Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Drawing and country music!

Sorry it's a bit late this time, but last week we enjoyed a little tour of Texas for our vacation, so what better way to get us ready than a little country music?

Since my husband and I are originally from Kansas and are now transplanted into Texas, we are definitely not strangers to country music. My kids, however, are not as knowledgeable on the fine art of the twang. The boys have been researching different artists from the genre we are discussing every week, so who better to start with than King George himself? Alex has been listening to the artist while doing his research, and I have even heard him going around the house singing a George Strait song or two. While we visited Galveston, he even asked about "Allison from Galveston." :)

In addition to researching about country music, we also made sure to play plenty of country on our drive down to Galveston to give them the full Texas flavor! We had a little Texas road trip and visited Galveston, Houston, Shiner, San Antonio, New Braunfels, and Austin.

What better way to end our study of country music than the live music capital of Texas? Alex and Juliet enjoyed listening to the live music playing on Sixth Street in Austin and even stopped to dance a bit.


We even made sure to sing along when we heard "Friends in Low Places" playing!

The boys were not really interested in doing much drawing this week, so it was mainly just Juliet and me. Juliet has really been surprising me this summer with how much she is progressing in knowledge, vocabulary, and skill in drawing!


Although we had to cut last week's lesson a bit short with our vacation, we will be taking full advantage of being home this week. The kids will be learning about blues and jazz music, and the art will be math art, since I am the director of my school's annual math camp. Hopefully I will have much more to share with you. Stay tuned!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Rock and Roll and Sculpture!

This week I was really excited because we were able to learn about my favorite musical genre - rock and roll, baby! The boys started out the week learning about "The King" of rock and roll himself - Elvis Presley, then moved on to The Beatles, and after that I let them choose whomever they would like to learn about, as long as it related to rock and roll. Ethan ended his week researching my all-time favorite band, Aerosmith!

In addition to our music for the week, we have also been trying our hands at sculpture, which we all found is much harder than it looks! I purchased some air-dry clay for us to use, but we quickly discovered that it is very difficult to get it to stick together before it dries. Most of our works of art crumbled pretty quickly. Here is a glimpse of my art project before it completely fell apart.



On Thursday, we took a little road trip east to Dallas. What week of learning about rock and roll would be complete without a trip to the Hard Rock Cafe? We enjoyed our delicious lunch, and the kids were able to see some great memorabilia from artists they have been learning about throughout the week.



Elvis's hat and outfit from one of his movies


A Beatles jacket (of course)


We had to stop to get a picture of a huge poster of one of my favorite bands at the House of Blues!

After lunch, we walked a few blocks over to the Dallas Museum of Art. The general admission to this museum is free, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much they had to see with the free admission! We made sure to pay special attention to the sculptures, since that was our focus this week, but I was also happy to see some paintings by some of my favorite Impressionist painters, and Alex enjoyed the Picassos as well.


Alex enjoyed making sketches of some of his favorite pieces.


This one scared Alex a bit.



The DMA also has a huge sculpture garden outside where you can walk around to view the art, or just sit and relax a bit or enjoy a bite to eat. Next door to the DMA is the Nasher Sculpture Center, but I had a very tired a cranky three-year-old, so we will hopefully check that out next time.

On our way back to the parking garage, we had to stop by to check out Klyde Warren Park. This great park located in the middle of the city is fairly new, and has many food trucks, lots of great places to sit and relax, and a fun kids area to explore, which included a unique splash pad and climbing obstacles.



We don't get the chance to go to Dallas often, so it was nice to go and discover some of the great things the city has to offer. The kids really enjoyed themselves, and I was pleasantly surprised how much they enjoyed visiting the art museum (especially my little creative buddy, Alex).

At the end of next week, we will be making a road trip across Texas, so to prepare us for the journey, we will be learning about country music and drawing! Hope you come visit us again next week!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Gospel music and religious art

We are back again for another exciting week of learning about music and art this summer! This week, we had a little more laid-back approach, since we had Vacation Bible School all week long.

The music for this week was Gospel music, which the kids were able to enjoy every single morning at VBS. Juliet is still going around the house singing all of the wonderful songs they sang! They delighted us all with a performance on Thursday night of all the songs they learned.

