Attentiveness Unit – Week 2
Since Labor Day took up our Monday, we moved our schedule to start school on Tuesday and go through Friday. This usually isn’t an issue since I reserve Fridays for “around the house” time anyway. The girls were better this week (less resistance) but I think my 2 year old has caught onto us and has lost some interest in what we are doing, unless we are actively crafting or coloring.
It is the second week in our attentiveness unit and though I’ve been successful at teaching them all what attentiveness means, we are still working on how to show it. My girls struggle with waiting their turn to talk and listening carefully to instructions before starting a project. I also have a very fidgety 7 year old that cannot sit without having her hands on something. After discussing the matter over with my own mother, she suggested I engage the girls in physical activity prior to sitting down for “class” time. I attempted switching my schedule around the last two days of the week, having class in the afternoon after a morning of play and light exercise. I did notice the girls were much more eager to participate in the afternoon, so I’ll give it another week to see if this change is worth keeping.
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Magic School Bus in the Haunted Museum: A Book about Sound
Magic School Bus Truth About Bats
Alexander Graham Bell
Out and About at the Orchestra
Don’t Forget the Bacon
Lives of the Musicians
The Very Cranky Bear
Beethoven Musical Pioneer
Little Melba and Her Big Trombone
This week we spent some time learning about animals, particularly bats, and how they process sound and use it in their everyday survival. This topic was especially personal to us, as we have literally had bats in the attic of our old Victorian house. I wish I could say they stayed in the attic, but many found their way into our home in their search to get outside and hunt. The book Bats, by Kerri O’Donnell, was an excellent resource for bat info. The book was easy to understand and gave well-laid out details about bats that fascinated the girls. We also read Truth About Bats (Magic School Bus), and since this was a chapter book, I divided it up over 3 days. That one wasn’t quite as exciting to my 5 year old and most of the information was already covered in the previous book.
The Very Cranky Bear is a book we already own and one of the kids’ very favorites. I love this book with its pictures, rhyming and adorable ending. We were able to use these worksheets to go along with the story. We discussed how each animal tried to please the cranky bear and how sheep “paid attention” and finally found a solution.
In our study of listening, we read about Alexander Graham Bell and the telephone. I would not recommend the book mentioned here if you want an in-depth look at his life. This book was very choppy and mostly listed brief facts on each page. The pictures were great, but the text just wasn’t enough to keep the kids interested.
I chose to have the kids watch the 1939 movie of Alexander Graham Bell instead of opting for cartoon versions on youtube. My oldest followed along well but the other two didn’t always understand what was happening on screen and though I stopped it frequently to explain, the movie didn’t excite them. The movie did show scenes of Alexander courting his soon-to-be wife, Mabel. They giggled through those parts and so I imagine for boys it might be even less desirable to watch!
All About Bats for Kids video
Handel coloring page and music sample: Hallelujah Chorus
Whale Song video
Classical music description
Mozart video bio, coloring page and music samples
The Very Cranky Bear worksheets
Beethoven coloring page and music samples (Moonlight Sonata, Fur Elise)
Beethoven According to Peanuts video
Schubert coloring page and music samples (Unfinished Symphony, Ave Maria)
Timeline for composers
I think it’s very important for the kids to see lessons in action as well as hear them. I opt for plenty of youtube videos to help the girls visualize subjects we study. The bat video was fun to watch and they loved seeing the little mammals in action (not that they haven’t seen them live in our own house!). As well as studying echolocation for bats, we also briefly discussed whales, dolphins, and elephants, each of which have their own unique methods of communication.
We’ve also had great success using youtube to hear different samples of music by each composer we study. I showed the choral version of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus which gave me an opportunity to talk about the different voice classifications (simple): soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. The video demonstrates these very well and I had the girls listen for the ranges and raise their hands when they heard a new voice come in.
At the end of the week we put together a timeline for the composers we have studied so far. I created my own printable composer pictures that we could cut out and paste on the timeline along with names and dates of birth. I scattered the composer pictures and had them pick out the correct one when I named them. This was effective and successful in helping them recognize faces and names (the coloring pages were most advantageous for building up to this project).
Our science project included taking 5 empty (beer) bottles and filling them with different amounts of water. We took turns blowing across the top to see how the bottles produced different sounds depending on how much water each contained. The girls loved this version of “making music” and had fun predicting the sound that would be made.
There were a few science projects that I ran out of time to do but I’ll mention them here since I definitely think they would have been fun. The first was setting up a couple of empty paper towel tubes and a tin pie plate to replicate echolocation. Read about the project here.
The other was taking apart and examining an old telephone. We might still find an opportunity for this project, as I think the girls would find it very interesting.