it the way it was before they made the wishes. The creator gave them this wish, but in remembrance of the death of his people the creator created a tree which was the cedar. The wood is the color of blood, for the people that died. The cedar is now sacred. The Cherokees use it for medicine, weaving, red dye, canoes, and lacing. Cedar is an amazing tree and has been used for years.

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Filed under Botany, DW, English Language, Science, Students, Writing

DW – The Snake

DW has been working with poetry for a bit.  Here is one utilizing alliteration and couplet rhyme.

The Snake

Silver moonlight shines down
All throughout the town
A snake slithers sightless, silently through the grass
Without scaring a single lass
He silently scares street dust
Discovered dawn through dust
He is found
Slithering sightless without making a sound
He tosses thoughtlessly the tongue
Good-bye snake, so long

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Beyond the Grammar Boxes

Montessori Elementary’s grammar curriculum  is famous for the uber expensive grammar boxes.  Children work out the parts of the sentence by using these very carefully constructed boxes.  In AV’s case, the guide had the set of boxes but she told her class she didn’t understand them.  Sigh.   Anyway.  I just brought that up because the grammar boxes each have an additional box that every kid really likes.  It is a “command” box.  The children learn the various part of a sentence by acting out the sentences.  This week we were looking at Indirect Objects.  I was excited to watch the kids put together a “theater” for us.

BW was the narrator.  The girls acted out the sentences and IDed the indirect objects.  Here are a few of the sentences:

I lend my friend a quarter to go to the store. (I love the Montessori joke with a real quarter and the quarter circle.)


Bring Queen Elizabeth a glass of water.

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Filed under BW, DW, MMcC, Writing