More of June and the Circus
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Home Educaton Program

More of June and the Circus


We left off in the History Calendar of Book (1) towards the end of June 15. The rest of the day into the 16th and 17th Grandma will cover along with lessons on the Circus in Book (1) and Book (57). Before lessons I want to add a note to parents in our Home Education Program of home schooling a few pointers. That is to make sure you have a line of some kind set up to attach notes of history on beginning with the time of dinosaurs and man through the Bible and into American History along with space for any other history needed. These will take up a lot of space so be prepared. Then make sure you have a big calendar set up-a poster one is best-for birthdays, weather notations and notes necessary for lessons. Also have an area for pretend news and weather broadcasts; along with plays and puppet shows, or doll play of roles. Act out role plays of characters if wish in these areas. The same place can be used for dance and exercise. Next have a place for writing, drawing and other forms of art. You may want a separate space for sewing and one for hand sewing. Also provide a place for books and supplies. You may want these areas marked as in Day Cares. Also provide plenty of space for lists or posters and projects for words and sounds to learn. Notebooks can also do a lot.( Grandma will also make a note of this on the Home page.)
Now Grandma will give you the beginning summer lessons as follows:

June 15 1904 Mary McCann Helped Save 20 People after the
steamship General Slocum caught fire in New York's East River.

Book (1) says in "Young heroine-While recovering from the measles in a New York City hospital over-looking the East River, 14-year-old Mary McCann saw a steamboat on fire. Still feverish, she ran to the river and yelled encouragement to the people floundering in the water. Her courageous act helped save 20 people, including nine children, and she was awarded the Silver Lifesaving Medal by the U.S. Congress. Invite your (children) to design their own ...medal to commemorate heroic deeds. Then, over the next month, have students clip and share newspaper articles about people who have helped others. Encourage the kids to write letters congratulating these people and to include copies of the class-designed medal."

June 15, 1988 General Motors Corp.'s Sunracer established a Speed Record for Solar-Powered Cars. Its top speed: 48,712 mph.

June 15 is also A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed Day as well as a Smile Power Day in which Book (1) says in "Miles of smiles-Here's a fun way to celebrate Smile Power Day. In the center of a large sheet of paper, write the words "It's Great to Smile Because..." Post the paper in the hallway or outside your (bedroom) door. Then encourage (the children) to use this "graffiti-style" message center to complete the sentence."


June 16 has only two birthday's as follows:

June 16, 1890 Stan Laurel, English comedian, was born.

June 16, 1920 John Howard Griffin, American
photographer and author of Black Like me, was born.

The Events for June 16, are as follows:

June 16, 1497 Amerigo Vespucci claimed he sighted
the mainland of America on this day.

June 16, 1836 Arkansas became the 25th state.

June 16, 1858 Abraham Lincoln made his famous
"House Divided" speech in Springfield, Ill.

June 16, 1897 The Alaska Gold Rush began.

June 16, 1922 The First Helicopter Flight took place in College Park, Md.

June 16,  1939 Hundreds of Tiny Frogs fell on Trowbridge, England.

June 16, 1963 Lieutenant Valentina Tereshkova of the
Soviet Union became the First Woman in Space.

June 16, 1980 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Scientists
Who Developed New Forms of Life in laboratories could
patent their creations.

June 16, 1987 The Dusky Seaside Sparrow became extinct.

Book (1) says in "Vanishing wildlife-Tell your (children) that on this day in 1987, the last dusky seaside sparrow died in a wildlife preserve at Walt Disney World in Florida. Then encourage the kids to take steps to protect animals for the future. Have each child research an extinct animal, draw a picture of the animal, and write a one-paragraph report about it. Next. have the (children) each write a letter to their state or federal representative telling about their animal and asking for help in saving other wildlife. Have the children include their drawings and reports with the letters. Make copies for a ... display entitled "The Extinct Zoo...What You Can Do About It." Add any responses your students receive to the display."

June 16, 1988 A China Shop Owner decided to find out
what a bull in a china shop would really do.

Book (1) says in "Risky business-Grant Burnett, a china shop owner in New Zealand, always wondered what a bull would do in a china shop. He borrowed Colonel, a 2,000-pound Hereford, and let the animal roam around the store for 3 hours. Burnett risked thousands of dollars' worth of dishes, but Colonel didn't break a thing. Ask your (children) to think of other descriptive animal phrases (for example, eyes like a hawk, quiet as a mouse, fish out of water, hold your horses, sly as a fox, clam up, dead as a dodo). Have them each select a phrase, then illustrate its literal and figurative meanings. Afterward, read aloud Eve Merriam's poem "Cliche," which deals with figurative and literal language. Then ask your students to write poems about their animal subjects."

