Friday, March 30, 2012

Tengo Ocho Años!

Serena celebrated her 8th birthday with a big splash at the Ladner pool with her friends. Last year she asked her friends for food bank donations in lieu of gifts for her birthday, and it seemed like a good idea to keep it a tradition. You can see her "Birthday Star" picture on the Richmond Food Bank website!

Serena also raised some funds by selling some of her old board games at her party.  Along with her savings she had enough to sponsor a little girl from India, Monjir Katharpi, through the Bridge of Hope program at Gospel for Asia. Monjir is exactly one year younger than Serena - they share the same birthday!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Vancouver Art Gallery

"Canterbury Meadows" by Thomas Sidney Cooper - the very first acquisition by the Vancouver Art Gallery which opened its door over 80 years ago.

We went with our HCOS friends today on a guided exhibition tour of "Autobiography of Our Collection". From the early collection of British paintings to the abstract works of the Group of Seven to Brian Jungen's contemporary art, we explored the diverse mix of the Gallery's collection.

Serena was delighted to see an installation art, "Elysian Field North" by Won Ju Lim. It immediately reminded her of her recent architecture project at Mr. Tony's art class, where they looked at interesting structures like cube buildings and inspiring architects like Zaha Hadid.

The fun part came when the kids learned how to make prints inspired by Andy Warhol's "Mao". They took turn sketching rough portraits of each other and making colourful prints in the pop art style of Warhol. No matter that the prints looked nothing like the models themselves. As Andy Warhol quipped, "Art is what you can get away with."

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pi(e) Day

March 14th (3.14) was Pi Day!  Thanks to the movie "Night at the Museum 2", Serena has '3.14159265' securely locked in her little brain long before this year's Pi Day.  Not that she really knew what it meant then.  We got that straightened out this week as we celebrated Pi Day with our South Delta homeschool friends.  We sang Pi song, told Pi jokes, played math games, and of course ate pies!

"Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi" by Cindy Neuschwander is a hilarious book that uses a fairy tale (with ingenious names!) to explain the relationship between circumference and diameter, i.e. Pi!  The author has written a series of "Sir Cumference" math adventures; Serena can't wait to read them all now.

What do you get when you divide the circumference of a jack-o-lantern by its diameter?  Pumpkin pi.

Happy Pi Day!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Walter The Manatee

Inspired by the manatees she saw in Florida, Serena did a project on the marine mammal for the annual South Delta Science Fair.  As always, there were many wonderful and creative science projects, but the big boys with their homemade trebuchet catapults stole the show, especially when they taught the young ones to make mini-catapults and they all started launching marshmallows everywhere...

Serena had the most fun making a full size papier-mache manatee. We tried our best to use only what we could find around the house to make it. So Walter (the manatee that is) has insulation for stuffing, cardboards for flippers and tail, marbles for eyes, and linguini for whiskers. And it sits on an old (but clean) litter box. We had to spend $2 on paint and $1 on "sea grass". Not bad!

The other fun part? Singing "I'm A Manatee" (by John Lithgow) all day long...

"Oceans Alive: Manatees" by Ann Herriges
"Endangered Manatees" by Bobbie Kalman
"Manatees" by Mary Ann McDonald
"Face to Face with Manatees" by Brian Skerry
National Geographic website

Friday, March 2, 2012

Good Reads

It gets harder and harder to find books for Serena who wants not only an elaborate story line typical of a novel but also beautiful illustration typical of a board book. We were glad to have found the Usborne Illustrated Classics for Girls and Usborne Illustrated Alice at a homeschool fair couple of years ago. It's perfect for kids who want to move on with their reading but can't quite transition to books with no pictures yet.

Recently I saw a couple Usborne books in the same series in two different bookstores within the same week. What are the chances! I snapped them up since they're so hard to find. Serena absolutely adores them and is breezing through the stories. It's hard to get her to pace herself; I understand what it's like to lose yourself in a book!

I think Serena finished this 300+ pages book in 3 sittings. She said it's hard to pick a favourite, but she finds "The 39 Steps" the most adventurous with its "bad guy imposters".

The collections include five classics: "The Count of Monte Cristo", "The Prisoner of Zenda", "The Three Musketeers", "The 39 Steps", and "Don Quixote".
Serena got interested in Shakespeare when we were in Verona, Italy few years ago where we visited Casa di Giulietta and stood at the famous balcony (supposedly) from the love scene in Romeo and Juliet

Six Shakespeare's plays are included: "Twelfth Night", "A Midsummer Night's Dream", "Hamlet", "Macbeth", "Romeo and Juliet", and "The Tempest".

If only I could find these in the library!