Monday, April 02, 2012

School Stuff from February

Well, I have some fun stuff we did for school way back almost two months ago... first, we made a landform cookie cake!!  This is something I made up on my own back when I taught third grade... with my students, they'd make landform cookies after completing a study of landforms.  Each child got a sugar cookie and had to decorate it with at least ten different landforms.  So, with my own kids, I thought even bigger and went for a huge cookie cake to decorate with landforms!

We started out with a chocolate chip walnut cookie cake recipe that I modified slightly (subbing whole wheat flour and Sucanat).  I made it on our largest pizza pan (what, you don't have multiple pizza pans?  We have three - and I didn't buy a one of them!).  Once it had cooled, I cut the "shoreline."  Caroline gave me a diagram of how it should look after I explained to her that the cookie cake was like part of a large continent and the pizza pan was the ocean.  Then I whipped up some basic frosting (cream cheese, I think?) and tinted it with our natural food colors (which don't always work super-well, but they did nicely here... bright fake green for the land would look weird anyway).

Here's Caroline's plan next to the completed landform cookie cake.  I always had my students draw a plan first too, and then I took photos of their cookies to evaluate them later.  Nice thing about homeschooling: I don't have to fill out a rubric to give this project an actual "grade!"

Close-up: ocean, island, bay, mesa, peninsula

You can click on this to see it better... she ended up including lots of landforms.  In addition to the ones mentioned above, there were mountains, a volcano, hills, rivers, tributaries, oxbow lakes, regular lakes, a delta, an isthmus, a glacier, plains... and we talked about where the sources, mouths, and confluences of the rivers were.

And boy, was it yummy!!!

For about a week, his little guy visited our maple tree in the afternoons while we were outside.  He spent a lot of time on our neighbor's maple, too, and he made lots of holes.  We observed how wet the tree was around the holes he'd made and how the fresh sap attracted insects.

Here's a closer shot... we identified the bird as a yellow-bellied sapsucker.

The next week, we participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count.  By then, this guy had moved on, but we still got to identify lots of birds, including house finches, cardinals, crows, chickadees, tufted titmouses/titmice (?  they aren't even rodents, so I don't get their name at all!), mockingbirds, and a brown thrasher.  We now know the scolding call of our mockingbirds quite well, and even Cecilia will say, "There's Mocker!" upon hearing it, without even seeing the bird.  We have been reading The Burgess Bird Book and learning lots of interesting things about birds this year!

Here are the girls at our nature club one day...

one of the few days it was actually cool enough for long sleeves...

And now for cute baby photos... she's much older now than she was in these photos!
between 4.5-5 months, I think closer to 4.5

hmm, a bit over 5 months, I think?

and these were taken the day she turned five months.. now she's over 6.5 months!

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