Monday, April 30, 2012

SDHL Choir

Serena and her friends at South Delta Homelearners have spent this school year singing together every Tuesday under the gentle guidance of Mr. & Mrs. Faas. They performed their year-end concert this past weekend before the congregation of Saviour Lutheran Church in Ladner. Among the audience was a sweet lady named Mae who will be turning 100 this week. It was a lovely afternoon of songs, praise, and fellowship!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Taekwondo Tournament

Serena made her debut at a taekwondo tournament, participating in 2 divisions: pattern and self-defence.  She's worked hard practicing the 23-step orange belt pattern and the 14 different Hapkido self-defence techniques.

She was thrilled to have won a bronze medal in pattern and a silver in self-defence. She is now all prepped and pumped for her promotional belt test next week, eager to move onto yellow belt!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tomatosphere (Part I)

The Tomatosphere Project is an opportunity for students across Canada and the U.S. to conduct a real scientific experiment sponsored by organizations such as the Canadian Space Agency, Agriculture Canada, and the University of Guelph. The objective is "to compare the germination rate of tomato seeds and the vigour of growth of tomato plants", and our results "will help Canadian scientists to understand some of the issues related to long-term space travel."  How cool is that!

We signed up and received 2 packages of tomato seeds - Group S and Group T - with about 40 seeds in each.  One is a control group with seeds that have been exposed to conditions in the Earth's environment only.  The other is a non-control group with "primed" seeds - seeds that have been given a kick-start and are almost ready to germinate.  It's a blind test so we don't know which one is which!

We went to the garden store, got our supplies, and went right to work. Serena prepped the peat pellets, carefully placed a seed in each, labelled the separate groups, and got her charts ready to observe and record her daily findings.  Stay tuned and we'll let you know how it goes...

Thursday, April 19, 2012


April is Poetry Month and Serena has gone haiku crazy.  I heard her rolling in bed last night an hour past her bedtime.

"Why are you still awake?"
"I got another haiku in my head.  If I fall asleep I won't remember it!"

So I scribbled it down for her in the dark:

Lovely Canada
Rolling Appalachians
Blue jay calls tonight

Other recent creations by our resident poet:

Feather-duster tail
Snuggly, dopey, and noisy
Jack the "Squirmalot"

Sweet dainty lady
Deli-CAT-essence is she
Miss "Purrsalot" Jill

Sleek and amazing
The spotted appaloosa
Every step spotless

(The animal haiku are inspired by:
"The Hound Dog's Haiku" by Michael J. Rosen
"The Cuckoo's Haiku" by Michael J. Rosen
"Dogku" by Andrew Clements)

A golden collar
A smiling face of sunshine
Slender gown of green

A crimson petal
Engraved in a rose-shaped gem
Beauty amazing

(The flower haiku are inspired by:
"Poetrees" by Douglas Florian)

Related Readings:
"Keepers: Treasure-Hunt Poems" by John Frank
"Poetry Basics: Haiku" by Valerie Bodden
"Today and Today: Haiku" by Issa
"Nibble Nibble" by Margaret Wise Brown

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Titanic's 100th

The Ship of Dreams sank 100 years ago today.  We found some awesome books on the topic - we particular like Pig on the Titanic by Gary Crew and Polar The Titanic Bear by Daisy Spedden, both of which are based on true stories.  Serena really enjoyed playing the two interactive games on National Geographic's Adventure on the Titanic; also has fantastic interactives for exploring the history of the RMS Titanic.

Titanic: Fortune & Fate - Catalogue from The Mariners' Museum Exhibition was another great read. It's a treasure trove of Titanic artifacts and memorabilia, including "letters, momentos, and personal effects from those who sailed on the lost ship". We also recommend All Stations! Distress! by Don Brown, an excellent illustrated children's book that captures the essence of the Titanic disaster.  On top of all these great reads, we also had fun doing a timeline, a crossword puzzle, and a quiz on all we've learnt.

"I cannot imagin any condition which would cause a ship to flounder.  I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel.  Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that." 
- Captain Edward Smith of the Titanic

Friday, April 13, 2012

Cherry Blossom

pink and white jewels
petals almost seem to glow
branches wave to me

{Artwork & Haiku by Serena}

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Math Atheist

Headline: "Disaster: Devout Math Evangelist Gave Birth to Math Atheist"
That would be me and my child.

Thanks to Pi Day and the Sir Cumference series by Cindy Neuschwander, I saw glimmers of hope on the horizon. Serena discovered a new toy - the protractor - and has been seen measuring "angles" around the house. I took advantage of her new found interest in Geometry and temporarily abandoned the much despised Arithmetic. She thought that hendecagons and dodecagons sound hilarious and acute angles are so cute; she squishes herself and claims that she's trapped by the trapezoid. I always know she's enjoying herself when she starts making up jokes:

"Mommy, what do Protractors sing in heaven?"
"ANGLES we have heard on high, sweetly singing o'er the PLANES..."
And then she laughs herself silly.

I still have hope to convert her one day...

Related Resources:
Sir Cumference and the First Round Table by Cindy Neuschwander
Sir Cumference and the Great Knight of Angleland by Cindy Neuschwander
Shape Up: Fun with Triangles and Other Polygons by David A. Adler
Fractions, Decimals, and Percents by David A. Adler
DVD Geometry: Triangle and Other Polygons (Schlessinger Media)
DVD Geometry (Stone House Productions)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

An Empty Tomb

Resurrection Cookies - baking with Scriptures, a wonderful treat to bring the Easter story to life!

"He is not here; he has risen, just as he said." Matthew 28:6

He is risen indeed!

Easter Eggs

An incubator with 12 fertilized eggs.  Some made it and became cute little fluffy chirping chicks.

Some didn't.

We did an "autopsy"...
"Can we keep them?", pleaded Serena.

"Are you out of your mind?!?! Why and where on earth would we keep dead chicks?", yelled my squeamish inner voice.

"How about we bury them in our backyard?", said my calm outer voice.

And so we did on that bright sunny Good Friday.

"Now they can go to heaven", she blurted as she skipped happily over to her swing.  Death has no hold on a child who believes in the reality of heaven.

And she named them - Sunny and Grace.

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?"
1 Corinthians 15:54-55

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Hare

Serena and her friends at Mr. Tony's art class today learned about texture, shades, and shadows by studying Albrecht Dürer's rendering of "A Young Hare" (1502). They looked at the anatomy of a bunny to figure out how to draw with proper proportions. The rough drafts and final sketches by Serena were all done in charcoal.