After VBS on Monday, our local library had a music program of their own, focusing specifically on percussion instruments. Mark Shelton impressed the audience with his amazing percussion skills, including the hang and the hammered dulcimer.



He was an amazing percussionist, and Alex went around the whole house for the rest of the day banging on anything he could get his hands on! If you want to check out some of his skills, make sure to check out his YouTube page at: https://www.youtube.com/user/marksheltonmusic

For our artwork this week, Juliet, Alex and I used a Bible quote coloring book to color some pages for their father for a special Father's Day present.

It was such a busy week that there wasn't much extra time for exploring some art museums like I planned to do, but I hope to share some of that with you next week! Next week, we are moving on to rock and roll music and sculpture! Hope you are having as much fun this summer as we are!

Classical music and painting!

Hello everyone!

I know I am running a little behind on my weekly blog, but things have been happening a mile a minute around here! We are very busy busy busy this summer!

I briefly mentioned before that we were spending just a little over a week focusing on classical music and painting for the week. This week, the boys studied various composers and listened to clips of their songs as well. They even learned about a few I had never heard of! We listened to little snippets of classical music throughout the week, but the real fun came when we were able to visit a special program in Arlington that is put on by the Arlington Symphony, which introduces kids to the various instruments of the orchestra and then allows them to have an "instrument petting zoo" and try them out for themselves! We were also able to listen to a professional clarinet player who is a member of the orchestra. Here are a few of the pictures below:








Alex and Juliet really enjoyed trying out all of the different instruments. They also listened to the story "Zin, Zin, a Violin," which is a great story to introduce children to various instruments. It was nice for them to branch out from our usual piano, guitar, and French horn that are frequently played in the summer months at home. My goal is to get each of them playing at least one tune on the piano by the end of the summer.

We ended our fun day in Arlington by enjoying some time at a new playground. We don't leave our town much normally, so it was nice to get out and explore another city for the day. (We also made sure to point out the usual Arlington sites, such as Six Flags, AT&T Stadium, and Globe Life Park.)



I have already showed a few pictures of their paintings for the week, but we continued different painting projects, including some spray painting of our outdoor furniture. My project for the week was adding a little extra pizzazz to our new fire pit.



We checked out a few books about painters at the library as well, and the kids enjoyed learning about Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, and Picasso.

For the next week, we had Vacation Bible School all week, so our main focus was Gospel music and religious art! Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

A new year and new learning fun!

Hello everyone!

We are back at it for our summer fun and learning, and this year's theme is art and music! This week, we have been focusing on painting and classical music. We got a bit of a late start, so this theme will continue into next week as well. We started out by creating some fun paintings, including a special painting project for Father's Day.

Here is a glimpse of our painting party:



Ethan's underwater creature painting



Alex's map painting



Juliet's Frozen painting

We listened to a little mix of classical music while we were painting to add to the ambience.

The boys will be researching a new composer every day and listening to little previews of their work. We will also be practicing on various instruments some of the more famous classical works. In case you haven't heard of it, a great resource for teaching children about classical music is www.classicsforkids.com

This site has many great resources, including music clips, biography information, and games for the children to play. Even though my sons grumbled about having to learn about classical music, they are actually starting to enjoy themselves and can even pick out certain songs now, such as Vivaldi's "Four Seasons - Spring" (my favorite!).


I will be sharing more of our fun activities throughout the summer, so stay tuned! 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

A New World: Preparing for the Olympics in Rio!

This is our last summer country-learning extravaganza week! After this blog post, I will be delving deep into planning for the school year, getting my classroom decorated and organized, and attending my ever-so-exciting inservice workshops, so don't expect to hear again from me any time soon.

We decided to end our summer learning with a bang by focusing on the thing the whole world seems to be focused on right now: the Olympics! I invited my sons to choose to either study about Brazil, or the Olympics, or a combination of the two. Both of them decided to do a combination to get a good feeling for the country the Olympics will be taking place in, along with the many events taking place.

This is what Ethan wrote about the Olympics this week:

Olympics

By:Ethan

Men’s Basketball

U.S.A’s basketball team commonly known as the “Dream Team” is very good in the olympic games and is hopefully ready for some gold medals.They have LeBron,Steph Curry,Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green.

