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    Class Summary for 9/10/2018

    Hello Upper Grammar Humanities families!

    What an amazing day!
    Always on the first day, there are rules, expectations and procedures to go over, so we didn’t get through everything. However, there was certainly a lot of good learning happening today. Here’s an update…

    I explained how we will be doing our timeline in class. They have them to keep with them. It should result in a very special product that they can keep and develop for a long time.

    We introduced our first IEW lesson. Everyone seemed to get the concept of the key word outline. Page 13 in the IEW book explains what to do this week. We did Day 1 by reading page 14 together and creating a key word outline. As we created our outline (which I will send the picture), we tested our outline by creating sentences that were different than the original sentences. Next week, they will only have to do an “oral report” instead of writing. This will be their only week without writing, so that is an easy introduction for this week. Read the read of page 13, and please let me know if there is confusion.

    Some students (Shaina, Luke and Josiah) were given a second source to practice a second key word outline. It is not necessary. Since all students will present something and some students were used to doing key word outlines already, I thought it would be good to create some variety. 😉

    I supplied them with a set of flashcards. Most lessons will have vocabulary to know and to use in their writing. They can either use the set at the back of the book, or they can use the set I gave them so that can create them on their own.

    We only did two of the lessons in their Grammar books. We started some of their activities so that they knew what to do. You all should have the teacher’s guide in order to complete the remaining 2 lessons. I will do my best to get through all 4 lessons each week so that you can do the activities with them and review what we’ve learned. My intent is not to send them home to complete assignments with concepts that they haven’t learned. Please let me know if you don’t understand anything in the lessons.

    We had some time to discuss the Egyptian Diary book. We will continue that discussion next week as well as the rest of the book. You only need to read to p.88. The rest of the book has information about Ancient Egypt and their customs. We will be learning about those things during this block, so if they would like to read up on that, feel free. But they only need to read to p.88. After that we will be starting on Tirzah. I understand that reading can be a challenge for some. If making the book a read-aloud works better for you, feel free. We are going for a love of learning and of literature, so making it a struggle could defeat that purpose. You get to make that choice. I read aloud some books and not others with my son just so you know. ❤️

    Ancient history can be pretty hard for some young minds to comprehend. I will be sensitive, but we will discuss some things to get them thinking. One student mentioned the gods and goddesses, and another mentioned the violence. I redirected that back a little biblical history along with how life might look the farther away people get from God. I anticipate some good discussion.

    What to accomplish this week:
    Literature – Finish reading Egyptian Diary through p.88. I will provide some questions soon.
    IEW – prepare “oral report” for Monday (p. 13 explains it all)
    Grammar – Lessons 1-4
    History – For now, if you would like to read (or reread) Exodus with your students, that would be a great preparation for our next book.

    I apologize for any incongruent thoughts. My brain is pretty tired. 😴 Always feel free to contact me. My number is 623-680-2059, or you can reach me by email.

    Love, Melana


    Class Summary for 9/17/2018

    Hello Upper Grammar Humanities Parents!

    Congratulations to everyone as they all did very well on sharing their oral report. We did the next lesson’s Key Word Outline (Lesson 2) together, and they will be writing from those KWO’s this week. I introduced our first “dress-up”, which is the -ly adverb. In their final draft, be sure to include -ly adverbs (we agreed on 3-4 of them) as well as their vocabulary. They now have 8 vocabulary words that they can use. 😉

    They were also handed a Student Resource Packet to have in their binders. This will be used frequently in our writing. If you want to get them a 1/2 inch binder so as to have a separate place to keep their resource packets, it may be a good idea. I did that 2 years ago, and I love that it is separate and portable.

    Some thoughts or suggestions for your student regarding IEW: It’s ok if you are his/her scribe. Let him/her tell you what to write from their KWO. Some will write straight from their KWO, and that’s perfectly fine, too. I personally have found what works for us which is the following: they do the KWO, they dictate what to write, I write it, they type it if desired, they add all of their decorations and dress-ups, and then they write or type their final draft. Josiah doesn’t need to dictate to me anymore, but he definitely did initially. You are the parent, so you get to choose what works best for them. I guess, as long as they are the creator of the product. I hope that makes sense.

    Regarding Grammar, for most it appeared that Lesson 4 was a challenge. We went over some of it in class, and I hope they feel better. This week they will do Lessons 5-8. Let me know if I can help.

    I showed the students several slides of ancient Egyptian lifestyle, including toys, games, and some family dynamics. The students were highly engaged and full of questions. Granted, I don’t know all of the answers, but I encourage them to do some research and see what else they may find. My hope was to introduce a game called Senet and let them play as an Egyptian child would play. Time was tight (as usual), so I sent the copies home with them to create and to hopefully play. You might ask them what they remember. You can ask them about the lotus flower, how toys were the same and different, what it would’ve been like to visit the doctor, and what they learned about lifestyle based on the hieroglyphic drawings we saw.

