Sunday, September 20, 2009

Week of September 14

We had a week of mostly independant/book work type stuff and no really fun projects to share here. The highlight of our week by far was our 4H club field trip to the landfill. Here is Two holding the flag for our ceremony time.


A shot of the work at the landfill...

And this is Duke, "the landfill dog"...
I took a trip to the school supply store over the weekend. The last time I was at my friend Jemma's (of Life is Not a Cereal super-blog-dom) she had the poster you see pictured on the right. I loved it, and was so happy to get one. I've been doing something similar, just writing them down on paper and giving the girls options after they are done. Mostly it's Two that needs suggestions....One can typically entertain herself with Barbie and Littlest Pet Shop pretty well. The poster on the left is for our Vocabulary work. They'll take turns and then we'll review all of the words they both did on Friday's.



Two helped Three with a puppet project this week. This is from a kit I found on clearance at Walmart. It had 4 fabric puppet sets in it, with directions to make the puppet. I need to go back and see if they have the other set. They had wild animals, and farm animals. I got the wild animal pack (containing a bear, tiger, elephant, and a monkey.)
It was a good week for bugs at our house....unfortuneatly this butterfly was gravely injured when Two found him, but holding a butterfly is exciting nonetheless.
And this guy spent a lot of time hanging around our porch, so One snapped a shot of him.
I'm currently providing after school care a couple days a week for a dear friend, and the kids have been playing with Wedgits, A LOT. Here is one of their creations.

Friday, September 18, 2009

My 15 Favorite Blogs and The Lovely Blog Award

I appreciate Jemma over at Life is Not a Cereal for nominating me for this award. Jemma knows not how wonderful she is, and how lucky I feel to have the priveledge to have her in my life (yes Jemma and I are REAL friends, like in the real world! LOL).



Now, I'll share my 15 favorite blogs:

Homeschooling:

1. Life is Not a Cereal (this is Jemma's blog, and I'm not just putting this one in there because she nominated me...it really is one of my very favorites. She's so creative, and has such brilliant ideas.



2. No Time for Flash Cards is probably my current favorite haunt on the web. I'm there at LEAST once a day.



3. Making of a Montessori Mum has lots of cute stuff (for my littles anyway...)



4. Mariposa the site that brought me "Smart but Scattered" a book that shall forever be given credit for changing how I think of my eldest child.



5. The Wonder Years



6. BookWorms Book Nook



7. Totally Tots

8. SCHOOL-N-SUCH I've had the pleasure of knowing this author for years via an online group.


9. Art Projects for Kids, I think I may have shared this blog on my own blog before, but it's worth repeating.

(Just for me)

Multi-slacking Mamalicious is a lot of fun to read....I enjoy it, she cracks me up!



To the Moon and Back again, just something I enjoy!

Frugal Upstate a frugal living website.

A Year of Slow Cooking can be a life saver!

Parenting (but not homeschooling):

Milk Allergy Mom as the mom of two milk allergic children (one of them also being egg allergic) I appreciate this site so much!

Best Parent Ever is a very tongue in cheek parenting site. I <3 sarcasm, so I love every minute of it. Enjoy!




















Monday, September 14, 2009

Back from Hiatus

I did NOT fall of the blogwagon again, really I didn't. We had company, and took a full 2 weeks off (they came in mid-week, and left mid-week...the days before and after were spent cleaning up). So, I have had no school things to share with any of you.

But, today we climbed back into a normal routine. I have a blog award I need to answer (that's on my to-do list for this week), and a "typical day" post I want to share after reading Jemma's (Life Is Not a Cereal) post about her typcial day...I'm afraid mine will pale in comparison, but I'm going to share anyway. Tomorrow Four has a specialist appt that will eat up most of my day, so we'll probably do mostly independant work in the afternoon (I hate morning appts as they mess up the whole flow of my day but this particular doctor only does Tuesday and Thursday 9-1...and we need at least 2 1/2 hours for the appt).

Today....

