Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Truckin' Right Along!


Our first field trip will be on September 16th! We will meet here at the school house at 9:30. We will all be heading right down the road to Minter's Farm for the Inman Farm Heritage Days celebration! Lunch for the kids will be provided by Chick-Fil-A, thanks to the Farm Credit Bureau! This year, we will enjoy learning about life in the old days from many knowledgeable people, even a potter, blacksmith, and a story-teller! Inman is my home. I was born here, living right on this street... and I am so thankful to be able to share a bit of it with you. Wear your class shirts... maybe we can share a little about homeschooling with the community, as well!

Spanish- Today, Ms. Joanne taught us more Spanish names of clothing. The kids raced each other to choose the correct article of clothing and put it on the fastest! We all practiced our Spanish numbers as we counted. Today, words included the word for skirt and dress, so the kids had a great time being silly!

Spelling- We discussed all these crazy spelling words, breaking them down and talking about each spelling, as well as their meanings. We then reviewed them by playing “popcorn”. Ask the kids to show you at home tomorrow when you read out loud!

We learned about pronouns today! The kids took turns using pronouns in the places of nouns. Also, we are really getting the hang of dictation! Each student is remembering capital letters, punctuation, spelling, and grammar in writing the sentences that I read to them. Impressive!

Math- Our brains were REALLY working today! As we learn about Fact Families in Teaching Textbooks, we are also working with them in class. I used different pictorial models to represent the part-to-whole concept... which is the same concept as our fact families! The analogy of “breaking a stick” really seemed to help them visualize what we are learning.  Imagine a "24 stick".  If you break it so that one piece of the stick is a "7 stick", then how do you figure out what is left in the other part? 
Our math lesson floated into some discussion of solving equations. We learned about problems such as 24 + _____ = 10 + 27. Problems like this look really tricky, but we learned to just look for that equal sign! Everything before the sign will equal everything behind it, so if you can figure out one side, it makes it easy! We know 10 + 27 = 37. So, now we know that 24 + _____ = 37! Using our fact family concept, just solve 37 – 24 to get the answer.... So, we can figure out that 24 + 13 = 10 + 27. What a super bright group of kids we have!
To work on this in a hands-on way, we used number cards and symbols to manually create different problems within fact families. It helps to actually move those cards around to make the corresponding problems!

Social Studies- Mr. Dennis taught a great lesson today on World Trade! The kids learned about supply, demand, the Crusades, and learned the definition of a monopoly. They each were given a sheet explaining everything, so they can review it all at home! The kids worked on a map activity in order to reinforce those map skills while learning about trade routes. We are going to have some awesome map readers!

Art- We worked with paint today! Ms. Nancy showed the kids how to mix primary colors to make all of the other colors. Yes, yellow and red make orange... but MORE red makes reddish orange, while more yellow makes light orange. The students were all ears and eyes as she demonstrated the combinations! Vocabulary for the Color Wheel discussion include Primary Colors, Secondary Colors, Intermediate Colors, and Complementary Colors.

Each art project has provided a learning tool not just for art, but for sharing, following directions, staying on task, and completing assignments in a timely manner. Each week we do better and better at finishing up with the class!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

End of Week 3!

Spanish- Ms. Joanne was so impressed with the kids' Spanish!! Keep up the good work at home! WOW! Today, Ms. Joanne taught us the Spanish words for articles of clothing.  The kids raced to put on a very over-sized camisa, pantalones, corbata, and sombrero!

Spelling- We reviewed List 3. The kids were needing to stretch their legs, so they did laps around the school house, spelling a word in order to pass by! We can learn AND get our wiggles out at the same time!

Grammar- Today, we learned all about common and proper nouns. Remember, those proper nouns start with capital letters! To use what we have learned about plural nouns and common and proper nouns, we did our very first dictation exercise. In the dictation exercise, we really had to use our brains (and our ears!) to listen to a sentence. The students wrote the sentence on their paper, with me only saying it twice! Then, we all checked our punctuation, spelling, capital letters, and made sure our sentences were formed correctly. It was tricky! But, it will get easier in time. I think it's a great way to put our brains to the test!

