14 February 2007

Zoology

Our study of rodents is going along nicely.

Kid1 decided she would like to focus on mice in particular. We've read books on the subject, both from the children's section of the library and excerpts from adult books such as Handbook of Nature Study.

I decided not to offer the option of trying to trap a field mouse. For one thing, it's too cold and snowy. For another, I really don't want to mess with it, especially with bored, snowbound cats in the house.

So our observation of rodents in general and mice in particular took place at PetSmart. We were able to see how they moved (pizzicato!) and what they liked to do (gnaw, move their bedding around).

I've asked Kid1 to complete a project now. The choices are to write a report, make a simulation of a habitat, or make some sort of mask or sculpture of the animal. Again, I got these choices off of a Waldorf homeschooling list.

Kid2 also wants to do a project, but I've made her choices a little broader. We may very well end up writing a story about a mouse or squirrel, or acting out a play.

Kid1 was enthused about the project choices, and declared she'd like to do all three. Hmm. We shall see what gets done, given all the holidays we have right now (Valentine's Day, Chinese New Year, President's Day, Mardi Gras). I really do not want this zoology unit to drag on for weeks and weeks.

She's starting with the report. This is new territory for us, this writing of reports. We're drawing heavily on suggestions from Bravewriter for our approach. So far she's picked her topic (house mice), gathered information, and done a free write. Now it's time to start narrowing and expanding, to start using the topic funnel. It's really pretty exciting! She's very engaged in the process.

I'm not quite sure how to accomplish the final Bravewriter step of publishing. She's quite shy about sharing her writing, and grandparents don't live close enough for a casual read-through. Will she consent to mailing or emailing it to them?

2 comments:

Weaver said...

if you think she'd rather have a non-relative take a look, feel free to let me know. Maybe it would be easier for her to have a "stranger" to read it?

GailV said...

How sweet of you to offer!

I think I'll ask her what she wants, and give her some choices. Does she want to choose someone local, like her piano teacher? or a relative? or an on-line friend? another kid her age or younger?

By the way, in our house you would be referred to as "the woman who got all the Candy Cane Jo-Jos", as in, "I could email this to the woman with the Candy Cane Jo-Jos, and maybe she could read it to her kids."