Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fun activities for some of my favorite kids!

(sorry about not posting this a week ago)

Here are a few follow up helps/ideas for parents after our exploring harmony co-op

Canons/rounds. These are a wonderful way to get children to sing in harmony (there are also speech and movement canons, and there's a beautiful Signing/sung canon in the Signing Time TV show/DVDs, too). The canon we did in class was Alfred the Alligator, probably my favorite. I even have an alligator puppet, named Alfred, who frequently helps me teach.

Ostinato-Ostinati are repeated, stubborn (obstinate) patterns that just continue to repeat. Ostinati can be rhythmic, melodic, or movement. We did a rhythm/speech ostinato with Missasagua Rattlesnake.

The lyrics to that one are:

Missasagua Rattlesnakes
Eat brown bread
Missasagua Rattlesnakes
Fall down dead
If you catch a caterpillar feed him apple juice
But if you catch a rattlesnake, turn him loose!

We also added dynamics to this poem, discovering that the Italian words for soft and loud are piano and forte. Here's one of my favorite videos, from Teresa Jennings and the folks at music K-8 magazine.

We also explored Boomwhackers and special word orchestration, with "I want to Boom", by Chris Judah-Lauder. Here's another fun song to use with boomwhackers, simply moving up the C scale, large to small, also from music K-8.

And, we explored hand drumming and rhythm with Monkey, Monkey Moo, a traditional (and very silly) nursery rhyme. We used sound shapes for this-basically, just drum heads in a frame, which lets drumming activities be very, very quiet.

Have fun making music!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

More Greek mythology-Lego style

Lego exploration of Greek Mythology continues... For the other creations, check here

Persephone and the four seasons (By the way, Alli says that if anyone has a RED lego apple-or better yet, a lego pomegranate, she needs one!)

 The gates of the underworld. She decided Hades deserved a bigger area than that little baseplate. I especially like Cerberus, complete with snake tail. He also got his own Greek chariot.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ode to a Grecian MOC?

After going to Brickfair last week, Alli is insistent that she's going to exhibit her MOC (my own creation) at the next one, so she is gradually turning our living room into a series of scenes from Ancient Greece.

So, here are some of the early pieces. Yes, I admit that I participated in some of the building, too :)

Odysseus on Circe's Island

 Hercules vs the Hydra

 The Delphic Oracle and the temple of the Oracle

 Hades and the Underworld

 Mount Olympus under siege by Titans


Gods and Goddesses

 Zeus and Athena
 Aphrodite, Apollo, and Poseidon
 Hercules vs the Hydra

I think Theseus and the Minotaur are under construction, although that may just be an excuse to buy the series 6 Minifigs in an effort to get the Minotaur minifig.

Anyway, we're having fun at Mount Parnassus!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Brickfair 2012

We went to the "public day" for Brickfair 2012 in Birmingham yesterday. It was a good experience, although very, very crowded. Apparently a lot of people have kids who love legos and who enjoy seeing what other people created.

Brickfair, for those who aren't familiar with it, is as AFOL-Adult Fan of Lego-event, where people bring their best/favorite creations built out of Lego bricks and pieces to share. These range from robots (R2-D2, Wall-E and the cute little Android mascot all were there to compete in Robot challenges, along with quite a few unnamed, but I'm sure quite effective bots), Mindstorms and technics (including a Mindstorm that could solve a rubix cube), Rube-Goldberg type apparatus which were controlled via Lego soccer balls, and lots of lego dioramas and scenes. While most of the MOCs (My own Creations-anything that is built from legos that doesn't come from instructions) were built by adults, there were several 14-16 yr olds who had very impressive creations, and the youngest builder represented was 5 years old according to the tag on their creation. For many families, building with legos and showing their creations is a family affair. And I'm half convinced that one of my favorites, a very detailed monastery with moving Monks controlled by technics and hidden magnets, with a Viking ship sailing around it, was actually being shown by Santa and Mrs. Claus under an assumed name-especially since they stated their address as "Canada".

Alli's favorite was a huge city scene, including a parade in full costume, leading to DragonCon-so Legos, meet Sci-fi/Fantasy conventions. And this isn't an odd combination at all-when she was chatting with one of the creators about his castle, he suggested that we should come down in May for their local sci-fi/fantasy/gaming con-which will also include a lego room.

One of my favorites was essentially I-Spy, made with legos. Another complicated city scene, including a skate park, stores, restaurants, houses, a carnival with merry-go round and carousel, and even a Village People concert (complete with a hidden speaker that, when triggered, played YMCA) came with a list of things to find. It was a popular stop.

All in all, it was a fun day. I do believe that the next time we go, we'll pay the higher fee for the full convention instead of the public day, though-both because it would avoid many of the crowds to be able to see everyone's creations when it's just the builders there, and because Alli started planning out what MOC she wants to enter next year before we even got the van out of the parking lot on the way home.

And now, some pictures!