    I hope everyone enjoyed the book Egyptian diary. I know I’ve said before that I just really enjoy how much can be learned about the culture through a fictional, easy-to-read children’s book. Based on some of the conversations we’ve had, it sounds like the students learned a lot. As always, I wish we had more time to dive into it more. They also saw drawings of scribes in our slideshow, and we talked a little about education opportunities and lack thereof. There will be more on the culture each week. Please feel free to explore books and the Internet and movies to immerse them in what they can learn about ancient Egypt.

    I did have a challenge in finding a book for this block because of maturity content as well as difficulty in understanding and/vocabulary. Some others you may check into are:

    A Place in the Sun
    The Cat of Bubastes
    The Golden Goblet
    The Mystery of the Egyptian Scroll
    The Pyramid
    Peeps at Many Lands: Egypt

    I share that all with you in case you would like additional reading. I don’t know how much extra time you have, but I just wanted to share that.

    We are now starting Tirzah. I really hope the students enjoy it as much as I did. It’s about a 12 year old girl experiencing the events of Exodus. I think that reading the book of Exodus around the same time can really help the Bible come alive. I took the boys to see that movie Moses on Thursday. That was truly powerful and very well done. Josiah is still talking about parts of that movie. It’s always wonderful to watch them make connections with other things that they are learning.

    So, somethings to be working on:
    Read chapters 1-7 of Tirzah
    Write their paragraphs for IEW on Lesson two. Be sure to include -LY adverbs and vocabulary
    Create the game Senet and play it with someone
    Grammar lessons 5-8

    I plan to read some tales and talk about gods/goddesses as well as pharaohs. The amount of information out there on Ancient Egypt is endless. Here are some possible topics to research if you would like:
    LIfe of a child

    So much of the time the basic information is repeated in nearly every resource, but if they dig deeper, they can get a bigger picture and a better understanding. They might consider making a another game or toy like a doll. Too ambitious? LOL We will not have that kind of time this week, but some of you might like to run with the idea. I do caution everyone though since I ran across some disturbing information about the ancient Egyptian culture.

    I hope you have a great week! Let me know how I can help!

    Love, Melana


    Class Summary for 9/24/2018

    Hello Upper Grammar Families!

    We started our day with a continuation of Exodus 20. We have been working through it this block. It’s important that they bring their copy back each week. It fits perfectly with our Egypt theme and our book Tirzah.

    I hope you have enjoyed Tirzah as much as I have. Based on our class conversation today about the book, it sounds like they are enjoying it and understanding it for the most part. There is so much to discuss about the book. Josiah and I have had some of the best discussions and bible studies, actually, because of the questions that he is coming up with. I hope you are seeing at least a little of that curiosity coming out. We had some deep thoughts come up today (I LOVE THAT!!). So, since there is never enough time, they may have a lot more to say at home.

    They will be reading chapters 8-14 this week. I know time is precious, but our conversations will be so much more meaningful is the reading is completed. Keep up the great work!

    I also read an Egyptian tale about how they believe the earth was created. This led to some discussion about their gods and goddesses. There is definitely more discussion to be had. I had the question this morning during assembly about why we need to learn about those other gods. There are SO many reasons for studying other cultures and their beliefs. I addressed it briefly, but maybe you can expand on that further at home.

    We did lesson 3 for IEW today. There are no new skills to be learned. We reviewed -ly adverbs and also our vocabulary. They did their KWO’s with a partner today (which I wasn’t sure how that would turn out), and they did great and seem to really understand how to do it. The lessons will get more difficult, but based on what I saw today, they are working at the right levels. They will include -ly adverbs and vocabulary again this week. Our lessons have been on the Seven Wonders for the Ancient World, and they have been interesting to all of us to learn a little about. Maybe it will inspire some future research or connections with other learning. Maybe? 😉

    We did not get to review our grammar, but I did get a chance to ask them how it was going. With the exception of having enough time during the week to get everything done, I did not hear any concerns about anything being too difficult. Please let me know if that is otherwise. I know that some lessons take longer than others, but so far, they have not been overly difficult. I think the book does a decent job of incorporating review throughout the lessons. I will try to do a review next week and assess what areas they are struggling with. Plus, pretty soon, there will be a Review lesson to complete at home as well.

    In 3 weeks, we will be having our first symposium. This time our class will be performing a skit. There are 6 parts and 6 students. I sent home the script with them to look it over and decide what roles might interest them. If you could email me their top three choices, I will see if I can accommodate everyone. If your student doesn’t care, then let me know that, too. Some are more particular than others. 😂 Be thinking of ways that you could “dress up” for the roles. They are all male roles, but I do not expect or want bare-chested boys. And there is no need to go crazy and buy costumes. There are some simple crafts that you can find to make tunics, jewelry and/or headdresses. I have a few ideas if you need them.

