Saturday, November 08, 2008

A Day in the Life: Field Trip Friday

The Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon and Toshi's Ramen . (I forgot to take the camera in to the museum. Pictures from last year's field trip here. The fine young gents look so young.)

The fine young gents voted on possible outings: A trip to Dorris Ranch to walk to the river, a trip to a brand new place, or repeat last year's outing to the museum followed by a nature walk on the university campus and lunch at Toshi's. Toshi's won.

We are wrapping up our History Pockets study of Native American culture and history, so the Museum of Natural and Cultural History is an ideal field trip. The museum has a wonderful display of local Native American culture and history. There are many artifacts, but the displays that catch the attention of the fine young gents are the replicas of Native homes and environments from different regions of Oregon. They got to see model homes and tools.

The museum also has a new exhibit: Shoes. The fine young gents tried on shoes from different cultures, saw the oldest shoes in the world and looked at shoes from different decades in American history.

The hands-down favorite, again, was the hands-on exploration room. The gents played a Native American beaver tooth game and looked at rocks, fossils and bones.

We tried to visit the Eugene Pioneer Cemetery next, but middle gent needed to use the rest room. After this many years, I couldn't remember where the restrooms were in any of the nearby buildings, and the library was quite a trek away, so we moved on to Toshi's.
Eating and drawing: Toshi's has wonderful food and large portions. We ordered gyoza (potstickers), teriyaki chicken with rice, and ramen. The drawback: A long wait. Last winter, the gents showed stellar behavior during our visit, but it was a challenge to keep them entertained. This time, we brought our nature journals and spent most of the wait sketching. Our nature walk was cut short by, well, by the call of nature, so the journal request was "Draw something you saw on our walk, something you can see from the window, or your choice of drawing as long as it has something to do with nature." Second-grade gent drew a fall tree. Kindergarten gent drew houses with fall gardens. Even the littlest gent drew a tree, with some coaching from his brother. My journal entry was the easiest. Each gent wanted to draw a tree in my journal, so I only wrote, "Drawing trees at Toshi's."
We ate a delicious meal, then home for quiet time followed by gymnastics for the younger gents. We had so much food left over that we had Toshi's for dinner too!


The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum. (Poohsticks Read-aloud)
I had forgotten that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is such an absolutely wonderful, magical story. There's just something so refreshing about a book that flows smoothly as a read-aloud. We'd just finished The Black Stallion (Walter Farley), an exciting story but not my favorite to read out loud, and a book of Japanese children's stories, Japanese Children's Favorite Stories(Florence Sadake), charming but in simple language. The Wizard of Oz is a breath of fresh read-aloud air. The gents have been begging for "just one more chapter," and even wished in all the excitement of eating at Toshi's that I'd remembered our book. We've just gotten to the Cowardly Lion, and the fine young gents can't wait to find out what happens next.

Detectives in Togas, Henry Winterfeld.
Second-grade gent is devouring this book. A light humorous whodunnit set in ancient Rome. Rufus' classmates set out to discover who really defaced the temple of Minerva so that they can help keep their friend Rufus from going to prison. Fine young gent's review: "It's funny, Mom."

Johnny Lion's Book (An I Can Read Book, Level 1), Edith Thatcher Hurd.
Kindergarten gent is at the magical stage where he's discovered that he can read for fun. I keep finding him tucked into corners or curled on the couch with a book, or several, and he's going through the books on the Poohsticks shelves like mad. In one of his favorite library finds, Johnny Lion discovers the magic of books.

Crocodile and Hen: A Bakongo Folktale (I Can Read Book 1), Joan M. Lexau.
Another library find, as I've been raiding the Early Readers library shelf. I keep finding Crocodile and Hen on the couch, at the foot of kindergarten gent's bed, in the upstairs hallway. Crocodile discovers that Hen is really not that different from him. It's a lovely story that promotes peace and the idea that we're all brothers and sisters even when we look different.

ABC: A Child's First Alphabet Book, and 1-2-3: A Child's First Counting Book, Alison Jay.
I chose these Alison Jay books from the library for the youngest gent. He loves them. He looks at them every night before bed, and when he chooses stories for a story time, these are the first books he brings to the chair. My memory insists that these books are another recommendation from Nina at Painted Rainbows, but I can't seem to find them. If not, they're certainly the kind of books that Si and Kitcat find in their reading baskets, which is probably why I am so certain that I first saw them there.

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, Michael Pollan.
I've been working on The Omnivore's Dilemma for an embarrassingly long time. It seems to get misplaced with alarming regularity, though not purposefully, or displaced by a must-read-now. After bogging down in the corn, corn, corn section at the beginning, I promised this book to a friend, so I'm finally buckling down to finish. It's interesting. Fascinating, but not for the faint-of-heart. I've just started reading what feedlot cattle are fed, not even the butchering part which loving husband assures me is worse, and I am already sick at heart. Thank goodness we already know where to buy local grass-fed beef.

A Keeper of Bees: Notes on Hive and Home, Allison Wallace.
I have set aside The Omnivore's Dilemma temporarily because A Keeper of Bees is a library book, and must be returned soon. I found it on the table next to the library computer, and snatched it up. It's part memoir, part bee history, information, and lore, and part love letter to bees. Any bee lover would enjoy reading this book.

Senator McCain and President-Elect Obama. Loving husband recorded some of the election night coverage. My fine young Obama fan was so sleepy that he couldn't wake himself up to watch Obama's live victory speech (though his kindergarten brother woke and watched, half-asleep on loving husband's lap), so he asked to watch it. I asked him to watch Senator McCain's speech as well, so that he could see that both men were very gracious and eloquent in victory and in defeat. My fine young gent was riveted. Loving husband and I are not "into" politics, though we feel that it's important to educate and inform ourselves so that we can vote carefully and thoughtfully. Our fine young gent, however, is fascinated by the whole process. He's disappointed that his mayoral choice did not win (though the race was very very close). I'm trying to figure out how best to encourage his interest without raising him to just vote like Mom and Dad, how to incorporate politics as a topic into our learning while teaching him to think for himself. A great family challenge, I think.

Playing: Legos.

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