The View from the Classroom Window

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Announcing the 2015 Author's Fair Book Project!

Well, there parents!  I know, I know.  This is the last official day of school for a lot of us. You are not at ALL interested in thinking about next year already, certainly not thinking almost one year ahead to the next Author's Fair, when we just recently had the last one!  Most of you have not even participated in the Author's Fair for the past two years, so why would I think you would be interested in thinking about it now?

Bear with me for a moment.

First of all, for those who did jump on into the fun and make a "Book of Months"--good for you!  I loved seeing them on display at the Author's Fair.  And a special shout-out to Emmy for her FIRST Author's Fair book!  You did such a great job!  Anyone who liked that project, but just could not pull it off this year--well, you can do it anytime you like, or not. The info will always be here on this site, if you want it. : )

Second of all, because not many families seem as interested in participating in the Author's Fair anymore, I was debating this Spring whether or not to just stop coming up with projects.  I understand completely that some of our kids might be getting too old to enjoy the group projects--totally fine!  If any of the parents of younger kids want to participate in a group project (which we could or could not work on together at Old School Mondays), just let me know and I will plan something if there is enough interest.

But otherwise, I think we will just do projects on our own--not books we make all together, but projects we can do our own way in our own time frame at home with our kids.  I was not sure I would purposefully create projects for Vintage Homeschool families anymore--since it seems like perhaps most of you are not that interested--but then just this week, my kids have stumbled upon a FABULOUS and fun idea for next year.  It's so flexible and has so much potential for engaging young author's in so many ways, so I just have to make it official.

So, ta-da!  Here is the official Vintage Homeschool book project for 2014:

Story Problems

I know, I know: that sounds like the opposite of fabulous and fun, if you dreaded story problems as much as I did in math class throughout my elementary years.  But WAIT--let me explain.

My eldest girl has gotten excited about writing a mystery that needs to be solved with math.

My second eldest is writing a very funny narrative that we started together, having to do with the cost of stamps and raising costs of stamps over long periods of time and the peaceful death of her parents.  (See--don't YOU want to read it?!)

My youngest girl is not yet into the idea, but we will start by using a basic story problem we find in a book and adding to it and adding to it until we get a good story out of it.   Then we can either be done, or she can decide to write another one completely from her imagination.

The titles of the stories will undoubtedly be exciting-sounding ones, like "Escape from The Castle of Doom: A Story Problem," or  "To the Moon and Back Again: A Story Problem," or "The Mystery of the Missing Millimeter: A Story Problem." 

(Don't those sound fun to read?  How much more fun would they be to write?!)

This project will be another one that you do at home with your kids--or they do independently.  It is perfect for any level or writer or mathematician.  It can use any math concepts your children are already familiar with.  And the story can be as long or as short as they want it to be!

There is only one requirement for the stories: they must show lots of math (completed math, not just throwing out math questions without answers).  Your kids may choose to keep it simple and straightforward in the math sections and how they further the story (ala Encyclopedia Brown) or they may get crazy and add as much math as they can squeeze into the narrative (ala "Math Curse").  The math can even function as characters in the story (ala "The Phantom Tollbooth")! 

You could use this project as a fun way to get your kids engaged with math over the summer, as they explore different math concepts and work out what elements they want in their stories.  Brainstorming could end up leading to the viewing of lots of fun youtube math videos (I recommend Vi Hart! Even if she is usually over my head--the kids get glimmers of ideas, and that's often enough to set them excited about a math concept and what they could do with it creatively.) 

And hey--you could use math stories from the library as inspiration  for a Summer Reading Project!   (Do it through somebody like Barnes & Nobel and you can even get free books for your kids' summer reading efforts!)  I'll start a math books list in a separate post, which anyone can contribute to. : )

For my kids, this is going to be a Summer Writing Project--with the goal being to have the book done by the end of summer.

A summer project that involves reading, writing, and creatively engaging with math?

Now you know why I had to tell you about it this week. : )

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