Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Windy Wednesday

We've had a pretty productive day today :0) One of those lovely days where everybody gets on with stuff and there's no shouting (me), very little arguing (them) and extra jobs have been done.
The car went into the garage this morning so we had a lovely windy walk back, getting home just in time to miss the rain. The boy raced through his work boxes as per - French, writing, 'reading', maths = number jigsaw, calender and electronics kit. He loves that :0)
The French is going well. He's learning colours at the moment and we do the same thing every time. We read the colour book and play colour pairs. He also has a small shoebox with a few different coloured cars in and a car-mat. Sometimes he just tells me the colours of his cars, other times I show him 3 and ask him to find the red car etc until we've gone through them. I try to use as much french as possible and we put in hand actions and car actions too. It seems to be working, he knows more colours this week than last but the main thing he's having fun. Of course, he gets to play with all the cars afterwards.
The girl managed to get through 4 boxes today. The maths went quicker than usual which helped. Other than that, she's finally finished the minibooks for the lapbook she's making for Little House in the Big Woods which she started AGES ago when we read it for bookgroup. It's been a hard slog in lots of ways but she was absolutely DETERMINED she was going to finish it. I thought she didn't want to because she moaned every time it appeared in her boxes :0?
She's decided that she only wants to do one activity per chapter for her Beyond Five in a Row book. Mainly because she just wants to hear the rest of the story and partly because she want to finish it soon. Her activity today was to do with newspapers. It tied in nicely with last weeks story circle group where they had to devise headlines from random words cut from newspaper headlines. We looked at a copy of Positive News in the hope of avoiding all the scare stories in the press. She made her own frontpage using photos from the paper - her headline - "Crazy Guy Puts Poison in Children's Food". So much for avoiding scare stories!!
All this was interspersed with much Lego playing. This is not the norm in my house and therefore worth mentioning especially since we've all somehow managed avoiding to get little holes in our feet ;0) I joined Boykin up to Lego Club Jr - it's free :0) - and he loved the magazine and made the models in it. So, for the last couple of days my dining room floor has turned into Legoland :0) We keep getting all cosied up winter-fashion, they build together and I read to them :0)
I SHOULD really be doing my essay while they're so happily occupied.....:0/

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Urgent petition

The government is trying to rush through a bill which will
fundamentally change the role of the state in family life. It is
against Human rights laws and UK laws, and will put a size 13 foot in
the door to having compulsory CRB checks and monitoring of parents.
Please act now and tell others

Anglo Saxons Project

As a bit of light relief from Badman and Balls, impact assessments and clause 26 I decided to play with photoshop and make a slideshow of our Anglo Saxon project :0)

The kids had a lot of fun, they made lots of stuff with clay, cardboard and wood, we read lots of stories, we played games, we went out for the day, we dressed up, we had a feast - yes, we used the 10 course menu in our notebook. I discovered that one of my children would have happily survived and the other would have starved. My mum was roped in to feast and day out and thoroughly enjoyed herself too :0) She's great, my mum :0)

The notebook was made using mainly mini books from the Hands of a Child project pack, but other bits were added from lots of other places :0) These are some of the stuff I used to learn about Anglo-Saxons with my kids.

Guardian newspaper article on Staffordshire hoard
Archeology site with interactive games, lesson plans and printouts for Anglo-Saxons

Lindisfarne Gospels 1
Lindisfarne Gospels 2
The Alfred Jewel

Of English language - hear spoken Anglo-Saxon

- for children
Early British Kingdoms for kids - interesting, has staffs hoard info, colouring sheets available on request (we used some to make paper dolls)
BBC primary history - info, games, printables
Ashmolean Museum - info, games, printables
British Museum Compass - info, printables, teachers notes

-for adults
Anglo-Saxon Britain with map

lots here for parents to gather info from

Blank outline Map of Heptarchy
UK & Anglo-Saxon Homeland

Anglo-Saxon coins
Hierarchy, crime and punishment
Anglo-Saxon village

Posters, timeline cards, runes, maps
Settlers game with lesson plan
Flashcards - info and pictures