    I also suggested a book called Gilgamesh the King. It’s a mythological picture book from Ancient Mesopotamia. It’s actually a trilogy, but I would not suggest the other two unless you do not mind books dealing darker themes like the underworld. 😬 You can find it on youtube. I would preview first, but you may enjoy showing it to your kiddos.
    Here’s a link:

    Regarding planners, only a few students are being consistent with writing down their assignments in their planners. I haven’t worked diligently with them but have reminded them and wrote down their work for the week. I plan to “teach” my son more deliberately at home. It takes practice, but it’s a worthwhile skill. I will continue to remind them, but they need to take the initiative. ❤️

    Regarding the timeline, I think Courtney did or is going to send a message showing you how to do it at home. In our history studies at home, we have learned about everything on the first page of timeline pictures, and so we have pasted all of those in our timeline. The idea is for them to learn something about a topic and then glue it in. There is a specific order to do it in. Again, I believe that will come from Courtney if it hasn’t already.

    Well, I hope this all makes sense. I’m available for you any time. Please use me. 😊

    Blessings to you all! Oh, and I’ll see (some of) you tomorrow. God bless!!


    Class Summary for 10/1/2018

    Hello Upper Grammar Families!

    We had a bit of a rough start with 3 students not having the copies of their copywork sheets. I provided them a copy of Exodus 20 that they have been working on throughout the block. I asked them to keep it in front of their binders so that they have it ready each Monday. This has been a challenge for them. I realize that this is their only class in which they are expected to keep their copywork. I don’t think it is too much to ask them to have that sheet stored. We are asking more of them in the area of responsibility, so it is a bit of a change. At any rate, I ask that the students make up for wasted time by doing some of their copywork at home. Please have them write through Exodus 20:11. I only ask that this be done so that the students take that copywork time seriously and are held accountable.

    Tirzah – We get to finish the book this week. Our family continues to have great bible studies pertaining to the lessons from the book, especially on faith, God fighting our battles for us, consequences, racism, etc. We are watching Charlton Heston’s Ten Commandments now and comparing Tirzah and the Bible (and the movie Moses that we saw two weeks ago).

    History – We did a slideshow on pharaohs and hieroglyphics to whet their appetites. I handed out a packet that they can read about the different famous pharaohs. I was asked if they had to do it. This is always a tricky question because ultimately you as the parent get to decided what you can get done during the week. I say, “yes,” that they should do what they are given, but I also understand that you have your own curriculum, too. I think the activities are fun and informative. However, I asked that they do not do the hieroglyphics pages yet because I want to do that in class with a classmate next week.

    If you would like to have some interactive website time on Egypt, I have a website that you can check out here:

    Grammar – We went over subject pronouns and subject vs. predicates. They said that they are understanding their homework, but many had not grasped these concepts yet, FYI. This week’s work is chapters 13-16. There is a Review 1 section just before this. I highly encourage doing this this week as well. I will have my son doing it although he seems to have understood most things. I like to use it as a assessment.

    They were given a laminated sheet of grammar terms. When going over their definitions at home as the script dictates, please refer to the laminated sheet when having them repeat the definitions. These are the memory work definitions/lists from all three cycles of the English memory work. It will be so much more helpful for them to know one consistent definition.

    IEW – We started Lesson 4 this week. The Key Word Outline is the same format as before. I asked that they complete their key word outline on their own this week. For accountability, I asked them to have you take a picture of their KWO outline and send it to me. We learned about who/which clauses as well as how to create a title for their papers. We practiced these concepts from the IEW book on pages 36-37. You can go over it again with them if you feel it necessary. Next week we will be starting a different type of outline format.

    Play – All of the students received their parts yesterday. Please practice your lines. I would love to have the students memorize their lines, but if it is discovered to be too difficult, I won’t hold them to it. It would be such a better presentation though. We will practice on Monday. Please consider some type of appropriate attire for the part. Mostly men just wore white tunics. There are countless sites and Pinterest ideas on how to do this simply. Please let me know if you have problems or concerns doing this. Thank you. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun!

    Some classroom expectations that we are working on:
    – raise your hand
    – think through what you want to say before you raise your hand and assess whether it is pertinent to the conversation
    – work along with me and the classmates. Going ahead just to get something completed causes the student to miss out on what is going on in the class. For example, I had some students trying to complete their KWO when they needed to complete it at home, but then they were not paying attention to the grammar lesson.

    Tirzah – Chapter 14-21
    History – worksheets about Pharoahs and explore website if so desired
    Grammar – Chapters 13-16, and Review 1 if so desired
    IEW – Lesson 4
    – include vocabulary, at least 3-4 -ly adverbs, who/which clauses, and a title
    – send their KWO outline to me
    Copywork catch up
    Practice their lines for the play.

    I hope you all have a great week and can enjoy this rain safely.
    Love to you all!


    Class Summary for 10/8/2018

    Hello Upper Grammar Humanities Families!

    I will be sending out another email soon to you all, but just so that you can plan for your week, here is the work:

    Grammar Lessons 17-20 (this week), Lessons 21-24 and Review 2 (next week)
    We will be doing 2 weeks of Grammar of the Well-Trained Mind. This week’s work is Lessons 17-20, and next week’s work is Lessons 21-24 plus Review 2. I hope that you all can enjoy at least one week off of school work. Again, let me know if any help is needed.