We had a 4H field trip to the local landfill where we all got to stand atop 80 ft of garbage! We got to see the dozers working on spreading and covering the trash, we got to see huge piles of mulch from the yard waste that people have brought in, and they gave us these great recycled newspaper pencils.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Music Education

video

This week we worked on rounds. Two was also learning about mountain ranges of the world, as well as how mountains are formed, so the selection was appropriate. Two is the one with her fingers in her ears...it helped her keep track of what line she was on! :) You will also notice that One hurries her ending...she was over it. Tween!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Better than a Book Report

Here is a link with 50 alternatives to a standard book report:

http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Journals/EJ/0871-jan98/EJ0871Ideas.PDF

One has just finished reading The Trumpet of the Swan (which she LOVED, by the way). And, as an alternative to a book report, I had her write an acrostic of the main character's name (an adaptation of an idea I got from the above link). If you're looking to change things up, you may want to check it out.

And, here is One's finished product:

Louis is dumb.
One hundred dollars was the first money he earned.
In Philadelphia, he played at a nightclub.
Under a bush was where Louis kept his things.
Serena was the most beautiful swan Louis knew.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Group Project: Relief Map of South America

One and Two had a group project assignment this week. They were both learning about South America in their Core Knowledge books, and a teaching idea that was listed in my book for One was to create your own relief map of the continent showing the Andes Mountains and the Amazon River. Well, Two was learning about South America as well, the Andes Mountains, and relief maps....so I included her in the project. They struggle some times to get along (what sisters don't I ask you??) and I think it will be good throughout the year for them to work together on things. They did come to me more than once asking what they should do when they had reached a disagreement about how they should do something, and I refused to intervene. I told them they had to work TOGETHER, and that how they handled the disagreements would play a big part in their grade. Overall, they did well in that area.

Rolling out play-doh to make the Andes.

Painting:
Thier finished work:


It's not the neatest project in the world. But, I don't know that they've ever had to do something of this nature, especially together, so I think it was good first effort. I expect later projects in the year will be done with more care for details.
That care for details is something I've been discussing with One this week anyway, she told me she didn't know she was supposed to put 100% effort into ALL her work. *eye roll* She's such a tween!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Volcano

video

This is a VERY simplified volcano model. We could have jazzed it up, and actually BUILT a volcano of clay around the jar, but we've had a busy week and didn't get to that but I still wanted to do the 'hands on' part of the unit.

*I wanted to add: Two was very unsure of herself, and didn't like that I was video taping her. But, in the end, decided I could use it here anyway.*

Our New Look

Just wanted to point out our new banner! WOO HOO. A friend from a message board made it for me (and 2 others to choose from, so I may change them up every now and then!), and I'm thrilled. :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Beginning Taxonomy Project

(As a reminder: all children will be referred to as a number, their birth order from here on out)

One is learning about taxonomy. As a beginning project, she went out and collected several different types of plants. This is a teaching idea from the Core Knowledge Teacher Handbook (which I LOVE). Here she is examining her choices, to select how they will be grouped.



Now, she has sorted them according to leaf shape (her choice), and is affixing them to a small poster board.





Now, she is trying to decide which describing word to use for that last group.



And, her completed work:





Two is working on cooking, and learning her way around the kitchen. Last week she assisted me in making bbq chicken sandwiches from leftover roasted chicken. Last night she helped me make smoked sausage with pasta. She insisted I take a picture, since I was taking pictures of what her sister was doing. Here she is cutting celery (and while I was blogging this...she asked if she could help with tonight's dinner!):











Sunday, August 9, 2009

New Year

Last Monday we started our new school year. The first day was ROUGH...Four was not a happy camper most of the day making it difficult for me to get what I needed to get done, done. After that first day, I was frazzled. I was hopeful though too. I hoped day 2 would go better, and it was a little better. Four seemed to have a rough few days, but we managed to get a lot accomplished anyway. We actually got everything finished that I had scheduled, except one project. We started the project, but it didn't go smootly. The project dried slowly and ended up a mess! Overall, I give us a grade of B+ for the week. Not a bad start.


My personal goal is to blog at least once a week. I thought I would do once a day, but then I realized I was more likely to meet my goal if I set if for once a week. So, I will strive to do more, I'll be happy with once a week.

To simplify my life, I ordered all the materials available from Core Knowledge this year. In years past, I've used the student book and did all the legwork myself. I have to say, I love having the Teacher Handbook and Day by Day planner! We are using Math Advantage for math again this year (this textbook works well for both girls, so I plan on sticking with it). I just bought a new curriculum for spelling, as both girls tested poorly in spelling on their end of the year evals. It is Recipe for Spelling, and so far so good. It has games, and those are always a hit around here.

