Classical Conversations Cycle 2 Orchestra and Composers

Over the 24 weeks of a Classical Conversations year, there are none so glorious as the 6 weeks spent delving into orchestra and great composers. Bold statement? Maybe. Classical music is a balm to my soul, a delight to my ears and my greatest joy in tutoring.

For all my CC peeps, I’ve uploaded my orchestra and composers packet to the shared files on C3. Search under wenderbell and it should be the first result.

For older classes, you’ll find listening maps for Beethoven, Brahms and Dvořák. Also, coloring pages and brief bios for the littles. Plus, a few pages on orchestra instrument families and vocabulary for everyone.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions! All the time notations correlate to the CD included in “Classical Music for Dummies”. Enjoy the next six weeks of Romantic and Classical music!

For all you non-CC folks, I’ll be posting these individually with more details in the coming weeks.

Easy Parts of the Sun Craft

Over the course of our Classical Conversations journey, we’ve memorized over a thousand pieces of information. We’ve filed away verb conjugations, 300+ geographical locations, 161 timeline events, multiplication tables, Latin declensions, historical facts, and many more. Among all this information, there is one catchy song that stands above all the rest. Mary Bryant’s parts of the sun song from Cycle 2. If you are a Classical Conversations family, you know that user marykbry on CC Connected is a God sent angel of Heaven. Seriously, she has something like 250 songs/helps uploaded. I love her.

Anyway, we’ve been singing the parts of the sun song for the past three years and this year, we’ve come full circle to our very first experience with CC. This week, we get to do the parts of the sun again, but since we already have it nailed, I thought a little craft might be fun.

Parts of the Sun Craft: Classical Conversations Cycle 2 Week 8

All you need is some construction paper, glue and a few round things to trace. I looked around my classroom and used the bottom of a cup, a few lids and bottoms of containers.

Materials:
3 pieces yellow construction paper
2 pieces red construction paper
1 piece orange construction paper
scrap white paper (for the solar flares)

Circles from largest to smallest with my diameter dimensions:
Red & Yellow  7 3/4 inches
Orange 6 1/2 inches
Yellow 5 1/4 inches
Red 2 1/2 inches

Then you’ll need a squiggly yellow circle(ish) that’s larger than the biggest (red/yellow) circles. This will serve as your corona. Finally, you’ll need to cut out a few small spots in orange, and some solar flares in white. Here are all the parts. I used orange and yellow layers glued together for the radiative zone since every diagram of the sun I found had this zone in multiple colors.

Parts of the Sun Craft: Classical Conversations Cycle 2 Week 8Scientists who study the Sun usually divide it up into three main regions: the Sun’s interior, the solar atmosphere, and the visible “surface” of the Sun which lies between the interior and the atmosphere. The nice thing about this craft is that the photosphere layer (with sunspots and solar flares glued to it) covers up the interior parts of the sun. As you can see, the photosphere layer and all the layered interior parts are the same size.

Parts of the Sun Craft: Classical Conversations Cycle 2 Week 8

So, when you stack all the pieces, you get the part we actually see (the “surface” of the sun) on top. The corona is the sun’s transparent atmosphere, but it’s hard to make a craft of something you can’t see, so I made it yellow. Also, remember this craft does not include every single part of the sun as it’s meant to partner with the CC memory work which is “some parts of the sun”.  For more details on the nitty-gritty breakdown of the sun’s atmosphere, check out The Center for Science Education.

Parts of the Sun Craft: Classical Conversations Cycle 2 Week 8
If you are the type of person who has felt or fabric around, this would be fun to make out of those materials too. I (of course) laminated my pieces so they can be used for years to come. Have I mentioned my love affair with my laminator? I’m sure I have. It’s true love. Enjoy making this craft!

Parts of the Sun Craft: Classical Conversations Cycle 2 Week 8

Pyramid: Throwback Math Game

This game, in addition to cribbage (thanks English heritage!), were my constant companions as a child. These games also provided an incredibly strong foundation for math facts. I didn’t recognize the math benefits as a kid, but now I realize just how greatly games boosted my simple addition skills, and try to employ them in my own children’s lives as much as possible. I loved pyramid because it was a single person game, but not boring like solitaire. Seriously. I cannot comprehend how people enjoy solitaire forever.

You’ll need a standard deck of cards for pyramid. The object of the game is to remove cards in the pyramid by “making 13”. You make 13 by removing two cards at a time which, added together, equal 13. Set up your cards like this. One card is dealt face up at the top of the playing area, then two cards beneath and partially covering it, then three beneath them, and so on completing with a row of seven cards for a total of 28 cards dealt. The remaining cards are placed to the side face down.

Pyramid: Throwback Math Game

Play begins by matching two cards to equal 13. Like the 5 and 8 on my bottom row.

Pyramid: Throwback Math Game
Since you can only match cards that aren’t covered by another card, I couldn’t match the queen and ace until I’d removed the 5 and 8. Now that the first pair is gone, the only thing covering the ace is the queen it goes with, so I could match those second.

Pyramid: Throwback Math Game
You can also remove any uncovered kings because those equal 13 all by themselves.

Pyramid: Throwback Math Game
Play continues until you have nothing you can match. That’s where your cards on the side come in. Flip one at a time face up to try to match with the remaining cards in your pyramid. For an extra challenge, flip three at a time, but since I’m using this as a math game, I want as many opportunities to make matches as possible. The goal is to clear the entire pyramid. Any cards left in the pyramid count as points against you. For example, if I had my 4, 6, and ace (top two rows of my pyramid) remaining, my score would be 11.

pyramid-throwback-math-game

For play with younger kids, remove all the face cards (except aces) and play with the goal number of 10. This is a wonderful way to really cement those all important sum of ten facts.