    IEW – Lesson 5
    We started a new type of writing, and therefore a new type of outline. I knew this was going to take a significant amount of time today, and it did! We created most of our outline in class (and I will send a picture of it). I am letting them choose their moral/lesson (which is why the last line of the outline is left undone). Everyone had their opinion as to what the lesson/moral should be, so it will be left to them (or you). They need to incorporate who/which clauses (one of each at least), -ly adverbs (at least 4), vocabulary, and a title. They stories that they shared today were wonderful! Great job!

    Black Ships Before Troy – Read Chapters 1-5. I will hand out a study guide on Monday.

    Practice Play parts A LOT! Remember to be animated! Writing their lines on notecards would be ideal.

    Hieroglyphics copies


    Class Summary for 10/29/18

    Hello Upper Grammar Humanities Families!

    It was a great start to our next block. This block we will focus on Ancient Greece.

    I loved that our history and geography memory work today was about Greece! It tied into our class so nicely. Our copywork was “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom,” by Socrates. We had a nice discussion about what that might mean. Since Ancient Greeks are known for their love of philosophy, we will be engaging in some philosophical discussions this block. Good stuff.

    I was able to introduce to them a little about Greece and used a slideshow to show interesting and beautiful pictures of Greece. Mr. Graves shared about a placed called Santorini that was formed from a very violent volcano. That may be an interesting subject to research.

    Our introduction of Greece helped to tie into our book, Black Ships Before Troy. They seemed to have understood the story well so far. Chapters 1 and 2 were the most detailed and challenging because of the need to establish the setting with all of the Greek and Trojan characters. We are off to a great start. I haven’t told them that Troy lost yet. I thought that it might spoil the ending for them. 😊

    We progressed into our next IEW lesson, number 6. I introduced a new dress-up (strong verbs) and a new decoration (alliterations). We had some creative fun coming up with examples of both.

    Ok, now, regarding Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind…I have assigned the work as I normally have, and I will continue to do so. It’s great curriculum for the varying grade levels in the class. AND it will be repeated for 3 years. They may not get everything the first time around, but they will see the same type of lessons for 3 cycles. Feel free to abbreviate the lessons if needed. The ideal is to have time to complete all the assigned lessons. The second choice would be to do each lesson but only do part of the activities to at least gain exposure. However, it has been a lot of work to manage for some. In class, I will do a 10 minute lesson on something from those chapters, but I will approach it as a teaching/reviewing time. I will take the opportunity to review English memory work definitions/lists and/or lessons from Classical Conversations Trivium Table.

    For example, today we reviewed what we knew about noun attributes (common, proper, singular, plural, abstract, concrete, collective and compound). It is addressed in the Grammar book as well as on the Trivium Table. So, if you have found the work too much to keep up, they will still be getting review in the class.

    I’ve said this often, but you are your child’s teacher. If life gets in the way of getting all those “checklists” completed, you need to feel free to make the most restful decision for your family. With that said, our group serves the great purpose of accountability and is an opportunity to hold them to high standards. I will still write the assignment for everyone. I just ask that if you decide to slow down on the grammar, that it is not something brought up in class. I will still involve all students in the class lesson, but the book lessons don’t have to be completed in order to get something out of our class time. I hope that makes sense.

    I hope you have a beautiful, restful yet productive week. 😉 As always, let me know how I can help.
    Blessings! Melana

    IEW Lesson 6
    – Ly adverbs
    – Who/which
    – Title
    – Strong verbs
    – Alliteration
    Grammar Lessons 25-28
    Black Ships Before Troy chapters 6-9
    – complete study guide for chapters 6-9
    – research Santorini
    – I sent home a list of Greek/Roman gods to get familiar with. Twelve of them are Olympian gods. Which ones are they? Research 2 of them to share what they’ve learned.


    Class Summary for 11/5/2018

    Hello Upper Grammar Humanities Families!

    Our copywork was a quote from Greek philosopher Aristotle: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

    They read their papers on Croc and Croak. Their papers are sounding so much more expressive and creative. I love it!

    We proceeded with Lesson 7 and learned how to include conversations (quotations) and the because clause. Quotations were new for some. In the Student Resource Packet (p153), there are some rules that may help them. Also in the IEW book, on p.60-61, there are some activities that may be helpful to review our dress-ups and decorations.

    I am getting the sense that the students are close to being ready to do their outlines by themselves. They are starting to disagree with each other as to what should be on the outline. 😆 Please let me know if you feel our student is or is not ready to do their whole outline on their own. There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong to what they deem important to go into their papers, but I want them to feel empowered to write what they want.

    For today’s grammar, we reviewed the Noun Attributes again. Maybe you can review the different attributes to help reinforce. (Common, Proper, Concrete, Abstract, Singular, Plural, Collective, Compound). We also addressed the because clause and conversations earlier, which all combined made for a lot of grammar. So, no new concepts today.

