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Monday, October 22, 2007

Whales.

We started our Whales unit with a Scholastic teacher guide on the subject - created, by luck, by an organization in Provincetown called the Coastal Studies Center. We had actually visited there at one point, so had a very good idea of what they did. And even better: the whales we'd seen were the very same whales that they are involved in rescuing and studying.

We sat down those first few days and read the little paragraphs; put together the cut-and-fold books; and studied bar graphs that compared relative sizes of whales. This covered at least a little bit of reading, writing, science and math.

Meanwhile, I continued to research whales online. I wanted to find activities that integrated mapping and geography; history; biology; and writing. In the back of my mind, I had in mind a "capstone" project that would involve creation of a presentation poster on a particular whale of Tom's choice. I also knew that we would do at least one field trip: a visit to the New Bedford whaling museum.

At the same time, we were starting up a regular routine of reading fiction aloud (we're still not sure how good Tom is at reading to himself), practicing both clarinet and piano, and getting outside and into the natural world.

In fact, I have a feeling that our nature walks and reading are inching us into Charlotte Mason territory: she apparently believed strongly in both those things, though perhaps her choice of books wouldn't have included Magic Treehouse?! In any case, both of those elements have already become very integrated into our days.

Also included in each week, I hoped, would be library; speech therapy; "gym" (bowling, swimming, hiking); art projects; and some practice keyboarding. And of course math. And more!

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