For teachers with printables may be adapted or useful for groups

- recipes
- Old English poetry audio
- BBC schools video clips
- story
- Horrible Histories on Youtube
- Horrible Histories on Youtube 2
- Time Team Anglo-Saxon Cemetery pt1 - with links to other 5 parts
- lyre being played
- lyre being played again


Invaders & Settlers - Nicola Baxter, Watts Books
Step-up History: Anglo-Saxon Invaders and Settlers - Peter D. Riley
Starting History: The Anglo-Saxons - Sally Hewitt
Your Saxon & Viking Homework Helper - Alison Howard
Anglo-Saxon Raiders & Settlers - Dr Brian Knapp
Anglo-Saxon Village - Monica Stoppleman
The Smashing Saxons - Terry Deary

Our Island Story - H.E. Marshall

A Speller's Companion - Hugh & Margaret Brown

Out of Print
The Story of Saxon & Norman Britain Told in Pictures - C.W Airne
Piers Plowman Histories: Junior Book II - Mary Sarson & Mary Paine

Beowulf - Micheal Morpurgo
A Camp to Hide King Alfred - Roy Apps
The Anglo Saxons and Vikings - Andy Hammond
The Dragon & The Raven - G.A. Henty

Bede's World

West Stow 

Anglo-Saxons in Britain Project Pack

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

History and halloween

A ghost spider :-0

Things have been a bit different this week. The kids built a huge den in the dining room which covered the whole floor and made workboxes inaccessible - so we didn't do any:0) The den stayed up all week and they slept in it too for a few nights. They loved it :0)
We started an Anglo-Saxons project - almost by accident really. I got a free project pack from Hands of a Child to review which I was initially chuffed about 'cos I've only ever read rave reviews about their stuff. Unfortunately, I wasn't so impressed with it really but we are using it albeit in a much adapted fashion. I'm using library books rather than their info - which I have read (and found a bit dry to read straight out to the childer). I learnt some bits from it and learnt tons more when I double checked it all. (If I'm reviewing something I want to make sure it's accurate!) I thought that loads of interesting bits were missing...well, interesting to me, I like all the legend stuff about Alfred and Canute and think my two will too. Anyway, usually people say what a time-saver these packs are. Not for me :/ Maybe I'm just fussy, but I spent ages re-jigging the whole layout so I wasn't using so much paper - I estimated I used about a third less that way. (They did say they are going to update this particular pack and have made the layout more economical paperwise). I also added some mini books of my own as I thought it was too much writing for mine - it would probably be better for older kids who like writing. It has been useful though as it's helped me to formulate a loose plan of order which is still manages to stay flexible as well as giving me a good idea what to include and more importantly, where to stop. (Left to our/my own devises we/I can drag a topic out for weeks.Ooops! )
Other than my own little learning journey with that review millarkey, we've been to a rare breeds centre and seen some owls and got some owl pellets from them and dissected them :0)

Would you believe this is the same bird? It's a Scops owl.

Owl pellet dissection.

They've also played with train tracks , built with bricks, played out, been foraging, finished the book group book, watched Beowulf - an old 20 min animation - v. child friendly NOT the new CGI version, made maps of France, written about Calais using Openoffice and learnt how to get fonts how you want them (the girl), practiced some French, practiced cornet, sung lots, read loads of stuff about Anglo-Saxons, started an Anglo-saxon village...

This is their Anglo-Saxon village brick version. No roofs but lovely plank walls :0)

Then celebrated halloween with Girligig's drama group trail of terrors in the local park. She was a victorian child ghost playing on the swings - very eerie! They did really well and the weather was lovely and mild for them. I hope they do it again next year.
Oh yes, and we've been swimming, been to gym, had friends to play and sleepover (lots of different ones), and played and read and made felt in the library and been to story time and made halloween spiders and webs and baked bread and squeezed in some Maths ;0)