    Oh, and then the fun I had in our discussion about Black Ships Before Troy as well as about Ancient Greece!! Oh my goodness! I could talk history and literature all day! They had lots of thoughts and opinions about the way Greeks lived and practiced their religious beliefs. Last week I suggested that they do some research about the Olympian gods and choose two that they thought were interesting to share about. I think it is a good idea for them to be familiar with the importance of each god as it will help with their understanding of their book and about Ancient Greece in general. I wrote on the board several important timeline facts to help them understand the time frame of when Homer wrote The Iliad. I encourage you all to look into more history of Ancient Greece, including the Minoans and Mycenaeans, which we discussed today. There are several interactive websites on Ancient Greece and books, of course. I’ll try to send some links in case you are interested.

    I only assigned 3 chapters this week. Hopefully you all can get caught up if you’re behind.

    IEW Lesson 7
    – include because clause, conversation, strong verbs (say/said and go/went are banned), title, -ly adverbs, alliteration, who/which
    – Lessons 29-32
    Black Ships Before Troy
    – Chapters 10-12

    – research/exploration of Ancient Greece and gods/goddesses
    – review Noun Attributes
    – p. 60-61IEW


    Class Summary for 11/12/2018

    Hello Upper Grammar Humanities Families!

    We got into some philosophy today by learning about Socrates and the Socratic Method. We tried our hands at such discussion questions like: What is truth? What is success? And then we had some discussion about the gods and goddesses, which is the kind of question that got Socrates into trouble and ultimately led to his death. We will continue to learn the Socratic method as well as learn how to lead a discussion for the littles at the next symposium. I sent a paper home to read about Socrates. There is another paper to answer Socratic questions. Have fun!

    Our copywork was by Socrates:
    The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.
    (Another good discussion had here. 😉)

    We skipped Lesson 8 in IEW for two reasons: 1) there wasn’t anything new to learn in this lesson AND 2) it was about the Trojan horse which would give away the ending of the book that we are reading. 😆

    Therefore, we have started a new type of writing which is called Summarizing a Reference. We did the outline together, since it is a new style. Some parts of the outline is simple because the source itself is not super complex. After we read the source, I asked them to tell me 1) what was the story about in just a couple of words (meaning of tantalize) and 2) what was not important to the story (what Tantalus did to make the gods angry with him. We also talked about the topic sentence (which tells the reader what the story is going to be about without saying, ‘I’m going to tell you…”) and the clincher, which needs to repeat or reflect 2-3 key words from the topic sentence. They are to present their papers at the next class. They are to include the same dress-ups and decorations as before while including the topic and clincher.

    We discussed our book quite a bit and had a few discussions from the study guide. We’ve got some good thinkers. 😉 Since we have two weeks before returning, please finish up through chapter 15. We are on track to finish by the end of the block. Hopefully everyone will be able to get caught up in order to enjoy the discussions. Just be aware of some tough parts, like the end of Chapter 11.

    ~ I challenged them to make a sentence (He fell.) more interesting by:
    – Using a strong verb
    – Add an -ly
    – Add an alliteration
    – Add a who/which clause
    – Add a because clause
    (Example: Because he carelessly leaned his chair too far back, the boy, who had not listened to the teacher’s wise words of warning, toppled over and wailed in despair. 🤣)
    The students were taking too long and saying it was too hard. ??? Josiah did it, but he is used to the curriculum. I told them that they had to do it at home and bring it in next Monday.

    ~ IEW – Lesson 9, all previous dress-ups and decorations, include topic and clincher sentences.
    ~ Grammar – Lessons 33-36
    ~ BSBT – Chapters 12-15, including Study Guide

    Love to you all!
    Happy Thanksgiving!


    Class Summary for 11/26/2018

    Hello Upper Grammar Humanities Families!

    We started with a quote by Plato and discussed it with the Socratic Method. We tried out the Socratic Method with the following questions:
    – What makes people happy?
    – Why do we have rules in our world?
    – What would it be like if everyone were the same?
    Some other questions they may like to practice with:
    – Do you think all people are basically good?
    – What is the best form of education/teaching?
    – Is there value in war?
    – What is the best form of government?

    They came up with more that may be good possibilities for their symposium. They will be facilitating a Socratic discussion with the rest of the students.
    – What does success look like?
    – What is the ideal future?
    – What is the purpose of life?
    – Why be good?
    – What is the purpose of laws?
    – And we are working on a question for the Ten Commandments…

    I asked them to come up with a few good ones that could use for symposium.

    The Socratic method is the way Socrates led his discussions, which is by asking questions. I posed the question “What makes people happy?” They started with family and things, and our discussion evolved into God, relationships, love, peace, etc. It was a great example! Have fun exploring this with your student!

