Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Book Basics: an Annotated List for CC Cycle 2 Week 1

Here's a look at the core books we're using for week one of Classical Conversations cycle two.

Science: Biomes
I know this looks sparse. It is. I actually have several posts on great books related to the ecology portion Classical Conversations' second cycle that I'll be posting soon. If you live in a different biome, check out the other books in the same series, Biomes of North America, by Rebecca L. Johnson.

I'm organizing our ecology study a little differently than CC does. First, we're doing a year long nature journal. The goal is to identify organisms in our own back yard and figure out how they fit into food webs, what happens as the seasons change, etc. So for the first month most of our books are geared toward getting that project underway and studying the biome in which we live, the deciduous forest. After that I'm focusing on a biome a week. It's not like you can teach this stuff in neat little isolated segments anyway. It's a big, bold, beautiful, crazily interconnected world. By the time we do our mini units on Rain Forests, Deserts, Grasslands, Tundra, Coniferous Forests, and Oceans Sugar Plum will have memorized a lot of the vocabulary to discuss the organisms that live within each biome and how they relate to each other.

History: Charlemage
If you've scoured your local library for books on Charlemagne, then you know how hard it is to find something at an early elementary level. I pulled out a couple of books for late elementary that we may skim over. The book I'm really excited about though is The Elephant from Baghdad by Mary Tavener Holmes. It's based on an actual historical document. I'm all for myths and legends and fairy tales, but I like something a little more substantial when I'm teaching about an actual historical figure, especially since SugarPlum still has trouble separating fact from fiction when it comes to history. Plus you can never go wrong with elephants.

Geography: Continents and Oceans

This is mostly review for SugarPlum. Since she can locate them on the map already, I've picked out some fun, fact-filled books so that she can learn more about major world areas in addition to being able to find them on a map or globe. The majority of geography focused books that I've been able to find at the library are geared toward late elementary or older. While I incorporate lots of books that are technically well above SugarPlum's level, I was super excited to find the Spotlight on the Continents series. It's geared toward younger readers and each book is filled with lots of pictures and concise text. Wild Animal Atlas: Earth's Astonishing Animals and Where they Live has been a favorite at our house for several years. It's probably how she originally memorized the continents.

Oceans Atlas by DK Publishing is a little over SugarPlum's head but she loves all of the diagrams and pictures and retains a surprising amount of the information. Science and geography are pretty inseparably intertwined at our house this week. I'll be posting a link to more great books on ocean biomes. Classical Conversations may have excluded the largest biome from their list but that doesn't mean we're skipping it.

We're not using the entire Activity Pack this week, just the jigsaw puzzle. I like this world map puzzle because the continents and oceans are clearly labeled and it shows the major biomes, so it can tie in with both science and geography.

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