June 16 is also South Africa's Soweto Day and Korea's Tano.

Next is June 17th with three birthdays as follows:

June 17, 1870 George Cormack, inventor of Wheaties cereal, was born.

Book (1) says in "Breakfast favorites-To celebrate the birthday of George Cormack, inventor of Wheaties cereal, poll your (family to see if any of you) have eaten Wheaties. Do (you ) eat it regularly? Why or Why not? Next , invite your (children) to each name their favorite cereal, Then use three adjectives to describe its taste. List all the adjectives on the board (or a piece of paper.) How many different ones are there?"

June 17, 1882 Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky, Russian-American composer, was born.

June 17, 1898 M.C. Escher, German mathematician, was born.

Next come the events for June 17 as follows:

June 17, 1579 Sir Francis Drake landed on the California coast.

June 17, 1682 William Penn founded the City of Philadelphia.

June 17, 1775 The Battle of Bunker Hill, one of the earliest
engagements of the Revolutionary War, was fought near Boston.

June 17, 1856 The First Republican Party National
Convention took place in Philadelphia, Pa.

June 17, 1873 Susan B Anthony was fined $100
for voting in the 1872 presidential election.

June 17, 1925 The First National Spelling Bee was held.

Book (1) says in "Cooperation bee-Hold a cooperative spelling bee in your (home0. ....--without using dictionaries--work together to correctly spell words you call out. Give each...a point for each correctly spelled word. The (one) with the most points at the end of a specified period wins."

June 17, 1972 Five burglars were arrested at the
Democratic Party headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The break-in and subsequent cover-up, which came
to be called Watergate after the building where the
burglary occurred, ultimately led to the resignation
of President Richard M. Nixon.

June 17, 1979 Richard Brown set a prone-position
Skateboard Speed Record of 71.179 mph on a
course at Mr. Baldy, Calif.

June 17, 1991 President Zachary Taylor's Remains
Were exhumed (141 years after his death) in
Louisville, Ky., to investigate the theory that
he had been poisoned. No evidence was found to
support the theory.

June 17 is also Independence Day in Iceland and it is used to mention that June is Carnival and Circus Month.

Book (1) says in "Celebrating the circus-Tell your (children) that the circus originated in ancient Rome, where it was a place for chariot races and combat between gladiators. Then have the children look up the origin of the word circus. (Its Latin meaning is "circle.") Next, have students brainstorm for the kinds of acts and performers found in modern-day circuses--for example, dancing elephants, trapeze artists, clowns, jugglers, bareback riders. Ask children who've been to a circus to describe the acts they saw. Finally, have your (children) imagine they could be a circus performer or a day, and ask them to write and illustrate stories about what they'd do."

Book (57) uses the following unit to tell about it:

  1. "The Circus Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow by Pat O'Brien

Historically, the circus has been around for a long time. Performers doing acrobatic stunts appear in Egyptian wall paintings. Marco Polo reported being entertained by jugglers and tumblers in the court of Kublai Khan.
Early people caught and trained wild animals. While most of these were used for religious ceremonies, others became part of a menagerie kept to showcase rare and unusual species. In Rome, the circus Maximus, a large animal theater for chariot racing, also presented trick riders, familiar with today. The show is made up of clowns, acrobats, animal acts, and colorful spectacles.
The purpose of this unit is to explore the circus world from the known to the unknown. You will compare the training of pets to the preparation of wild animal acts. You will proceed from climbing about on the jungle gym to learning about flying through the air. You will learn how clowns advance from being accidentally funny to working on routines and tricks to entertain an audience.

The Circus World
In the winter, the circus community prepares for the coming year. New acts are developed and perfected, while old ones are practiced and improved. Trainers work with their animals. Acrobats and aerialists stay in shape rehearsing their acts and trying new routines. Clowns create new tricks.
On the road, circus performers travel from one location to the next, thrilling audiences with circus magic.
  1. Research the history of the circus. Discover an interesting way to share your findings with the class.
  2. Write five reasons for circuses.
  3. Make a diorama showing a circus scene. ( Or design a scene in a big box or on a table.)

