Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Medieval Times Unit - Highlights

This year our core curriculum is Tapestry of Grace Year 2 which goes from the Middle Ages to Early American History. 

Blogging, particularly our school has really taken a back seat lately, as life has seemed to hit an all-time level of busyness. However, just because I'm not "talking" about it doesn't mean we're not doing it :) 

We recently finished up our first TOG unit (weeks 1-10), which was all about the Middle Ages. 

I had wanted to blog-as-we-went similar to the last several years of school, but do to the afore mentioned "busyness", I'm happy to create somewhat of a "highlights only" post. 

Map Studies 

The first week was really focused on World Geography, reviewing the continents and oceans as well as introducing the equator and prime meridian. 

Treyton has mad map skills so this was a pretty easy assignment for him - but I had him label a world map. 


Stained Glass Window 

While learning about the start of the Roman Catholic Church and the cathedrals that were built during this time Treyton commented on how much he liked the stained glass windows - it just so happened that I had seen a stained glass activity while planning and pulled it out for him to do. 

He used black paint and elmers glue mixed to create the lines and water colors to add the color. 

Treyton really does enjoy art, so this was a fun activity for him. 


Muhammad, Islam & Timeline 

One of the more profound weeks thus far was the third week when we learned about Muhammad and Islam. Treyton had so many questions (as I knew he would) and I was learning right along with him. Truthfully what I did know about the origin of Islam was sketchy and I found this week pretty informative. 

While placing Muhammad on our wall timeline, we also decided to add a line to represent the 1000 year period of the Middle Ages which stretches from about 500 - 1500 AD. I love that we are marking "time periods/eras" on our timeline as it really adds a needed dimension when looking at particular people and events placed during those times.  

Family Crest & Shield 

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One of my personal favorite activities was to creating a family crest.

Each one of us had our own thoughts and ideas, but after lots of brainstorming we came up with a shield that really captures our family. 

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Treyton had the idea of making a shield (like a knight) and to put the crest on there. 

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Truthfully, it was what I was planning on doing, but letting him think it was his idea made it a lot more fun for him and made him more interested in the project than normal. 

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I cut out cardboard shields and drew in the lines on the shield - the kids painted them. 


Viking Lapbook 

For the week that we studied the vikings, I had Treyton complete a lap book. 

Lapbooking is not actually one of Treyton's favorite activities but it does seem to help him remember and retain a bit more, and he is almost always pleased with the finished project, as well as how great of a review tool they are for later on. 

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For Treyton's birthday he got a little compound cross bow. 

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While talking about Knights and other warriors of the middle ages, we've learned about the importance of archer's. He's spent many afternoons in the backyard practicing his shot! 
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Learning to play Chess 
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I knew as soon as I found out we were going to be studying the middle ages, that I wanted to teach Treyton how to play chess. My cousin, John is actually staying with us from Louisiana and he started working with Treyton to teach him how to play. Treyton has really enjoyed it, though it is certainly a tougher game for him to learn, he has learned most of the basics, and in time I know he will master the strategy concepts, as well. 
Learning to Crochet

The kids have watched me crochet since they were born and have asked at different times for me to teach them, so when TOG mentioned the possibility of teaching the kids how to crochet as part of our Medieval studies, I was eager to take on the challenge. 
When we first started I was like "wow, this is so much harder to teach than I realized". After an hour or so we took a break (and we only kept at it that long because Treyton and Alexa were both determine). The next day Alexa picked it up (basically on her own) and with a few reminders from me she was off!!! She sat for over 3 hours crocheting a chain!! 
Treyton was preoccupied with something else, but a day or so later, he did basically the same thing…. they are both really good at crocheting chains. The next step will be single crocheting rows. 
Knights Lapbook 
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The viking lap book turned out so well we decided to put together one for our Knights studies. 
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Printing Press & Paper

While learning about Johannes Gutenberg we viewed one of his original 200 Bibles online - way cool! 
We also learned that after the Europeans first discovered paper, they wanted to make paper beautiful so they created a marbled look. Using the "Days of Knights and Damsels" book we made our own version of marbled paper. 
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 Middle Ages Brainstorm

During the last week of this unit Treyton and I sat down and "brainstormed" words that came to our minds when we thought about the Middle Ages. I wanted to use this activity as some what of a quiz to see what he retained and if he could look back over the middle ages and identify the big ideas that we had covered. We had a lot of fun this unit, and I look forward to covering it again in 4 years at an even more in depth level. 

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