Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009


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Movie Wednesday – “The Revisionaries”

On account of a most wonderful upper respiratory…thing going through the family WIP Wednesday has been cancelled because we’ve been watching our fair share of movies.  Or at least I have.  My kids have been reenacting the battle of the Titans from Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series which I take as a sign that they’re feeling better.  Since it’s a bit difficult to recreate the battle of the Titans on a blog, I thought I’d instead share a movie with you instead.

Many Public Television stations have been airing this documentary lately (and may still be airing it in your area).  For those of us (like me) who don’t have access to broadcast television or cable, I’m happy to report that you can watch it online at the Independent Lens’ website.  It’s available until February 27th and will play on iOS devices.  I can’t remember if there’s an Airplay option, but it should work with mirroring if you’re so equipped.


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More Resources on Drought and the Dust Bowl for Kids

I updated the Weather Unit page with the books and resources we used in talking more about drought as well as what we added to discuss the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.  There are a few resources we’ve used along the way that don’t always make it on to the page or that I may check out from the library to place on the book shelves at home.  To that end, here are some of the resources we’ve found helpful:

  • The National Drought Mitigation Center’s Drought for Kids pages (h/t to Linda @ Each Little World)
  • Droughts” by Louise Park
  • The Dust Bowl” by Therese DeAngelis and Gina DeAngelis
  • The Dust Bowl Through the Lens” by Martin W. Sandler – The photography in this one is poignant.  The author uses a two page spread to convey the facts about the Dust Bowl.  This is not a book that we sat and read together, but one that I checked out with the intention of my son looking through it on his own.  It has the right mix of interesting pictures to draw him in.  This is one of those things I think he could spend part of an afternoon looking over on his own.
  • Dust for Dinner” by Ann Turner –  This one is an easy reader.  It was much too simple for my son, but still a nice little story.  We checked it out from the library and my son read it to us on the way home.
  • The Journal of C. J. Jackson:  A Dust Bowl Migrant” by William Durbin – This one is unfortunately out of print.  It’s part of the A Dear America/My Name is America series and takes the journal/diary format.  I’m planning on using it for our next read aloud when our current one is over.  It tells the story of the Dust Bowl through the eyes of a young boy.  We picked this one up from the library (and it looks like someone’s dog ate it), but there are a number of inexpensive used copies available on Amazon.
  • Out of the Dust” by Karen Hesse – Newbery Medal winner tells the story of the Dust Bowl through first-person poetry.  This would be a fantastic for those families who use Poetry Teatimes in their homeschooling routines.


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Weather Unit Modifications

Perhaps you remember how I said I was “done” with the weather unit?

Yeah.  Not quite and it’s all Linda’s fault.  I mean this, of course, in the nicest way possible.  She’s been very helpful in tracking down resources on drought this year.

It all began with the map from the New York Times.  Then there was this article on the Weather Channel about the Dust Bowl in the 1930s.  As much as I hate the idea of prolonging our weather unit…I’m going to.   Don’t get me wrong.  The issue is all mine.  My kids are having a blast and weather has literally taken over every part of our daily lives.  From school, to play, to our dinner table conversations.  I have mini-meteorolgists wandering my house – all three of them.

Did I mention that their new favorite show to watch is “Storm Chasers?”  They have picked up a surprising amount of weather terminology from the show even if you have to endure Reed Timmer shrieking like a banshee along with it.  It’s also provided us ample opportunities to talk about safety and making wise choices.  I’m looking forward to when the kids get to the episodes with Tim Samaras in them.  It would be nice for them to be able to connect a person with one of their books.

I’m caught between the things I want to cover before the beginning of the Fall Trimester and where the lessons are taking us.  Darn you interested based, connected to real life learning!  (I jest.)

So I think we’ll add in a mini-unit to further flesh out drought and make historical connections to the Dust Bowl.  There should be some interesting conversations as we compare and contrast this year and the 1930s.  I can bring in some ecological and economic connections to help round out the picture which should tie nicely into the section on climate change we’ll get to in a couple of weeks.  The plan will be to do so in an introductory, quick tour way because we’ll cover this particular period of history in greater depth when our history cycle spins that way.

While I figure that out, I thought you might be interested to see a video of a song by Woody Guthrie from the time period called “Great Dust Storm Disaster:”


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It’s Official! I’m Done! (Sorta)

The weather unit is no longer a work in progress.  I have all of my plans laid out and I will be resisting the temptation to add anything to it because I really do need to finish our Earth Science studies (for this go round) by the end of the summer.

Now I can get back to focusing on Life Science (and biomes in particular).

Did I mention that nothing’s ever really done around here?


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More Updates to the Weather Unit

I’ve posted more updates to the Weather Unit over yonder.   I have added more lessons on severe weather as well as added lessons for seasons and the water cycle.  There are a couple of additional books I came across that we’ll probably add in at least as it concerns the water cycle.  It is, as always, a work in progress.

I’d like to also cover a bit on climate change before covering the R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey unit on air.  After that we’ll wrap everything up with a short unit test before heading into geology for the last half of our summer.  I anticipate following that particular unit more or less as written, but time, of course, will tell.