Wednesday, August 29, 2012

We're using that chart!

Last week Belle made a chart to help with turning singular nouns into plural nouns.  Today, we referred back to our beautiful chart for practice.  Learning to use available resources (print, internet, homemade, etc) is an invaluable tool.

Punky's Collage

I've been working on playdoh mats and other activities for Punky, and today she helped me.  She had a stack of scrap paper, a glue stick and her spring-loaded scissors.  She worked very hard on her collage. She chattered the entire time about what she was doing (tearing, cutting, gluing, etc).  She is getting better at holding her scissors at the correct angle (and keeping her elbow down to her side).  She had such a great time creating this collage for a lucky grandparent who can expect it in their mailbox soon.  More grandparent art to come!  :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

We're Nuts About YOU!

Yep, it's been a long summer.  I can't believe I never posted pictures of our Father's Day presents.  We snagged the idea from Pinterest...oh, how I love thee.  :)  The girls and I made these VERY simple but well received Father's Day gifts for Daddio, Papaw, Grandpa and Uncle Donut.  They're cute and  quite a bit corny...or nutty?!

The girls traced the jar lids onto scrapbook paper and cut the circle out, then used 2-sided tape to affix them to the lids.  We used scrapbook paper to make the tags, then a grommet for the hole and scrapbook fiber for the tie.  Filled the jars with delicious goodies and they were ready to distribute to some very special dads/grandpas.  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Making more...

...and I'm not talking bab(-y)+ies!  hehe!

Language arts.  Nouns.  Making more of something.  Plurals.  That's what I'm talking about!

Belle and I spent some time working with those tricky nouns.  You know, the ones that require more than just adding an s on the end.  We had a fun, multi-step lesson.  I wanted her to create a chart that she could use as a reference.  I also wanted her to use some sort of manipulative.  I was appealing to more than one learning style, hoping it would stick.  You want to know why?  It's a secret.  I'm a little OCD about spelling.  So, more than learning what a plural noun is, I wanted her to remember the spelling rules.  Because SPELLING RULES!  

I wrote examples of each type of word on post it notes and turned them upside down on the table.  We also used Scrabble tiles as our manipulatives, a chart that I created, and star stickers to mark the word endings that required multiple steps to create plurals.  

We completed the chart using the following steps:

1.  Choose a post-it note, write the word in the correct place on the chart.
2.  Create the word using Scrabble tiles.
3.  Using a white board and trial & error, try to recognize the correct ending for the plural form.

4.  Write the formula for changing on the chart.
5.  Make changes to the original word to create a plural noun.

6.  Write the plural noun on the chart.

After completing the chart, we discussed why I used different colors on the chart, talked about how much easier it is to say "loaves" instead of "loafs" and why it makes sense to change the letters around. 

Click here to download the blank (updated) chart for personal use. (After clicking, scroll down below the advertisement to the grey "Download This File" button.)

Adding this screen shot of the final chart, so you can see it before you download it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Little Rascal

Sunshine completed reading Rascal as part of her homeschooling assignments.  This is the first of several novels she will read in the coming months where animals represent a major theme.  Sunshine wants to be a vet, and has a unwavering compassion for all living things, so I knew she would be interested in these stories.  In addition to reading this book where animals are loved and cherished, she will read books that represent some of the negative themes that run rampant in animal stories.  I do not look forward to those readings.  :(

Back to now...the obvious major theme in Rascal is relationships between animals and humans, but there are several more to explore.  I wanted Sunshine to take time reflecting on the other major themes today, but I didn't want her to sit and write in her English notebook or fill in a worksheet.  Alternatively, I wasn't ready for a big project that could potentially span several days.  Instead, we made a foldable.  So simple, not much more that a plain worksheet, but for some reason it's much more fun.  Especially if you're a middle school student and most of your work is repetitive.

She folded the plain paper into 16ths, then cut slits in the paper to make flaps.  On each flap she wrote a  major theme.  Inside, she had 2 squares to write her reflections, an example or a quote from the story.  On the final section there was room for her to draw whatever she chose to illustrate the story.  I could tell she really enjoyed this, and it really took no more time than filling in a plain ol' worksheet.

