Growing Every Day

Posts tagged ‘activity’

Organization

It has become blatantly obvious to me that I need to make a conscious effort in the area of organization.  We are 5 months into our learning at home journey and I can begin to feel a shift from “something we are trying out” to “let’s do this thing”!

Our learning year is from June to June, and I can feel that when Mason turns 5 years old (in June) that we will begin to move things to a new/next level.  A few more structured activities, a few more activities during the week, as well as a few more activities that Mason does more independently.  All of these things are wonderful and I am whole-heartedly looking forward to them.  What I am seeing now is the need to find our path of organization.

To be honest, it’s a little overwhelming.

When teaching public school, I had a whole classroom in which to organize work, manipulatives, supplies, etc.  Granted, I had many more students, but still.  We do not have any extra rooms, or much extra space in our home to use as a “school room”, not that I would be likely to do that anyway.  I know it will work.  I know there is a way.  I need to remember that I am creative, and that this can be done.  I also want to do this without spending an outrageous amount of funding on organizational items.  I will keep you posted (quite literally!) on how we obtain our organizational haven.

If you have walked this path and have ideas to offer – please feel free to comment below!

Week-in-Review

Math:

Lego Take Away

  • Several weeks ago, the concept of “take away” was introduced through Freddy the Front Loader, a learning activity found in the Lego Pack from walkingbytheway.com.  This introduced the concept of subtraction, so this week I decided to move into connecting the symbolic numbers with the concept.
  • I wrote a subtraction problem and we did the first two or three together.  Toward the end, Mason starting making his own problems.  This, as it always does, leads to the discussion of what happens when a larger number is taken away from a smaller number.
  • I refuse to tell students “this can’t be done”.  We had a conversation that if we take a larger number from a smaller number we don’t have enough!  In the coming years, this gives a foundation on which to build the concept of negative numbers.

Lego Take Away copy

Graphing:

  • While sitting at my desk, Mason found one of the die from the Fourth of July pack at 3 Dinosaurs.  He asked if he could do it.  I didn’t feel like finding it on my computer, printing it out, etc.  So, I quickly sketched pictures at the bottom to match the pics on the die and Mason set to rolling and graphing.  Gotta’ love the impromptu practice!

impromptu graph copy

Science:

Season Characteristics – Fall – Informal Assessment

  • Page 9, in the All About Fall pack from servingjoyfully.com, is a cut-and-paste Fall tree.  My plan was to use this activity as an informal assessment on what Mason knew about the Fall season characteristics.  While he was creating his tree, I asked him what he knew about the season of Fall.  I made sure to not give him any prompts besides, “What else?”.  I wanted to know what he had truly internalized about Autumn, not what I could trigger in his memory.

Fall Tree copy

  • After creating the tree, we used Page 10 in the pack to graph the different color of leaves that had fallen from the tree.  A great activity to blend science, informal assessment, math, arts-and-crafts, and cut-and-paste for fine motor skills.  Another big thumbs up on this 20 minute activity!

Extras:

Canvas Painting

  • We did a little acrylic paints on canvas boards and threw in some extra tools such as forks to experiment with texture.  Mason put tape on his canvas before painting so that it would create a fun design after the paint dried and we peeled off the tape.  Madison was simply more interested in getting as much color on her canvas as possible.  She also decided that playing with the bottles of paint was just as fun!

Canvas painting copy

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Under Construction


under construction

Warning: Under Construction

As I sit to write this post, life is swirling around me.  After all, life happens doesn’t it.  I have many pictures in my head of what things should look like and how they should all shake out.  Then, at the end of the day or week, I look back and it’s just not what I thought it would be.  Sometimes this is fine, after awhile I start to wonder…is there something I need to change?

In regards to the past two weeks, I look back and reflect on activities I have done with Mason and wonder…have I done enough?  I don’t want to cheat him.  I don’t want to overwork him.  I don’t want to get caught up in the striving of planning four lessons a day, making sure to cover all standards for the week, etc.  I came from there, I don’t want to go back.

I have wondered this past week, if I should begin to get a lesson planner and go to setting plans down for the week.  After all, I am familiar with this, maybe it would work?  Then, I think to myself…Mason is four.  I’m really not ready to push the whole, let’s do a pre-scheduled school week structure.

Life is swirling.

I do have a feeling that there will come a day when I am more planned out in a process and procedure for learning.  I know the Lord will lead us into that which is right for us.  However, right now, I just don’t know what that looks like.  I don’t want to neglect, and I don’t want to push.  I want to foster Mason’s natural love for learning and foster new experiences.  There are times I am overwhelmed and wonder just what have I gotten myself into!  I know this is the path for us, and the path I desire to take.  I must also say that at times, I feel completely ill equipped for the journey that is ahead.  Yet I know, all is not lost and we are doing ok.  I think.

