My previous post having mysteriously disappeared, I am reposting my description of a sample day when HISD is not in session but Samson Home School Academy is.
Although HISD was closed the week of Thanksgiving, Samson Home School Academy held classes Monday and Tuesday. Since there were no online classes, we had a more flexible schedule. The following is how the 3rd and 4th grade classroom spent the last day before Thanksgiving vacation.
We started the day with a short session of aerobics, followed by a several yoga poses and breathing exercises. Then students settled into their places to do some drawing exercises while listening to Mozart, the composer of the month. The drawing exercises serve to not only create quiet focus but to teach the student how to “see” shapes and their relationship to surrounding space. In addition, for one or two students, it was practice in fine motor control.
Following our drawing session, we labeled a map of the 13 colonies and discussed the different populations who immigrated to the New Land. This discussion included differences between those who came seeking religious freedom (with some background on the Reformation and the religious conflicts of 16th and 17th century Europe) and those who came for economic reasons. We also discussed the geographical differences between the colonies and how this influenced their economies.
Students then brought their looms to the carpet to weave while watching a portion of The 1940s House, a BBC program about life in London during WWII. The students had expressed an interest in the subject after learning about Winston Churchill in an earlier biography-of-the-week lesson.
Given the nice weather, we then moved outdoors where we set up stools and a nature table. We gathered leaves and acorns to create a still life on the nature table. We discussed perspective and learning to draw what the eye sees rather than an idea of what an object looks like. After a short sketching session, we grabbed our lunches and ate outdoors.
After lunch, we returned to the classroom to do skip counting songs followed by timed multiplication drill sheets. We then watched a video describing the Boston Tea Party. Afterward, we discussed the growing tension between the colonists and the King and Parliament of England.
The rest of the day was spent on a basket weaving project (more fine motor control training) and watching the rest of the first episode of 1940s House. The previous day we had discussed everyday life in colonial America. The students were struck by the differences between colonial America, present day America, and wartime London.
To finish the day, students divided up the chores and cleaned the classroom before packing backpacks and heading for the gate to await parents.
Although the basket weaving project took longer than I had anticipated – meaning we were unable to fit in the music class I had planned – overall the day went well and I was pleased with the flexibility of the open schedule.