Thursday, 14 November 2013

How the Wildebeest Got His Mixed-up Body - A Just So Story by Bekah

A Just So Story: How the Wildebeest got his mixed up body
Once in the beginning of time, when Elo the mighty creator had finished giving all the animals their different forms, there was a wildebeest, who lived in the Snarly Gnarly Jungle on the very edge of the Great African Grasslands.  Every day Wildebeest trudged to the clear blue watering hole by the Mucky Mud Holes on the other edge of the Great African Grasslands to get his daily drink. On one of these days he spotted his friend, Horse, across the watering hole.  Shoving and straining through the crowd for a drink, he couldn’t help marveling at Horse’s mighty, muscular figure. “I could have used those long legs today,” Wildebeest muttered to himself. Staring at the reflection of his own short, stubby legs, he sighed, and went back to drinking.
Now Elo was walking by on his daily stroll around his brand new Earth and saw Wildebeest staring. He thought a moment and then “poof”.
Wildebeest felt himself rise up and looking down discovered that his legs seemed different.  When he tried walking he went faster. When he tried running he zipped around the watering hole twice.  Panting, he eventually pranced back for another drink and couldn’t help fixating on his friend, Mule, with his fabulous facial features. Turning back down to drink his own reflection paled in comparison.
Elo, after chatting with the chinchillas and conversing with Cheetah, came around to the watering hole and saw Wildebeest staring once again. He thought a moment and then, “poof”.
Wildebeest felt his face twist and turn. Looking down at his reflection his face seemed to have changed.  Deciding to ignore it, he went for another sprint on his mighty, muscular horse-like legs around the watering hole, and, puffing, soon returned to drink. Dipping his head to sip he suddenly saw Mule’s face staring up at him. Blinking, he surveyed the area around him, but saw nobody.  Looking again he realized it was his own face. Throwing his head up, he laughed with glee and couldn’t help but gaze at Cow with her gloriously grand horns. Turning back to the water, he saw his own bare forehead and, with a sigh, went back to drinking.
When Elo came about again after dancing with Deer and kicking with the kangaroos, he saw Wildebeest turning his head to stare. He thought a moment, then, “poof”.
Wildebeest felt his head get more weighty than usual and decided to go for another run to clear it.  Puzzled he returned for a drink of water. Plunging his head in for a drink he realized there were horns on his head. He pranced for joy. Amidst his jolly jumping, however, he couldn’t help but see Goat on the other side of the watering hole with his superbly, stunning beard. Looking down at his own plain, ordinary chin, he heaved a sigh, and went back to drinking.
Elo, after gossiping with the gorillas and joking with Jack Rabbit, observed Wildebeest staring yet again.  He thought a moment and then, “poof”.
Wildebeest brought his head up and noted that his chin felt wetter than usual.  To dry it off he decided to go for another run, and when he got back took a look at his reflection. Seeing a beard on his chin he leaped for delight but as he did so he saw a very strange animal staring up at him from the water. Upon observing the area around he saw no such animal and eventually he realized that the strange animal was himself. Just then he heard snickers and muffled laughs. Not daring to look up Wildebeest headed home.
Elo, looking down from his throne in the high heavens, remarked:
“Yearning for another’s special feature will just end up making yours look bleaker.”
And so, to this day, the Wildebeest never looks up for fear that he will grow yet another strange feature.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Psalms 23 by Matt

How the Narwhal Got His Horn - A Just So Story by Matthew

We've just completed Bravewriter's Just So Stories class (fabulously fun class with great coaching) and this is Matt's story.

How the narwhal got his horn

Once upon a time in the deep, blue sea there was a Narwhal with a gnawing need for jelly beans. Every Monday morning he snuck into the jelly bean store through a long, tight air vent and swam to the back of the store. He stealthily swiped the orange and red jelly beans – his very favorite kinds. On this particular morning, Crab, the jellybean store owner, went early to his store because he wanted to catch the thief but just as he opened the door he saw ripples in the water below the air vent as something went up. Infuriated, Crab mourned as he stormed to the cash register.

The next Monday morning Narwhal woke up with a grumbly, growly, griping tummy desperate for jellybeans. He reached into his jellybean drawer and was distraught to find no more! He twisted and turned rapidly through the coral reef mall and arrived at the jellybean store before any shops had opened.  He slided and glided through the air vent and sneakily spilled the orange and red jellybeans into his hole. Crab, arriving at his store even earlier than normal, spotted a flash of a grey tail swimming up the air vent.  Then three red jellybeans bumped him on the head. Bang! Bang! Bang! Furious and fuming, Crab realized he had been foiled again.

The next Monday morning Narwhal’s grumbly, growly, griping tummy torpedoed him through the mall to the jellybean store once again. Cunning crab, determined not to be foiled again, rushed into the shop at the same moment and saw the now frantic Narwhal furiously swimming back up the vent.

