Friday, October 14, 2011

Paley Center for Media

Our instructor holding the screech box
Yesterday we had a great homeschool group trip to the Paley Center for Media - which used to be called the Museum of Television & Radio.  The class was all about sound effects used in the old radio programs.  The kids listened to several programs and discussed how you can tell so much about what's going on with only the background sounds.  Then they got to go onto the stage and try out a bunch of different items and devices that make the sound effects:  A wind machine (essentially a vacuum box sucking air in through 2 small cylinders and had a speed control dial), coconut halves (horses trotting), a screech box (cranking the handle moved nails over glass and made a horrific screeching noise that could be anything from subway brakes to a park swing), a cowbell, small, heavy mats (for any "thud" sound), tied-together corn stalks (when shaken it could be rain, wind, or fire), and a large sheet of metal for thunder.  Most of these things were donated from the 3 major networks.  The instructor had the kids use the items to make the sound effects for a story she read out loud about a stampeding heard of cattle on a dark, windy night.  At the end of the class we watched a behind-the scenes 1940s clip of a radio show being performed.  It was interesting to see a whole crew just for the sound effect devices and just a handful of actors being dozens of characters.

After the class we decided to check out the library on the 4th floor.  It's a huge room with several TVs on each table and your own set of headphones.  Here you can pull up almost any TV show going back to the 1950s - and watch it with the original commercials!  A member gets 3 hours at a time.  W watched some old episodes of Pee Wee's Playhouse and All That.  I watched the Magic Garden, The Judy Garland Show, and Father Knows Best.  My friend was so excited to see the very first episode of General Hospital, lol.  W and I signed up for a free 1 year membership and will definitely be back.  Great trip!

This week's academics was our last week doing multiplication and division drills.  It's all about it being second nature.  Now we can get back to the 5th grade review book.  I may even do the Flash Kids 6th grade review book before hitting TT7.  I'll see how it goes.  The readings this week included more of The Heroes, The Princess & the Goblin, Science Lab in a Supermarket, A Child's History of the World, and Michelangelo.  Spelling Skills, a page a day, is also still going on.  So, nothing really new and interesting with the academics.  We're just plugging along at a nice pace.  Soon we'll be outdoors a lot more - a new skate park opened up about 10 minutes away in one of my favorite parks!  It's the opportunity I was looking for to get those nature studies in.

W is going camping this weekend with the scouts.  He's so excited and looks forward to this autumn one every year.

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