Everything's better with homemade butter!

In the past, the girls and I were part of an American Girl Club through our homeschool group.  Due to some scheduling issues and my desire to cut way back, we are no longer in the group.  However, we're still doing activities at home (and field trips) that relate to the books we're reading.  We're currently studying Kirsten, the doll whose family immigrated to Minnesota from Sweden.

Today's activity involved tracing Kirsten's family's route from Sweden to New York, across to Chicago, up the Mississippi into central Minnesota.  We used a globe, a flat world map, a flat map of the US and a map of Minnesota.  We used the internet to look up photos of the sailing ship, the old steam trains, paddleboats, and other methods of transportation during that time period.  We read some of the historical background of the time period, and then talked about what Kirsten's life would've been like.  And we made butter.

This is something that I remember doing as a child, and doing as a pre-k/PPCD teacher.  Somehow, my kids made it to this point without making butter.  Honestly, they were surprised at the simple process.  We talked about it in detail, but to make our own butter we simply put whipping cream in a container, spent about 20 minutes shaking it vigorously, and then skimmed off the milk.  The girls drank the milk and then we used the delicious, sweet butter on our homemade honey-oatmeal bread.  What a yummy snack!

While they "churned" their butter, we discussed how boring it would've been if that was your daily chore.  We taught each other some sing-songs and catchy poems to pass the time, just like Kirsten would've probably done.

Belle charting the immigrant's path.

Sunshine charting the immigrant's path.

Measuring the cream.

Shake it up!

Singing a song!

She lasted about 30 seconds and was d-o-n-e!

Delicious, sweet butter!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Punky's busy days!

I am constantly asked how I homeschool my older girls while entertaining a toddler.  Well, Punky does like to be entertained, but she can also find her own fun.  Here are a few pictures of Punky's fun "around the house" moments.

T.V. time!

"I build this monster upside down!"

Keeping Ginger calm on a stormy evening.

Sunshine helped Punky build a stroller out of tinker toys.

Silly mommy pushing her dolly in the stroller!

BIIIIIG HUG for Daddio!

And a kiss!

And being goofy with Daddio!

"I picked out my clothes!"

Hey, Houdini, let's go for a ride!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Outside the lines

I saw this post circling around Facebook yesterday, and immediately knew we needed to recreate our own version in our art journals.  I love the message.

Here's what we created:

Sunshine's entry

Belle's entry

My entry

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mommy's Little Baker

At lunch time I went to the pantry to get the bread.  There was one slice left.  Oops!  I didn't buy any at the store because I wanted to try a new recipe, but I thought I had enough left to last through this afternoon.  I guess my girlies decided on toast for breakfast.  Time to get baking!

This afternoon, Punky watched me gather the ingredients for baking, and immediately asked if she could help in the kitchen.  I love to give her small tasks while I'm cooking, but I wanted to focus on this new recipe so I could make sure each step was the letter.  You know, with bread baking you can never be too careful.

She was intrigued as I opened a new bag of flour and poured it into our storage container.  She was especially intrigued that I called this stuff flour.  I asked if she wanted a bowl to mix up while I mixed my big bowl.  Did I even have to ask?!  Of course she did!  I gave her a small bowl with about 1/3 cup flour and she got to mixing.  A couple minutes later I looked over and she was spooning her flour into an old Nutella container she keeps in her play kitchen.  Of course she did!  Then she asked for water.  We were really getting started!  She stirred while singing her silly, made up songs.  Then it got quiet, and I saw her watching me measure the yeast for my recipe.  "What's that stuff?"  "It's called yeast.  It makes holes in the bread.  Do you need some?"  Did I even have to ask?!  Of course she did!  I added a small amount of yeast to her mixture, hoping she would see it bubble and grow excited.

So, we had a Nutella container of flour, water and yeast, and a bowl with a bit more flour.  Which she ate.  With her spoon.  Ack!