That night Crab snuck silently into the Narwhal’s house pinching tightly to some extra-sticky glue and an extra-long shell. Crab scuttled into Narwhal’s bedroom and silently attached the extra-long shell onto Narwhal’s forehead with the extra-sticky glue. But Narwhal rolled over causing Crab to spill extra-sticky glue on his pinchers. Without thinking or blinking, Crab jumped out the window and thankfully landed on some soft sand outside.

The next Monday morning, Narwhal’s grumbly, growly, griping tummy desperate for jellybeans woke him once again.  He raced to his front door but went “BANG” as his new horn caught on the top of the doorway. OUCH! He tumbled back and rushed again but went “BANG” as his new horn caught on the side of the doorway. OUCH! He lurched back and charged again but went “BANG” as his new horn caught on the bottom of the doorway. OUCH!

Crafty Crab, watching from a distance, declared:

By means of a shell – long with much feeling
I have now stopped your selfish sly stealing.

And from then on Narwhal, once skillful and sleek as he maneuvered through the water, was now cumbersome and awkward.  To this day he has not stolen a single jellybean!



Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Listening Journals

As part of our morning read-aloud and prayer time as a family we have started keeping "Listening Journals".  We simply spend a few minutes asking Jesus what he would like to say to us today.  Sometimes the kids write furiously for a couple of paragraphs, sometimes they draw a picture, and sometimes they write down a simple sentence (and sometimes they don't put anything down).  I looooove starting our day like this - it feels like a thick blanket of peace settles down on us as we listen and journal.  It is simple  (like pretty much everything else I do) but my kids are learning that hearing God's voice is a normal part of our daily life.  Love it!

Psalms 23 by Sarah

Psalms 23 by Bekah

Monday, 11 November 2013

Stave Lake

To kick off our unit on Electricity this fall we took a trip up to Stave Falls Visitors Center.

Our self-guided tour started with a nine-minute video, "Rain", in the theatre. It introduced us to the life and times of the early 1900s. Next we played with experiments on the solar energy workbench in the "Alternative Energy" area, went through the "Science of Electricity" area and tested our knowledge with interactive displays that "shocked" us.

Lastly, we entered the "Generator Hall" and saw the actual turbines and generators from 1912!

Soccer Girl

Our soccer girl worked hard this past week during her game and practices!

Lest We Forget

Thanks to this idea at (thanks, Mrs Davies, for the link!) we worked on some mixed media poppy art this past week. 
We created some paper poppies using some really cool handmade paper from Mrs. G's stash.  We then created sheets of textured green paper by painting a piece of cardstock, layering green tissue paper on top, and then painting over the layers with more green paint.  My favourite part though was when we put saran wrap on top of wet black paint to create a cool backdrop for our poppies.
The kids loved the next part when they had to weave a poppy for their project (they loved the weaving so much we are going to do another weaving project for Christmas!).
We then had the fun task of working on our final compositions - cutting out stems from our textured green paper and placing the poppies just so on the black background.
Bekah's art:
Matthew's art:
Sarah's art:

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Hands on History: WW II

We've just had the privilege of completing a four-week World War Two diorama workshop with Todd from Hands on History.  Our group was assigned the battle in 1943 at Casa Berardi (hamlet on the east coast of Italy) where Canadian Capt Paul Triquet led his company of the Royal 22nd Regiment ("Vandoos") in a desperate attack on the German stronghold.  Having lost all of his officers and 50% of his men in an earlier attack, Capt Triquet courageously formed his remaining men into a cohesive fighting unit that continued its advance against bitter resistance throughout the night of December 14 until reinforcements arrived the next morning.  The Germans were determined to hold onto Casa Berardi in order to prevent the advance of the Allies in their push toward Rome.  They sent their best troops against the Canadians but were thwarted by the determination of the Vandoos.  In present day Italy, the Berardi family (owners of Casa Berardi during the Battle of Ortona) maintains a memorial to Capt Triquet outside their cottage in recognition of his bravery and leadership.
On our first day, we were provided with our battle papers and a slew of materials to use in our diorama.  Our assignment was to depict the German side of this important battle.
Here Matt is cutting Styrofoam to create the Italian terrain on our plywood base.  Bekah is then covering everything with a drywall paste solution.
The kids created the Italian topography using a variety of twigs, dirt and grasses.  The buildings were painted, weathered and glued into place.
The final product!  The soldiers and tank were painstakingly painted, assembled and then camouflaged with an air gun (thanks, Matt!). Extra details were added like: rubble around the buildings, bare trees (winter), piles of old logs for soldiers to hide behind, ...
Here Todd and the group are looking at the final product (our partners did the Canadian part of the battle on the left of the table):
This was our first attempt at making a diorama and, while we are definitely amateurs, we have some great ideas for next year.