Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ancient Egypt

Well as I think I have indicated it's been all about Egypt lately in my classroom. The kids are all doing projects about Ancient Egypt. They are all reading literature circle books about some aspect of Ancient Egypt. The groups just meet once a week but the kids are enjoying reading what others are reading. The groups give everyone an opportunity to share their thoughts about the books. Most of the kids are also reading other books at the same time as well.

Last year my grade sevens begged for lit circles and the grade sixes at the time were doing a novel study with our resource teacher so I decided that lit circles could be a grade seven activity. Our teacher librarian and I were able to find sufficient books on an Egypt theme in the school so that there are a couple of extra copies if kids finish early but this time they seem happy to set their reading goals and stay together as groups. I think all the novels will be finished Friday so we can do a switch then. I may later have more lit circles not on any particular theme.

The kids do agree that the novels are giving them another look in a different way about what they are studying. I think lit circles are also good in that forces kids into books they might not normally read. And for the most part they are enjoying all the books. Some of them at first appeared a bit old and perhaps a little dated (for instance, The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder), but the kids are enjoying them regardless. It's also interesting because my kids weren't familiar with the story of Moses that is the basis of another book, The Pharoah's Daughter. This book is not an easy read so that it is good I have some rather good readers.

A real bonus for the research was a website I literally stumbled upon when I was doing research for my french unit. The Canadian Museum of Civilization has an online Mysteries of Egypt Exhibit with great additional web resources.

Neither Alanna nor myself had yet done a close scrutiny of their notes for their projects so I decided Thursday to get them to write Ten Amazing Facts about whatever they were studying e.g. pyramids, Gods and Goddesses, ancient Egyptian geography etc. For the most part it seems like they have learned quite a bit. They are going to change these into mini books and they can be part of their multimedia presentations. Needless to say poster board and plasticine have been secured as well. My grade sixes last year were incredibly creative so that I am curious to see what they and their other classmates are going to come up with this time. Stay tuned!

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