Four is screaming. More to come (including pics).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day

Tomorrow is Earth Day. This morning I'm going to share just a couple things we'll be doing.

Yesterday we had our 4H club meeting, and the topic was weather. Two (from here on out all children will be referred to as a number, based on birth order :)) was VERY interested in this meeting, and learned a lot, as well as really sparked her interest. She decided upon coming home that she wanted to do her first 4H project on weather because she really wanted to learn more. So...I'm going to tie that into our Earth Day study.

Today we're going to make a rain gauge. There are many good links if you simply google make a rain gauge. Here is the one we are specifically doing: http://www.ciese.org/curriculum/weatherproj2/en/docs/raingauge.shtml
We'll make this gauge and place it on our back porch for one month to monitor the rain fall, then she will present it at our next 4H club meeting for show and tell. So, since we'll be learning about and monitoring rain fall...we're going to talk about acid rain. I have a book I picked up somewhere called Looking at the Environment by David Suzuki. It has some good info about acid rain in it. We'll be reading about that, and then talking about filtering water. There is a great project in the book where you filter dirty water. We live on a pond, so finding some muddy water will be an easy task. You simply filter it through a coffee filter (I knew there was a reason I ALWAYS have those on hand...even though no on in my house drinks coffee!). You add a layer of sand, crushed charcoal, sand to the filter, and slowly filter the water through. You should be able to see a big difference in the cleanliness of the water.

We'll also be talking about pH, and testing some common things as well as our pond water, and later our rain sample. Here is a link I'm using: http://www.epa.gov/acidrain/education/experiments.html

We'll also cover the water cycle. I'm using this page to make a matching game/activity. I'll cut off the paper where it has the "answers" to what the letters are and make it so that the girls have to match the appropriate term with the appropriate picture, using velcro dots. :) http://www.kidzone.ws/water/cactivity1.htm

On each individual page there is an activity. We will do those as well. We've done this set of activities repeatedly over the years....from back when I was doing science classes here in our house (so...Two wasn't even 5 yet, and she's 9 now). But, I think kids learn a little more each time, even from the same activity.

We have a great book titled You Can Save the Planet: 50 Ways You Can Make a Difference. I'm going to have the girls look through the book and see what they can find that we already do to make a difference, and find some new things we can do to make a difference. I'll keep you posted on what they decide.

Acrostic poem, we'll do another acrostic poem on Earth Day as well, because I enjoyed them so much last year. :) I'm not sure the kids did...but hey, part of the perks of being the teacher is they do some of the things *I* want, right???

A new post...hold on to your hat! LOL

I had no clue it had been since October that I had not blogged here. And, I thought I was neglecting the preschool blog. This is beyond neglect. I'm sorry all....I am nearing the end of my 4th (and final) pregnancy, and I've been trying to make sure school is all caught up, projects are completed, etc. So, I've been neglecting my computer...much to the delight of my husband, as our house has never looked better! :) In addition to a lot of housework, I've instituted a new schedule that is keeping our house running very smoothly. Now, in 4 weeks when Four (the nickname of the baby) arrives, I'm sure I'll be singing a different tune.

Now, I'm going to post some stuff we are currently doing....enjoy!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

State Capitals Matching Game

I made a very simple game for the kids today. We have some Montessori 3 part cards, but they had a little too much info on them for my younger DD. She is struggling with remembering the capitals, and I didn't want to overwhelm her with more info. So, I made a very simple version.



I pulled out index cards. I took a sharpie and wrote the capital on half the card and the state name on the lower half of the card. I wrote them in the same color, but in hindsight probably should have written them in differing colors. After having written them in the same color I needed some way for it to be easy for the kids to differentiate between which group was which in order to sort the cards before playing. I put a large star on the back of the capital cards (tie in to how capitals are represented on most maps), as well as a small star next to the name of each capital on the front of the card. This way as they pull them out of the container they can sort them quickly.





Then it's just a matching game. Match the capital card with the state card. Again, I have some great montessori 3 part cards that we will use later, but for my younger DD these are great for right now.