Thursday, June 01, 2017

"Poet -Tree" and Raising Caterpillars

Our "Poet-Tree" that we started in April (for poetry month) but it is staying up a long time!
It is made from packing paper from an amazon box and taped and thumb tacked to the wall.
The leaves are some old scrapbooking paper I had and we have slowly been writing poems
onto the leaves for most of our poetry tea times.  

We were in the process of raising caterpillars during this poetry tea time so we specifically looked for poems about caterpillars and Butterflies to add them to the "Poet-tree"!

For more pictures click on the read more below.

If you want to try this and are squeamish about caterpillars, know that you get them in the cup like this and don't have to open it at all till they are all in their chrysalis stage.  They are really interesting to watch and see change!  (We had already done this so only needed to buy the refill)

 We got "Painted Ladies" to watch change from caterpillars to butterflies.

I added the caterpillar stages of metamorphosis to the chalkboard as they were changing! 

 As always the girls were inspired to do their own chalk boards!  We designed it to be apart of the branches and each girl made up a poem (or acrostic) to write on their chalkboard.

When we are doing writing projects we make sure to have the creative process be apart from the editing process (as professional writers also do!) so after they have created their poem (or story) I ask if they would like it edited.  If they are just writing for a journal for themselves we don't worry, but sometimes it's nice to have a work proofread and then copied out so it's ready for display like for our chalkboards and leaves!

After I edited their poem (I write it on a separate sheet right now and don't mark on their work), then they copy the edited words.  So, they not only practice creating original content, they do practice spelling and grammar by copying what I write!  When they are older I'm sure their Daddy will do the editing (as he's a professional writer!) But for now my basic knowledge works.  Anyway, it's healthy for them to see me not know how to spell a word and look it up to check!  Modeling learning, yo. ;)

Before we bought the caterpillars my middle daughter found a lovely butterfly that was struggling to fly.  We assumed it was at the end of its life.

 Of course, as you do when homeschooling, we did some research about what kind it was and then my daughter was so concerned about it struggling that we decided to quicken the process (in the freezer) and then watched youtube videos about how to pin a butterfly.  It is now in a lovely frame above her desk area.

Above our table we still have the stick!  Only now there are origami birds.

Of course my middle daughter who loves bunnies mostly writes about them!

In the chrysalis stage!  I put some videos and such of their release on our instagram @sleimaniacstyle

The one above and below are by my 11 year olds!  She has grown in ability so much in just one year!  
 Last year my oldest (then 10) went through vision therapy and at the time was hardly reading (because she couldn't focus on practicing for even 5 minutes at a time!) That along with sounding out while she copied words and using her 100 animal journal from the thinking tree she became more comfortable with reading.

Last fall she lamented that she couldn't make up spelling for words (which meant that she couldn't just write her thoughts as best she could in her own journal, she had to always ask how to spell or copy things.)  A few months after she noticed that and we talked about it, she began to make up spelling and keep trying!

People don't usually value this stage of learning to read and write, but invented spelling IS an important stage and we shouldn't put their writing abilities down for poorly spelled words!  Anyway, explaining how we use a different part of our brain to edit frees up the creative process and the poor spelling during these first (oh 8 years of so!) of learning to read and write is really valuable!
Her poems have come from dry descriptions to truly poetic and even insightful pieces in such a short time!  Poetry teatimes have helped her see I think that short pieces of writing can be really wonderful.

The butterflies emerged from their chrysalis' and one had turned into a chrysalis UNDER the food in the cup it came in... so it had trouble getting out of it's chrysalis even though we followed the steps of putting it in the bottom of the butterfly house for them to have room as butterflies.  One wing is crinkled and it can't fly but it is still alive, and we decided to keep it as a little buddy inside it's butterfly house.  Because it can't fly well, my littlest (now 6) can hold it often.  She is so gentle and careful with it.

It seems to be able to eat as it's stayed alive for a few days so far.  We have seen it on apples in its butterfly house so assume that apple is it's favorite.  You can see the crinkled wing.  Some of the legs and an antennae is messed up too.  My daughter said that when it dies she wants to pin it even though it's wing is crinkled and it's imperfect (for pinning). I guess she wants one on her wall like her big sister.

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