Wednesday, November 13, 2013

challenge A

Fun day yesterday!  I think the desserts made by our class 'master chefs' were greatly enjoyed!!  Homemade brownies, pumpkin/chocolate cake, red velvet cake and pineapple upside down cake---all made by the two young men in our class!!  We never even got to the birthday cake for Cameron!! but we did get in lots of singing!!
This week we will have visitors in class for our open house!!  We will be doing reviews and games and prepping for our mid-term exams!!  I reminded the class that there will be work due when they come back from Christmas break...make sure they check for what will be due in January.
Last class is December 3-we will have mid-term exams in Geography, Latin and Math.  We will also share a pot luck lunch with the Challenge B class and participate in a gift exchange/white elephant thing.  Plan on bringing a $5 gift of some sort-fun coffee cup, bag of good chocolate candy, pair of socks.....
Math-keep working and review terms for this week.  We will be playing bingo or something similar with our terms.
Geography-we are drawing all of Europe now.  Keep practicing and work on the features-seas, rivers, mountain ranges, etc
Latin-we are starting on the 4th declension this week.  The students have 8 exercises to complete this week.
Biology-We are researching fish this week.  Have your student continue to follow the 'hamburger' outline for their papers.  We are refining our papers to 5 paragraphs and making every sentence contain vital information.  These papers will be read for our visitors and we will be listening for meaningful subjects, exordium, excellent definitions and active verbs!!
Lost Tools of Writing-the students will redo some worksheets for the latest book, Amos Fortune, Free Man.  The worksheets are the Similarities and Differences, and  the Circumstances sheet.  I encouraged them to begin thinking in these terms as they read their books-what is similar and different about main characters, what was happening in the world while this book was going on, etc, etc?  An ANI chart with 30 in each column is due this week.
Rhetoric-good discussion and work on catechism questions yesterday.  We will continue to work on hand motions to help us remember the catechism questions.
It's been a good semester.  It is inspiring to see how the students writing, drawing and discussion skills are improving each week!!
See you next week!!

Fw: 'termite' building

article about a building's architecture that was copied from a termite mound!!

Fw: Classical Conversations - Why Study Latin? - A Classical Conversation

great reason to study Latin and an excellent example of LTW writing

Fw: Work for week of 11/12-18/2013


Tracy Margolis McCullough
Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Challenge A weekly work

Tracy Margolis McCullough
Sent from my iPhone

Challenge A

Lots of good conversations and challenging going on this week in class.  We 'challenged' each other with crazy Latin sentences and worked on solving math problems without pencil and paper.  We are talking about strategies for solving multiplication problems, breaking them down into smaller units for easier understanding.  So 15 times 12 becomes 15 X 10 plus 15 X 2 and the problem is suddenly an easier one to solve!!
Math-continue on with the lessons.  A reminder-the students will have 8 lessons to complete during the Christmas break.  If they get stuck on some of their problems or concepts, check out Kahn Academy online.  There are many lessons and explanations for common math concepts.
Latin-we are almost finished with the third declension.  For our mid-term, they will need to memorize the noun endings, vocabulary and some of the other things that we talk about each week.  There will also be a section of translating and they will be able to use their helps and notes to answer (not their book though).
Geography-keep drawing Europe and working on countries, features and capitols.  The mid-term will include drawing Europe from memory including countries and capitols.  They will also get a long list of features and will need to fill in as many as they know. 
Biology-I gave the students a paper with a picture of a hamburger linked to a five paragraph essay outline.  They are to use this in writing their biology/research paper.  Some papers have been a bit too long and some are not long enough.  They should work towards 5 paragraphs that are filled with interesting and important information.
Lost Tools of Writing-there is a paper due this week (using all of the techniques that we have learned so far) and a worksheet from the book.  They are also reading "Amos Fortune, Free Man".  I encourage you or a sibling or other family member to review some of their papers and help them to edit.  We have talked about re-reading and proofing our own papers.  Sometimes a different 'eye' can find problem areas.  Many of the 'mistakes' are sentences that make sense when read aloud but are not always clear or grammatically correct. 
Rhetoric-we are continuing to read our books and work on catechism questions.  This week, we watched a powerful video by Ray Comfort about evolution and God.  Ask your child what they thought of the students and professors that Comfort interviewed. 
This week is the campus Thanksgiving celebration.  I hope that you have signed up to participate.  We will take an extra 15 minutes for lunch so that we can enjoy some extra fellowship.
November 19 is our open house.  Please invite any friends you have that may be contemplating Challenge for next year.  Challenge B will also be hosting an open house.  For our open house, people may come in the morning or afternoon.  We will be doing half of all six strands in the morning and half of all of them in the afternoon.  Visitors will be able to see a bit of all of the classes in three hours.  Prospective students are invited to attend with their parents, also.
December 3 is our last day.  We will take tests in the morning, participate in the community's Christmas celebration and then have a 'white elephant' exchange with the Challenge B class in the afternoon.  Please let your student bring a small gift on that day. 
Any questions-let me know.  I know that we are all ready for a break!  I am amazed at how much we have accomplished in our first semester!!
 I am posting a screenshot on the blog of one Mom's weekly schedule for her student.  I will do this weekly if it is something that you might find helpful.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fw: Fwd: Challenge A



