Saturday, April 27, 2013

Off the Bookshelf - Lonesome Dove

When this book was recommended to me several years ago, I knew nothing about it. I was told, "It's about cowboys. Try it." Now if that isn't the most enticing review you've ever heard.... But actually it is about cowboys and really you should try it!

Set in late 19th century American cattle country, Lonesome Dove tells a story of friendship, hard work, and dangerous times as a group of now-cowboys decide to run a herd of cattle from Texas to Montana. We travel through it by horseback, feuding with Native outlaws, drinking with buffalo hunters, and reconnecting with lost loves. We are met with all kinds of challenges, among them bears, bulls, and grasshoppers that travel by the thousands, descending upon the open plains like storms. Of course, the book tells more than that, too, and draws out some pretty raw emotions.

I couldn't help but feel totally distraught and utterly helpless when Lorena was kidnapped and tortured almost to death by a band of enemies - I was desperate for her freedom. I felt true sadness when a young cowhand was swarmed and killed by snakes in a river-crossing, because he and his brother were so far from home. I felt such joy and relief when Pea Eye finally made it across the plains, in such pain and with such delirium, to tell Call that McCrae was in grave danger.

The thing I love is that these characters feel almost real. I feel they are real people - they have real fears, real dreams, and real relationships that lead them into both unimaginable and obvious events. Though this story is so far removed from my own understanding of life, what it is now or was in those times, it feels true to me; as if these things could very well have happened at that time, in those places, and with those people.

I liked it. A lot.

Next up,   interspersed with  because I'm feeling rather Canadian of late!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Poetry for Earth Day idea

A big, big thanks to the ladies that commented for the Birthdays Around the World Pack! I was so happy to send this to all three of you and I hope you enjoy!

Last week I downloaded a great little freebie from TpT:

It includes a sweet little poem about our Earth and all the simple beauty it has to offer.
BUT, I did not simply copy the poem and have my kids illustrate the sentences.
That's because we have been working on writing Genius Sentences lately.
So naturally, we used our knowledge and our creativity to expand on the ideas in the poem.
Their job was to take the idea and change it.
Make it fantastically descriptive.
Make it wonderfully thoughtful.
Make it the most amazing poem I've ever read!

They turned out pretty cute.
Just an idea for you.
Happy hump day from Kuwait!
{Is it June yet?}
- Amanda

Friday, April 19, 2013

Birthdays Around the World Giveaway

Fourth quarter.
It's like I can taste summer already!
This will be a quick summer, with just a month and a half in Canada before we ship out to Manila.
I'm sure we will savour every moment.

But before I get lost in those dreams...
To end the school year, I thought a fun unit was in need.
And since I've been rather ill in the last few weeks, I've been able to finish off this new unit:
It's packed with all this and more...

We've done several activities already and it's turning out to be a hit! 
Plus, while I was out unexpectedly {thanks, nausea}, it's been easy for my EA to read the lesson plans included and work through some it for me.

Check it out here on TpT and here on TN.

I'd love to give one of these away, too! 
Leave me a comment below with your favourite birthday memory and your email; I'll random-number-generator them!
Happy fourth quarter, everyone.
- Amanda

Monday, April 8, 2013

Super engaging time activity

I know it's been done before {hasn't it all in this profession? Just in new ways?} but my class Loved this activity!
Laminated paper watches. 
Differentiated times given to each student {with a master list for assessment}.
A class list in the notebook.
Four words: "What time is it?"

So fun and definitely a keeper activity! 
Click the picture to download the blank watch faces we used:

I'm thinking of doing this for our temperature concept tomorrow!
- Amanda

Friday, April 5, 2013

Dead Sea & Petra, Jordan

Here's a little peek at how we spent our Spring Break in Jordan...
 We floated around in the Dead Sea
Got covered in mud
Squinted at the West Bank through haze
Listened to the latest Macklemore & Ryan Lewis over and again
Wrote poor reviews for the Holiday Inn Dead Sea Resort. 
While it is beautiful and well-maintained, it was seriously disappointing {for various reasons}, but overall I'd say we simply received far too many apologies for this to be an overly positive stay.

Got blown away at what felt like the windiest place on earth. Actually.
Traveled to Wadi Musa
Wandered around the Nabataean monuments at Petra, the rose city.
Gazed up at unimaginable carvings
Walked about a million steps
{I was limping through airports on our way back here.}
Hung around with camels
Climbed to the top of everywhere we could
 Hung around with more camels
Had lunch in a garden tomb
Indulged in a Turkish Bath
Ever been?
Here's how it went down:
An old Syrian guy stuck us in a steam room for ten or fifteen minutes. Then he put us in a warm shower. He instructed us to lie on a hot stone for some time afterward. We followed him to a private room. He proceeded to lather and scrub our whole bodies. He rinsed us clean and sent us on our way.
Afterward, we felt we deserved a drink in an old cave. 
Couldn't be happier I have this guy to travel the world with, be a goof with, and get into strange conversations with. 
Like this one: "You know what I don't understand? Evolution."
Or this one: "How much do you think we should tip the guy that just bathed us?"