    We will also do another station for the symposium at which they will share about gods/goddesses and myths. I was thinking of Arachne and the Weaving Contest. I will send the myth and activity I am thinking about by text. Our family has been reading myths aloud these past couple of weeks. It’s been an all around good experience as we can see how the gods/goddesses mess with the mortals and demonstrate such irrational character. I have a book of Literature Pockets: Greek and Roman Myths. I can send those myths as well if you need some age appropriate myths. Some myths are pretty awful, in my opinion.

    Our book Black Ships Before Troy has been an excellent example of how the gods like to mess with the humans’ lives. I would say that the students have understood well what they have read. We reviewed our questions and engaged in some discussion (unfortunately, their answers were left at home, so we had to go off of memory. It went alright, but maybe next week they can bring them in.) They will finish the book and study guide this week. I thought that we were going to have 2 weeks to finish the 4 chapters, but since symposium day has moved, we will have to finish our block next week.

    We did a grammar lesson on prepositions and prepositional phrases. I showed them how valuable it can be to know their prepositions in diagramming by diagramming a complex sentence. It really simplifies the process. I asked them to finish the chart at home.

    Today for IEW, we read and discussed Archimedes of Lesson 10. There are several videos that they could watch to see Archimedes’ inventions. I’ll attach a few, but there is a lot out there!

    They are no longer allowed to use “good, bad, big, and little” in their papers. On page 106-108 in the Student Resource Packet, there are lists of “quality adjectives” in place of those banned adjectives.

    We did not complete the outline this time, but I did send the answer key by text. This unit is working on Summarizing a Reference. They are not to use all of the information. They are to “some”-arize. They get to choose what is interesting or important. The answer key is just an example. I would not expect it to match your student’s outline. I asked them what they believe the theme is: a) inventions, b) math genius, c) how Archimedes has effected history, or d) something else. That may help them to narrow down what is important/interesting for their papers.

    Instead of writing everything on the board that should be included in their papers, I referred them to the checklist on page 83. The list of what’s needed is growing too long.

    IEW Lesson 10
    – refer to checklist on page 83 for requirements
    – Lessons 37-40
    – complete prepositions chart
    Black Ships Before Troy
    – finish book (chapters 16-19)
    – finish study guide
    Symposium idea preparation
    – ideas/questions for Socratic method station
    – possible myths/activities that they would like to do. If no ideas, we will do the one I have.

    Screw GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

    Lots of information this week. Let me know if need help, clarification, etc.


    Class Summary for 12/3/2018

    Hello Upper Grammar Humanities!

    What an exciting day for me, and hopefully for everyone!

    We had the most wonderful discussion about our book Black Ships Before Troy! I was really impressed with the depth of their thoughts and analyses. Besides the parts with gore, I think it was overall enjoyed. They had so many opinions, and they bounced off of each other and created such lively discussions! I LOVED LOVED LOVED it! I think we could have gone on for another half hour. The same author (Rosemary Sutcliffe) also wrote The Wanderings of Odysseus which is written like Black Ships Before Troy, but it’s a younger version of The Odyssey. If your student would like to read similar stories, that would be a good place to start.

    Now, we get to start Detectives in Togas! I will have study guide questions to take home next week. They only need to read pages 1-56, but since it’s a longer break, they are welcome to read more.

    We moved on to Lesson 11 in IEW about The Second Persian War. We are still in the Summarizing a Reference unit in our book. They are to determine what they determine is important or interesting in order to write their outline. I can’t tell them what they consider important or interesting, so they have to write their own outlines. They are going to have to learn to let some facts go. They are not to go by sentences now. They are to pick their ideas about which to write, and then they write the key words on the outline.

    The new dress-up is called “www.asia.wub”. This is an acronym for words that join an independent and dependent clause. I added “whereas” and “unless” to the dress ups in the book. In some IEW resources, the dress-up is “www.asia.b” and others say “www.asia.wub”. So, instead of learning something different down the road, I just told them the other two as well. On page 91, they will find their checklist to make sure they have covered everything in their writings. There are several activities through the last 11 chapters that practice all of the dress-ups and decorations that we have learned. Feel free to go over those if there is a need to practice.

    We also were able to do an Escape Room activity concerning Greek Philosophers. It was very fun. I will send you the answers to the codes for them to finish the packet if they want.

    Have a great week! Let me know how I can help! I love you and your precious ones!
    Love, Melana

    IEW – Lesson 11
    – optional to complete the activities through the past 11 lessons
    Detectives in Togas
    – Read pages 1-56
    Preparation for Symposium
    Both pairs (Bailey/Brody and Luke/Josiah) need to prepare for each station.
    One station is about the Socratic Method. They are responsible for leading the
    discussion using the Socratic Method and share who Socrates was and how he
    was important. The other is about myths, gods/goddesses and weaving. I sent
    home materials for them to prepare themselves for the parts of the symposium.
    They are prepping the weaving boards and scuttles as well as reading the
    given information. Their packets have the complete instructions how to weave
    and prepare their boards and the boards of their “students”. They need to
    weave their boards in order to have an example to show their students.
    Grammar – Lessons 41-44


    Hello Upper Grammar Humanities Families!