Week-in-Review

Handwriting:

Fall Tracing Sheet

all about fall image

Numbers

  • I noticed this week that Mason was having some trouble writing numbers, which he had been doing well with.  So, we used a writing workbook from the store that has pages to trace and write numbers.

Reading: 

Fall Word Search

  • Again we used the All About Fall pack mentioned above.  We used page 15, which is a fall word search.  I wasn’t exactly sure how he would do with this, since it was a little more involved than other word searches we have done.  He did great, and we were able to talk about each word and how it pertained to Autumn.  Score!

Science:

Season Characteristics – Fall Trees

  • Page 8, in the All About Fall pack, is a tree color-by-number sheet.  I was doing this more as an arts-and-crafts type project, but while coloring we ended up talking about two types of trees – those that lose their leaves and evergreens that  stay green through the winter.  A wonderful blend of art and science!

Image courtesy of Feelart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Comfort Zone

A trend is developing in our lessons.  

I find it easy and natural to quickly prepare math and language arts lessons, two areas in which I feel comfortable and confident.  I have seen this trend developing for a few weeks now, but didn’t give it much thought.  Armed with this observation, I am going to challenge myself to bring in a few more science and social studies based activities (areas I do not gravitate to naturally).

The coming of Fall is lending me a helping hand in this area.  One of our kindergarten standards in science is to describe characteristics of the four seasons.  So, we have already done a lot of talking about the Fall – change of weather, leaves changing color, leaves falling, wearing jackets, etc.  I downloaded a cute Fall pack from www.servingjoyfully.com.  It is a great resource of really cute activities.

all about fall image

In printing out and using this Fall pack, I made note that many of the activities were review for Mason (4 yrs).  However, more pages than I expected would interest Madison (2 yrs).  This is a great shift for all of us, I simply need to expand my searching in regards to lessons for Mason, and begin making a more conscious effort to think of activities on Madison’s level.

Week-in-Review

Math:  

Basic Facts Addition Practice – Addition Blackout

  • Write the numbers 2-12 on a piece of paper.  Roll two dice and add the numbers showing.  Cover up or mark off the number on your sheet that matches the sum rolled.  The first person to cover or mark off all the answers wins.

Basic Facts Addition Practice – Addition Bingo

  • We used the portion of the game that focuses on addition facts 1s – 5s.  The answers are on the BINGO cards, and the question cards have simple addition questions such as 1 + 4.

bingo copy

Reading: 

Sight Word Practice

  • Mason used the PowerPoint for Dolch sight words, Kindergarten List 1.  More details about the list and download option, here.

(K)List1 image

  • We then made a sight word “parking lot” to match the words on this new list.  Below is an example parking lot picture, but not the one that actually matches the (K)List 1 words.  Click here for more details on the “parking lot”.

Sight Word parking

Science:

Season Characteristics – Fall Trees

  • I went on a search for cut-and-paste activities, and this Fall Leaves download came across my path.  It is so simple and perfect.  As the kiddos are cutting and glueing, it gives a great opportunity to discuss fall characteristics such as leaves changing and falling, weather growing colder and more rainy, etc.  Not to mention, I absolutely loved seeing the artwork side of things, and how differently their pictures turned out.

MandM fall trees

Learn without Limits

As I spend time pondering each “next step” of my children’s learning, their next activity or concept, I many times find myself out on the web looking for that just right activity.  I find myself searching for an activity I already have a vision for in my mind.  If I find what I’m looking for relatively quickly, great.  

If not, I’ll create it.

However, there have been some times in which I know what I want to cover and not had any idea of how to approach it.  This is where I am finding it incredibly useful to have my list of websites offering educational resources that I enjoy and are a good fit for our family.  Sometimes, it is nice to have three or four websites to check rather than the entire web!  Whether a child attends public schools, charter or magnet schools, private schools, or home school, it is wonderful to have a “go-to” list of resources to fill in gaps, maintain, or advance your child’s learning.

That is why I want to share with you an up-and-coming website that is sure to be filled with valuable resources that will be on my “go-to” list of curriculum needs.  The website is Learn Without Limits.

Screen shot 2013-10-15 at 4.32.02 PM

www.learn-without-limits.com

The vision of this website is to provide students and parents with access to a variety of independent professional educators, classes, and resources to help students gain skills needed to advance into their future.  Currently Spanish and music/sound resources are available, with a broader spectrum of subject areas and resources to come.

