Sunday, 31 March 2013

Naaman Musical

During spring break the kids particpated in an Adonia musical production of the story of Naaman.  Unfortunately Bekah had pnuemonia and so was unable to participate as planned.  Both Matthew and Sarah were part of the choir, however, and Matthew had a few speaking parts as a soldier.

What a fun week of singing, drama, arts & crafts and games.  The performance was a huge success and the packed auditorium of people loved it!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Canadian Government

To kick off our study on the Canadian Government (Federal) we had a "tour" of the Parliamentary buildings in Ottawa via utube.  What gorgeous architecture!  We then gave the kids the challenge of sorting out the three parts of government: legislative, executive and judicial.  This week's homework?  To determine what each branch is responsible for.


This year we have been studying impressionism and this week we made title pages for our art books.  The kids carefully cut out reproductions of works by famous impressionists and then glued them on to black cardstock.  They then covered their pages with rice paper and let them dry.  The final step was to carefully highlight desired parts with sharpies.

Final results by Micah and Dane,

Sarah and Levi,

& Matt and Bekah.

Forest Creature

Matt was excited to find a new friend in our backyard the other day.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

General Brock (The War of 1812)

This is Matt's mini report on one of his favourite heroes during the War of 1812, General Brock. 

Shrill, earsplitting shrieks exploded out of the cool, calm night air.  Inside the fort the alarmed American soldiers ran and grabbed their guns.  In the morning, the British General Brock rode out of the trees on his famous horse, Alfred, and demanded the Americans surrender.  The Americans gave up Fort Detroit without a fight. 

General Brock was a very tall and smart man who led the British and Canadian troops during the War of 1812.  He knew the Americans had more soldiers than he did and he also knew that they were terrified of the First Nations people.  So, he worked with the First Nations’ leader, Tecumseh, and ordered the First Nations warriors to do their terrifying war cries in the forest outside Fort Detroit at night.  In the morning he had his untrained militia dress up in the British red uniforms to make it look like he had many fully trained soldiers.  This was the British second victory during the War of 1812 between the British and Americans. 

Brock then died from a bullet wound on October 13, 1812 but his troops were still at it twelve battles later, at the Battle of Crysler’s Farm.  The American General was trying to head north to capture Montreal in Lower Canada. The new British commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Morrison, ordered his troops to go forward in their scarlet uniforms, go back into the forest and turn their uniforms inside out.  When they walked forward again in their “white” uniforms the Americans thought there were more Canadians than they were and they retreated.  In fact there was actually only one Canadian soldier for every ten Americans!   

Throughout the War of 1812, each British general who led the British and Canadian troops would usually use Brock’s strategy of bluffing to win.

Playing with Poetry

This past month we had the privilege of participating in Bravewriter's online course "Playing with Poetry".  During the class we analyzed the structure and meaning of free verse and conventional poetry.  We also explored writing all sorts of poems: shape & concrete, acrostic (a favourite!), cinquains, haiku & tankas, and couplets, tercets & quatrains. The most challenging part of the class was definitely writing the Japanese style of poetry.  What was amazing, however, was the phenomenal feedback the kids got on these poems from their instructor!
The Crocus
Haiku by Matt
Sweet smelling trumpet
Painted with purple and white
Announcing springtime
This is tremendous, Matt!! Beautifully done!! :) It's the loveliest haiku I've seen in quite a while!! I may be sending it to Ms. Julie for the Brave Writer Showcase!! :)
Spring Sun
Haiku by Bekah
Vast, warm, yellow ball
Revealing hidden treasure
Bringing life to all
Good haiku here, Bekah!! :) I really like the idea of the sun "Revealing hidden treasure." Nicely done!! :)
Excellent work, both of you!! :)
A Tanka by Matt inspired by this photograph:
The Dance
Dancing feathered mates
Feet tapping to the rhythm
Of their love chorus --
Pink, wrinkled water gently
Compelling them together.
Matt, this is an incredible tanka poem!!!! The imagery is so strong--it's absolutely amazing!!!! :D The action here is wonderful--"Dancing," "tapping," "Compelling"--such powerful and evocative verbs!!! And the image "Feet tapping to the rhythm/ Of their love chorus" is absolutely spellbinding!! WOW!! This one is going to Ms. Julie for the Brave Writer Showcase, Matt!! The best tanka I've seen in a very long time!!! Exquisite work!!!! Bravo!!!! <applause>

A Tanka by Bekah inspired by this photograph:

