Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Math and Nutcracker activities

SharkMan has a new favorite Christmas Game - Roll A Gingerbread (Reindeer and Elf.)  Our first game was Roll a Reindeer.  We did the addition choice in order to practice math facts.  SharkMan would roll two dice.  He could choose to add the two numbers together and color the sum or he could color each of the numbers rolled on the dice.  The first one to color all the sections on the reindeer wins.  He loved the game and begged to play it again.  He was delighted that I already had Roll an Elf printed out and we played it right away. 

We did change the rules.  After spending quite a while trying to roll our last number, in order to hurry the game along, we changed our last number to any number of our choice.  SharkMan learned that it was better to choose a low number rather than a high one in order to have more opportunities to roll the needed number.

SharkMan enjoyed the game so much he wanted to play Roll A Gingerbread with Papa Shark when he got home from work. 

Another fun activity was Christmas Pattern Blocks and SharkMan insisted on doing all the designs today - so much for my ideas of doing one a day.

We also are enjoying reading the Nutcracker aloud this week.  Here is the version we are reading:
While I read today, SharkMan worked on a Nutcracker ornament for the tree.  I am really surprised how much he is enjoying the book.  Today we learned how the Nutcracker became a Nutcracker.  I grew up enjoying the ballet of the Nutcracker, but the book is very different than the story I grew up with.

 Finally, SharkMan did a Nutcracker Shape Count .

Ornament Making

I purchased several ornament kits from Michaels and Hobby Lobby this year.  SharkMan has loved adding his own creations to the tree.
Our favorite is the Perler Bead Holiday Fun kit.  SharkMan loves Perler beads and I love how great they are for his fine motor skills.   Sharkman enjoys following the patterns on the box.  After you iron the design, you thread string through one of the holes and an easy and fun ornament done

Perler Fun Fusion Bead Activity Kit, Holiday Fun

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Favorite "Welcome to Kindergarten" Books

Over the last two weeks, I have read SharkMan a number of "Welcome to Kindergarten" books. 

My favorite was Panda Kindergarten.  This book is a nonfiction account of young pandas who attend a Kindergarten class at the zoo.  This book naturally lends itself to comparing and contrasting our Kindergarten with the Panda Kindergarten.  The pictures are excellent and inviting for children and adults. 

Panda Kindergarten

SharkMan enjoyed Henry's 100 Days of Kindergarten.  This book talks about the first one hundred days of Kindergarten, ending with the children bringing to class the typical one hundred items.  SharkMan laughed and laughed when Henry brought his grandmother who was 100 years old.  This will be a book we reread on the 100th day of school.
Henry's 100 Days of Kindergarten

We alse enjoyed Kindergarten Kids - Rhymes, Rebuses, Wiggles, Gillgles and More.   This book has fun rhymes where children have to guess the classroom item being described.  It also included fun poems.  There were a few Halloween poems we skipped.

I looked for homeschooling books about Kindergarten and unfortunately didn't find any.  I wanted SharkMan to realize that Kindergarten didn't just happen in a classroom.  We did read My Mommy, My Teacher.  I liked it because it showed a family homeschooling, however, this family lives on a farm and their homeschooling did not quite look like ours, but again a great ability to compare and contrast our school with their school.
My Mommy, My Teacher

Our chapter book these first two weeks has been Ramona the Pest.  SharkMan has enjoyed Ramona's first days of Kindergarten. 

So here is our list of  Welcome to Kindergarten books.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Welcome to Kindergarten

Welcome to Kindergarten!
SharkMan's first words on Monday morning, "I'm a Kindergartner."
Here's a glimpse into our first week of school:
Instead of a new backpack and lunch box, SharkMan had first day of school surprises waiting for him - new chalkboards and a dry erase board, plus some new playdough.  Here he is reading his Morning Message.  Papa Shark or I write him a note each morning about his upcoming day.
I have lurked on blogs for the last few months learning more how to make my blog manageable.  In the process, I found some great calendar ideas for SharkMan this year.  Here he is Making the Date with coins.
SharkMan and I both love math.  This year, we will continue on with Singapore 1A and 1B.  We did KB last year and loved it.  However, we will also be adding RightStart to our curriculum this year.  The abacus has been great fun.  In addition, we will have a problem solving activity daily.  Right now, we are using Problem Solver 1.
For reading, we are using book lists from Sonlight, Honey for a Child's Heart and some of my favorites.  We started the year with Ramona the Pest, a little girl starting Kindergarten also.  We are using Explode the Code and we will add Writing Road to Reading later in the year.  We do a daily reader.  I really am enjoying using the Veritas Readers.  In addition, I found these great sound sorts from jmeacham's website
In addition to reading and math, I have created a weekly literature rotation that includes poetry, nursery rhymes, fairy tales and Aesop fables.  We also do centers and art/fine motor work daily.
For Science and Social Studies, we follow a unit study approach.  For the first few weeks of school, we cover patriotic songs and the pledge.  We will be studying The Farm for science with lots of books about animals on the farm.  Next week, we are going to visit a farm.

For extra curricular activities, we will do Choir and AWANA at church, piano and gymnastics in the fall.
I love that Kindergarten only takes about 2 hours. We usually start around 9 with breakfast and Bible and end around 11:30 with a couple of breaks thrown in the middle.

I can't believe that the first week is already over!  (We only school four days a week.)  School was so much fun for both of us.  I hope this is just a glimpse of what is to come.