It is the mission of “Learn without Limits” to provide students with learning opportunities outside of the traditional classroom and to provide parents with access to professional education for their children outside of the public school classroom in order to meet requirements for higher education.

This is definitely a website to add to your bookmarks and to check back periodically to peruse the resources that will be available.  We all desire for our children to succeed and advance into new realms of understanding as well as walking alongside them to help usher them into the unique individual they were designed to be.  This is a website that offers connections with those whose heart is to not simply offer education, but to take the limits off learning.

Week-in-Review

Math:

Practice Basic Addition

  • We played Addition Bingo.  This is the game described in the post Just Do It.  The Bingo cards have the BINGO columns containing the sums of the BINGO question cards (B 1+3).  Each time we play, I am still amazed at how many addition problems are completed.  This time Mason did 15 problems without realizing it was a lesson.  Love it!

bingo copy

Practice Saying 3 and 4 digit numbers

  • Mason has mastered counting to one hundred and has been naturally going beyond.  I have also noticed as we are playing games and simply in every day life that he is noticing 3 digit numbers and working to say them.
  • To practice the correct way of saying 3 digit numbers, I drew three lines on a sheet of paper, slipped it into a page protector and used a dry erase marker to fill in the blanks with random numbers.
  • Once he was doing well at the 3-digit numbers, we moved onto a few 4-digit to stretch him to the next level.

Naming 3-dimensional Objects

  • I found some clean, simple flashcards showing and naming 3-dimensional objects.  I printed them onto cardstock and went through them with Mason.  We then layed them out on the floor and Mason went around the house in search of objects that he could bring to the appropriate card.  This actually turned into a fun challenge for the whole family.

Candy Corn Math – more addition practice

  • Mason has found a new favorite this Fall season – candy corn!  With that in mind, I could not pass on this incredibly cute Candy Corn Math Pack from RoyalBaloo.
  • There are several pages available in the pack.  We started this week with an activity that has three bowls with a sum (14, 15, and 17).  There are candy corn shapes with an addition problem on each that must be placed in the correct bowl.
  • Mason was really into this activity once we started using real candy corn as our manipulatives.  He was really into it when he realized he could eat the manipulatives when we were done!

Candy Corn Mason

  • When the candy corn was brought out, Madison also wanted to be involved.  We have been working on number quantity, so using the numbers 1-5, I drew a number on each piece of paper and then spaces to place the appropriate amount of candy corn.

Candy Corn Madison

Reading: 

Sight Word Practice

  • Taking a piece of 12″ x 12″ cardstock, I drew lines and made a “parking lot”.  I wrote one of our sight words in each parking place.  Then using the lists of sight words we have been working on, I called out a word and he was to drive a car into the correct spot.
  • I started saying a sentence for each word.  Mason caught onto this and started saying sentences himself.

Sight Word parking

Picture Perfect

One of many aspects that has been challenging to adjust to in the home schooling arena is the fact that what I make may only be used once or twice.  I know there is a possibility that the activities, manipulatives, etc. that I make may be used by Madison, but they may not.  She is a completely different learner and may never use these same items I am now creating for Mason.  Don’t get me wrong, it is still worth the time to create that which I know is right for each child.  I simply had not realized how much I took comfort in finding a good tool that would work year after year when I was teaching in the public school setting.

With that said, earlier this year I had found a cute emergent reader book that I downloaded and printed from thisreadingmama.com.  It was a garden theme since we had just planted our garden.  Mason loved it, read it once, and had it down pat.  We read it maybe two more times, if that, and it was done – forgotten.

The point to this story, you ask?

I love it when something can be repurposed.  I am not always able to see how an item can be used in a new unique way.  My husband is much better at this than I.  He saw the garden emergent reader, knew we were ‘done with it’, chopped off the sentence, separating it from the picture.  Now Mason’s task was to match the sentence to the picture.  Perfect!  It was great as a new fresh spin on an activity Mason was already familiar with, and it also gave us an idea of how much of the sentences he was reading simply from context as opposed to actually knowing the words.  I may also have Mason draw his own pictures for the sentences.  Can’t wait to try it!

story match

Week-in-Review

Handwriting:

Creation Mini-book

  • We have started a new lapbook covering Creation.  The first activity was a cute mini-book that showed a picture of each day and what was created that day.  Mason enjoyed tracing the words on each page: ‘Day 1’, ‘Day 2’, etc.  As he completed a page, we read that portion of the creation account together.
  • Here is a picture of the mini book as an accordian book.  We, however, simply stapled ours on the side as a normal book.  (Our little book has gone missing at this time, hence the lack of a picture!)
  • This link will take you to the site to download the creation mini book.

