Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Abra Cadabra!

Ala Kazam!

This week, we dared to try magic tricks using coins and ropes.  We watched a couple of YouTube videos of a professional magician revealing how coin tricks are performed and how to use the power of misdirection to amaze your audience.
Has your student shown you how to push a penny through the back of their hand?  Have you seen how a coin can disappear from a hand, then re-appear behind your ear?  
The most popular trick seemed to be the rope being pulled out of ears to look like brains, and out of noses to look like boogers!
Zoe (a.k.a. Touchstone) performed her favorite rope trick- wrapping a rope around her neck, then magically pulling the rope straight through!  We gasped at her terrific trick, and breathed a sigh of relief that her head was still attached to her body.  :)   Zoe and Fischer also demonstrated the "Black Magic" party trick of mind reading.   So awesome to watch.

What fun we had practicing and performing these "magic" tricks with each other.
I DARED them all to amaze their families with their newly learned tricks this week.  Ta Da!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Double Dutch

Whoever said jumping rope was not "daring" enough has never tried to jump Double Dutch jump ropes!

This week, we took ourselves outside with four long jump ropes.  First, we practiced jumping in and out of a single rope.  (which takes a lot of practice and timing)  Then, we tried our jumping skills with double ropes.  This is much harder than it looks- and we've got the sweat and rope welts to prove it.  We also learned that being a rope turner takes skill and teamwork, too.
What a thrill it is to try, try, try again until...success!   Take a look at the pictures below to see how much fun it is to challenge ourselves.

I love the look of thrill on Grandma Jill's face when Tyler is successful jumping double ropes for the first time

Everyone has their own style

Friday, April 17, 2015

Bean Bags

Knowing how to sew is a valuable skill.  This week we dared to sew our own bean bags!
Each student was given a square of felt, and a needle and thread.   We practiced threading a needle, tying knots and learned the slip stitch. 
After our bags were filled with beans and closed shut, we tested them out in a few games of bean bag toss.  Sew fun!
I was impressed with the entire classroom.  I heard the more skilled offer helpful advice to the beginners, and I saw others helping each other untangle threads, pour the beans and sharing knotting skills.  It was a table full of creativity and smiles.  Loved it!
Some chose to stay traditional with a square shaped bean bag.
Others had different geometric shapes to them, and then others got super-creative by cutting their bean bags into animal shapes like frogs, cats, dogs and bears.
Oops!  Trinity accidentally sewed her finger into her project.  Luckily, she wasn't hurt and we all couldn't help but laugh!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Oh, We're Goin' to a Hukilau

The South Sea Islands are rich with history, fantastical beauty and are a tropical adventure paradise!  One famous visitor to these remote islands was Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Efraim's Daughter Longstocking, (otherwise known as Pippi).  Another famous visitor was Captain Cook.  He was the first European to see Tahiti, to sail around New Zealand and to set foot on Australia.

Teacher Nalani told us the true story of the Hukilau that happened on the island of Hawaii, in Laie Bay.  In 1940, the LDS church house caught fire and burned to the ground.  Desperate to acquire the funds to rebuild a meetinghouse, they took a risk that maybe visiting tourists would buy a ticket to participate in an old Hawaiian way of fishing called the hukilau. ("huki" means to pull, and "lau" is the leafy net) Miraculously, they sold all 500 tickets, earned enough money for a new church.

Tourists loved participating in catching the fish that they'd eat that night at a luau on the beach.  One of the hukilau tourists was a Folk Song artist named Jack Owens.  As he sat in his hotel room that night, he penned the lyrics to the famous song.

Our class worked together to pull on our own hukilau fish net.
 We were thrilled to discover that we had caught a GIANT fishy!
Hula Dancers tell a story using their hands.
 "We throw our nets out into the sea, and all the ama'ama come swimmin' to me"...

