Friday, November 21, 2014

Muscle Guys and Mussel Girls

     Our high school science class this year is using Apologia’s Marine Biology. It is quite interesting. For instance, did you know that the shark’s sandpapery skin is actually made out of the same material as his teeth?
     The class has already dissected starfish, and next it was time to cut open a few clams. They didn’t really eat them, they were just having a little fun and learning a lot about God’s marvelous creation.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yummy Journal Covers

      Last year for art the students tore pictures they liked out of magazines and then decoupaged them onto paper plates, boxes, vases, jars, or whatever they wanted.  One student decoupaged dinosaurs all over his journal cover.  That gave me an idea. . . . 
(I get several good ideas from creative students.)

     So, for the first art project this year we decoupaged our journal covers.  The results were as unique and different as are our marvelous students.  Now each student has their own personally decorated journal for the rest of the year. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Braided Paper Bookmark Thingys

 This is an easy but fun little art project.  First I cut strips of paper either 1/2 inch or 1/4 inch wide on a paper cutter.  Construction paper can be used, but colored copier paper folds easier and neater.

     Next we taped three strips to the table in an upside down “L” shape at right angles.  Then we just braided them by folding the outside piece of paper over and lining it up with the one on the other side, then pressing it down firmly. 

     Four strips of paper can be used to make a chevron design.  
     One student even made three separate braids and then braided the braids together.  I laminated them using that self-sticking laminating paper, but thick, clear packing tape works as well.  Now they each have their own bookmark which they made themselves.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Attack of the Arthropods

     After heavy rains in central Texas, the crawdads appear.  I even saw one in the middle of the grocery store parking lot.  The more adventurous students pick them up and bring them in for morning science time.  Lovely.  

Monday, November 10, 2014


     About three years ago my husband taught all of our students (grades 3rd-12th) how to play chess.  For some reason this year it made a resurgence.  Chess is everywhere.

There are chess sets in the classrooms,

in the school library,
and on the choir conductor’s stool,
and on our teaching table by the white board.
They play chess during study hall, 

during lunch, 

and after school out on the picnic tables.

They even play chess after church on Wednesday night.
Brother plays sister, 6th grader plays 6th grader, and 3rd graders play 12th graders.

It is great for their brains, great for their relationships, and great for school morale.
Viva la chess!  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Millet and Mud Daubers

      Every once in awhile a student brings in something and I have no idea what it is.  This was one of those times.  The young man’s older brother informed me that it was a stalk of millet.  I had to ask them if they grew millet-- like maybe in their garden or something.  The older brother informed me that a seed had fallen from their bird feeder, and it just grew.

      And this is a mud dauber apartment.  It’s probably the most complex one I have ever seen.  It looks like a duplex.  I also found out that mud daubers are also called “dirt dobbers”, “dirt diggers”, and “mud wasps”.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Makin' a Wreck With the Girls' Home Ec

     Okay, they didn't really make a wreck.  They made a delicious meal and they cleaned everything up really well.  Here is one student's version which she wrote for an English assignment.  
by Audrey Miller  

     On Friday, October 10th at 12:00 noon at Lott Mennonite School, the home economics class girls: Diana, Jerilyn, Lexi, Katie, Mary, Vangie, Dorothy, and Audrey, fixed lunch for the whole school.  It turned out well.  Mr. Swanson said, “It was amazing.”

     The meal was barbeque chicken, roasted potatoes, salad, and Candy Corn jello cups.  The best foods, according to Mr. Swanson and Logan Helmuth, were the chicken and potatoes, although the potatoes were a little cold.  I think the girls were very pleased when people thanked them and told them how good it was.
     Why did they do it?  Well, Logan Helmuth said something about that that made me laugh out loud.  He told me, “They did it because they needed experience.”   Another person told me it was a good idea, and that they did it for a grade.  Overall it was a wonderful meal, and I think the school really enjoyed it.  

Friday, October 31, 2014

Native American Indian Honor Roll Party

      I’d been wanting to do this one for awhile.  We are studying American History this year, and it was perfect timing to have an Native American Indian Honor Roll Party.  