Reading- What a great day in reading! We not only had a really good discussion about chapters 3-5 (these kids are soaking it up!).  We enjoyed the discussion so much, the kids didn't even realize that we had gone over each question as we talked!  We also learned a lot about the Iroquois people. As we discussed their language, the 6 tribes, their ways of life, and their customs (Did you know they played lacrosse?), we also created our very own longhouse! The kids really enjoyed the craft, and we now have a better understanding of Little Bear.

Science- Today was an educationally packed day in science! We learned about the ways that scientists classify all living things. We discussed how the thought towards kingdoms changes. Right now, some go by a 5 Kingdom model, while others believe that living things should be divided into 6 Kingdoms. It is not as important to memorize each kingdom at this point, but to grasp the concept of using the kingdoms to begin the classification process. I have each student a new set of handouts over the new material.

After our lecture, we talked specifically about the Fungi Kingdom. We did an experiment with yeast in order to determine if it is truly alive! We placed yeast and water into test tubes. In some, we added sugar. Once the mixture was placed in the tubes, we sealed them with balloons... and made observations about what happened!

Social Studies- Mr. Dennis lead the kids through the rest of our skits today! The students continued on with their exploration of the Americas!

Writing- Everyone did a great job with their papers! As the students read theirs to the class, we heard great descriptions, examples, and even a simile (as small as a quarter)! For next week, we will be combining our writing skills with the theme of 'secrets' from The Indian in the Cupboard.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday's Adventures...

Today, we talked about the importance of communication. Through an activity, we learned skills that we need to communicate well with others. The kids broke into groups of two, sitting back to back. One student had to guide the other in drawing a diagram that he or she was given. The illustrator could not look at the picture, just follow the instructions! The illustrator was able to ask questions,which came in very handy! We then discussed how being a good listener, giving good instructions, being detailed, and asking questions all help us to communicate with the people are us.

Spelling- We went over our new list today, discussing the special sounds in each word. We talked about the “le” in parable and unable, the “u” sound that “o” makes in shovel, and the “o” that the “ow” makes in window and blown. Also, make sure to point out the capital letters in those proper nouns! We played a game today using letter tiles. We raced to spell each word correctly!

Handwriting- Today, I did an individual assessment of each letter of the alphabet. Because each child is different, I didn't want to spend any time practicing letters that were easy for a child, or to breeze by a letter than needs extra help! We will be moving soon to weekly handwriting lessons where we will work towards writing our weekly Bible verses. Before then, I want to customize the handwriting lessons to their individual needs! Check notebooks for handwriting pages for your child.

Grammar- Today's lesson was on forming plural nouns when the word ends in “y”. When it ends in a consonant followed by a “y”, you change the “y” to an “i” and add “es”. If the word ends in a vowel followed by a “y”, just add an “s”! We also went over some irregular nouns, such as “children”, “sheep”, “fish”, “women”, etc.

Reading- Make sure you have read chapters 3-5 by tomorrow! We are going to be going over the Study Guide questions and learning more about Indians!

Math- Our brains were really working today! We learned mental math strategies for subtraction. Although we may not use each strategy every time, it's good to have a “box of tools” for solving math problems. Some problems are easier solved with different techniques! After working through some methods, we put them to use with another math card game. Here's a video so that you can play at home!

Social Studies- The kids had some great knowledge to share about the Age of Exploration. Mr. Dennis lead them through Columbus' voyages as they used their knowledge of latitude and longitude! We're really using those map skills!

Art- We had a great lesson in weaving today! The students worked very hard, cutting, gluing, and most importantly, following Ms. Nancy's directions! The result? A beautiful weaving project!

Music- The kids did an awesome job showing Mrs. Beresford what they know! Keep it up and each one will be able to choose from the blessing bag!

Lessons can be learned, even during playtime! After lunch, we had a few minutes to run amuck outside. Two students wanted to play “zombie tag” and two wanted to play “monkey in the middle”. After much discussion, it was determined that they would invent the game “monkeys vs. zombies”. I used this as an opportunity to discuss compromises!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hello Jello!

We're wrapping up week 2, and we are learning a lot... even me!

I am going to work on spreading our at-home work more evenly throughout Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. For instance, in science, I am going to try introducing a new topic on Thursday instead of Tuesday... giving us a full week at home to go over the material. Also, feel free to divide up Friday and Monday's material however you'd like. For instance, we went to the mountains on Monday, so we did a lot of Monday's material the Friday before. Please bear with me, as I'm work on getting the daily work load sorted out! :)

Spanish- Ms. Joanne is working on getting us pen-pals in Mexico! We will be writing them (in English) to learn more about where they live, their customs, etc. They also went over the drawings of their room... learning Spanish words for bed, books, toys, and the other things they drew!