Presenting...
Because of his ideas, leadership, and inspiration, P.T. Barnum influenced the circus world. Read to find out about his contributions to the circus.
  1. List five or more events from his life.
  2. Make a  (separate) time line to show when these incidents happened.
  3. Using the information on the time line, make a filmstrip showing the highlights of his life.
          (Also a good thing to put in your newspaper.)

Clown Alley
A clown's job is to make others laugh by doing tricks, acting, and wearing funny clothes. In the circus, clowns entertain and fill in while the next acts are being set up or when something goes wrong. From makeup to funny shoes, each clown develops a unique look.
  1. If possible, ask a local clown to talk to the (children) about how clowns apply makeup and put together a routine.
  2. Clowns often practice the art of mime. A mime uses gestures and actions rather than words. See if you can perform a routine without speaking.(One of my most happiest time was when my sister and her friend dressed up as clowns and put on an act for myself and other children of the neighborhood. It was really a fun day.)
  3. Clown College offers courses in the history and art of clowning. There are also classes in makeup, mime, using and making props, juggling, and other talents useful to clowns. (For information, write to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, 1401 Ringling Drive, South Venice, FL, 33595.) (This may not be possible any more because they have had to quit from what I heard on the Channel 6 News in Omaha, NE )                                                              a.      if you think you have a future as a clown, what are your qualifications?
                          b.      Write a letter to the Clown College stating your talents. Ask for an application to the school. (This will be a practice letter since you have to be at least seventeen years old to enroll.)                                                                                                                          c.       What questions do you think an application for Clown College would ask?
  1. Write a paragraph telling why you would like to be a circus clown.
  2. Write a poem about a clown with alternating line: I seem to be....But I really am.....

Presenting...
Throughout the years, there have been famous circus clowns. Find out more about one of them and write his or her biography. Focus on what he or she has accomplished as a clown. Share and compare the lives of these clowns to see if you can find some lives of these clowns to see if you can find some common traits. Put together a clown bulletin board (or a poster).

Imagine That!
As a circus performer, write your autobiography explaining what made you decide to become a clown. Tell about your act. What's hardest about being a clown? What do you like best? What you're not performing. what do you do? Be sure to include a self-portrait showing you in costume.

Art Activities
  1. Have a partner trace around you on a large sheet of paper. Use the outline to make a life-sized clown. (Butcher paper is good for this.) Use the outline to make a life-sized clown. With markers, paint, or crayons, add details of the clown's costume and face.
  2. On a piece of cardboard, draw a clown. Use paint, scraps of cloth, and yarn to complete the costume and face.
  3. Draw a clown face on a paper plate and decorate it.
  4. Construct a clown puppet.

Be a Circus Clown
  1. Learn to juggle. Begin with bean bags or inexpensive chiffon scarfs then progress to tennis balls.
  2. Plan your costume and special clown face.
  3. Create and practice a routine.

Mainly Mammals

The circus presents wild and exotic animal shows to the public. Before zoos became popular, this was the only opportunity people had to see elephants, lions, and tigers. Today there is a need to provide protection for these rare animals whose natural habitats are threatened. Circus animals are cared for, provided with food, and given medial attention.

You Make the Choice
  1. List the pros and cons of using rare and exotic animals in the circus.
  2. As an animal rights activist, what stands do you take?
  3. As an (environmentalist), what are your thoughts?

Calling All Pets
To better understand the task of a wild animal trainer, consider the care necessary to maintain a domestic animal.
  1. What care do you give your pet? What kind of food does it get and how much?
  2. If you have a pet, teach it a trick. What trick do you want the animal to perform? How will you go about teaching it? Keep a record of your instructions.
  3. Present an oral report to explain how you trained your pet, teach it a trick. What trick do you want the animal to perform? How will you go about teaching it? Keep a record of your instructions.
  4. Compare your method with one used by a classmate.

Trainers and Trainees
A bond of mutual trust is established between the trainer and the animals.
  1. List the responsibilities of a circus trainer. What jobs would he or she be expected to do?
  2. What traits should a wild animal trainer have? Are they any different than those needed to train a domestic animal?
  3. How do you think circus performers go about training wild animals?
  4. List animals that appear in the circus. Select one type of wild animal. What kind of care and attention does it get? What kind of food? How much exercise?
  5. Compare caring for and training a pet to getting a wild animal ready to perform in an act.
  6. Compare caring for and training a pet to getting a wild animal ready to perform in an act.
  7. Write an essay about wild animals in general and circus animals in particular.
  8. Write the life story of a circus animal.

