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Empathy Unit Second Semester

Weeks 9-10

We spent lots of time today thinking about impulse control, particularly highlighting puppies and babies/toddlers. We shared stories as we joined David in the world of "NO." It was a terrific discussion!

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Weeks 5-6

We looked at another set of photos. We WONDERED OUT LOUD about the girl. She looked like she had a problem, and we tried to guess what it was. We looked at her face and body, and at what was right next to her. Then we looked a little further away and noticed a group of other kids. We made more guesses. We watched as she tried to solve her problem, as she tried to meet the group of kids, but then they got distracted by an ice cream truck. After that, I read a wonderful story called The Invisible Boy.

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Empathy Unit Continued: Impulse Control, Weeks #3-4

We tried to understand the difficulty of more children in our photo stories and imagine what they might do to solve them. We discussed trades to help when two kids want the same book or toy, and looked again at what happens when someone feels left out. Is it up to them to join in, or is it up to the group to notice and invite her?  

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We read about a baby with a problem that she couldn't communicate and her efforts to have her Daddy notice. 

Empathy Unit Continued: Impulse Control, Weeks #1-2

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We moved into the second part of our Emotional Intelligence Focus Group and began to investigate impulse control. We talked about ways we control our impulses, and what emotions make it particularly tricky to do that. We talked about how slowing down can almost always help, and that breathing in slowly is a powerful tool for slowing down and gaining control.

We looked at a boy in our photo story and imagined what he might be feeling, why, and what problem he needed to solve.

As we zoomed out to see more of the scene, we had more information to work with, and we imagined what he might feel or want, what he might say or do next.. We imagined what we might say to him. We also imagined what might happen if he acted impulsively. 

Finally, we read a bit about what the story said about what he wanted, and we followed him as he approached the other children. He wanted to join in their play, and he not only got up the courage to approach them, but he also did three things BEFORE he asked if he could play:

  1. He got down to eye level with the other children who were digging in the sand.
  2. He asked them what they were doing.
  3. He said something nice about what they were doing.

THEN, he asked if he could play. We talked about how this might be effective, and shared our experiences of how it can feel to want to join in, or to maybe not want someone to join in. We were pretty happy that he got the courage to go over to the other kids, and that it looked like they were willing to let him join in. 

Finally, we enjoyed the book The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey and Don Wood. We looked at how his actions came from his emotions, and how the narrator, by telling the Little Mouse about the Big Hungry Bear, got the Little Mouse to share half of his strawberry by acting quickly from fear and nervousness. Mostly, we just loved this perfectly satisfying and lyrical picture book. And, we all wanted strawberries!

2014-2015 Monday Literacy Inquiry and Empathy Focus

New Squirt Inquiry Group


 

Greenscreen Filmmaking:

Squirt Inquiry with Deb

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May, 2015: We worked on our Meanwhile films and learned a thing or two about using the greenscreen. Come see our movies at the OAEC Film Festival on June 5th. See the homepage for details!

 

 

April 6: We looked at some of the film I'm currently editing from my last group to see what's possible for greenscreen work and to get a glimpse of iMovie. We investigated the iPad camera and tripod.

 

Next week we'll begin a funny film inspired by the book Meanwhile. The kids are welcome to bring in a thumb drive with film from home or to email me short clips or photos that we can use as our backdrop, making small things large or large things small...they thought of kittens, fish tanks, geckos, and even baby sisters. 

 

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Storycraft:

Making Stories Together

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March 23

We filmed the story today with the Green Screen. Come see the film at the Ocean Alternative Film Festival on June 5th

March 9

Nancy kept running through the walls of ice and snow and into fire and flame.... she tripped over something lying on the ground. It was Edward. “Come on, Edward,” said Nancy.

 

"I think they're following me," Edward panted.

 

"Me too, probably.... There they are," Nancy said.  From behind Edward they could see the fire-creature guard loping toward them a long way off. From behind Nancy, they could see the ice-creature soldier sliding over the ice. "I will fight the fire one, you fight the cold one!"

 

"Let's fight with the swords!"

 

"I don't think they are swords, ‘cause they don't feel like swords."

 

Edmond looked at the long curved bone-like thing in his hand. "I think it is a tooth!"

 

“It is MY tooth,” growled a loud, scratchy voice. Nancy and Edward stood back to back, the tooth swords raised, and looked around. Flames leapt everywhere, and from a fiery bit of rock more words came: “That snow sword is mine and the flame sword is my sister’s, and they are our teeth.” They saw the head, and then the body of a giant dragon, completely surrounded by a wall of flames.

 

As the dragon spoke, flames curled around his mouth, yet he did not move from where he perched on the small outcrop of rock. “My name is Fire Shard,” he said, “and I am a prisoner here. I cannot quench the flames enough to leave.”

 

Nancy felt the cool surface of the dragon tooth in her hand. “I have an idea,” she said. She lifted the tooth sword and slashed through the flames that surrounded the dragon. The flames sizzled and went out.

 

“Can you please give us a ride back to our home?” Edward said.

 

“First we must get my sister. She is trapped in the ice,” Fire Shard said. “Climb aboard!”

 

They climbed onto his back and he spread his wings. They rose into the air, above the flames and lava and began to fly back toward the ice, over the heads of the angry guards. From the dragon’s back they could see a tower rising from the tunnels and walls of ice. Fire Shard landed on the snow next to the tall tower.

 

“Brother?” someone said. The children looked and saw that trapped in the ice was another, even bigger dragon.

 

“Icicle,”  Fire Shard said to her, “we’ve come to get you out.”

 

“But the ice is too strong,” she said. “Even my flame cannot melt it.”

 

Edward felt the bone tooth grow warm in his hands. “I found this in the fire,” he said. He swung it at the ice encasing his sister and the ice began to melt. Soon, Icicle was free.

