Friday, April 1, 2011

Homeschool Highlights...In Which We Order from a Menu and Go to a Play

We Order from a Menu

A few weeks ago, Michelle from Eagle Eye Academy introduced The Writing Menu. It looked interesting, promising, so I ordered my copy from Amazon, and once I received it, spent a bit of time reading it over and planning. I was finally ready this past week to implement my plans. It went really well!

The whole premise of the strategy is to present your students with a menu of choices for writing assignments. The assignments fall into 3 classifications: Appetizers, which are simple exercises that require the student to write one or two sentences or to make a list. Main Meals is the meat of the program (pun intended) and requires the most writing. Dessert is the "fun" kinesthetic activity that is more artistic than the other activities.

This was our Writing Menu this week:


3/28 – 4/1/11

Appetizers (minimum of 2 choices)
Nachos – Copy Psalm 121 in your neatest handwriting. (2 pts.)

Hot Wings – Make a timeline using the following events: Jamestown, French and Indian War, Christopher Columbus, Plymouth, Roanoke. Make sure the events are in order. List the correct date for each event on your timeline. (2 pts.)

Eggrolls – List 5 elements from the Periodic Table. List one fact for each element. (2 pts.)

Shrimp Cocktail – Write a sentence about a specific way we use math to help us at home. Be sure to include who, what, when, where, why, and how. (2 pts. per sentence)

Main Course (minimum of 1 choice)
Fried Chicken – Pretend you rode on the Mayflower on its first passage to the New World. Create a diary/journal by writing 10 entries from 10 different days on the ship. Give your reader an idea of daily activities you are doing, how you are feeling both physically and emotionally. What is going on around you? (20 pts.)

Filet Mignon – Write a story about how you think one of the 50 states earned its nickname. (15 pts.)

Pizza – You are a chemist, and you have just discovered a new element. What would you name it? (Remember, many element names are made up of a person’s name with “-ium” added to the end.) Where is it found? How common is it? Is it dangerous to handle? What can it be used for? (10 pts.)

Spaghetti – Pretend you were present at the first Thanksgiving. Write a story about that day. How did you feel seeing all the Indians? What did you do that day? What was there to eat? (15 pts.)

Dessert (minimum of 1 choice)
Triple Chocolate Cake – Using a shoebox, create a diorama of a colonial house. (10 pts.)

Apple Pie – You are a colonist in the New World. Write a message on a note that you will put in a bottle. You hope that someone back home will see it, and you wish to share with them how you feel about life in the New World. (5 pts.)

Banana Split – Create a brochure about 1 of the 50 states. (10 pts.)

Chocolate Chip Cookies – Draw a picture of a president. Write 3 facts below your picture…clues to see if everyone else can guess who it is. (5 pts.)

You'll notice there are point values assigned to each item on the menu. What you do with the points is up to you. The points can determine a percentage/letter grade; they can buy things at a school store; or in our case, they can add up to some cold, hard cash. Before you get all judgmental, I don't always incentivize my children with the green stuff, but we have a Disney trip coming up, and I want them to earn some spending money rather than just having it handed to them.

So anyway, as you can see, the kids are required to select 1 or 2 options from each category. Any number of points they earn under this requirement will result in no spending money for Disney. Above what is required earns them the cash: more/extra points = more money.

They've worked really hard this week on this project, and I'm really proud of them. Even Audrey, who has a revised menu to suit her age and abilities, has gotten very into it and has put her all into her projects.

The only downside of this program is the work and effort it takes to come up with the assignments. There are many suggestions throughout the book, but I like to make sure they are geared towards my kids and our studies.

If you are interested in a way for your student(s) to share his/her/their writing, please see this post.

We Go to a Play

For the past couple of months, Alex has been attending a homeschool drama group. They studied various literary works, and last night put on their performance. The performance included scenes from 3 different well-known works: The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

The theater company is a new group, so costumes were simple and mainly just made up of whatever could be rustled up at home.

Wizard of Oz2

Wizard of Oz1

The capri jeans weren't really a part of Alex's Dorothy costume, but there wasn't any time for her to change from her Dorothy costume into her Peter Pan pirate costume in between scenes.

Peter Pan1

Peter Pan2

Alex did great with a ton of lines as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, was a lot of fun as a pirate, and she finished up playing the role of a wolf in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.


We were very proud of how well she kept her composure in all of her scenes.



allison said...

ooo, what a neat idea. I"m always trying to make writing prompts more creative and enticing!

Alex said...

I wish the food was real I like fried chicken i:

Bunch of Barrons said...

That menu is a great idea. Cute shots of the kids in the play!

Michelle said...

Glad the menu idea worked. I too find it was alot of work for the kids, but decided that it was something we weren't spending enough time on and they did really well with it. I'm looking forward to it becoming easier with time.

The photos of the plays look great! what a fun idea!!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Chic Homeschool Mama said...

That looks like so much fun! It's great to see the freedom you have to let them do what interests them & the freedom to plan your day your way. :)

Amy @ Cheeky Cocoa Beans said...

You always find the neatest resources. :)

I'm impressed with Alex's multiple performances! Bravo!

dclouser said...

Love the menu idea! That is so adaptable that it could be used for almost all ages and all subjects.

So neat that Alex is in a drama class. Looks like she did a great job!

See Jamie blog said...

The writing menu sounds like a really neat idea; I'll have to look into it!

We love doing drama, but we aren't in one right now. Hope to do that again soon!

Karen said...

Just added the Writing Menu to my Amazon. We are always looking for more fun writing things.

The play looks amazing. As the Mom of a child who adores plays, she has been in 7 Children's Theatre productions, I love the idea of different scenes from different plays. Our HS group is finally forming a Drama Club. We can't wait!!

Our Country Road said...

This menu idea is a neat idea-mine are too young for the exact concept-but I bet it could be adapted. Thank you for the tip! I loved the simplicity of the play's props! Always good to use imagination rather then money. Your daughter looks like Dorothy-glad she got the part!