    We are beginning Ancient Rome this block! Such a fascinating time! Enjoy supplementing with books, internet, etc.

    We began with a quote from Titus Livy, a famous Roman historian: “Rome has grown since its humble beginnings that it is now overwhelmed by its greatness.”

    Ask your student if they can explain in their own words how Rome had humble beginnings. Several cultures that inhabited what is now Italy, were once from unique regions that all contributed to what became a massive, complex empire.

    The students read their IEW papers as well. If they could identify the requested components (i.e. strong verbs, alliterations, who/which, etc.), that would be great when we are sharing their examples with the class. Josiah types his and uses different highlighting to identify them. The students could highlight with markers or underline.

    Alexander the Great is a historical figure that they might enjoy looking into. I was thinking of reading the “Who Was Alexander the Great” book for a fun way to learn more about him. That’s what our IEW source text is about this week, but he was a Greek figure and we won’t have time to learn more about him. Our source texts for the next few weeks will be about Rome.

    We practiced our prepositions as we talked about how prepositional sentence openers can make our writing more interesting. On page 93, there were two paragraphs showing how they work.

    We did not do the key word outline together (only the topic sentence). We talked about the value in the rule “topic and clincher must repeat or reflect 2-3 key words”. A paragraph may even not be very well written, but if their topic and clincher follow that rule, then it looks/sounds like it is. 😉

    We were able to discuss our book!! Yay!! It’s been a very enjoyable for all (Luke? 😉), and they want to keep reading. I asked if they wanted to read more each day, but they weren’t so sure that they wanted to be required to. 🤣 We will read through page 118 (through chapter 11) and complete those chapters of the study guide. I asked them to keep an ongoing list of ways the book reveals Roman culture and differences (i.e. only boys go to school, temples to emperors, etc.). I forgot to write that on the board for their homework. Sorry. 😐

    I was able to share with them some facts about Ancient Rome. The three main periods of Rome are the kingdoms of Rome, the Rome Republic, and the Roman Empire. We read the story of Romulus and Remus and how it’s the legend of how Rome began. This was the start of the Roman kingdoms. I gave them a list of the kings of Rome and little about them, so they can read a little about them. Next week, we will get into the Roman Republic.



    (Not only links are great.)

    Grammar – Next four chapters and Review (48-51)
    IEW – Lesson 12, using 2 Prepositional sentence openers
    (use rubric on page 100)
    Detectives in Togas – Chapters 6-11
    Read and do study guide
    (Remember that the vocabulary does not need to be written out, but it will help them to figure out their meanings at least orally
    before they read in order to aid in comprehension. They don’t know that it is not required, so you as the parent can decide how
    you want to use the vocabulary)
    Keep an ongoing list of Roman culture seen in Detectives in Togas.

    We missed you, LUKE!
    As always, let me know if you need anything.
    Love, Melana


    Class summary for 1/14/2019

    Hello Upper Grammar Families!

    Another great day! It helps to have such awesome students! ❤️

    Our copywork: The old Romans all wished to have a king over them because they had not yet tasted the sweetness of freedom. – Titus Livy

    We compared the Romans’ desire for a king to the Israelites desire for a king.

    We read our IEW stories. Their writings are sounding quite advanced. 😉

    This week we have progressed to creative writing from 3 pictures. They seemed to really enjoy the creative side of this assignment. Since the pictures relate to the Roman aquaducts, we learned a bit about them as well as looked at pictures of amazing examples.

    No one wrote down their key word outline, but they all listened to get ideas. I took a picture, so you can see what they came up with. We added more than 3 words only because we were brainstorming. Everyone had different stories they came up with. They are to complete the key word outline at home and follow the rubric to complete their writings. I want to point out that their topic-clincher rule applies to each of the three paragraphs, as well as this important step: the very last clincher must follow the rule with the very first topic sentence in their paper. Hopefully that makes sense.

    I told them to read pages 33-39 in their Student Resource Packet as a form of review, but also there is a sample paper in there where they can see an example.

    We reviewed the Roman Kingdom and moved into the Roman Republic. They have a timeline that they are filling out along the way through our weekly discussions. They did great at using prior knowledge/understanding of governments/rules, and then comparing them with the Roman Republic. Such great learning! I sent home a packet on Rome. In there, they will find the 12 tables, which are the republic’s laws. We will discuss them next week. Please bring them back.

    Everyone is enjoying Detectives in Togas! They all have opinions as to who did it! 😆 We listed the differences between Roman culture/lifestyle. Good stuff. Keep that in mind while reading.

    IEW: KWO and Final Draft of Lesson 13
    Student Resource Packet: Unit 5 (p.33-39)
    GWTM: Week 13, Lessons 49-52 ( I think I wrote this incorrectly on the board. Sorry.)
    Detectives in Togas: Read Chapters 12-17 and Study Guide. Keep in mind the Roman culture differences.
    Read through packet on Rome

    I hope I haven’t forgotten anything. I love teaching your kiddos. They are amazing!
    Love, Melana


    Class Summary for 1/21/2019

    Hello Upper Grammar Humanities Families

    Copywork: Cicero – “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”
    We talked about the virtues that were important to the Romans as well. Then I challenged them (and myself) to remember to more grateful/thankful.