      The invitations were just rocks with “Iddo’s 6:15”, “Porch 6:15”  or both written on them.  They figured out they were to meet on Iddo’s porch at 6:15.  Once they had all arrived, the eldest student was given an envelope with a letter inside explaining that they were colonists, that they had run out of food, and that the supply ship wasn’t coming anytime soon.  They were instructed to find the nearest Indian village and try to survive by living with the Indians.  (We have studied about the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island and Jamestown--two of my favorite history stories.)

     So, I gave them some corn nuts I had in a wooden bowl and led them across a field, over a ravine, up a little hill, and to our village. 

     When we arrived, the chief wasn’t very impressed that all these lazy white men wanted some food.  He told them that they had to work first and made them gather firewood.  

     Then he told them he wanted them to entertain him by playing a few games.  In the first one they had to throw the hoop over the animal skull. He said they could not eat until both a girl and a boy had a successful throw.  The first graders amazingly were the best at this one.  

     Next he made them play the bean game.  They sat down around the fire in pairs on old blankets that they had been told to bring.   Each pair was given ten pinto beans in a wooden bowl.  Each bean had a black dot on one side.  Then they shook the bowl until told to stop and counted the dots.  

      At this point, the chief said if they sang him a song they could eat.  They sang.  In true hunter-gatherer fashion we served them water, beef jerky, bread, corn on the cob, pop corn, peanuts, raisins, and dried cranberries.  A helpful mom had made pumpkin muffins, but in my hurry to gather everything up after school, I left them there.  We enjoyed them the next day instead.

     After the meal we moved closer to the fire and read the story about the Hosteler??? family which was non-resistant when they were attacked by Indians.  (Our students are well aware that the whites attacked the Indians too, as well as infringed on their land and did not honor treaties.)

     Next we had a “talking circle”,  which several tribes actually practiced.  Anyone who wanted to could say something.  A teacher blessed the students for their good attitudes and uniqueness, a student complimented fellow students, another asked for forgiveness, and we all looked up and enjoyed the beautiful, starlit night.  Then sadly, it was time to go home.

      While two teachers each took a carload of students home, the third teacher stayed and supervised the tearing down of our quaint little village.  They worked together as a team, singing in three part harmony as they worked, and soon the teepee was disassembled, the baskets and bowls were stacked, the bones were collected, and the fire was smothered.  I honestly didn’t want to leave.  

     Here is where we got our “stuff”.  (One of my favorites quotes is:  “Good teachers have lots of stuff.”)

Jerky, bread, corn on the cob, peanuts, raisins, cranberries - Sam’s Club

Bones -  we have collect these throughout the years when the students bring them in for morning science

Teepee-  Four ten foot 1/2 inch conduit poles for $3.50 each at the local hardware store

Teepee fabric -  Stuff a huge bag for $1 at some fabric store in Lancaster County, PA
(I stuffed two bags full, then squished them under the van seats on the way home.)

Baskets, wooden bowls, wooden spoons -  Goodwill 

Costumes - Goodwill and homemade from brown fabric

Rocks- Dollar Store

Accessories - feathers from my chickens and ducks, leather scraps $3 a bag at a craft store - the strips of leather were hot glued together and then feathers were glued on top of these

Monday, October 27, 2014

Gross Skeleton--Yummy Grasshopper

      A student brought in this headless snake skeleton for our morning “science time”.  All that remained were bones and a little skin.  When we were picking it up to take a picture of it, he noticed something stuck between its ribs.  A closer look revealed the legs of a grasshopper--presumably the snake’s last meal.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Perplexing Hexagons

     I always knew that yellow jackets built the cubicles where they lay their eggs in the shape of a hexagon.  What I didn’t realize is that if the nest is unhindered by obstructions, the nest itself can be built in the shape of a hexagon.  Additionally, if you look closely you’ll see that the eggs were also laid in stages, all three of which are—you guessed it—in the shape of a hexagon.   Our Creator is an amazing scientist, a master mathematician, and an awesome God. 

Other fall finds include these lovely pink and purple flowers, berries, and a fig leaf.