 

The two dragons roared and flew and embraced and danced for joy to be free. Nancy knelt before Fire Shard and offered him her sword. “This belongs to you,” she said.

 

Edward too, knelt, and offered his sword to Icicle. “This one is yours,” she said.

 

“We better get going,” said Edward.

 

“Can you please give us a ride back home?” Nancy said.

 

They made it back home and as they landed in the woods near the house Nancy and Edward climbed off the dragons’ backs.

 

“We must return to our land to free the other dragons,” Fire Shard said.

 

“Can’t you stay here for awhile? We can return with you!” said Edward.

 

“Yes,” said Nancy, “we will borrow your teeth and help you free your familiy and friends.”

 

“But for now,” Edward said, “you are too big!”

 

The dragons began to shrink.

 

“Do you have a place for us to hide while we are here?” said Fire Shard.

 

Nancy and Edward looked at one another and smiled. Together they said, “You can wait in the pajama drawer!”


The End.

March 2, 2015

More on the story:

Nancy pulled herself up and grabbed the bar on the ceiling. She held onto the bar with one hand and with the curved bone sword she cut the ropes from her feet. She sliced the bars of the cave and freed herself. She ran and she ran and she ran. All around she saw ice crystals and a flat land of snow. With the long sword thing in her hand she leapt and glided faster than she could believe. 

As Edward ran through volcanoes and flame, he tripped and fell. Meanwhile, back at the fire cave the man-like fire soldier arrived to torture Edward. The fire soldier went out the hole in the wall and saw miles of flames, and NO Edward.

Nancy kept running through the walls of ice and snow and into fire and flame.... she tripped over something lying on the ground. It was Edward.

They decided to fight back. "I think they're following me," Edward panted.

"Me too, probably.... There they are," Nancy said.  "I will fight the fire one, you fight the cold one!"

"Let's fight with the swords!"

"I don't think they are swords, cause they don't feel like swords."

Edmond looked at the long curved bone-like thing in his hand. "I think it is a tooth!"

February 23, 2015

Today we had a big crowd. We read the story aloud and made some more decisions about it. Here's what we have now:

Once upon a time a kid was very bored and his name was Edward. He had a sister, Nancy. Every night, new pajamas appeared in their drawer and they put them on and crawled into bed. Until one day, Nancy was so tired she had forgotten to put her p.j.'s on. She woke up and called for Edward. He didn't answer. She went into the sitting room and there saw Edaward in his pajamas, frozen in a block of ice.

Nancy screamed, "Aaaaaaahhhhh!" She went to touch the ice but when she touched it, it didn't feel like ice. it felt like his pajamas. Because of that she ran back to her room, pulled open her drawer and put on the new pajamas she found there. The minute she put on her pajamas, she froze into a block of ice but felt no cold. She found herself in a magical world. 

"You're gonna get killed, Lady," she heard. Nancy blinked and saw a giant ice castle and a huge man-like creature in diamond armor who grabbed her by her shirt and threw her into an ice dungeon cell. Back where Edward was, a fire-armored, man-eating soldier said, "You're going in the fire dungeon, Boy." He grabbed Edward by his shirt and dragged him to the fire cave and hung him from his feet. 

Nancy was hanging by her feet from a pole just below the ceiling of the ice cave. She saw something shining, sticking out of the icy wall of the cave. "Hey, what's that?" she said. She stretched and stretched and stretched. She could barely reach what looked like a sword hilt. She finally grabbed the hilt of what she thought was a sword. It came loose. She saw that it was wider than a normal sword and seemed to be made of bone.

Meanwhile, Edward was also hanging by his feet. He wiggled and struggled and got the straps on his feet loose and fell to the floor. He saw a fiery, shiny thing on the floor of the cave. He picked up the object and swung it like a sword. He could have sworn it looked and felt like it was made of bone. "Hey, this looks like a tooth!"


Edward took the sword and cut a hole in the rock of the cave. He leapt through the flames and he ran and he ran and he ran.

February 2, 2015

We tried a copywork exercise for a sentence from our story: Nancy saw a giant ice castle. We discussed the way that c, y, and g all get multiple sounds, how castle has a silent letter, ice has a silent e, and we examined which letters touch the sky and which go underground. We also worked more on our story, devising some possible plot developments involving dragons, baby dragon teeth, and an eventual solution for the predicaments to come! Stay tuned...

January 26, 2015

One group continued our story about the magic pajamas, while another picked an ending for a story they might write: And so the curse was lifted...

January 12, 2015

We started a story together using the "Once Upon a Time" story arc, and discussed writing and performing a play.

Once upon a time a kid was very bored and his name was Edward. He had a sister, Nancy. Every night, new pajamas appeared in their drawer and they put them on and crawled into bed. Until one day, Nancy was so tired she had forgotten to put her p.j.'s on. She woke up and called for Edward. He didn't answer. She went into the sitting room and there saw Edaward in his pajamas, frozen in a block of ice.

Nancy screamed, "Aaaaaaahhhhh!" She went to touch the ice but when she touched it, it didn't feel like ice. it felt like his pajamas. Because of that she ran back to her room, pulled open her drawer and put on the new pajamas she found there. The minute she put on her pajamas, she froze into a block of ice but felt no cold. She found herself in a magical world.

Jan. 5 2015

Storycraft: Squirt Inquiry with Deb

 

We started a new group today creating stories. We used a flipbook of ideas that suggested we make a comic strip story about a treasure chest that won't stay in one place. We practiced an oral storytelling structure and improv game to help understand how to build the basic arc of a "Once Upon a Time" story:

Once upon a time...

Every day...

Until one day....

Because of that...

Because of that....

Because of that...

Because of that....

Until Finally...