Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Last Day of Class!

I cannot believe it!  The year is over.  It really did fly by!

Today, we weren't in a classroom, we were at a beach party!  Ms. Lisa did such an amazing job with the decorations!  We had beach umbrellas, folding chairs, beach balls, sea shells... you name it!  WOW! 

For homework last week, the students looked back through their folders and came up with 5 review questions from each subject.  They wrote them down on color coded cards, with the answers on the back.  Their assignment was to bring their stack of cards back in to me, to compile for our huge review game!  I was so pleased at how seriously they took their task.  It was an awesome (and stealth) way for them to review their material from the year!

Today, the class took turns rolling the die and moving their game pieces along the board.  In order to advance, they had to answer a question that corresponded to that square's color.  We played for over an hour before I realized that we needed an intermission!  So, we had an interlude, where the kids each wrote a song- to any commonly known tune of their choice- that taught a grammar concept that they had learned during the year.  For seven and eight year olds, the music in the computer game "Minecraft" seem to be commonly known.  And so, the entire class went to work, rewriting the Minecraft music.  One sang about conjunctions... One sang about helping verbs.  Honestly, I have no idea if the tune was right, but they nailed the concepts!

After finishing up our review game and eating lunch, the class changed into bathing suits for a School's Out Celebration!  We had water balloons, but they are a very short-lived activity.  It's amazing how long it takes to fill up enough water balloons for a 3 minute battle!  So, we took things back to basics... with a homemade slip and slide!  Yes... A long roll of plastic + a sprinkler + dish soap = hours of full blown FUN!

These kids definitely needed an afternoon of unabashed play together before summer begins.  It was great to see them have a blast together!  Next year is going to be an awesome year... with new friends and a bigger team of tutors.  But, there will always be a special place in my heart for this inaugural class of 5!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Time To Talk

For our last poetry recitation video, I have compiled a different video for each child.  Each and every one of these students has done such a wonderful job this year, and I am so pleased that their final videos turned out so well!

Tuesday is our last day of the first year of Inman Hybrid Homeschool Program.

And I am glad that we have always taken "time to talk".

Thursday, May 10, 2012

So Hard to Believe

I just cannot believe we are only one class day away from summer.  I also cannot believe how fast this year has flown by.  Time certainly does fly when you're having fun... and I'm not sure I am ready to say goodbye to our first year of this marvelous adventure.

Spelling- We began the day with spelling class.  Because this list is particularly challenging for them, we reviewed the most troublesome words before beginning with our activity.  After a discussion and some spelling-out-loud, we brought out the letter tiles.  The students worked it groups to create their own "crossword puzzles" with the spelling list.  They really had to think about the letters in each word, as they stared at the letters on the table, trying to make as many words fit as possible!

Grammar- In grammar, we played a review game.  The students took turns answering questions, such as "What is the definition of a verb?", "What is the preposition in this sentence?", and "What is a conjunction?".  Each question was worth a point.  However, answering the question correctly earned you the chance at a bonus point!  They took a shot throwing a ball into a basket.  Toward the end of the game, I threw out two-point questions.  The students did an excellent job reciting the list of prepositions, helping verbs, and diagramming sentences on the board!

Math- Ms. Jennifer, who will be teaching our math class next year, visited us during math today.  She taught us all a very cool tricky for multiplication 6's through 10's!  Afterward, the children worked on Multiplication Mosaics and Division Designs.  These worksheets really keep multiplication and division practice fun!  The kids answer the math problems at the bottom of the page.  Then, they have to plot out points on the graph, using the hundreds place in their answer for the horizontal position and the tens place for the vertical.  The result of the division design was a picture of a nesting bird! 

Science- We have covered so much ground in science this year!   As a recap, the students were given a written evaluation in science.  Since science class is only held once per week, we spend that time discussing topics and doing hands on experiments and activities.  At home, they have spent a lot of time reading about the topics, studying websites, and watching videos about the concepts.  This was a chance for the kids to think back to all that they have learned, and show what they know in both science and writing!  They were each given a sheet of essay questions.  They had to choose one of the questions and answer it, in paragraph form, in 15-20 minutes.  Once they finished their essay question, they handed it in and were given another.  Each child answered 2-3 essay questions in an hour.  It was a lot of thinking, and a lot of writing! 