Presenting
Gunther Gebel-Williams, now retired, was a world famous animal trainer with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
  1. Read to find out more about his life as a trainer. How did he prepare the animals to perform?
  2. Pretend you are an interviewer on a television show. Think of some questions you would like to ask Gunther Gebel-Williams. How do you think he would respond? Write a script and practice the interview with a partner.

Imagine That!
  1. If you ran the circus, what animals would perform?
  2. Using your imagination, write a resumé stating your qualifications to be a wild animal trainer.
  3. Write about how it feels to be a lion tamer. What's the hardest part?
  4. If you were an elephant, or another animal, would you rather be in a circus or a zoo? Why?
  5. Would you rather be a veterinarian in a zoo or a circus? Why?

Problem Solving
The many animals in the circus need a great deal of food each day. At every stop along the route, fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains are purchased from local merchants.
  1. Given the following information about weekly purchases, what story problems can you create?     10 tons of hay, 150 bales of straw, 1,000 pounds of meat, 400 crates of carrots, 1 crate of apples, 1 box of bananas, 500 loaves of bread
  2. Write additional imaginative problems using circus facts and figures.

Poems
Search for poems about animals that perform in the circus.                               
      a. Choose one to illustrate.
      b. Memorize it and recite it for the (family).
      c. Present it as a choral reading.

Art Activities
  1. Make papier-mâché animals. Display them in colorful wagons.
  2. Design circus animal pins from clay.
  3. Use magnetic tape to make refrigerator magnets.
  4. Make a mobile featuring circus animals.

Circus Animals
  1. Plan a pet parade. You and your pet can march around a ring in time to recorded circus music.
  2. Does your pet know a special trick? Prepare a "wild animal" act to present to an audience.


Fabulous Flights

They fly through the air, walk on wires, or tumble in the ring. They perform feats of strength, balance, and courage. They are acrobats, aerialists, and flyers.
  1. If possible, read A Very Young Circus Flyer, by Jill Krementz. A young boy, a member of a family of flyers, tells about his life with the circus.
  2. Begin by moving to music. Feel the rhythm.
  3. Depending on the equipment available, practice moving on bars and rings. Tumble on mats.

Poetry in Motion
  1. List words (verbs) that describe the ways a performer moves as he or she flies through the air or tumbles in the ring. Arrange the words to create a motion poem that reflects the movements of the performer.
  2. Add to the words on the list and group them to compose a motion poem.
  3. Write ...about an acrobat's performance.

Presenting...
Jules Leotard invented and introduced the flying trapeze. Like many inventors, he made his discovery accidentally.
  1. Read to find out how this invention changed circus performances.
  2. If Leotard kept a journal during the time he was developing the flying trapeze, what would he have written? Write five journal entries from his point of view.
  3. Can you think of something you might invent to improve a way of doing something? Explain what you want to improve and write about your plan. Include a sketch of your idea.

Circus Flyers and Tumblers
  1. Using playground equipment (bars, rings, the jungle gym, etc.), develop an acrobatic routine set to music. Include gymnastic tumbling and balancing. Make sure the exhibition of physical fitness is safe and entertaining.
  2. Tie-dye a shirt for the performance or use fabric markers to design a T-shirt.

The Day the Circus Came to Town
Read Dr. Seuss' If I Ran the Circus and decide how you would run a circus. Write a book with the same title, but use your own circus.
  1. Study a map of your state. What cities would your circus visit?
  2. Plan a route you would follow from town to town.
  3. Write a news story about the arrival of the circus.
  4. Make posters advertising the performances.
  5. Write a review of the show. Tell about the acts that people will be viewing.

Art Activities
  1. Think about the word circus. Study each letter. What does it remind you of? Design an alphabet with a circus theme.
  2. Use thumbprints to create a circus scene. Make a print and add lines to complete the figures.

Circus Performance
After studying the different facets of the circus, it is time to put the parts together and present your own show.
  1. Display posters to announce the circus.
  2. To begin the Make-a-Circus extravaganza, organize a parade of costumed performers. March to recorded circus music. Include a marching kazoo band.
  3. Sell popcorn and balloons.

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