Our Classroom

Our School Room
We homeschool everywhere, but our main school room is our breakfast room.  Papa Shark has completely supported the transformation of this room into a great learning room.
Speaking of Papa Shark, check out these awesome shelves he built.  They are similar to Ikea but fit our space perfectly.   We use them as our workboxes. 
I also was inspired by several beautiful art areas I saw on the web.  So I created an Art / Center area.  All of our daily art supplies (crayons, pencils, markers, chalk) sit on the top in glass containers.  It makes it easy to just grab what we need.
The shelves on the left house our curriculum and the ones on the right are weekly centers.  During Center Time, Sharkman can choose any of the 6 activities on the shelf.  For the first week of school, centers will include Perler Beads Ocean Friends Bucket, Letter and Ocean Stamps, Slamwich card game,  Shape Builders Learn To Draw, 10 x 8 Inches, 21 Count (48040), Bendaroos 500 Piece Mega Kit, Alphabet puzzle.  

I wish I could remember all of the links I used to create our calendar center.  My three favorites were JMeacham's Calendar and Homeschool Creations and Tot School
Here are SharkMan's First Day Surprises.  New Chalkboards and Dry Erase Boards, Play Dough Bus, and new pencils that say "Best Kindergartner" on them.
I am looking forward to many happy days in this room.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

November Highlights

In case I ever doubted the name of the blog - here is what SharkMan had painted on his face at a recent birthday party. Every time he opened his mouth it looked like the shark was chomping too.

November was a wonderful month. We had a beautiful fall and gorgeous weather to give us plenty of outside activities in addition to our learning time.
I read about the concept of workboxes from several bloggers and tried my own take on it. I set out a box for each activity I want us to accomplish that day. Some boxes have curriculum and some have fun activities like puzzles or art projects. We usually do the first couple of boxes in order and then SharkMan gets to chose which box he wants to do, then we alternate choosing the rest of the boxes. As long as I am organized the night before or that morning, this is really helping our day run smoothly.

We are having a blast in math! In November, we finished our Cuisennaire rods with the Alphabet book and our Logic Problems with Bears from Creative Publications. (I highly recommend the program.)

We continued to work on our concept of numbers. We did a fun puzzle activity from Developing Number Sense with Unifix Cubes. Over a week period, SharkMan measured different puzzle pieces and then put them on the chart showing how many cubes were needed to make that shape.

Another game from Developing Number Sense is Build A City. SharkMan and Papa Shark took turns rolling dice and building towers the corresponding height of the roll. (Good practice reading dice and counting.) When you finish building the city block, they rolled to see if the largest or smallest city was the winner.
Developing Number Sense also gaveSharkMan plenty of practice measuring this month. Below, he is measuring various lengths of string with Unifix blocks.
We also pulled out various jars and containers and measured how many cubes each container could hold. Then SharkMan suggested we line them up from least to greatest. Great Suggestion! I love when he wants to do something before I ask.
We also worked with the cubes to create various patterns. Here SharkMan is working with a pattern book.

Below SharkMan is creating his own pattern turning the blocks different ways (down, down, up) We are learning that patterns aren't just color combinations. Almost anything can be turned into a pattern.

We read a great book called Quack and Count. The book shows different combinations of ducks (numbers) to make seven and what happens to the ducks to increase or decrease their numbers. After reading the book, SharkMan made his own book.
More Math Mats. This time the bears are at a playground. Great practice learning ways to increase and decrease numbers.

We enjoy game playing in our house and whenever we can learn something from it - bonus. Here is a fun game from Family Math. The object is to be the last person to pick up a toothpick. You can only pick up one or two sticks at a time. The game forces you to think ahead to future moves. SharkMan loved it and even Mammaw and Grandpa got in on the action.

SharkMan is using the hundreds board to make a slew of discoveries about numbers. I gave SharkMan a blank 100's board with about 12 tiles in place and he then had to place the rest of the tiles up to the number 50. He quickly got the 10's in place and built from there.

When he finished through 50, he insisted on doing the rest of the board (which was next week's activity.)

Finally, one of our favorite activities came from Primarily Bears. Each day, SharkMan had to dress the bear determining all the different outfits the bear could wear using a set of paper clothers. (Blue shorts & red shirt or Green Shorts & red shirt...) I love this hands on beginning to higher level math concepts. Reading /History

We kept busy this month reading about the history of Thanksgiving. As I said, SharkMan loved Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving. We read it almost daily. We also incorporated a unit on the mountains when we read The Apple and the Arrow. Finally, as Thanksgiving neared, we studied eating/food throughout the ages ending with a study on what people eat around the world and a brief study on corn.
We attended 2 homeschool Thanksgiving celebrations, where SharkMan pretended to be... Squanto.

SharkMan had to follow directions to make his own pumpkin pie.

Then he found the perimeter of the cabin using pretzel sticks.

No unit on the First Thanksgiving would be complete with building the Mayflower.

Complete with pilgrims from the Hundred Acre Woods

We played Great States Jr. Pretty easy, but a good review of where the states are and a famous landmark in each state.


With Fall in full array, we took advantage of the weather to go a unit on seasons and why leaves change colors.

We made Fall Faces.

Sorted Leaves

Painted and Stamped Leaves

At SharkMan's suggestion - painted with twigs.

We even made a Fall Leaf Hat.

Just For Fun

We took our monthly field trip to the art museum. This month we looked at costumes in art and then made a costume vest.

SharkMan loved riding his bike this Fall. He's getting fast too.
Still loves to build.

SharkMan and SharkMom painted some pottery and Christmas ornaments. I have to keep some hand prints around.
Painting a Fall Tree
SharkMan is growing so fast! I am so blessed to get to spend all of these wonderful moments with him!