Monday, October 12, 2009

Week 5 & 6

Playing Catch Up with the blog!

Math Mats are working wonderful for reviewing math facts.
SharkMan used the cubes in his math activity earlier and then decided to build his own tower.

Concentration at its finest.

A Job well done!
My favorite math activity came from Family Math. SharkMan had to take dry beans and glue them in pairs to determine if they were odd or even. Then we used our Do A Dots to discover a pattern of odds and even on the number line.
More odd/even work on the hundreds board.
Reading - We are continuing to do many read alouds and working on Phonics. SharkMan is enjoying using the sandpaper letters. I think they are helping to internalize his letter formation. We also enjoyed learning about Johnny Appleseed during his birthday week. To finish our week, we added him to our timeline.
Science - We are learning about the needs of plants this week. We conducted several experiments including the classic celery in colored water to see the water move in the veins.In addition, we are testing to see which direction plants grow by placing a plant on its side to see if it will change directions as it grows.Twice a month, we will do Science Day with a group of homeschoolers. For our first day, we learned about how to make a hypothesis using Starburst. First, we had a bag with all purple Starburst and the kids made a guess on what color candy they would get. Next, we conducted the experiment and checked answers. Then we had a second bag with a majority red and just a few purple and they made hypothesis and explained their answers.
Next we did an experiment called Dancing Raisins. We used our new knowledge of the word hypothesis to predict what would happen to raisins put in water and then in Sprite.
In all of my years of teaching, this activity was one of the most enjoyable. I think that I saw a value of homeschooling I had not considered before. The kids weren't concerned about grades or looking smart in front of each other. Since all the parents were present, I not only did not have to worry about behavior but I didn't have to worry about giving individual attention, because the moms worked with me to help the kids. I love that learning is all fun at this age. We had readers and nonreaders, English speakers and dual language learners, and various ages around the table and the kids all felt valuable, not in competition with each other. I loved it.Fun and Games
SharkMan and Papa Shark enjoying the Legos.

Papa Shark is teaching SharkMan chess.

I love this shot. Our Deep Thinker!

What We Read Week 5 & 6

Read Alouds
James Herriot's Treasury for Children
Llama Who Had No Pajama - Hoberman (some cute poems / one evolutionary one)

Let's Fly A Kite - Stuart Murphy (Math Start -symmetry)
Plenty of Petals - Dahl (Counting by 10's)
*Patterns in Nature - Jennifer Roy (excellent book on patterns!)

History/Social Studies
*The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau - Dan Yaccarino (Biography)
An Elephant in the Backyard - Richard Sobol (culture)
Johnny Appleseed - Aliki (biography)
*Johnny Appleseed - Gini Holland

Focus: Fall and Plants/seeds
Animals in the Fall - Marha Rustad
Fall - Ron Hirschi
The Bee - Sabrina Crewe
*Actual Size- Steve Jenkins (animals - loved reading after the zoo)
Apple Harvest - Calvine Harris
This is Your Garden - Maggie Smith
*Seeds, Seeds, Seeds - Nancy Wallace (great book and project ideas)
The Reason for a Flower - Heller
*From Seed to Pumpkin - W. Pfeffer (Read and Find Out About Science)
Friends and Flowers - Gunderson

* Our favorites from the week

Friday, October 2, 2009

Week 4

Still trying to catch up on the blog.