Another movement in the hula dance.  "Where the laulau is the kau'kau at the big luau"
Hula Dancing was great fun!  We learned the trick of getting those hips to sway is all in the knees/legs.  When the question was asked whether it is just for girls, Zane was quick to point out that big, strong men also dance.  We watched a short video clip of Maori warriors stomping, slapping and chanting the "Haka".  Brandon and Tyler then demonstrated their own versions of an intimidating war dance.  Very entertaining (and impressively acrobatic)
Oh!  And we also learned the origin of the "hang loose" or "shaka" hand gesture.   Ask your student to tell you this interesting story.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Navajo Code Talkers and Morse Code

All month long we have been discussing Spy Codes and trying out Spy Gear.  These spy-savvy kids have gotten really good at deciphering codes, and even making up their own codes.  So clever!

This week, we learned about the Navajo Code Talkers dictionary that was so complex that expert code breakers could never decipher it.  During WWII, The Japanese managed to intercept messages from the U.S. Army and the Air Corps, but they were never able to figure out what the Marines were telling one another.  Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never had taken Iwo Jima.

We found it interesting to learn that the Navajo Code Talkers were so valuable, that each one was assigned their own personal Marine to guard them, to keep them alive and prevent capture.

In studying the Navajo Code Talkers dictionary, we giggled at the literal translations.   Here are some of our favorites:
Dive Bomber = Chicken Hawk
Bomb     = Eggs
Grenade = Potatoes
Tank      = Tortoise
Sniper    = Pick 'em off
Scout     = Short Raccoon
Submarine = Iron Fish
America = Our Mother

The next code we learned about was Morse Code.  Each kid was handed a rice crispy "bomb" that contained a secret morse message hidden inside.  We had to nibble and munch to get to it.  While we nibbled, Teacher Melissa shared a fun fact about Morse letter "V" ( ...- ).  Officers played Beethoven's Fifth Symphony to rally troops on D-Day.  The opening notes create the "dit dit dit dat" that represented "V" for "Victory"

Friday, March 6, 2015

How to Be a Spy

This month, we are starting a new unit.  All about Spies!
We briefly talked about what it takes to be a spy, and focused on Cryptography: Secret Codes and Decoding.
We introduced the Pig Pen code, and had a ball creating and deciphering secret messages!  Don't be surprised if a secret message shows up at your house, too.

Next, we tested invisible inks.  Lemon juice and milk make great ink for secret messages!  Only real spies know that to reveal the secret message, you must expose the paper to heat. (like a candle flame or stove burner) and when that happens, the message magically appears!

It was revealed to me that we have several Spy-Savvy students in our class...I encouraged them to share their knowledge with us and prepare something to share with the rest of us in future classes.  They are welcome to demonstrate different codes or ciphers, spy stories/history or spy gadgets.  If you have one of these smarty-pants spies at your house, please let me know if there are any supplies that I can help you gather, or any other support that you require.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Pirate Crews and Treasure Maps

This week was a fun Pirate Adventure!  
We continued with the Pirate theme by testing out the democracy and teamwork of a Pirate Crew.
   First, we divided into two crews.  Each crew had to decide on a dastartly pirate ship name.  We had an "SS Overboard"  and a "Siren's Song". 
   Then, each crew designed their own Pirate Flag.  We made sure that it looked so menacing, that trade ships would volunteer their treasures at the sight.   A pirate ship was constructed with cardboard, tube rolls, and bamboo skewers for the mast. (I liked the detail of cannons that Brandon added on his ship)
   Before we would set sail, we established the position of each pirate by voting on a Captain, a First Mate, a Navigator, a Pilot and a Quartermaster.
   Each  crew was given a treasure map and a compass then we headed outside where we embarked  on a real treasure hunt.  There was only one buried treasure chest with two crews racing to find it first.  The map clues sent us all over the place:  to the Cliffs of Insanity, then to the Lava Flow Valley, past Kraken's Feathers and the Shady Cove then on toward the Barnacled Branches next to the Pine Needle Isle.
   SS Overboard Crew was the first to unbury the treasure.  Upon opening the chest we delighted in the treasure that we had discovered.  Gold (chocolate) coins, and sapphire gems, a ruby ring, and a few other doo dad treasures (made in China)  The two Quartermasters then had the task of evenly dividing up the loot to each crew member.

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a Pirate's Life for Me!