Spelling-- We played a review game today. I also passed out material for List 3 for next week.

Grammar-- Today, we reviewed using “s” to turn singular nouns plural. We also learned that nouns that end in s, sh, ch, x, and z as made plural by adding “es”. We did an activity using “s” and “es” cards to form plural words.

Reading-- We had a great discussion about the Indian in the Cupboard! Even though this is a really tough book for their age group, the kids seem to be really soaking in the content and the vocabulary! We discussed the vocabulary words and went over the study guide questions, hopefully sparking more interest in the story. We are going to have a great time learning about Indian culture in reading class!

Math-- We played a great game with mental addition and dominos! We also previewed tomorrow's Teaching Textbook lessons for tomorrow and Thursday, learned to correctly write the date, and discussed the lengths of each month.

Science - Today was a information packed day!  We learned about the parts of a cell (organelles), and their functions.  Although we discussed many organelles and wrote lots of facts, we are more concerned with grasping the broad concepts than memorizing every function.  Don't let them stress over the details!  We all worked together to make a model of a cell, using Jello and fruit.  Yum!

Social Studies-- I think we are really getting the hang of latitude and longitude! Mastery is a beautiful thing! Next week, we are going to embark on an expedition... we will be putting on a skit about the Age of Exploration!

Writing-- We learned about graphic organizers help us get our thoughts from our brain onto paper. Then, we can put our heart and soul into our writing, giving lots of details and write a story or paragraph!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Terrific Tuesday!

El Monstro!
Spanish- Ms. Joanne made up a story about children who lived in the woods. In the story, the children wanted to build a monster to scare everyone. The kids used the body parts that they created at home, as well as their Spanish words, to make the monster! We have also been working on months of the year, days of the week, colors, and the alphabet. The kids are all coming out of their shells and repeating those Spanish words nice and loud this week!

Spelling- Today, we talked about the spellings of each of our new words. Notice that “science” does not follow the “i before e except after c” rule! The English language is so confusing! We took turns building each word as if we were making a hamburger. Ask them to show you how!

Grammar- We continued talking about nouns today. We discussed the difference between singular nouns and plural ones, learning the “usual” way of making plurals, by simply adding an “s”.

Reading- Reading class will be on Thursday. Check out those vocabulary sheets. I know the vocab is tough in this book-- We're starting out the year getting our brains really working! We will discuss Chapters 1-2 on Thursday. Be ready!

Here are the kids, as the sun!
Math- In our Teaching Textbook Lesson for tomorrow, the kids will be talking about days of the week and months of the year. We practiced figuring out “three days before Wednesday” and “four months after December”, but we also learned WHY there are 24 hours in a day and WHY there are 365 days in a year and WHY we have 12 months! The students did a demonstration of the sun-earth-moon system, seeing how days and night occur with a flashlight. They each learned the definitions of rotation, revolution, and axis. There's a review sheet in their folders!

Science- Science will be on Thursday, but I gave the kids hand outs on the next topic; cells. Look over them for science fun on Thursday!

Snack in the beautiful weather!

Art- Today, we learned the 5 basic shapes. We practiced cutting them out and created a picture using our shapes. We have also learned about lines: they can be straight (shortest distance between two points) or curvy. Ms. Nancy gave us all portfolios to use in class.  We need to decorate them, but bring them back!

Social Studies- The kids and Mr. Dennis explored the globe, reviewing the degrees on the globe, the poles, the prime meridian, equator, eastern/western and northern/southern hemispheres, and (*gasp*) the international dateline! Remember “East Increase” “West Less”(1 hour per 15 degrees)!

Social Studies.
Writing- Ms. Sharon really enjoyed learning about what makes us unique! We will be working on our first writing assignment-- turning one of our ideas from our list into a paper!

Studying our world.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Science Day!

Spanish- Ms. Joanne has been working this week on the alphabet, moths of the year, days of the week, and colors. She taught us some very interesting facts about Spain! Did you know that Spain invented apartments? Ask the kids to tell you the story!