Reading: 

Sight Word Practice

  • Using the Dolch sight words, I created a set of PowerPoints.  Each Power Point presentation is comprised of 10 sight words and a sentence to accompany each of the words, as well as a list review slide at the end.  We reviewed Lists 2-4.  This could be a great way to do a spelling list if desired.

list example

Free download:  List 2,  List 3,  List 4

  • As another sight word practice activity, I printed a ‘Color by Sight Word’ coloring sheet.

sight word owl

(Click the pic to download.)

Sentence Match

  • This is the activity described in the post above.  Mason had to match the sentences to the correct story pictures.

Word Blend Review

  • We reviewed beginning consonant blends.  We looked through the word blend wall cards from 3 Dinosaurs.

Blend Wallcards

  • As we read each card, Mason named another word starting with the same blend.  (i.e. for ‘bl’ock, he also stated ‘bl’ue)

Love at First Sight

Love at first sight – sight words that is.

Using the Dolch sight word lists found hereI created a Power Point presentation for each.  All I wanted was a presentation that showed the word, and then a simple sentence using that word in context.  My goal was to create sentences that Mason could read, either with words he already knew, or words that could be inferred through the picture displayed.

My initial thought had simply been to sit down at the computer and go through the slideshow with Mason.  Standing by the television one evening, it dawned on me…show the lesson on the tv.  So, I hooked up the computer to show on the big screen and voila, Mason’s lesson large as life in our living room!  He thought this was amazing and devoured List 1.  The next day, I prepared List 2 and he devoured that as well.  I could tell the fact that his work was on the big tv screen was exciting.  The next day, he complained because we simply reviewed List 1.

This led me to create Lists 3 and 4.

We then moved to the next level of technology…a presentation clicker.  From my days in public teaching, I had a presentation clicker to use with my Power Point presentations.  This device allows you to change the slide remotely.  I showed Mason how the clicker worked, and now he was able to practice the word lists at his own pace.  Oh the power of technology.  I cannot tell you how many times he went back and forth through the lists, reading the words and sentences.  Then again, of course, one list was not enough…he wanted to use the clicker more with different words.

By all means, go for it!

These Power Point presentations have been such a blessing to our hosuehold, we want to share them with you.  Please note, these are labeled as PreK lists.  Sight words are really not grade specific and each child advances in their own unique timing.  There will be more lists and presentations to come for additional Dolch sight words.

list example

Click below to download each list:

  • List 1 – and, for, a can, make, me, my, not, red, run
  • List 2 – it, in, here, I, help, go, jump, little, is, funny
  • List 3 – blue, come, big, down, away, find, play, look, one, said
  • List 4 – see, the, three, to, two, up, we, where, yellow, you
  • Please note, these lists may be downloaded and housed on your personal or school computer.  It may be used with individual students, collaborative learning groups, or classrooms.  Please feel free to adapt the words, sentences, or images if needed.  Do not sell this or any part of the template.  Do not directly link to the PowerPoint file, if placing on a blog, please give credit and a link to this blog post.  If sharing the file with others, please direct them to this blog post to download.  Thank you!

Week-in-Review

Math:  

Basic Facts Addition Practice – Addition Blackout

  • Write the numbers 2-12 on a piece of paper.  Roll two dice and add the numbers showing.  Cover up or mark off the number on your sheet that matches the sum rolled.  The first person to cover or mark off all the answers wins.

Reading: 

Sight Word Practice

  • Mason’s reading has really been progressing recently, so I thought it would be good to begin to add to his sight words.  Using the Dolch sight words, I created the PowerPoints discussed above.  Each Power Point presentation is comprised of 10 sight words and a sentence to accompany each of the words, as well as a list review slide at the end.  This could be a great way to do a spelling list if desired.

Library Time

  • We went to the library and Mason requested a specific book.  This was an excellent opportunity to show him the book identification letters and how to find a book on the shelf.  Very teachable moment that turned into a wonderful life lesson.

The New

This was a week of new things.

In my many Google searches for educational resources, lapbooks keep coming to the forefront.  For those who aren’t familiar with such things, it seems that lapbooks are file folder games on steroids!  They are one or more folders folded and glued in such a way to create a book of activities that kids can complete and/or revisit time and time again.  They can house informational booklets, pictures, word searches, mazes, small games and activities.  You name it, and it can likely be housed in a lapbook.

With that, I thought what a great way to introduce a new topic.  Once I had decided this is what I wanted to do, I found a fun free lapbook, downloaded it and got stuck.  All of a sudden, it was overwhelming to see all the information that was in the lapbook, as well as the explanations of how to build the thing.  It was too much.  So after several days, I decided to simply do one of the activities that looked fun and useful from the math lapbook I had downloaded.

