Science really varies for me, mostly based on if it is about something I’m familiar with. A lot of what we did last semester was fairly new to me, and I wasn’t able to devote a lot of extra time to research ahead of time. But I have been trying to utilize my resources, such as Khan Academy, and get a really solid understanding of the concepts ahead of time. This week was fantastic because I was able to explain water molecules, hydrogen bonds, and such. If I have a good grasp of what the experiment is about, then it goes much smoother and we have really good dialogue about it.
This semester I’m trying to be more structured with presentations and give the students a better idea of what is expected each week. My first semester was a huge learning experience, never having done Classical Conversations before, so now I’m trying to fill in areas that I maybe didn’t cover as well the first semester. I’ll also be giving the parents better feedback about their student’s presentation so that they have a better idea of what to work on during the week.
I’ve done a few different things with grammar review. There are a couple comprehensive review games we do, and then review for specific subjects. For geography, I’ve printed maps that correspond with each week, put them in sheet protectors, and have the kids label each one with dry erase markers, then erase and pass it on. Theoretically each sheet is passed along to the next student in an orderly fashion, but it usually ends up quite chaotic. The sheets end up all over the place, it isn’t done in order, and everyone is just grabbing whatever pages they haven’t done yet. I’ve attempted to structure it, but that doesn’t really work with my class, so I’ve accepted the 10 minutes of chaos that ensues. Another chaotic review game is the timeline mixup. I’ll scatter all the timeline cards around the room, then give them a set amount of time to find and arrange them in order. The students like this because they can sing the timeline song while working. We don’t do the timeline song during new grammar, so this is their one chance to sing it together in class. For math last semester I also give them worksheets to fill out, usually for 8-15 times tables. They’re very familiar with the lower numbers, so I figured it was only really helpful for the ones they maybe had not mastered completely yet.
For comprehensive grammar review of every subject for the past 6 weeks, I have two different games. I would write each week and subject on a small piece of paper, then put them all in a jar. We’d have a time limit, usually 15-20 minutes was the best we could do, and we would each take turns drawing a card out of the jar and reciting the fact together. My students are motivated enough that this was fun enough for them. I had planned to make more of a game out of it, but this worked just fine.
Now this semester I wanted to try something different, so we tried another game today. It is based off the CC game, Will the Winner Lose? I made a simple chart for myself of all the weeks and subjects we needed to review. Then I made some cards with statements like, “earn 100 points” or “take 50 points from the other team.” We split the class up into two teams, and I’d give each team a fact to recite, like, “Week 9 Science. What are the names of the planets?” If they answered correctly, they drew a card. This worked really well and I like it because the final score is based completely on chance, so there is always an element of uncertainty. It also ensures that an uneven team arrangement won’t make that much difference in the end, because knowing the answers won’t guarantee a higher score. Being the kind of class that we are, the teams had fantastic names like “Ice Knights” and “Fire Dragons” which made it quite fun. : ) I’ll probably add a few more cards to the options, like, “switch scores with the other team” and keep adapting it as we go, but overall, it worked really well.
I haven’t written about the fine arts because that varies through the year and I couldn’t think of any ideas to share that would be broadly applicable to fine arts in general. After I get into a good routine with the art history we’re doing right now, I’ll do a post on what I’ve found to work best for that.