Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Ancient Egypt

Today I'm starting what will hopefully be my busiest period this year.  I started teaching a unit on Egypt for my elementary unit.  I taught this unit 7 years ago, so even though I knew this month would be really busy, I thought it would be okay, since I could just reuse the lessons I had already planned.  I asked for either 1st/2nd grade, 3rd/4th grade, or 5th/6th grade, which of course meant I was given the K-4/K-5 tier.  Ah well.  So I had to make new lesson plans, since what I had before was a little too complex for them, and it definitely was not easier for me.  But Micah was super excited to have me teach in his K-5 class!

Since I taught the first week of the unit, I figured we needed to start with a big picture of where Egypt is in the world.  Then we talked about the Nile River, and how important it was.  I made this lovely salt map to show them the desert, the Nile, the higher land to the south ("Upper" Egypt), the delta, and so on.  They colored a map themselves (some more enthusiastically than others, lol).  I'm sure they would have loved making a salt map themselves, but I just couldn't deal with the potential mess.  All the ideas I could find for Nile-related crafts involved dirt in foil pans with grass seed, and then flooding the dirt from a foil "river" in the middle, and I just didn't see that working well for this age either.  My friend Stephanie taught the first/second graders, and she did do this craft with them.  She said it was a stretch for the first graders, so I was glad I didn't attempt it!  We talked about the flooding, but who knows how much they will actually remember.
We talked a lot more about the Nile, and all they used it for--fishing, transportation, etc.  I had made a little reed boat out of bundles of raffia, which turned out well.  We floated that in the classroom sink, but honestly, I think the K-4 kids would just as soon played in the sink all morning long, boat or no boat, lol.

I had wanted a coloring page that went along with what we were talking about, and I searched and searched online for an appropriate one.  I could not find a single one.  The only one that was absolutely perfect was a picture some lady posted on her blog that her son had colored!  But it was exactly what I wanted, showing some boys fishing on a reed boat (like the model I had made!), with reeds on the shore line, and fighting off a hippo.  So Caleb suggested I print off that already-colored image, which I did, and then I sort of traced it onto a new piece of paper.  It turned out pretty well!
We ended up by talking about Moses, and I read the story from our Maxi and Mini Muffin Storybook Bible (Micah:  "Why did you read a night-time story to my class??").  Then we went on and talked about the plagues, especially the plagues of water turning into blood, and the frogs, since those 2 dealt with the Nile River.  The kids got a big kick out of the pictures I printed off to show them of the god of the Nile, with his crocodile head, and the god of fertility, with her frog head.  

It was fun, but I talked for 3 straight hours.  Then I came home and talked for 3 more straight hours because I had to teach life science and then biology.  I need to remember that I absolutely can't teach at TNT in the fall semester in years when I am teaching biology or AP biology.  All the difficult concepts are packed into this semester, and there's too much prep work for me to add in other teaching on top of it.  Today for biology I had to cover mitosis and meiosis, which can be tricky concepts.  I had to do a ton to prepare for that class, not to mention all the Egypt prep.  We only covered half the chapter, and we'll work on a ton of genetics problems on Thursday.  I aide at TNT next week, have one week off, teach again, and then co-lead the big 5th week activity, all while keeping up with Rivendell classes (and hoping everyone else keeps up with school as well around here--probably not Micah though, realistically).  Gah.

While all that is going on, Luke's college applications are due November 1.  This was my first time with the Common App, so there was a learning curve with that.  I think the only thing I have left to submit is the counselor's letter, but there are some other loose ends with other applications to tie up as well.  I'm taking him on an overnight college visit next week that we scheduled a long time ago.  Again, of course it would end up being during this busiest of all times!

And other random things are happening in these next few weeks as well.  I have to submit Box Tops by Nov. , which involves trimming them and packing them in baggies of 50.  I'm having the annual moms' pasta dinner at our house in 2 weeks.  It seems like everything is happening in the next few weeks for me!  I keep thinking that if I can just make it to Thanksgiving, I'll be good.  But that means Christmas is right around the corner, and I haven't given one single thought to presents!  Trying not to stress . . . just breathe . . .

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