Sunday, September 8, 2013


Our little writing group has undergone many changes over the past 6 months.  We have added members, said goodbye to members, began stories, completed stories, shared ideas and opinions, and grown as writers and as friends.

Last week's warm up.

This week's warm up.

Fridays continue to be my favorite days.  Now they are just a bit busier. I decided to incorporate more into the writing workshop.  More academics in little doses.  We begin with grammar.  I have taken First Language Lessons and changed the implementation of the lessons to fit the age and developmental level of these girls.  They don’t need three lessons to learn about contractions or interjections.  In fact, they already know what they are, they just may not know what they are called.  After grammar we move onto a writing warm up.  I get inspiration for the warm ups from books, from poetry, from magazine articles, and from life.  I try to make the warm ups fun and lighthearted.  Last week we used a poem as inspiration and a model to write from.  This week I found Mother Teresa’s words inspiring.   After our warm up, we spend about 45 min working on a story that is in progress and then we share.

This fall I have offered two new adventures to the group.  Herb Fairies and Mapping the World Through Art.  Fridays have become like a little coop day in my house!  I purchased Herb Fairies last spring and if I was smart, I would have been doing the monthly book and activities as they correspond to flowers and herbs that are in season.  But I am not smart, and I let this program lapse, and now it is September and we are studying violets.  You cannot get fresh violets in September.  After a call to my favorite florist, I learned that even if I could order imported violets, I would not want ANY commercially grown violet because they are heavily sprayed to protect against ants.  Therefore, they cannot be candied and used to decorate cupcakes, or placed on top of a salad to add beauty and color.  They cannot be infused into oil or steeped into tea.  I spent an entire afternoon researching what to do.  I learned that violet leaf has many of the same healing properties as violet petals and I could order organic dried violet leaf from Mountain Rose Herbs.  

We will take a few weeks to work our way through each herb.  We began last week with the story.  The girls listened to the audio while they painted or colored in the coloring page.  I thought they may find this juvenile but they spent 45 minutes quietly coloring or painting and listening to the story.  They asked if they could do this for every story!  11, 12, 13 and 14 year-olds don’t get much time to just color.  It is soothing.

This week we made a bookmark illustrating the plants’s healing properties.  The girls also received  the Zine to read together and do activities of their choice.  

The third week (next week) will be spent working on the recipe cards and making beauty or self care products like lip gloss, salves, lotions, infused oils, etc. from the dried organic violet leaf.

Our last shared activity of the day is Mapping the World with Art.  Last year Grace asked to work with Mapping the World by Heart, which is a very different program.  She enjoys geography and has a very good understanding of countries thanks to her interest in weather and meteorology.  I found MWBH to be bulky and difficult to teach.  It still sits in a binder in my basement collecting dust.  When I learned of MWWA, it felt like the program for us.  Mapping, History and Art rolled into one easy to follow lesson.  Love it!  I purchased the book and the DVD set so we can review or learn the history that corresponds to map we are making.  For example, lesson 1: Mesopotamia will be a review for us but the information presented in two pages corresponds beautifully to the map of this area and even connects the ancient history to current geography.

Friday is brought to a close with another new activity: GYMNASTICS.  

It is a super busy day but a day filled with wonder, creativity, and a shared learning experience.

Our day:
9:30-11:30 Writing Group
11:30 - 12:00 Break/Lunch
12:00 - 1:30 Herb Fairies
1:30-2:30 Mapping the World with Art
3:30 - 4:30 Gymnastics


Diane said...

Wow, you have started your own little co-op. I so wish I lived near you for Grace to do this with your group. Herb Fairies kind of fell to the wayside for us. Just not enough time in the day. But I am considering using it in our Cooperative as well. I contacted the company and as long as I don't make copies of the books, etc. we can use it in a group setting. Now I just have to figure out what that would look like with 10-15 students.

Karen said...

As always I wish I could bring Keilee to your writing group. How awesome. Do they take a poem and change it? I was trying to tell from the pic. :) I am so glad are you liking MTWWA. We love it. I am doing it along with Keilee. Wonder if the book is the same info as the CD? I didn't buy the book. Kei starts gymnastics tomorrow. I so hope it is what she wants it to be! Talk soon.

Jessica said...

We listen to the audio version of the book. Then we do the activities together and some I make up on my own (like the bookmarks). I think this would be an amazing coop class. To do it here, I would have to pre-order the dried herbs in advance. I think I am going to struggle to find some of these growing wild near us.

Jessica said...

They use the poem to get them started. They took the phrases "Until I saw I did not know....." and added their thoughts to it. Same with "I never knew..." and "Nor..." It gave them the framework for the poem and some of the girls were very creative with their writing.

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