~a month of unschool~ millions of brazilians

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one of quinn’s favorite learning activities right now is the paleontology card game he got for christmas. “mama, what does e-x-p-e-d-i-t-i-o-n-s spell?” we have been having fun earning “prestige points” for various fossil digging exploits, and arranging bones in our museums. quinn has taken ideas from this game and the “dino quest” game app he plays on my phone and is creating his own board game that utilizes the best of both. stay tuned for more on the game as he works on it!

“millions of brazilians” was a found poem for quinn this month, as he researched the country of brazil for his most recent research project and presentation.

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in his brazil research, quinn covered a wide range of subjects. he colored the brazilian flag; he looked up which dinosaur fossils have been found in brazil; and also which sharks live off its atlantic coast; he researched capoeira, the martial arts form native to brazil, which we learned had developed into a music-and-dance art form out of necessity so that brazilians could continue to practice self defense in spite of portuguese rules that said they could not (but dancing was okay!); the world cup soccer championship will be held this year in brazil, and quinn had fun finding out about fuleco, the mascot, and determined that brazil has won the most world cups of any country (he illustrated this using a bar graph); he looked into the variety of fruit grown in brazil; and oh yeah, does brazil have a president? (it does.) his presentation was fascinating and engaging. he seems to thrive on getting up in front of the class.

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as a side bonus, we got to learn all about a wide range of other countries while other students gave their presentations: italy, hungary, papua new guinea, grenada, ireland, and korea!

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in spanish class, quinn is also learning about mexican history. students learned about and colored in the mexican flag and learned a lot of history through storytelling. also, quinn worked on a project for el dia de los madres in spanish class, and wrote me a message en espanol!

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the students all made self portraits using a cool technique involving doctored photographs of themselves, tracing aided by pencil graphite scribbled on the back of the image, and then painting with india ink. these self portraits decorated the children’s room at the public library for the month of may!

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quinn got to try his first throw on a pottery wheel. he ended up with a beautiful plowl as a result. yes, we are so lucky to have our very own ceramics teacher at ols!

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another of the recent ceramics projects: masks, involving  a lesson on expression using shape and color.

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our community teapot and other group projects (community bowl and flower pot) are glazed! quinn’s contribution to the teapot was the 3 blue birds from angry birds (low on the pot), and i added a hummingbird to the spout.

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very popular in unschooling these days: making his own pokemon cards.

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another intangible can’t-be-categorized-as-math-or-language-arts activity of late: meetings about herbert hoover. there is a whole culture at ols that has developed around herbert hoover, and lately there has also been some conflict around the way that culture is played out. it gave the students a wonderful opportunity to work on the democratic process!

in reading group, quinn has been working on spelling quite a bit. his teacher bonnie used a technique involving tall/small/low boxes for various letters, which i think will help his handwriting as well.

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in math, quinn worked on counting by 4s (and other skip counting, though he has 2s, 5s, and 10s very solid!) and of course, worked on data math via the aforementioned bar graph about world cup wins by various countries. we also had a math game day with different stations including negative space drawing, pattern play (aka tangrams), race for a flat (place value game), and fact families.

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caught him unschooling again with my phone camera, constructing this design with popsicle sticks- he took a picture of each step of the process, and it was cool to see him reach that awareness of wanting to document the steps in the process, in addition to the final product (which he has been in the habit of documenting for some time.)

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at after school program, nutrition has been a focus, and one of the highlights was making veggie vehicles. in science at ols, we learned about the phases of the moon.

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i love showing up to school and having quinn spontaneously join in on creating a puppet show for the early morning free choice time.

quinn has also done quite a bit of dancing this month. while he was researching brazil, he spent the morning free choice time coloring in his world cup visual aids, and from the other room i noticed him bust a move to the african playground mix that was playing, when he would get up to grab colored pencils or other supplies. he also, of course, did some dancing to the heartwood hotel radio show we listen to on tuesday evenings, which i posted video evidence of a little while back. during that evening, we heard the song by perez prado “cherry pink and apple blossom white” after which quinn came up to me and solemnly let me know, “this is a beautiful song.”

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quinn has continued this month with the puppy work. we are still trying to get the very most basic command of “come” with romper.

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baseball has of course been a big deal this month, and we have spent quite a few afternoons in the backyard playing!

by the end of such an action-packed month, it’s no wonder he fell asleep at the dinner table one night!

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