Poetry- The class did an excellent job reciting, "A Time To Talk" by Robert Frost.  After recording each of their recitations, we headed to the garden to make their final poetry video.  I don't want to give away too much, but this one may just be the best one yet!   The poem is about putting down the hoe, not dwelling on all of the unfinished work that we have to do, and taking the time to talk to our friends... to nurture our relationships.  This is a perfect poem for our class.  Our education.  Our domestic lives.  Our families.  I cannot wait to edit these and show them to the class, parents, and teachers at our FinalĂ© Dinner next Friday!

Social Studies-Today was our last day with Mr. Dennis... until next year!   The class has completed their journey from North American colonization to the spread Westward during California's goldrush.  Next year, Mr. Dennis will lead the class through U.S. History- Civil War through the present!  For those who need a recap of everything the students learned about this year, please click here!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hard Work, Paying Off.

Spelling-  Today, the class reviewed each of the spelling words in list 34... the final list!  There are some hard words in this list, so we made sure to discuss the "special sounds" found in each one.  The kids pointed out similarities, such as the "sure" in "pleasure" and "leisure".  These connections are what help to solidify the spellings in their minds! 

Grammar-  We finished up the very last lesson in our grammar workbook today... and I made sure to point out that these were the same pages that the kids would flip ahead to and *gasp* at how hard they looked!  Once you baby-step your way through any subject, topic, or skill, it is no longer hard, tricky, or scary.  I simply love "First Language Lessons", and I am very excited to be moving ahead with "First Language Lessons 4" next year!

Handwriting- The class chose 3 spelling words from the board, written in print, and had to show me that they could write them in cursive as a "final handwriting check".  We are going to continue to work on handwriting next year, as it is a skill that most of the kids still need to work on at this age!

Poetry- On Thursday, we will film our "A Time To Talk" video.  If anyone has "old-timey" or "country" clothing, please either wear it or bring in that day!  We will be walking over to the garden to video this short and sweet Robert Frost poem. 

Reading/Writing-  The class spent a long time today working on their Hamlet summaries.  Those children that have completed their summaries read them aloud to each other, making any needed changes.  These will not have to be completely rewritten, but will be edited as necessary before the kids make their own personal videos of them presenting their unexpectedly enormous writing assignment!

Math-  We learned about inches, feet, and yards today.  Although most of the class knew how many inches were in a foot and how many feet were in a yard, they did not know how to add or subtract measurements that combined these.  For instance, today they learned to add 2ft 8in + 1ft 6in.  This was pretty difficult for many of them.  Because of this, we created visual aids to manipulate until they grasped the concept.  At first, we used index cards.  The index cards represented a yard, or 3 feet.  This helped with problems where they needed to figure out how many feet were in 6 yards, or in reverse problems,  7ft = ____ yds. 

Once we grasped this concept and hit the workbooks, I realized that many still needed an easy visual aid to help them with the inches:feet:yards concept.  We made strips of paper to represent yards, and each were divided into 3 sections.  They wrote 1 foot = 12 inches in each section.  They can use these strips to help them with their workbook pages, as needed.  On Thursday, we will incorporate more visual aids with the metric system!

Science-  Although it is not a science day, the class discussed the notecard activity that they completed at home.  Each child read about the four physics terms that they studied.  In addition, all of the students remembered to look up information on Sir Issac Newton!  They came up, at different times, whispering to me what they learned about him, his life, his studies, and the 3 laws of motion.  One thing was so interesting to me:  the distinct differences in their focus.  Some focused on Newton's laws and scientific contributions, some told anecdotes of his life, some gave me dates of his birth, death, and details of his raising.  I love this.  I love each and every unique and beautiful personality that makes up this class... and I really hope that I get to find out where each of these children use their gifts in the next 10, 15, 20 years and beyond!

Social Studies-  The class is learning all about America's great journey to the West!  They read about Texas and about "Remembering the Alamo".  At home, they will be learning about the California Gold Rush and the Oregon Trail.  Thursday will be our very last social studies lesson... where we will end our year of North American colonization and the formation of our nation, and start again in the fall with U.S. History:  Civil War to the Present!

Art-  Today, Ms. Nancy brought in course sandpaper and got the "wow" factor on the students' pointillism lesson!  They colored onto the sandpaper with heavy crayon, ironing it not onto white paper, but onto white cloth this time.  She gave them a great lesson of "try, try again"!  The results were great!  Afterward, she showed them their finished story quilt projects.  She had sewn them together at home, bringing all of their hard work together into a gorgeous work of art! 

