Saturday, July 25, 2015

Spelling, Telling Time and Counting Money

Week 8 of Kindergarten

This was another fun week with a few scheduled field trips and lots of progress on our new house. M did her own planning this week. She requested to learn about the digestive system, and told me about an experiment she saw online that she wanted to try. She also chose to do lots of reading and spelling work this week, and she finished several lessons in her reading book, as well as reading some new books. We also worked on telling time and counting money.

Day 32 - Monday

We started the morning by learning about the digestive system. You can see a full post on all of the activities we did here. M took a quick break from the experiments (while I was binding her booklet) to draw a picture of our new house. She is starting to add a lot more detail to her drawings (this drawing was of the house at night, with fireflies outside her window).

Later that morning she pulled out her BOB Books Sight Words set (affiliate link) and wanted to try using the flash cards that were included. I was pretty sure she already knew all of the words, so we played an I Spy game to check. I laid out the cards in a grid on the floor and called out a word (I spy "and") and she had to find the card as fast as she could.

She pulled out the activity books that were included with Set 3 (affiliate link). The activity books are not great, but she had fun coloring the pictures, and she found and read the corresponding book for each activity page.

That afternoon she cut out "puppets" from her Herb Fairies set. We had plans to meet with her "book club" to talk about lemon balm, and she wanted to act out the story.

We continued working with the golden beads and the operations mat. She is now confidently counting out the appropriate number of units, tens, hundreds and thousands to match the numeral cards (or finding numeral cards to match a quantity of beads).

Day 33 - Tuesday

We started the day with a reading lesson from OPG (affiliate link) on "ue" sounds. I found objects around the house that contained the "ue" sound using the different spellings (glue, tissue, screwdriver, tube, ruler, spoon). We took the phonogram cards from the "ue" folder and I sorted the objects based on their spelling. M then used the movable alphabet to write the names of the objects. She could sound out the remaining letters (except for tissue, which I didn't think through, and sounds like it has an "sh") and use the appropriate letter combination for the "ue" sound.

Next, we took out the new golf tee clock that I just finished and M has been dying to try! You can find the printables and directions to make this clock, as well as presentation summaries for teaching time, on Hope4Me.

We started with just the hour hand and no tees. I moved the hour hand around the clock, and we counted the hours (1, 2, 3...). We have done this before, and M was ready to move on to the tees. I showed her how to place the tees around the outside edge of the clock. We have been working a lot on linear counting, and this was great practice! She placed all 60 tees (yay practical life work!), and then I gave a presentation on reading just the minute hand. I moved the minute hand to different places and showed her how she could read the number of minutes by looking at the number on the top of the tee.

That afternoon we went to the library and the Children's Museum. We spent most of the time at the Children's museum in the Japan exhibit (again). Below you can see her tracing different cartoon features to create her own cartoon character.

Day 34 - Thursday

M was a little restless this morning, so I pulled out her foam pattern blocks. She spent some time making shapes, and quickly realized that there were several different ways to make the same shapes. I took the opportunity to throw in a quick lesson on fractions. 

When we talked about quarters, she said "Oh yeah, like money!" I pulled out a box I had put aside recently to start talking about money, and laid out one Sacagawea dollar, two half dollar coins, and four quarters. 

Next, we moved on to some practical life exercises - knot tying and folding. We're practicing tying knots with a long piece of thick fabric so M can practice untying the knots as well.

She then practiced folding a cloth napkin several different ways (and then insisted on tying the napkin on her head like a bandanna). 

I started making these amazing leveled readers from Waseca Biomes. They have some incredible materials that I hope to invest in for elementary, but for now I'm really loving the free resources they offer! The set pictured below is "Parts of a Biome Readers - Animal Life." There is a link to download the master copies for each of their reader sets. The drawback is that the masters are formatted to print six copies of each book, but I got around that by using the snipping tool to copy and paste one image of each page into a powerpoint file to print. I highly recommend looking into their materials!

M started reading around February at about age 4.5, and really took off from there. She can now read all of the levels of these readers (red through gold). I wish I had made these sooner so she would have had more readers at her level when she was just starting out. It's very difficult to find books that are truly phonetic, and even harder to find readers that have any real substance. These are fantastic because they are based around the biome study, and the red series books can be read by children who are just starting to blend sounds and read CVC words. 

After reading a couple of the animal readers, M pulled out her tray of geometric solids and labels. This time I laid out the labels in a column on her rug and she read the labels and found the matching solid. She really enjoyed doing it this way! She definitely knows the names of all of the solids now, and is ready to move on to more advanced extensions.

I've been trying to find ways to sneak in handwriting practice, and decided that we would switch thing up by using the green boards and a laminated sheet of blue-lined paper I made. We have recently been talking about spacing and about the differences in the sizes of various letters. I showed her the blue lined paper (which I sized to fit out movable alphabet), and asked her if she thought she could find any letters that would fit inside the blue area. It was like a scavenger hunt, and she tried each of the letters in her movable alphabet, and then kept a list of the letters that fit on her green board. 

Day 35 - Friday

We started the morning with some golden bead exploration. M compared the unit beads to the ten bars, and the ten bars to the hundred squares. I can see that she's really making the connection between the materials and their values.

I did a quick presentation on the value of money (penny, nickel, dime) to build on the lesson we did the day before. I used the red "one bars" from the colored bead bar set for pennies, blue "five bars" for nickels, and golden ten bars for dimes. I laid out a certain number of coins on the rug and had her find the matching quantity to show the value of the coins.

That afternoon we met my parents in Hendersonville at the Hands on Museum. I was lucky enough to get to sit back and relax a little while my parents chased the girls around the museum, but I did get a chance to explore the Nano exhibit with M. They had some really neat hands-on activities and displays to explain nano materials at preschool / early elementary level, and they also had some very cool story books, including "Alice in Nanoland," which M really enjoyed.

Hendersonville is a quirky little town, and M enjoyed spotting the painted bears throughout the downtown area.

That evening, M played a few round of Hangman with me. She stumped me with the word "care." 

Day 36 - Saturday

We don't usually count the weekends as "school days" (although we're obviously learning new things every day!), but I think it 's so cool that M is able to watch and learn about the construction process as our new house is being built. My husband decided to install the water line for the house himself, so we all went out to the property to help lay the pipe. M got to compare 1/2" and 1/4" diameter pipe (water lines for the house and for irrigation). She watched my husband dig the ditch to bury the pipe, and watched him connect the pipe at the water meter.

Successes and Challenges

Successes this week - 
  • Child led learning. M chose the main topic to explore this week (digestion), and we were able to work together to find resources for experiments and other activities.
  • Integrated language work. I love that M is reading and writing about everything! She is becoming a stronger reader, and we are starting to move past the "readers" that have basically no story line, and are able to find materials she can read that have real substance.
  • Progress with math. While M is still struggling with some of the numbers and need more practice with the golden beads, I can see the progress she is making!
Challenges this week - 
  • Time!! Where does the time go?? This is mainly my issue, as we just have so much going on with the house construction and other family commitments. We're trying really hard to carve out a dedicated time for a work period in the morning, but I also want to be flexible enough that we don't miss out on opportunities that pop up. (Are you seeing a pattern here??)
  • Independent work time. I'm still trying to convince M that she can, in fact, complete her work when I'm not sitting right next to her. I've tried a couple of little tricks, like getting her started with something, then slipping away to "go get something" and seeing how long I can stay out of the room before she notices that I'm gone. I love that she wants to share her learning with me (that's part of the reason we're homeschooling!), but I would also like for her to be confident enough to keep going on her own. 

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