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Archive for February 23rd, 2010

Yesterday we finished our spelling program, All-About-Spelling Level 1! Satori got to put her last sticker up on her AAS chart and I presented her with her Certificate with Achievement.

I framed her certificate and hung it up on the wall above her desk. (I erased out her last name for privacy purposes.) Satori was so excited we had to call Daddy and tell him the news!

Here’s a brief summary of what Satori learned in Level 1, which we started last June, when Satori was 4.5 years old. First off, All-About-Spelling is a vertical phonics program, so right away we started learning all the different sounds for each letter. Some vowels have 4 sounds, and some consonants had some tricky ones to remember, so this took a while! What she didn’t master right away simply went into our Review file. Next up we learned to segment words, how to hear the sounds in the words. We familiarized ourselves with the alphabet – its order, vowels and consonants. We went quickly through the lessons that taught how to spell words using their basic sounds, and the easy digraphs and blends.

Eventually we learned tougher concepts, like when to use a C or K for beginning sounds, when to use K or CK for ending sounds, when to double letters at the end (like “tell” or “dress”)… We learned consonant teams (“ng” and “nk”), compound words, plural words, and lastly, open syllables. The end of each lesson requires the child to spell our phrases or sentences, which was great practice to hear it orally and apply everything learned.

Here’s a sample of what Satori can now spell successfully.

Tomorrow we will pull out Level 2. I’ll have to do a little bit of organizing first, such as updating our AAS tile whiteboard with new sections such as “Vowel Teams” and “The Sound of /er/”. We’ll be starting a “Jail” to hold our spelling Rule Breakers. First lesson will be a review of Level 1, as well as learning more about open and closed syllable tags.

I’m looking forward to furthering Satori’s spelling skills. She always writes books and letters and will greatly benefit from learning more spelling rules. We have progressed far enough in our Reading subject that she already knows how to spell many things, but by systematically learning the rules, she won’t forget to add her silent-E, and so much more.

Here’s a sample of words we’ll learn in All About Spelling Level Two.

Last month when we did our Ancient Writing in Hieroglyphs and Cuneiform activity, I made sure we made some extras specifically for this experiment.

Ancient Sumerians and Egyptians did their writing on stone or clay tablets, and the Egyptians also used papyrus. To this day, we are able to read the stone/clay tablets, but not much papyrus writing has survived. When asked what she thought would last longer – clay tablet or papyrus, Satori gave the common sense answer, but it was fun to do this experiment anyway.

We used Daddy’s hieroglyph papyrus roll and his cuneiform tablet. By the way, he didn’t do the cuneiform wedges right, I just noticed. It looks like he scraped them in, where he was supposed to just stick in his wedged stick. All the more reason to put them through methods of destruction to see if they will survive!

First, the pieces were submerged in a Nile flood for five minutes.

They both survived, but the ink on our paper was getting smeary.

Our clay tablet was starting to dissolve, as we did not put it in a fire kiln or bake in the sun to make it totally waterproof, luckily we could still read it though.

Next test was to have them back in the hot Egyptian sun for thousands of years. (Oven for half an hour.)

As we took them out, the clay tablet was unchanged, but our paper scroll had crumbled in places and is now barely readable.

Want to see some actual ancient writings that can still be read today? The oldest tablets go back to 3000 BCE. Here’s a Babylonian tablet from 87 BCE that described the arrival of Halley’s comet:

This one was found from the library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh and tells the story of the Babylonian flood and the ark Utnapishti built, very similar to the biblical Noah.

On the other hand, here is a sample of papyrus.