 Music-  Today was the last day of music class, and Mrs. Beresford tested each child on their musical knowledge.  They went through their flash cards, individually showing her what they had learned!  They all did a great job... and were able to answer things that I didn't even know they could!  Next year, this group will be moving to an "advanced music" class, while we open a "beginning music" class for any newcomers, regardless of age.  It's a wonderful, upbeat, Christ-centered way to learn the language of music!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hatch Day!

Spelling-  We went over the spelling list today, reviewing the tricky words.  For some of them, spelling is such an easy thing to master, and for others, it is far more work.  I love that we are in a small, open, supportive environment where we can actually discuss (and embrace) these differences!  Today, it lead to a discussion about how the world must have different people with different abilities, or else things just simply would not work!

Grammar-  We are down to the last few lessons in grammar, so we are reviewing all of the concepts learned this year.  Because of this, I am personally able to sit back and soak in the amount of information these children have attained!  Direct objects, predicate nominatives, predicate adjectives, conjunctions, prepositions... they are truly sponges!

Math- After a bried review of long division, it was suggested that we play one of our division card games.  And so... that is what we did!  The kids each chose 3 cards.  They took the largest number and it was used as their divisor.  They took the other two numbers and put them in order, largest to smallest.  This created a two-digit dividend.  Then, they worked to find the quotient.  The one with the smallest quotient collected all of the cards! So funny how adding a deck of cards can make division so much more fun!

Agricultural Ed- Today was the last day of our agricultural workshop. Thank you so much to all of the students who came out and joined us! Today, we were able to see our eggs hatching! There were eggs that had already hatched, some that were pipped, and some zipping. You can't ask for a better display!

If you remember, we did some math to figure out that our eggs should have, in theory, hatched the following colors: 50% Blue Copper Marans, 37.5% Splash Marans, and 12.5% Black Copper Marans.

Out of our 18 maran eggs, only 12 hatched. Of the eggs that hatched, we have 8 blue copper marans, 2 splash marans, and 2 black copper marans. That means that, out of the 12 eggs that hatched, 67% were blue copper marans, 16.5% were splash marans, and 16.5% were black copper marans. Who knows that theones that didn't make it would have been!

After watching our chicks in action, we read the book "Tops and Bottoms" by Janet Stevens.  I don't care how old a class is, EVERYONE enjoys being read to.  When they read this book to us in a Farm Bureau Educational Leadership Conference, I was humored at how all of us adults were just as into the book as any child would be!  After reading the story, we discussed how we eat the "tops" of some plants and the "bottoms" of others.  Then, the students did an activity where they cut and pasted each vegetable into either the "tops" position, or the "bottoms" one.  They learned where the edible part of the celery is, as well as broccoli, onion, cabbage, and more!  So often we assume that children know about the food we eat.  In fact, many of us have a lot to learn!

Science- Today was our physics finale!  The kids learned about pulleys as they created a very hungry alligator.  We reviewed potential and kinetic energy, and the class did an amazing job of working together as a group to make the alligator come to life!

Social Studies-      The class read about the Industrial Revolution today.  They answered reading comprehension questions and a map reading activity involving immigration.  They also used a chart to determine the number of immigrants that came from different countries from 1840-1880. 

Writing- We finished "Hamlet for Kids" today!  Wow.  What a tragedy!  The class was absolutely dumbfounded that a story could end with so much death and woe!  The students worked on their summaries, which are just coming along so nicely!  I heard the words, "I need more paper!" twice today.  Are these the same children that we started with in August?  The ones that groaned and moaned at the idea of writing a 3-5 sentence paragraph?  Amazing.  Simply amazing.

We are going to be finishing up our summaries, and working to revise and edit them.  However, there is no way that they will be able to complete these masterpieces in the short time that we have left... and read them to the class!  So, although we will hopefully wrap them up in the next two weeks, I would love for each student to read their summaries on video.  Send these to me, and I will post them!  With such an online audience, I am sure they will work even harder to make them fabulous!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

We have a pip!

I put the eggs into lockdown yesterday, raising the humidity to 70-75% and removing the egg turner.  Remember, the chickies are aligning themselves inside the egg so that they can "pip" into the air cell!

As of today, Tuesday, day 19 of development, we have one egg that has pipped through the shell!  I am watching the humidity to make sure it doesn't spike if this little guy hatches early.  I am hoping we will have lots of eggs hatching during Thursday's class!