Spelling- We played a fun review game today where the kids hopped their way across the room! They are doing a great job with these words. Recess, friend, and school seem to be the ones that are trickiest! I gave them an (optional) worksheet with fun review with this list. New list on Monday!

Grammar- These kids really know their nouns! The definition of a noun was nothing new to them,but we had a lot of discussion about what nouns are "ideas".  For instance, we talked about how "happiness" is a noun, but "happy" is an adjective.  "Freedom" is a noun, but "free" is not.  It's tricky, but we were able to sort cards of persons, places, things, and ideas into different labeled boxes, discussing each card at the end.  In addition to your at-home grammar assignment for Friday/Monday, I would work talk more about "ideas" as nouns!

Reading- I gave the students a list of Study Guide Questions for Chapters 1-2, and we discussed them. I explained that, although they may want to read more than the assigned chapters, I would rather them focus on the book in bite size chunks. This lets us really break the book apart, studying the author's use of language, vocabulary, what the characters are doing and why, and plot development. They have a vocabulary sheet for chapters 1-2, as well. Feel free to use these as you read!

Math- What a great day in math! We talked about expanded and standard form, as well as place values up to 10,000. Not only did we review concepts, but we worked with place value cards, physically making numbers in both expanded and standard form. Also, the kids “became” a place value. They each wore a sign: ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, and ten thousands. They had to work together to put themselves in order. Then, I gave them each number cards. They had to coordinate and name the number that they made! Ask them about it!

Science- We reviewed the scientific method, working as a team to put cards of the steps in order across the floor. In order to do our experiment today, we needed to learn about water's property of cohesion and surface tension. We used our new-found skills of observation, asking a question, hypothesis, experimentation, using variables, recording data, and comparing the results to our hypothesis. Ask the kids how many drops of water fit on a penny-- The answer is surprising!

Social Studies- The kids worked with Mr. Dennis on using their latitude and longitude knowledge. They all seem really interested in map reading! Keep working on using latitude and longitude to determine location... discuss continents and oceans... prime meridian and equator... Make your GPS a lesson! Try Google maps and let the kids zoom up on their house!

Writing- We finished the book “Thank You, Mr. Falkner” today. The story illustrates a young girl's struggle with reading, and how a teacher helped her overcome it. We discussed how we all have strengths and weaknesses that make us unique. For Tuesday, the kids will need to make a list of things that make them unique. Get them thinking!

Don't forget, assignment can be found on the Homework Hideout Page!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Amazing Day!

What an amazing day we had today!!  Tomorrow's assignments are posted here, or "Homework Hideout" is also linked on the right of this page.

Here's a summary of our day, along with tips and tricks to pry information out of your kiddos about class!  As homeschoolers, we use all day for education, so I want to let you know what we talked about so that you can talk about Spanish in the car, Math in the grocery store, or ask about that math game we played when you tuck them in!

Spelling- We reviewed the words, discussing the different special sounds in each word.  For example, we talked about how "stood" uses "oo" as in book, how "chicken" uses "ck" because it follows a short "i", etc.

 Handwriting- We worked on vowel formation.

Grammar- We discussed the parts of a book (title, authors, index, table of contents).  Tomorrow, discuss the parts of "Indian in the Cupboard" and have them look up a chapter using the Table of Contents, find the author, etc.

Math- We discussed the terms "sum", "addend", and "cummutative property".  We talked about the root of commutative being "commute", meaning to "move around".  We also used mental math techniques for addition, and played a card game to practice mentally adding double digit numbers!

Science- We will have science on Thursday, but I sent home a sheet of vocabulary words to look over.  See the Homework Hideout for how to prepare for Thursdsay's science lesson!

Social Studies/History- The students talked about the study of history, why we study history, primary and secondary sources of information, and learned about longitude and latitude.

Writing- Today, the students talked about different genres of books.  They began reading the book "Thank You, Mr. Falkner" by Patricia Polacco.  We will open with this story in order to discuss our uniqueness, our differences, as well as the way that the author uses imagery, word choice, and sentence structure to create her story.

Art- The students learned about self portraits, creating their own!  Check out the artwork, but we'll be keeping a portfolio at school so the kids can display their work at an art show at the end of the semester!


Music- We had an awesome time learning the basics of the keyboard, as well as the sharps and flats!  (http://www3.northern.edu/wieland/theory/keys/beadgcf.htm)