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!

Reading List for November - Weeks 11-14

Our month was filled with Pilgrims and Indians, units on seasons, weather and food.

If you chose to read only one Thanksgiving book, you MUST read Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving -Metaxas. I bet we read this book 10 times this month. SharkMan adored it and wanted to be Squanto at both Thanksgiving Feasts we attended. I loved the book because it showed how God directed the steps of Squanto's life for His purpose. I love how the book drew the parallels between Squanto and Joseph. A Must Read!

Here are the other books we read in November

Week 11

Read Aloud
The Boxcar Children - Warner
Apple and Arrow - Buff
Charlotte's Web (nightly)

Quack and Count - Baker (7's)

Scrambled States of America - Keller

Theme - Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Bowl- Kroll
Sometimes It's Turkey, Sometimes It's Feathers - Balian

Science - Weather
The Cloud Book - de Paola
Twister - Penner
Snow is Falling - Branley (Read and Find Out)
Down Comes the Rain - Branley (Read and Find Out)
Magic School Bus - Wet All Over -Cole
Pumpkin Patch - King

Week 12
Read Aloud
Charlotte's Web -Finished
Apple and Arrow -Finished

Scrambled States of America Talent Show - Keller
*Priscilla Alden and the First Thanksgiving - Boynton

Magic School Bus Gets Baked in a Cake (Kitchen Chemistry)-Cole

Theme - Thanksgiving
The Perfect Thanksgiving - Spinelli
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie - Jackson
Thanksgiving Mice - Roberts
This Is the Turkey - Levine
Thanksgiving is Here - Goode

Theme - Leaf/Fall
*Why Do Leaves Change Colors? - Maestro
Fall A Tale of What Is to Come - McDonnell
*Autumn Leaves - Robbins
*Leaves, Leaves, Leaves -Wallace
*Leaf Man - Ehlert

Week 13
Read Aloud
Pilgrim's First Thanksgiving - McGovern

Social Studies
Where Does Food Come From? - Rotner

*Paperwhite - Wallace (Plants)
Magic School Bus - Lost in Snow - Cole
Magic School Bus- Spins a Web (Spiders) - Cole
Magic School Bus - That's a Moon Walk - Cole

Theme- Thanksgiving
Give Thanks To The Lord - Wilson
*Merrily Comes Our Harvest In - Hopkins (Poetry)
Thanksgiving Day at Our House - Carlstrom (Poetry)
Thanksgiving Day - Moncure

Week 14
Read Aloud - Thanksgiving
* This is the Feast - Shore
Thanksgiving Day - Rockwell
Thanksgiving - Nerlove
Thanksgiving Day - Gibbons
Merrily Comes Our Harvest In

Baby Einstein - ABC'sof Art

Social Studies/Science - Food
Corn is Maize - The Gift of the Indians - Aliki
Food and Recipes of the Pilgrims - Erdosh
The Edible Pyramid - Rood Eating Everyday - Leedy
What We Eat- James

Science - Seasons
*Four Seasons Make a Year - Rockwell

*Some of our favorites

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

October Highlights

Still playing catch up. Warning - This one is long! Here is a snapshot of our month of October.

Math In October, we continued to work on the concept of numbers. We made books for the numbers 5 and 6 and then followed each of those weeks by working on Math Mats. We are loving our Logic Problems with the Teddy Bear counters. This month, we also used a story board of a field with a scarecrow. We used various unifix blocks to tell stories about the farm. In this picture, SharkMan is telling a story about pumpkins gowing and being picked. This activity, helps to reinforce how numbers can change. When children start story problems, one of the most difficult steps for them to determine is what operation to do with the number - am I suppose to add, subtract... Using Story boards, SharkMan begins to see what can cause him to add (planted more pumpkins, brought more pumpkins) or subtract (decayed, sold.) Hopefully, this will help him when we get to story problems. The mat comes from my one of my favorite books Developing Number Concepts with Unifix Cubes - by Richardson.We also used the Story boards to compare. In the picture below, we are comparing pumpkins with stems to those without. These stories make math concepts very natural to talk about and allows SharkMan to make many discoveries on his own.

We are still using the Hundreds Board weekly. I love how using the manipulative is helping SharkMan to really make associations. He discovered that columns end in the same number and rows start in the same number. I think that children learn so much more when they discover rather than being told. Some of our other activities included playing games. For example, we find might find a number higher 84 or a number lower than 52. We also find numbers between two different numbers. We have drawn pictures with the board, where I give SharkMan different numbers to color and then he connects all the coordinates with lines (like a dot to dot.) We only do a hundreds board activity on Monday and although they are time consuming, I think it is one of our favorite learning tools.

We also are continuing to use the Cuisenaire rods along with the alphabet book. I do think that these are getting a little repetitious for SharkMan and he is not enjoying them as much as he did in the beginning. However, the activities are very powerful. For each letter of the alphabet, he has to come up with different ways to use the rods to make the letters. For example, use less than 5 rods to make the M, or use all of the same color to make a letter. The last activity for each letter is to use each color rod only once in making the letter and then to count the value of each color. SharkMan already knows the value for each color and their relationships to the other color rods. He is also learning that 2 light green rods are equivalent to 1 teal. This will be very helpful when we learn fractions since I plan to use the cuisenaire rods for that too. I love how simple this alphabet book has been but yet so complex at the same time.
I also included a picture of our calendar. This month, we are doing an AAB coloring pattern, working on writing the numbers (and reviewing with sandpaper numbers) and counting down the days until Fall Festival. We use the chains on the right to record the number of days we have had learning time. (In addition, we read the matching Psalm for that day during Bible Time.) The chains allow for daily practice with ones and tens column. I was so proud when SharkMan knew to move the 10 chains into the ones column when we reached day 30. Also included on the board is our weekly nursery rhyme. SharkMan also enjoyed playing with his new Tangram set.
We are loving the Sonlight literature. We have read My Father's Dragon multiple times, but SharkMan wanted to hear it again. (I gave him the choice between it and a new novel.) I added Charlotte's Web as our nightly reading since we are studying spiders this month. We have read many books on spiders, bats, and pumpkins. We are also reading a book about the seasons each week. Our literature rotation is going well as we read and learn nursery rhymes and fairy tales. We continue to work on letter sounds. We also found some fun ways to practice writing our letters - Wikki Stix and Chocolate Pudding.

Our focus this month included finishing our plant unit and then units on the jungles, spiders, bats and seasons. We also did a unit on experiments including learning how dish soap helps water clean a plate.
PaPa Shark bought a mini-volcano which they enjoyed watching together.
We had a great Science Day with our homeschool group. We had Pumpkin Day where we measured the circumference of the pumpkin with string and the height of the pumpkin and the stem with unifix cubes.
We did a Sink or Float experiment and then measured the area of a pumpkin on a worksheet using pumpkin seeds. So much fun.

Fine Arts

SharkMan enjoys Musikgarten and our monthly trip to the Art Museum. We have enjoyed lots of crafts and painting this month.

Glitter Art Miss Muffet and Spider puppets

Color Mixing - Red and Yellow to make differentshades of orange

Sewing Pumpkins - Working on that Fine Motor Coordination

Carving Pumpkins

Painting Spiders and Penguins

Field Trips

This month, we went to to Zoo, the Art Museum and the Arboretum.