Monday, 31 March 2014

Art Museum class

Every other month the kids and I attend an art class at the Art museum in the city.  Every month is a different topic and we always learn something new.  This month's topic was on modern art and how it got some of its influence from african art.  This is something I never knew.

The docent explaining to the kids the different styles of art, letting them we are concentrating on modern art and the influence of African art

Here the kids were examining a piece by Max Berman a German artist of the  early 1900's.  The kids are noticing the long necks and torso of the body, the lack of depth in the people's eyes and the small mouths.

Next we looked at Picasso and noticed similar issues and compared it to some pictures of African artists

The kids were encourage to try to draw a face simplistically emphasizing larger eyes but void and smaller mouths.

Again comparing the painting to an African mask and its style

Next we visited the section of the museum looking at African masks and the art style

Afterwards the kids are taken to the art room where a project is given to emphasize some of what they learned in class

Today it was creating African masks

Firedrake made a Tarantula  mask

MarioFan masks using beads and emphasizing the symmetrical style of African art

Outside the museum we found another 250th Birthday cake for St. Louis:)

Friday, 28 March 2014

German Sausage festival

This past weekend we read in the paper that a town about an hour away from us was holding a German bratwurst festival.  Having lived in the UK and visiting Germany many times we all loved brats so we decided to check it out as a family day out.

ON our drive up we also discover this is wine country so we were able to do a few wine tasting.  When it is warmer we plan on visiting again and visit the local wineries.

This poor pig had a bad day.  

This town even has a german beer garden...We discovered this town was once a german immigrant town and there are several museums and an old german school that can be explored.  I will be saving this information for when we studied the emigration of immigrants to the USA of the late 1800's and early 1900's:)

There where huge lines where we could sample all kinds of brats, chicken, pork, vegetarian and a mixture of everything in-between. 

While waiting in line we were serenaded by German music on the accordion, which my kids had never seen or heard  before.  I remember learning how to play one in school years ago.

More lines and more free tastings:)

The kids soon got tired of standing in line:) and we heading to the local German restaurant were we had an excellent German brat meal with real German potato salad

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

King Philip's War activities

The kids finished reading the book Our America series--King Philips War by Susan Kilbride and we completed a few crafts that she suggested on her website.

First we made some Indian beads using sculpty clay

We tried to add some purple to the clay with markers,  as Indian Wampum bead are usually white and purple.  I thought we could color the clay purple but it didn't work and I didn't have purple clay on hand so ours turned out white.  I thought I saw someone else do this somewhere but I must have missed a step:)

Using a wooden dowel we rolled out the clay along the dowel

we used a knife to cut the beads into shapes, we weren't particularly careful with measuring 

our beads which we then baked in the oven according to directions

We then took the beads and learned how the Indians would have woven them onto their belts or clothes.

We used the beads we made and the kids worked together to complete the project, as we didn't make enough to complete a belt.  At first I thought it was going to be hard since we weren't very careful in making our beads consistently the same size, but after looking at pictures online of Indian bead work we realized that the shell beads they made weren't consistent either.

Our finished work, Ms. Kilbride's website  give the complete directions and it was easy to do.

 Next we read about how the Indians traveled using the travois system.  The kids hadn't heard of this before so we looked it up on the computer and examined pictures and then using Ms. Kilbride's directions made one for ourselves.
Rather then finding and chopping down 6 foot saplings we made do with wooden dowel rods I had in the house:)

kids reading the directions and tying different sections together.

Our was about the size for a small animal to use...Firedrakes stuffed Lion was very cooperative

In the story we read about an injured man being carried using this system, so we  tried it with a teddy bear

and walked it around to see it the bear would stay on

In the pictures on the web we saw this system being used to carry supplies via dogs or horses.  This gave the children a better idea how this system works and how easy it was to construct.
The final activity the kids wanted to try was making corn husks dolls.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to find corn husks in the grocery store in March!!!!  After visiting 3 National park sites hoping to find corn husk doll kits and failing.  I finally had an inspiration and headed to the art store :)
I bought several twisted paper strands

The kids cut them to their desired lengths and then tried to unwind the paper.  My kids gave up after one and I spent one evening doing the rest.  It actually doesn't take that long but my kids are so impatient and ripped several strands because they couldn't take their time.  We used 6 strands of paper for each doll plus one for the arm

after cutting and unraveling the paper, line up all the strands together

Then tightly wrap a rubber band around the end

Looks like this

then we just followed the directions on the website to make the dolls

It worked out just fine and looks like a real corn husk doll :)  Sometimes I  amaze myself with my ideas (just kidding)

This is Firedrakes corn husk doll

MarioFan made a boy version.  Legs are easily made by splitting the paper strands in half and tying off the ends.

Mine version, I gave it a apron just to be different:)

our corn husk family:)
We also read the Indian story that goes along with making these dolls which can be found on Mrs. Kilbride's site.  We are now reading Ms. Kilbride's third book about the Salem witch trials and learning about the Puritans and we will begin working on some of her ideas for studying that period:)

Monday, 24 March 2014

A Russian Meal -- completing our unit study

We finished our study on the country Russia by completing a meal.  I tried to talk the family into making and trying the Borscht soup (which is beet soup) but nobody wanted to give that a try:(

So I went back to my trusty around the world cookbook and we choose 2 recipes from inside

The first thing we cooked was Russian Honey cookies

Kids wanted to use Halloween cookie cutters:)

Next we made Beef Stroganoff-- which I actually make fairly regularly.  Kids helped with the cutting and cooking

Now Firedrake has one more meal she can add to her meal prep skills:)

cookies turned out great

and were very tasty

I also bought some rye bread which we read was very popular in Russia

We have enjoyed learning about Russia and have wrapped up our unit study on this country.:)