Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Week 5 Report (Term A)

I've decided to letter our terms, so this present week (Week 6) we will finishing up Term A. But here is our delayed report for last week.

Science: Earthquakes and Volcanoes
Watched 2 Bill Nye episodes (one on earthquakes & the other, you guessed it, on volcanoes) plus Magic School Bus Blows its Top. For Family Home Evening, David & the kids built a paper mache volcano, which was painted on Wednesday and finally erupted on Friday (I think). The kids really enjoyed it.

Science: Owl Pellet Dissection
We also dissected the owl pellet we'd found on the river trail. It was neat to see the tiny bones. I was hoping we'd have an intact skull, but we didn't. The lower jaws were really neat, as were the tiny femurs and ribs.

History: The Middle Kingdom of Egypt
I had plans to get some incense to burn (we talked about the Nubians and their use of incense and a lot of gold jewelry), but it didn't happen. Probably just as well as I don't particularly like incense. The smokiness of the aroma gets to me.

I don't know if I have mentioned what we use for history. We are using Story of the World (Volume 1). I like that it is really straightforward, and the story format is nice. You can also purchase an activity book that I think is really worth the money. It has maps and coloring pages, along with review/narration questions and project ideas/recipes. I split ours in half and spiral bound the "manual" portion of the activity book and then 3-hole drilled the remaining pages and scanned them in (which is allowable for use within your own family). So now I just print out the maps and coloring pages as we need them. Pretty nice. There are also CDs of the stories, which I think would be awesome, but they are too expensive for me to justify the price. I know a lot of families really enjoy listening to them in the car and such, which I think would be really nice. Maybe someday...

We did read an interesting book about the Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, though. I was glad the kids didn't clue in enough on the adultery/fornication that was alluded to. Sheesh, what is with those ancient cultures? I guess it is convenient to have imperfect gods if you don't really want to strive too hard with your own morality.

Language Arts
The Happy Phonics set I have has some "flip cards" that change words when you flip the middle vowel. I did these last week with Spud for his reading lessons and he really enjoyed them and didn't grouse at all. So I made five more sets. It was a really great way to get him some reading practice. I don't know why he is so resistant sometimes. Okay, I have an idea why (just hates doing things he doesn't know how to do...I know I've said that a dozen times at least). He was able to fill up his sticker chart the same day as Noodle, so that was happy for both of them. She earns her stickers for doing her math pages independently. I've realized that rewards are a good motivator for these kids. I try not to overdo it, though. We also played The Castle Game from the Happy Phonics set that helps kids identify short vowel sounds in words.

Oh, and he went on an L hunt.

Lion, ladle, letters, ladybug, ladder.

I have to say that I am really pleased with Noodle's progress in reading over the past four months. Last May she was really stumbling over a lot of words , even if she'd seen them many times before. We have done a few things in the intervening months that may have helped. We watched the phonics lessons on The Phonics Page. Then I started working through these Blend Phonics lessons and reading from the Blend Phonics Reader. I think going through these things where the phonics rules are presented so sequentially and individually has likely helped her quite a bit. She's a rule-minded kid. (I'm pretty sure her OCD has a role in that.) We have a few lessons left on the Blend Phonics, and I think we will finish them, I'm just taking a bit of time off to review some of the word sets she's had some trouble with. (I'm using Phonics Pathways a little for the review.)

One cool thing was that I put a Dora early reader book that we've had for quite a while in her workbox. She saw it and said, "Oh, these are really hard. I'm not good at reading these." I told her I thought she'd do just fine, and she practically breezed through it. I think she is really gaining confidence, which is great.

I usually have her draw or color a picture after she finishes reading from her reader, and she drew such a great picture after reading the poem "The North Wind." You can see a little of it in a couple of these photos.Here's Spud making designs on the Geoboards. The kids really like these.

Noodle was doing the chapter about Making 10. One of the activities from the Games for Learning book was a perfect supplement/review of these facts. It's called Pyramid. We are using it again this week for Making 9.

For making 10, take out all the face cards, and make a pyramid of cards (facing up)..., one at the top, six at the bottom, each row overlapping/tiled over the one above. You can only use the "free" cards (the ones not covered by another card) and your extra cards in a deck to make 10s. Try to get the entire pyramid gone. For Making 9s, just take out the 10s. Here's a picture of her playing the Making 9 pyramid.

It might be really obvious to people who play Solitaire, but not being one of those people, it was new to me. She really likes it, though, and it's a great review.

Spud made a cute hand & footprint lobster from the Just for Fun blog (linked below). I should get a picture taken of it, but I haven't yet. Both kids had fun painting their hands and feet and making prints on the paper. We'll have to do those types of activities again. The blog has a lot of different ideas that involve hand & feet prints, so check it out!

We made stamps for our craft out of small log rounds and foam. We cut the shapes out of foam (also used some foam stickers we had). We finally found our stamp pads today and tested them out, and they work pretty well. It was a fun project, and even Spud got really into it. He wanted to make a rain stamp and a couple of circle stamps, then a fish stamp (with a sticker) for David.

And of course we had Muffin Tin Monday again:
Our other muffin tin is older and less nice looking, so the kids have to take turns having the nicer one. The left column is Desserts.

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