After the craziness of our co-op last week, despite the fact that the kids had fun, I decided I really needed a change. I have a lot of trouble keeping my calm when there is just too much noise and the kids aren’t being respectful and talking over each other during a presentation, or not paying attention to me. As I mentioned in the Earth’s Rotation around the Sun post, I saw the kids concentrating and remember that is part of my goal. I also talked to Co-op Mama and asked her if her other co-op was like this and she told me about how they start each session with a circle time.
So for this week, we made two changes to our presentation. First I brought a book to read as a transition activity for the children. This gets them to come sit together in a circle rather than me telling them every 5 minutes we’re going to start our presentation. Then I chose an activity that will lend itself to concentrated work. Basically, we kept the presentation part short. (I swear, I learned this in training. Presentations are only to be 15-20 minutes long. Somehow needing to teach kids for 1.5 hours twice a week made me forget that.)
To that end, we decided on doing Human Anatomy. In Montessori primary, I’ve only been shown Parts of the Body. And in elementary, I’ve seen the human body “systems” like digestive, circulatory, etc. So I’m not sure where this fits in the curriculum.
We ended up going with another book, 放屁 (Fart). Thumper volunteered to read the book to the children, which really adds another dimension to the presentation. Now rather than the child getting bored sometimes by the easiness of the material, and acting out because of it, she’s the one keeping the other kids in line while she reads.
Since the book has a great pic of the digestive system. We dived right into coloring the organs that Co-op Mama copied from her My Body book. Calm and quiet for at least 30-45 minutes while the kids ate snacks/lunch, colored, and cut. By the time they were done they were ready for a break. They ate lunch and played Twisters.
After lunch, we drew outlines of every child on an Ikea easel paper and then put the organs in order, first on the outline, then on the child itself as they laid on the floor. We helped the kids a lot in this part so I’m not sure what they will remember. But nomenclature, as I’m learning, is one of those things that just need repetition.
About 30 minutes of this and the children were ready to head out to Ardenwood to run around in the pumpkin patch.
Best co-op so far because the kids weren’t running around all over the place. Going to try this new setup next week of starting with circle time It will be a challenge since we’ll be looking at a frozen fish for Parts of the Fish presentation!
Many ways to extend this at home. I need to get my behind in gear. After awhile, the presentations pile up. So ideally, I would have follow up activities on the shelf for the children. And whichever topic/presentation strikes a child’s fancy, they can choose that activity to work on. In a homeschooling environment, I have not found this to be the case as much. Maybe partly because I don’t have follow ups half the time. But the other half, they really only want to do things once. So it is really good to have that one follow up after a presentation to begin with.
In any case, we could:
- cut out and glue our own copy of organs and then tape each child’s finished product to the wall.
- Listen to the Chinese Children-Can-Listen Encyclopedia. A super great way to remember the nomenclature we learned. They have entries for Human Body, Digestive Systems, Skeleton, Muscles and Sports, Lungs and Respiratory System, Heart and Circulatory System, Brain and Nerves.
There are a lot of Chinese vocabs that even I’m not familiar with. The funky one is appendix, which should be called 闌尾 (lan2 wei3) but has a very common name of 盲腸.
- Heart – 心臟 （xin zang4）
- Lungs – 肺 (fei4)
- Brain – 大腦 (da4 nao3)
- Liver – 肝臟 (gan zang4)
- Kidneys – 腎臟 (shen4 zang4)
- Stomach – 胃 (wei4)
- Large Intestines – 大腸 (da4 chang2)
- Small Intestines – 小腸 (xiao3 chang2)
- Appendix – 盲腸 – (man2 chang2)
- Pancreas – 胰臟 (yi zang4)
- Gall Bladder – 膽囊 (dan3 nan2)
- Spleen – 脾臟 (pi zang4)
- Muscles – 肌肉 (ji rou4)
- Bones – 骨頭 (gu3 tou2) (more colloquial
- Skeletons － 骨骼 (gu3 ge2)