This is when I realized the key.

You don’t have to (and probably aren’t supposed to) complete the whole lapbook and then present it to the child!  You do the activities and then secure them in the lapbook as you go, a way to organize and store them.  Wow.  So simple, and yet very revelatory for me!  So the week before last we did a math BINGO game and this week a basic addition game, which both made it into our math lapbook.

This past week our family started the celebration of Feast of Tabernacles which continues through part of this week.  Being our first themed “unit” of such, we placed our activities into a Feast of Tabernacles lapbook.  Most of our lessons this week revolved around learning the history of the Israelites journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, as well as why we celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-43) – to celebrate that the Lord dwells or “tabernacles” within us through Holy Spirit, as He did with the Israelites in the wilderness, Solomon’s temple, and as He dwelt with us through the person Jesus.

Feast of Tabernacles activities/lapbook (so far):

  • Day 1 – build a sukkah (tent, or temporary dwelling) – This was much fun and we used it as a time to discuss the word sukkah and its meaning both as a simple vocabulary lesson, as well as how it tied into how the Israelites lived during their transition time to the Promised Land.

IMG_1311

  • Day 2 – coloring sheet and activity of how the Israelites camped around the tabernacle – I found a black and white image online and printed it for the kids to color (I would share, but I didn’t find any license and/or copyright terms.).  Then I created a fun matching activity to learn where each of the twelve tribes camped around the tabernacle.  Mason really liked this.  We first tried to match it from the coloring page, but the angle didn’t work so well.  This led to tweaking the final product which you can download below, which includes the first letters of each of the tribes – helping Mason match the tribes to where they camped.  We secured the coloring sheet and the Israelite camp activity into a lapbook.  I also made a small pocket to secure into the lapbook in which we could keep the tribe pieces.

day2

(click to download Israelite camp puzzle and tot version)

  • Day 3 – read and discuss the “God Tabernacles With Us” booklet – This is a simple flip booklet that we attached to our lapbook.  We used it to discuss how the presence of God first dwelt with the Israelites, “God’s People”, in the tabernacle, and then temple, then Jesus, then within us through Holy Spirit.

fot booklet

(click to download booklet)

  • Day 4 – Feast of Tabernacle word tracing – I created a sheet of tracing words that pertain to the Feast of Tabernacles.  I cut the side off a page protector and glued it to the back of the lapbook.  This way Mason can trace them over and over again.  We discussed each word as he wrote it.

fot tracing

(click to download word list)

  • Day 5 – look at a map showing the route of the Exodus – I found a map that was simple enough to not get bogged down in details (or unknown details).  We traced the map with our fingers, discussed the parting of the Red Sea with Moses, Mt. Sinai, and the parting of the Jordan River with Joshua (actually the priests as they stepped into the river).  We also discussed map facts such as how to tell land from water, and you could easily add in north, south, east, west, legends, etc.

These are the actual days lessons we have completed.  I am thinking that the next couple of lessons will be looking at and discussing Solomon’s temple, and discussing Jesus’ birth (which may well have been at the time of Feast of Tabernacles).  Pics of our fun:

Week-in-Review (other than the above unit!)

Math:  

Basic Facts Addition Practice – Addition Blackout

  • Write the numbers 2-12 on a piece of paper.  Roll two dice and add the numbers showing.  Cover up or mark off the number on your sheet that matches the sum rolled.  The first person to cover or mark off all the answers wins.

Introduction to 3-digit numbers – impromptu

  • I noticed Mason was playing a lot of games that involved three digit numbers, so we began to stop and work on how to say the numbers correctly when they appeared – wii sports game scores, Monopoly, numbers in the car such as speed and our gas milage (destination to empty) display.  This will likely turn into a more focused lesson this week.

Number Quantity

  • This was for Madison (2yrs), but Mason found it fun as well.  I numbered the places in an egg carton from 1-12.  Then, the correct number of beads are to be placed in each space.  It was difficult to get the beads out of the egg carton, so we used measuring spoons.  The kids thought this was a blast and the beads soon became “ice creams”, and they were scooping ice cream into and out of the carton!

sensory duo

Reading: 

Sight Word Practice

  • Mason’s reading has really been progressing recently, so I thought it would be good to begin to add to his sight words.  Using the Dolch sight words, I created a PowerPoint.  Each Power Point presentation is comprised of 10 sight words and a sentence to accompany each of the words.  This could be a great way to do a spelling list if desired.
  • I hooked the computer to display on our TV and Mason thought it was the greatest!  I will definitely be creating more of these Power Point presentations in the near future.

two slides

click to download List 1 and List 2

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