Birch Trees
Tranquil-looking glass 
reflecting tall timbers. --nice alliteration, and great verb choice of "reflecting"!!
Resplendent, royal --love your alliteration here, too!! :)
forest grandly surrounding - --"grandly" is such a perfect word!!
enfolding treasure within. --nice ending!! :)
Bekah, this is a lovely tanka!! The alliteration is such a wonderful touch, and your word choices are sublime!! Your use of words beginning with "r" and "t" in the first three lines is brilliant!! :) The word choices of "Resplendent" and "royal" along with "grandly" sets such a lovely tone of stateliness for the trees--simply incredible!! Beautifully done, Bekah!! I'm so proud of you!! Bravo!! <applause>

Laura Secord

This is Bekah's delightful mini report on Laura Secord, a Canadian heroine during the War of 1812.

Laura Secord: Heroine of the War of 1812

Laura tripped again for probably the fifty-second time that night. Her skirt was torn, her feet hurt, her arms hung limp and her hair was a tangled disaster.  All around her wolves wailed and ravens rasped unwelcomingly.  Exhausted from running and stumbling through foul swamps and desolate forest all night, fearing every second for her life, she wanted to collapse on the ground. But no! She couldn’t. She must persevere! If she didn’t keep going the small community of Beaver Dams, along with James FitzGibbon’s “Green Tigers”, would fall to the Americans!

There were many Canadian heroes and heroines during The War of 1812, one of which was Laura Ingersoll Secord.  In 1775, when things started to get rough in America, Laura’s father moved his family of six children and her stepmother, Sally, to Canada. Laura then went on to marry a shop keeper, James Secord, in 1797 and together they raised a happy family. Times were not going to stay good, however - war was coming!  

The Americans declared war on Britain in June of 1812.  Three main factors contributed to this decision.  Firstly, Britain was at war with France and British soldiers were searching through American ships, looking for British deserters and cargo going to France.  Secondly, the Americans were trying to expand settlement to the north-west where the First Nations people lived.  The Americans believed the people in Upper Canada were encouraging the First Nations to fight the Americans.  Lastly, the Americans wanted to remind the world, Britain especially, that they were now a free country, no longer a British colony.

Laura Secord’s family left America when she was a child for a better life in Canada.  As a result, Laura now felt compelled to do whatever she could to help stop the Americans from taking over her beloved new country. Knowing the Canadians needed the information that the Americans were coming sooner than anticipated and determined not to give up, Laura finally arrived at a Native ally’s camp after her treacherous, seventeen hour trek. Here she convinced the First Nations leaders to take her to Lieutenant FitzGibbon.

Laura remembered how just the night before she and her husband had stood, ears pressed against the door that led  from the kitchen to the dining room, listening as the Americans planned a surprise attack on the Canadians. The American soldiers, led by the vile, British born traitor, Dr. Cyrenius Chapin, had recently taken over the Secord’s home and that evening, Dr. Chapin was outlining his plan to attack FitzGibbon and his “Green Tigers” at nearby Beaver Dams.  Already considered a hero by many Canadians, Lieutenant FitzGibbon’s skill and bravery had enabled his troops to win numerous battles in the War.  Outnumbered by the Americans, however, a surprise attack would devastate FitzGibbon and his men.  He had to be warned! James, Laura’s husband, couldn’t go because he was still suffering with a wound from an earlier battle. Laura, intent that the message get through to FitzGibbon before anything else could, insisted she would go on the 30 km trek. 

Thanks to Mrs. Secord’s bravery, FitzGibbon and his “Green Tigers” successfully defeated the Americans in the Battle of Beaver Dams.  This was only one of many battles during the War of 1812 - the war that united the peoples of Canada.

Bekah wrote this as part of her coursework for Bravewriter's online course "Mini Reports".  Here is her instructor's feedback on her final draft:
Fabulous work! You have been working hard and it shines through in this fine narrative. I really appreciate your willingness to adapt your format in the beginning of our class and then see the revision phase through to the very end. You made some important changes to your piece during that phase.
I especially like the following aspects you've incorporated in your report:
  • An attention-grabbing opening hook: not only does it take the reader into the "heart of the action," but it also contains adventure, intrigue and suspense. That's a sure-fire way to compel the reader to "keep reading." ;)
  • You do a fine job explaining this dramatic event. You're good at choosing vivid words to illustrate your meaning: arms hung limp, tangled disaster, wolves wailed, ravens rasped (alliteration too!), foul swamps.
  • Crisp clean formatting that complements the structure of your final piece: taking the time to finalize your word choices, to choose an illustration, and to find an appropriate title and neaten up grammar/punctuation helps your final piece shine.