Dec 5, 2013

Conversation Map: Ski-mask to Salmon-eating shark

Date: Dec 3, 2013, Tuesday
Time: 7:30 AM
Starting point: Ski-mask
Ending point: salmon-eating shark
As we are donning outerwear to leave for school this winter morning -
1. Oyon pulls on his hat and observes that it does'nt warm his cold face. He remembers a Spiderman ski mask he saw at the store recently that might. While he was there, he also saw a 'Pegasus' Bey Blade toy. He really wants the 'Pegasus'!

2. Wonders where the names of Bey Blades come from since another is named 'Sagitario' (not 'Sagittaraius' per O). Guesses they were inspired by constellations since he knows Pegasus is one.

3. I suggest Greek mythology is really the source for both the constellation and toy names.
But what are myths?
I say ancient cultures used them in lieu of books and videos to teach people things and record facts.
What are some other mythologies?
I tell him many cultures have them - Africa, China, Japan and of-course - India.

4. In fact, the 'Ramayana' is part of ours - to his delight since he 'lurves' the Ramyana.
What's USA mythology?

5.  I have to gently break it to him that the USA is not Ancient at all but really quite young as a culture. Native Americans have lived on this continent for many, many centuries though and have a rich mythology.
Oyon thinks about it and disagrees - the USA does have mythology! It's all the worlds mythology combined since Americans come from everywhere!!

6.  I concede the point and compliment his reasoning.
If myths are meant to teach people, then are there math stories? He loves the addition stories they have to make-up in class but apparently struggles with subtraction stories. He could do with some help.

7. I immediately quiz him with a few subtraction problems, thinking the problem is with his math skills.
He easily cracks them then reveals that his struggle is with the math stories not the math.

8. I quickly take off my teaching hat and query further: he's usually great at making up stories. What seems to be the problem?
The problem is that can only 'do' salmon and sharks.
He responds to my utterly bewildered expression by patiently explaining that he always ends up telling stories where a shark eats a certain number of salmon and another number is left over. He's bored of salmon and shark stories but whenever he tries other characters they end up adding together - not subtracting.

We are now parked in our car outside our neighbor's home, brainstorming other story topics for subtraction and trying to rewire his addition-crazy math brain. They have not yet done much subtraction in this first quarter of First grade. Our carpool folks arrive and our conversation comes to a natural end. 

Where did YOU travel today?

Dec 3, 2013

Conversation Map: From couch to woodpeckers

Journey date: nov 30, 2013, Saturday
Travel time: About 30 mines, starting around 6:30 PM
Starting point: Couch safety
Ending point: Woodpeckers

I finish cleaning the kitchen and join Oyon in our den in the free half-hour before leaving for dinner at a friends home when -
1. I find Oyon is reading, perched on top of the narrow back of the couch. Right behind him is his study table and a cup full of sharpened pencils, pointy ends facing up.
I caution him about his
precarious perch, remind him he's not allowed to sit on the top because he could get stabbed if he topples backwards onto the cup.

2. He scoffs a little at the idea of a pencil having stabbing potential but slithers quickly down nevertheless.
I tell him about how mine did when I was 6 and trying to balance it, point end down, on my palm.

3. He asks if I needed stitches because his friend Matthew did when he hurt his head.

4. I said I didn't because it was not a big enough cut but his Baba did when his knife slipped last year. (Addendum: he then very unhelpfully observed how brave Baba was about it and reminded me of the time that I chickened out of stitches for an arm wound after crashing my bike and ended up with a horrible infection.)

5. He wants to know how stitches work. I talk about how zippers pull together the sides of a coat to close it. I mention his dad will need them soon for upcoming dental surgery because his incisions will be long and deep.

6. He wants to know what sutures are made of. Will they have to come out when the skin is healed? Then he confirms that the doctor will make cuts on purpose and wonders how much it'll hurt.

7. Anaesthesia comes up. We chat about how it works by putting parts of the brain to sleep. A recent trip to the USS Constitution comes up next and how there was no anaesthesia back then - sailors got limbs amputated without much pain relief. 

8. He wonders about what the docs did with all the chopped off limbs and figures they tossed them overboard. Then asks who discovered anaesthesia.

9. I put it on our mental list of 'stuff to look up later' along with 'what sutures are made of'. I tell him what I DO know is that many modern meds originate in plants. Talk of Aspirin in Amazonian tree bark, holistic medicine and how ancients treated themselves without the help of factories and pills.

10. He is suitably impressed and wonders if there are more undiscovered medicines in the Amazon forests.

11. I observe that's why it's important to preserve the world's forests.

12. He wonders if there might be new kinds of animals there too. Or maybe ones they think are extinct, like the Dodo bird. 

13. I do a brief detour about how we should read 'The land that time forgot' and chat about the extinct Ivory-billed woodpecker that was rediscovered recently. 

14. He tells me about another cool woodpecker he heard about that spins on its beak to use it like a drill to make holes.

His Dad arrives, freshly showered. It's time to go hangout with our friends.

Where did YOU travel today?