Saturday, October 09, 2010

Three Musketeers Week 5: The Mousetrap

Welcome! This blog post is related to my Three Musketeers class at our homeschool co-op, Homeschool Out of the Box. We have an academic section, reading Richard Pevear's translation of the book, and an enrichment section, reading the Usborne Young Readers' abridgement of the story. For all lesson plans related to this class, click the Three Musketeers tag at the bottom of this post.

HOMEWORK: We tried reciting the days of the week in French today, and also learned how to say "I'm awesome!" which is very important for a Gascon. We went over some vocab from last week, specifically lackey, bourgeious, apprehended, swaggering, and rendezvous. We also traded sketches and tried to identify each others' musketeers. Some of the students are brilliant caricature artists!

One of our most interesting points from the reading comprehension involved dissecting the phrase: "In prosperity one should sow meals right and left, in order to harvest some in adversity." This is a musketeer's idea of a savings account! How nuts is that? A very Alexandre Dumas type sentiment, we decided.

DISCUSSION: Today we discussed the Louvre, from its beginnings as a medieval castle on the banks of the Seine through its use as a royal palace as it was during the time of the Three Musketeers, to its current life as an art museum. The kids have some assignments on their worksheets relating to the most famous treasures in the Louvre.

ACTIVITIES: In the senior class, I had the kids choreograph a ten-move fight scene. They split their paper into two sides, and then figured out and wrote down ten moves for each side of the battle. Then they went outside to practice and fine-tune their moves.

In both classes, we talked about passwords and the different situations in which they are used, like Constance and D'Artagnan used a password to get D'Artagnan recognized at the Louvre. In the junior class, we played Password, which is just like "Telephone" in that you try and whisper a three word password around the circle and get it safely around without any changes. We had a lot of fun with that.

Another game we played in the junior class was designed to get them started reacting to the literature in a thoughtful way. We sat in a circle and passed a ball around. When each child held the ball, it was his or her turn to speak. The first round we had to say the name of any character from the book. The second round we had to say the name of a character and then whether they were a hero or a villain. The final round we had to say our favorite character and why. It was fascinating to me to see these children, as young as five, really thinking about their choice. Several of them chose Milady DeWinter as their favorite, and when asked why, Elsa for example said, "Because she's powerful and knows how to get things done." I thought that was pretty insightful. Those who chose D'Artagnan as a favorite seemed a little horrified that anyone would pick the scar-faced man, for example. But I could tell from the discussion that they are all reading and all absorbing the material -- excellent.

ASSIGNMENT: I challenged the students to set a password with a friend or relative, so that in case they needed to send a message to that person, they could verify that it was an authentic message. We also had these vocab words to look up:

Writ server

And these reading comprehension questions on chapters 9 and 10:

What two countries does the Queen love, and why?
The scarred man mistook Aramis and the doctor’s niece for two other people. Who?
Why is Porthos upset with D’Artagnan after Bonacieux is arrested?
What is a 17th century mousetrap?
D’Artagnan listens to a lot of interrogations without interrupting. But when does he interrupt?
Who is D’Artagnan’s alibi?

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