Week 14 - Blends
After an impromptu break last weekend, back I am with what I have recently found interesting. Starting with the popcorn:
Not just any cat video - but a true cat shred. Enjoy Taddy's snowboard skills.
Here's a fun post from Math with bad drawings about a few games you can play with pen and paper. We tried the grape one - me and myself, and I really really liked it. I tried to hunt down the book referenced here. Sadly, it's out of print. However a used copy is available, used for just $923 plus shipping. Whaaaat?
It's Time To Build I've been thinking about it - we definitely need to build again - but what does building look like now? Does it have to be the same as in the past? If not, how else can it look like?
A celebration of science and poetry. I'm blown away at this blend: poetry and science.
I have two recommendations:
Singularity by Marie Howe - about the Big Bang.
The Mushroom Hunters by Neil Gaiman - a retelling of the history of science from a often ignored perspective.
I read this Tim Hodgkinson's Manifesto of the Idle Parent on Austin Kleon's site, and I'm thinking on how to think about it, about how I feel about it.
I finished reading Doris Keane's Leadership: In Turbulent Times and came away changed. How changed - time will tell, or I shall tell you once the book percolates a little bit. I fell headlong into her Team of Rivals. I'm finding that I need time between chapters to actually do justice to this book.
An example quote from the book:
But there’s a paradox in our relationship with machines. While we have a tendency to over-trust anything we don’t understand, as soon as we know an algorithm can make mistakes, we also have a rather annoying habit of over-reacting and dismissing it completely, reverting instead to our own flawed judgement. It’s known to researchers as algorithm aversion.
This tendency of ours to view things in black and white – seeing algorithms as either omnipotent masters or a useless pile of junk – presents quite a problem in our high-tech age.
Trying to be self-aware, view myself objectively and figure out where I'm guilty of this behavior - is a taxing mental exercise. So many assumptions are hidden...
I've learnt that homeschooling is being a 'guide on the side', not the 'sage on the stage'. And being a finder and curator of videos. And the pause button controller. And the brain stormer, with more storming than brains.
This week, the blend of writing and reading and science suggested by the school, along with all that I've learnt and the fertility of a 7 year old brain steeped in reading and books and imagination resulted in something quite lovely.
It started off with the alliteration exercise - the children have to come up with an ocean creature for each letter of the alphabet and an alliteration to go along with it. My daughter decided that "J is for Jellyfish". The alliteration card she made (check out those melty eyes!):
We followed this up with a tree-map of jelly fish - filling out "lives", "has", "eats", "actions", "is" about Jellyfish. And what she didn't know, we read up some articles and looked up videos.
Documentary style videos with beautiful footage, animated pieces, very technical discussions, hybrids of these, picture books read aloud about JellyFish - we looked up a variety of videos and learned so much.
And then on to the writing. She started an informational piece - but then was inspired to write the following: (Original spellings, original punctuations. Capitalizations have been corrected);
Funny storie about Jelly fish
Two jelly fish were chilling in the colorfull coral reefs. Joey cried "I'm heart Broken!" Then Frank said "But you don't have a heart!" "Oh" Joey Thought. Then Joey said "I'm bloodless. I feel so weak!" Frand replied "You don't have any blood either Joey!" "I must have left my brain at home" Joey sighed, Frank said "You are brain less Joey. Jelly fish don't have brains and we are Jellyfish!"
"Ahhh! turtle run" Joey screamed. "Joey we don't run. We pump water in and out. But that is a turtle!" So they pumped water all the way home.
On the way home Joey spied some parot fish. He got closer and wrapped his tentacles around them and tried to eat it. Instead he got a mouthfull of Disgusting slime. "Blakg!" he said as he loosened his tentacles. Joey tried to wipe his face with his short tentacles but ended up stinging himself. "Yow!" Joey yelled.
Frank turned from the big group of shrimp that he had Been mucnhing on. Once he saw Joey he started laughing out loud.
Soon it was getting dark and Joey and Frank were in the twilight zone. Then the weirdest thing happened. Joey started glowing! So did Frank. 'Ahhh!' screamed Joey terafied. He darted behing Frank who said "Joey we have Bioluminescence wich makes us glow in the dark!" Joey slowly came out from behind Frank. What a hilariuse day
In this whole piece, my contributions were - some spellings, looking up slang for "brainless", being a sounding board for ideas.
So, in summary, when you have to do something creative, like write, or code or make or create...
- start small, start fun
- some drawings with pen and paper help oil the brain out
- have a template on what you need to know
- fill it up with what you already know
- learn what you don't
- use a variety of resources - beneath your level, at your level, way way above your level
- be promiscous with genres - science - biology, physics, mathematics, stories, picture books, poetry etc.
- find someone to bounce off your ideas - your mom. If not a marble turtle or a rubber duck
- just start writing
Written on April 26, 2020.
This was Issue #14 of the Year of the Turtle. You can see all the past newsletters on this website.
The fonts used here are from David Jonathan Ross' Font of the Month Club