Pyramid: Throwback Math Game
You can play competing games with as many kids as you have decks of cards for. My son loves trying to beat me. No. We aren’t Canadian. Brought those cards back from a trip with my sisters to our neighbor up north. My munchkins both LOVE playing games with their maple leaf cards. Do you have any favorite math games with playing cards? Feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments! I’m always looking for new games to play!

Pyramid: Throwback Math Game

Lego Review Game

I’ve realized over the past few CC years that I’m a game person. I know that when you find the fun in something, snap…the job’s a game! Thank you Mary Poppins. Finding fun in chores is great and all, but I adore actual games. They provide a needed break for learning minds, while still reviewing information. As such, I have a bin full of review games that I play in my CC classroom and at home.

Lego Review Game*excuse the marker smudges on the desk — I have a 7 year-old boy*

My Lego loving munchkins enjoy this game tremendously. It’s easy, only requires a printed game board (free printable here!), a few Lego bricks, a die and a minifigure for each player. All stuff you probably have already. Woo-hoo!

Lego Review Game
Instructions are included with the printable game board. Just ask a review question, roll the dice and proceed around the board, collecting Legos for your tower as you go. Enjoy! Print Lego Game Board and Instructions

LOST! A Winter Writing Activity

My sister is a public school teacher and occasionally we work together to create something for her classroom. Last winter she asked me to put together a snowflake themed writing template for a fun snowman activity. Her students loved it! Yours will too!

Lost! A Writing Activity
The idea is this. Each student gets a snowman template (free printable here) and a LOST! piece of snowflake paper (free printable here). Discuss with your students that every snowflake and snowman looks different. I told my kiddos that God made snowflakes unique — just like He made each person completely amazing and special. Give them some construction paper to create accessories for their snowman/woman. Discuss what kinds of details their snowman/woman might have. Hats (what kind–knit, baseball cap, top hat..), stick arms, gloves or mittens, a scarf, face details, buttons…the possibilities are endless! Then, let them create!

Lost Snowman Paper
When their snowman has come to life, it’s time to describe it! Each student writes 4 (or more depending on ability) details about their snowman. Feel free to give them starting ideas “My snowman is wearing…” or “My snowman has…” Then, the snowmen and descriptions go up on the wall for others to figure out who’s goes with which description. Yes, someone in our house thought it was very important to have a sun shining down on the snowmen.

Lost! A Writing Activity
Thanks to Justaddclipart for the great idea! Blank snowflake paper, and lined snowflake paper here!!

Water Cycle in a Bag

Seattleites are overly familiar with the water cycle. Specifically the precipitation portion. Yet, carry an umbrella on the streets and you might as well wear a sign proclaiming “Tourist!!”. This weekend during our first soccer games (three of them…how is this possible given I only have TWO children?), my Tennessee transplanted friend commented on the rows of parents shielding themselves from the sweltering (70 degrees) heat, “This is the only time you ever see Seattle people with umbrellas…when it’s sunny.”.  Hahaha! It’s so true!

Water Cycle in a Bag -- Dissonant Symphony

Back to the point. This cycle in Classical Conversations we’ll be memorizing the natural cycles and since it’s our second time through (how is it possible we’re entering year 4 of homeschooling?), I thought we’d add to our memory work with a little hands on example. I found a great idea (thanks Pinterest!) for a Water Cycle in a Bag that only needed a few supplies, all of which I had in the house already. Easy science that costs nothing? Boom. I’m in.

You’ll need a sandwich sized Ziploc baggie, 1/4 cup of water, a smidge of blue food coloring, sharpie (for drawing on the bag), and a piece of tape. Draw a sun and a cloud on the outside of the baggie, add the food coloring to your water, then the water to your baggie. Tape it to a window where you’ll get sunshine and watch the magic!

Water Cycle in a Bag - Dissonant Symphony

If you want to be really fancy, you can label your bag with the various parts of the water cycle, but I just talked to my kids as the process got going. Tiny droplets as water evaporates as it’s heated by the sun. The water turns from a liquid to a gas, but with nowhere to escape from the bag, it cools and turns back into a liquid (condensation).

Water Cycle Evaporation and Condensation - Dissonant Symphony

The droplets that have condensed will continue to grow in size as more water turns to gas, and back to liquid. Usually this process is happening high in the sky, and we know it’s happening because clouds form as a result of condensation.

Water Cycle Condensation - Dissonant Symphony

You can see that our droplets are getting larger. Actually, we were able to watch the condensation happen right before our eyes. Pay close attention to the video and you’ll see the droplets joining together and growing! It’s alive!! Run for your lives!

When the droplets get too big and heavy, they begin to drip down the sides of our bag, leaving trails behind. Precipitation happens exactly the same way when water droplets within clouds get too heavy and fall back to earth as rain. Conveniently, our “rain” fell right beneath our cloud drawing.

Water Cycle Precipitation -- Dissonant Symphony

Who knew water evaporating, condensing and precipitating could be so fascinating? My kids check on our baggie about a dozen times a day and are making all kinds of connections to how temperature affects evaporation based on their observations. This little project has prompted lots of great questions and discussion — which for kids, is what science should be all about anyway!

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Barn Animals at the Dinner Table

Cup board. *C-U-P-B-O-A-R-D* I will never look at the wall of a kitchen without hearing my father’s voice reciting “cup — board — cup — board”. It was tradition in our home to practice spelling words at the dinner table. As a homeschooling family, once the official word list was exhausted, my dad would select whatever term he felt had the best chance of stumping us. Cupboard was one of his more successful offerings.

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