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.