Monday, October 20, 2008

A Delight-Directed Bee Lesson

Delight is the last word that comes to mind when I reflect back on the beginning of our day today. I was up last night with a sick toddler, the house desperately needed some cleaning, people were not cooperating, and attitudes (mine included) were less than stellar.

After lunch Superman said, "Mom, I think we all need to just go outside. Can't we do school out there?"

Out of the mouths of babes...

So I grabbed a couple of books, and we headed out the door. I had written off reading and math for the day because, frankly, I didn't have the physical or emotional energy for it. Cuddling up together on the swing and reading about honeybees was all I could muster the strength for anyway.

Since the kids have been thoroughly enjoying our bee unit, I got no complaints when I pulled out a "bee book" we had not yet read. It was the The Honey Makers by Gail Gibbons. A lot of you may be familiar with this author's books, so you know that we weren't reading some exciting adventure story - just a well-written informational book with good illustrations. (Note for those of you unfamiliar with Gibbons' work: she sometimes makes evolutionary references.) This book goes into a bit more detail than the other "bee books" we've read, so I thought we would read only a few pages, talk about the pictures, make a bee mini-book for our notebooks, and call it a day. That was all I had in me.

We began reading, and the kids were enthralled. I was quickly reminded that interesting subject matter can rejuvenate the most reluctant learner - and teacher. (And, folks, bees are one of the most amazingly incredible subjects we've studied around here.) The kids were asking questions and making connections, and before I knew it we had read the entire book - every word of it.

Pretty soon the kids were asking if we could pretend to be bees. So we buzzed around the backyard foraging for nectar and doing waggle and circle dances to let each other know where new patches of flowers had been discovered. When one particular bee tired of gathering nectar and pollen (ahem...that would be me), we went inside to work on our little bee-books.

While the kids were coloring their "Life Cycle of the Bee" wheel book, I stepped out of the room for a couple of minutes. When I returned Superman informed me that he had drawn a surprise for me. Since Superman typically has a general distaste for most things involving a crayon, I was intrigued. With a big smile on his face he turned his paper over to reveal a beautiful, detailed drawing of a honeybee. He was so proud of his hard work, and I fervently praised him.

Giggly Girl joined in, and the two of them drew more honeybees - workers, queens, drones. Blocks were pulled out and a hive was built. Bees were buzzing around, foraging, feeding the queen and larva, guarding the hive, and stinging intruders. We had a virtual colony of honeybees that had taken over our family room and kitchen!

I pulled up the following performance of Rimsky Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee, so we could have some background music.

The worker bees took a break for supper, and then continued on with their hive activities until bedtime.

In spite of the day's setbacks, learning had taken place - thanks to my children!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for your sweet comments on my blog. And for the nomination! I just love bloggy friends! :-)


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