I just sent you an evite to the Thanksgiving Banquet on November 12.  You don't have to participate but it is fun and lots of good food.  They are asking families to sign up for a main dish and a dessert or drink, I think.  We will take an extra 15 minutes for lunch on that day so we can enjoy some food and fellowship.
Good day on Tuesday-lots of creative (sometimes silly) juices were flowing.  We worked on some mnemonics and hand motions to help us memorize countries and catechism questions. 
Math-a test is due this week.  I continue to encourage students to take tests.  If they are not doing them regularly, I would maybe let them do the problems that they know and then review before completing the other problems.  We continue to review math skills in class.  This week, the students were given three number dice, one fraction dice and one function dice.  Their task was to manipulate the numbers to find the smallest sum.  There was lots of thinking and contemplating going on between the two teams!!
Latin-we continue to review, review!!  This week, we practiced 'reading' Latin and the students did very well.  They are being encouraged to memorize their noun endings and vocabulary for their mid-term.
Geography-we continue working through Europe.  Students came up with some mnemonics to help them remember the order of the countries.  I will post a few you tube videos on the blog that might help in learning the capitols.
Lost Tools of Writing-this week a worksheet on amplification is due as well as a full outline for 'Number the Stars.'  I reminded the students that the outlines contain statements, phrases....not sentences.  We have a whole list of 'tools' or techniques that they will be using in this next paper.  They are to start reading "Amos Fortune, Free Man".
Biology-from now on, we are not using common language or slang in our papers.  We are shifting to straight research type papers but still using the techniques that we are learning from Lost Tools of Writing.  If you check your students paper, they should not include statements like "I really enjoyed this subject", "now, let's move on to other things", "let me tell  you about my favorite frog", etc  We talked about a technique to end their papers in LTW.  They can answer the questions, "Who cares" and "Why"? to find a good concluding statement.  So a good concluding statement might be.....It is important for all residents of the United States and Mexico to learn more about this fascinating amphibian.  The _________________ will pass from existence if aggressive conservation measures are not continued in these areas.
Rhetoric-we continued with some skimming of articles and 'reporting' to the class.  If students struggle with this skill (or just don't want to try), I will send them home with their article to work on during the week.  Most of the class did very well.  We are working to learn the skill of discerning the most important information in articles as well as presenting those facts in a manner that helps their fellow classmates.  We also created some hand motions to help us remember the catechism questions.
Blog-we have a blog!! for all of the Covington campus.  Here is the address
I will post the weekly email there as well as additional information that might help your student in learning some of our subjects.
Just a reminder that the final tuition payment will be due in January.  I will send invoices in a few weeks but the amount is roughly $550. 
Let me know if you have questions or concerns,
Youth Music Supervisor

St. Timothy on the Northshore UMC

Mandeville, La


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Latin-we are progressing very slowly through this third lesson and doing a lot of reviewing.  I am giving hints and study suggestions for our mid-term exam each week.
Math-I am encouraging students to take a test and if they do poorly, review those problems and possibly try the test again the following day.  We also did some reviewing of multiplication and will try to do that each week for a few minutes.
Geography-we are working our way through Europe.  This week, the class is drawing Central Europe and continuing to work on the Nordic countries and Eastern Europe.  We are working on features and capitols for Europe.  Yesterday the class colored a map of Europe, using different colors for each section.  They also received a sheet that breaks down each section along with features and capitols.
Lost Tools of Writing-we heard some really good papers yesterday.  I believe that LTW is becoming a bit more fun now.  We talked about one of the canons-Circumstance- and they have a worksheet to help them think about the time and place, events in the world, etc for "Number the Stars".  They also have an ANI chart due for next week-25 items for each column!!
Biology-this week the papers are on owls and/or birds of prey. 
Rhetoric-we tried some impromptu presentations yesterday.  In teams of two, the students analyzed a chapter in "It Couldn't Just Happen" and presented to the class.  We will do this more in the coming weeks.  I am hoping to give them some skills in learning to skim the reading, find important concepts, organize thoughts and present their findings as well as ask some discussion questions. 
I will be planning an open house for weeks 13 and 14.  If you know of anyone who is interested in Challenge for next year, please let them know.  Young people are welcome also.