Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lexicon villages event

This morning I held my first full Lexicon villages event at a K-8 school in Arlington, VA. I got there half an hour early and with the help of Ellen Klein of Hooray 4 Books and the school librarian, set up the stations (Lexicon villages) on tables around the library. Teachers and parent volunteers began to arrive, and I briefed them quickly on the villages they would be supervising.

Soon about 75 children in grades 5-7 rolled in. I talked briefly about the book. When I mentioned that Aunt Adelaide allows no television, video games, computers or mp3 players in her house, one boy's eyes went so wide he looked as if he might faint. I walked the kids through the villages they'd be visiting, and then they counted off into eight groups and found their stations.

Here's what they worked on:
In Radix, they constructed words from Greek and Latin roots.
When they met Emily, they constructed synonyms for her.
In Tessellate, they worked on making images from the book with Tangrams.
At Metaphor's Hill, they wrote down meaty metaphors for the Mistress of Metaphor's pot.
In Merry Measure, they experimented with non-standard measures of length.
In Flora, they drew from lists of different parts of speech to construct a sentence.
In Irrationality, they measured circumference and diameter of round objects to come up with an estimate for pi.
In the Land of Night, they traced their way through a maze while looking at it only in the mirror.

The poor kids had to really rush. I'd say the activities that proved most difficult were coming up with metaphors and understanding the parts of speech activity. The Tangram challenges were difficult to solve, but the kids loved them, and we gave them a pattern for making their own Tangrams to take home.

Each child got a pencil, an Emily wristband, and additional activities to take home. They were excited and engaged, and the event left me with a happy feeling and at least one hug. The librarian promised to send pictures, which I will post when they arrive.

Ideally, a Lexicon event would be more of an open house, where kids and parents could circulate according to their own schedule, but the reality of school means things have to be more organized, and I was surprised how well and quickly the kids were able to work on the challenges. I'm now thinking of refinements for the next kids' event, and I've already been asked to do a Lexicon event for adults!


Jennifer Hoffine said...

Sounds exciting! What a great idea.

Marva Dasef said...

Should have gotten pictures, Penny! Or if you did, post some.

What an exciting event for you.

Penny said...

Leo has our one working camera with him in Nepal, but the librarian took pictures which she promised to send. When she does, I'll post them. You have to be careful with schoolkids - you can't take pictures without prior parental permission.

Mary Golden said...

Hi, Penny,

Thanks for autographing your books that we ordered from your website for Ruth, Sionna and Alex, longtime members at ten years old of the Cool Girls Science and Art Club in Boulder, Colorado.

We are thinking of how to incorporate some Lost in Lexicon activities into our after-school curriculum for grades 1-2 and for grades 3-5.

We'd like to help sponsor a Lost in Lexicon event in Boulder, perhaps when you are in this area on a book tour?

Meanwhile, we'll spread the word via email and our website.


Mary Golden, Director
Cool Girls Science and Art Club (outdated) (new site under construction)

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