Rio De Janeiro

Has a beautiful city and one of their main attractions is the Copacabana beach.It is possibly the world’s most beautiful beach and is very crowded every year

Olympic Sports
There is 39 sports in the olympics this year and it will be intense the most popular sports are basketball,Wrestling,Weightlifting,synchronised swimming,Swimming,table tennis,tennis, beach volleyball,triathlon,gymnastics,hockey,soccer,and fencing.These are only some though.

His writing is improving, but he still has a ways to go. I asked Ethan why he chose to include the last names of all of the basketball players except for LeBron, and he told me that everyone knows LeBron, so he did not need to include his last name. :)

I kind of failed on the culinary part of our journey since I was a little crunched for time this week, so I didn't really prepare any Brazilian-type meals. I thought about going out to a Brazilian steakhouse, though, which is a delicious treat that everyone needs to do at least once a year. I have been to a few, and I am never disappointed since I am a pretty ravenous carnivore when it comes to scrumptious meats.

To wrap up our journey for the summer, here are a few of the slides that the boys created while doing their Google slide presentations over the summer:


This is one of Alex's slides from his England presentation. He enjoyed learning about all of the different dogs that came from England.


Here is one of Ethan's slides about Rome. He enjoyed learning about Julius Caesar, and he wanted to know more about Italy's pizza, of course!

I hope you all enjoyed taking this virtual journey around the world with us this summer! I am going to try to post some more blogs throughout the school year, related to everyday things you can do with your children/students/young people in your life. I have lots of little tips and tricks that make learning fun rather than just a boring chore that kids feel they have to do. I am super excited to get this school year started, and I hope you will stick by me throughout my journey this year. I have a new writing program I will be implementing this year and some new ideas about making math and science fun as well. I will probably only post about once a month since I tend to get fairly busy with school, but I look forward to you all coming back to check out my blog!

I also welcome any ideas, questions, or suggestions you may have for the blog. I have a few ideas already spinning around my head for next summer and for school breaks as well. Hope you all have a wonderful rest of the summer, and I will most likely post again in September!

USA! USA! USA!

Did you figure out which country the blog post is about this week? The U.S.A., of course! I am a little behind on my posting, but since it was my sons' birthday this week (yes, that is plural. My sons were born on the same day, exactly three years apart!), I decided to let them pick the country. They picked their favorite country of all, the United States of America!

It just so happens that we also planned a family outing to enjoy America's past time as well. We went to Globe Life Park in Arlington to watch our beloved Royals take on the Rangers. Sadly, the Royals were swept this series, but it was still a blast!


I also wanted the boys to learn a bit about the United States before the Europeans came over, so I had them study about Native American culture as well. I thought it was important for them to know some of the customs and cultural traditions of the natives of this land in addition to learning about some of their favorite states. Alex decided to focus specifically on the states of Kansas, Illinois, and Texas, since those are the states in which our family has lived.

For the food this week, I was pretty happy to do an all-American week, although my waistline probably wasn't too happy about it. We had hamburgers, hot dogs, and some hearty beef stew.

Just to give you an idea of the types of research projects the boys have been producing, here is Ethan's for this week:

U.S.A

Founding Fathers

George Washington,John Adams,Thomas Jefferson,James Madison,james Monroe,Alexander Hamilton,and Benjamin Franklin are our Founding Fathers.These guys made the government that is in our world today.They all have many key events in their lives and they improved our lives today.

Native Americans

There are too many Native American tribes to count but two big ones are the Seminole tribe and the Shoshone tribe but there are many more! Some speak different languages than us, and all of them have different cultures. Some believe in different gods but some believe in the one God. All Native American tribes are different and it’s hard for us Americans to see that.

America Today

The world is a bad place, even America, but some people try to fix that. America has all different types of people that immigrated from all over the world and there are people who believe that they don’t belong with us. Well they're wrong and anybody can come to America.This is what makes America beautiful and a proud place to be in.



The National Anthem


Oh say can you see, by the dawn’s early light, Once o proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?Whose broad stripes and bright stars thro the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?And the rockets red glare,the bombs bursting in air,Gave proof through the night that the flag was still there.O, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land ofn the free and the home of the brave.Play Ball!


As you can see, he could use a little help in the writing department, but overall he did a great job researching the various countries this summer. In the next and final summer blog post, I will give you a little preview of the slide shows he has created.