    We had a good time hearing each other’s stories. We had some good giggles. 😆 This week we will continue to work on writing from pictures. I am really hoping that we can do all of the types of writing in our IEW book this year, but there are 30 lessons. Therefore, I plan to pinch a couple of lessons together. This week I gave the students a choice between lessons 14 and 15. We did mini lessons on the two subjects (Circus Maximus and Pompeii). I’m thinking that no one wants to do Pompeii because of how disturbing it is, but we’ll see. I am attaching an animation that they may find interesting. Even Josiah found it fascinating, which he normally can’t stomach disasters. No people are shown, just buildings. You may want to preview it just in case it is too disturbing for them.

    Our grammar/decoration for this week was similes and metaphors. They are to use them in their writing this week. See if they can come up with some examples to demonstrate to you that they know the difference. (For example: Simile – He is as quick as a fox. Or He is like a fox. vs. Metaphor – He is a cheetah!)

    The only thing I want to remind them all in IEW is to make sure that the “Central fact” for each paragraph is not about the details. It is the most basic description of the picture. For example, “boy, cart, birthday”.

    Our mini lesson on Circus Maximus and Pompeii led us into more historical information on Rome. We finished the basics of the Roman Republic. They had the Twelve Tables of Law during that time. We read through them all and discussed whether they thought they were fair or not. Great discussion! Good little thinkers we have. ❤️ Next week, we will talk about Julius Caesar and the start of the Roman Empire. If you have time (and desire), you can have them explore more about Rome through books, those Pipo videos on Amazon Prime, interactive sites, etc. The amount of Roman history is mind-blowing.

    We then got into our book Detectives in Togas, which is also a good history lesson in and of itself. They are so excited to find out who did it. There are many twists in the story. We are getting close. 😉

    IEW – Lesson 14 or 15. Please have them use the checklist to make sure everything is covered.
    If you want them to practice their decorations and dress-ups more, there are activity pages in the IEW book with each lesson. That is up to you
    GWTM – Lessons 53-56
    Detectives in Togas – Chapters 16-19 (Don’t read ahead. 😉)

    Have a wonderful week!
    Love, Melana


    Class Summary for 1/28/2019

    Hello Upper Grammar Humanities Families!

    First of all, sorry for the delay in this message. I just couldn’t Monday night, and then I was gone all day today (Tuesday) at the zoo.

    “Without training, they lacked knowledge.
    Without knowledge, they lacked confidence.
    Without confidence, they lacked victory.”
    ― Julius Caesar

    We had some time to talk about Julius Caesar. He is a fascinating historical figure and well worth the research. It was still a very good conversation, although we did miss Luke and Brody very much. 😞

    The biggest part of class was learning how to create a Fused Outline. We did it together in class, and they went home with the outline completed. They will write one paragraph from that outline.

    Now, I am planning to “pinch” Lessons 16, 17 and 18 within 2 weeks. Therefore, the plan this week is to write the paragraph from Lesson 16, and then they are to do the next fused outline with Lesson 17. They do not need to write Lesson 17’s paragraph. They only need to present to me lesson 16’s paragraph and 17’s outline. I will check it over and we will evaluate the outline to make sure all students have an effective outline. Then NEXT WEEK’s homework will be to write lesson 17’s paragraph, 18’s outline and 18’s paragraph. Please let me know if that doesn’t make sense. Much later, in Lesson 25, they will learn how to do an introduction and conclusion for the 3 paragraphs from lessons 16-18.

    Alecia and Shannon, it will benefit you a lot to watch Unit 6 from those IEW DVD’s. Shannon, if you could bring those on Monday, then Alecia can watch it, too. You may also want to watch Unit 7 while you’re at it.

    We discussed our book Detectives in Togas, and there is tremendous excitement about getting to finish it this week!! Have fun! I just requested the other book from the library (Mystery of Roman Ransom). 😁

    I would like for the students to do a little research on the Roman architecture, entertainment/lifestyle, technology, etc. We focused mostly on history in class, but there is so much more to learn. I thought if each student looked up something and presented about it, it would be more interesting that just me doing it. And, of course, they would learn it better. 😉 They can create a project or do some activity. Or they can just bring a couple of pictures or slides and then just tell us what they learned. We have a crazy week, but I’m planning to find some sites for Josiah to read about roads, bridges, buildings, or whatever he finds interesting. He will do some interactive sites, watch those Pepo movies, and we are reading “Who Was Julius Caesar?”.

    IEW – Lesson 16 paragraph, Lesson 17 outline
    – include -ly adverb sentence opener
    Grammar – Lessons 57-60
    Detectives in Togas – Finish book!!!
    Roman history – presentation (anything goes, just let me know early on what you decide, so we don’t have duplicate presentations)

    Let me know how I can help.
    I love you all!

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