Class Notes, May 12, 2011

   Should I use Persuasive, Narrative, Descriptive, or Expository writing to inform you? We’ve been trying our hand at writing in those four styles with wonderfully-varied results. We’ve been working with parts of speech and also the complex, broad subject of adverbs and adverb intensifiers. They’ve been doing partner and group writing exercises focused on Grammar AND creativity. Often a form or format and structure free the children to soar imaginatively; sometimes they’re just silly – which serves its purpose too.

   Having written pieces based on narrative experiences at home in creative writing, in art we drew our houses from memory and did some overview room layouts. The children’s homework was to take this drawing from memory, go to the same vantage point, and draw their house again with all the visual information and references to make it more accurate.  They also drew pictures seen through a small cardboard focus frame, which they enjoyed and artistic renderings of the architectural buildings and houses round about BCC. We also used the idea and cut-out shape of an arched window as a focus frame, and the results were lovely. We drew the burgeoning trees from life, as a complement to a rather rigorous class on Tree shapes and Leaf shapes.

   Speaking of the Botany class, we saw how complex the study of tree leaves was; and while it included some of the basic wildflower leaves, it included many other variations of shape and classification. We continued our study of wildflowers; regular and irregular flowers were discussed and drawn, the iris family detailed, and we did a comprehensive study of rootstocks, corms, tubers, taproots, bulbs, bulbets, in our study of edible and poisonous wild plants. I’d like to take the whole group back to the Mundy Wildflower Garden to see what’s up, and to the Plantation fields to study the many magnificent trees holding sway there. We also did the pond circle walk at Sapsucker Woods Bird Sanctuary, now that the birds are back in force.

    We’ve begun building a new windmill, or aero turbine, at the Sciencenter. I brought the first cut parts to the BCC, and we worked on the difficult, sequential (a vocabulary word) lay out of the rotor impellers on the plywood discs. We all practiced before on cardboard. It will be twice as broad as the last machine and should really spin! The tapered cutoffs from the barrels we’re using, make great planters; perhaps we’ll have the windmill made out of the same barrels pump water into the plants in the planters – a low-tech applied Science solution; just an idea.

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