Week 4
Getting home from vacation is always overwhelming for me. Trying to settle back into routines. I was daunted when I looked at the week of homeschooling I had planned and seriously considered taking an additional week off. However, I decided to just plunge forward and I am glad I did. Here are some of the highlights of our week.
Math was awesome this week! Our curriculum is still being heavily shaped by hands on activities from Developing Number Concepts Using Unifix Cubes, and Mathematics Their Way. We finished our Book of 3 before our trip. To expand our concept of 3, we made a Math Mat of the number 3 this week. On Monday, we created a Math Mat. We arranged blocks to come up with various addition equations that totaled 3.
We then stamped the equation onto the mat.
After we were done, we cleared the mat. On the following day, we glued colored toothpicks onto the mat. This way we were able to review all the problems from the first day with a different manipulative.
We also used play mats from Developing Number Concepts to visual math problems. We used the ocean mat this week. SharkMan told "math stories" using the Unifix cubes. For example, three sharks were swimming in the ocean, then two whales swam up. There were 5 animals altogether. He really enjoyed this and experimented with larger and larger numbers of animals/sums.
We also played Roll a Tower Race from Developing Number Concepts. We rolled the dice and built unifix towers to match the number on the dice. The first number rolled four times was the winning number. We enjoyed predicting which number we thought would win. Great practice in counting and reading dice.

We used ETA's Tanagram book to explore the concept of half. We built pictures and then used a corresponding color to create symmetry.
I sent surveys to our friends and family asking for basic information like eye color and for preferences like favorite color, pizza topping, ice cream flavors. We will use our data from the survey over the next few weeks to introduce and create bar graphs. Here is our first one about eye color. SharkMan figured out that blue should represent blue eyes, green for green and red for brown. Great introductory activity for graphing.
We are loving the Logic problems from Reasoning with Teddy Bear Counters (Creative Publications.) This week, we had to determine which bear sat on which stair based on clues such as the blue bear is sitting two steps below the red bear.We also used Family Math for a fun activity. We had 72 beans that SharkMan had to count out and place in the correct pocket.

What I loved most about this activity is that it is self correcting. If there are beans left over, then something is not correct.
We continued our phonics work and matching letter sheets with Cuisennaire rods. SharkMan is becoming quite proficient at placing the rods. He knows most of the colors' values now.

I am still pleased with how much phincs SharkMan is learning. This week, we got messy. To give a new twist on practicing letter formation, we used a cookie tray with flour. I would make a sound and SharkMan would write it. Messy but a blast.

We continue to enjoy our literature experience. We learned Jack Be Nimble, read a great children's biography on Corrie ten Boon, read Aesop's - The Swallow and the Crow and the Three Billy Goats Gruff. We also enjoyed reading the novel Five True Dog Stories.
SharkMan is getting faster with the map puzzle. We only do it once a week, but he is starting to remember where different pieces go.
In science, we began our unit on plants. We are using The Usbourne Complete First Book of Nature and The Usbourne Book of Science Activities vol. 2 as our primary text with supplemental materials from the library. SharkMan loved dissecting a flower to find its parts. The emphasis on the plant is not to memorize all the names of the parts but to give an awareness that the plant has parts and what some of the parts do.

Another fun activity was dissecting a seed. I soaked the seed for a couple of hours, and then we split it apart to find the baby plant inside and to look at all the food stored for the plant in the seed. We then planted some bean seeds to track their growth over the next few weeks.

All in all a great week back from vacation!

What We Read This Week - Week3/ 4

Week 3
While at the Beach, we enjoyed:
Dolphin Treasure - Wayne Grover
*20th Century Children's Book Treasury -Janet Schulman (great collection!)
Burgess Seashore Book for Children - Thornton Burgess
For an 11 hour car trip - plenty of Patch the Pirate and Jim Weiss CDs

Week 4
Burgess Seashore book for Children - Thornton Burgess

Ding Dong Clock - Carol Behrman

*Corrie ten Boom - Are All the Watches Safe?-Catherine Mackenzie
*I Can Do It -Angie Quantrell (book written in English and Chinese, including Chinese writing)
Career Day - Anne Rockwall

Science (Plants/Seed theme, some ocean)
Magic School Bus-Inside a Beehive - Joanna Cole
*Plants that Eat Animals- Allan Fowler
What's Inside a Shell - Dorling Kindersly
God Made Oceans - Heno Head
*One Bean - Anne Rockwell
Dinosaur Big and Small - Kathleen Zoehfeld (does reference millions of years -we omit that part)
How a Seed Grows - H. Jordan

* - favorites of the week