Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Grade K Helpful Sites

Just got an email from a client of mine who is a kindergarten teacher in our district.  Here's what she said about what skills are needed for reading/writing as well as some websites.  Thanks, Erin!

We practice handwriting everyday and journal every morning. Right now we are drawing pictures and trying to label what the pictures are. By Christmas time students should be writing simple sentences using some sight words. By the end of the year students should be able to write a few sentences, with good finger spaces, sight words and other words spelt correctly. Let me know if you need anything else…I am more than happy to help!





Egypt Unit Study

We've been having fun studying Egypt the last few school days.  We've added in stories about Moses (several versions) as well.  In our history book the next section is about Sumer and the story of Sargon is told, so I wanted the kids to have the stories about Moses fresh in their minds before we read that so we can compare and contrast.  For those who aren't familiar, the story of Sargon as a baby is VERY similar (like almost exactly) the same as Moses being put into a basket.  Here's what we've been doing for this unit:

  • Big Hugaboo really likes looking different maps and tracing the Nile river then drawing in pyramids.
  • Right now the kids are watching a documentry from the library about ancient Egypt as I try to get them to rest before naptime. 
  • We opted out of mummifying a real chicken. 
  • We also wrote his name in hieroglyphics on clay. 
  • He's journaled about putting treasure in his own pyramid and made a map with all the booby traps!
  • Read a number of different nonfiction books and looked at lots of pictures.

He is VERY insistant that he wants to take a trip to Egypt so he can research the writing on the pyramids to see if real people did write inside them long ago.  He wants to see it for himself. I told him that when he's 10 if he still wants to go there we can go together.  I think that sounds like fun!

Monday, September 21, 2009


We only had one sunflower come up in our garden this year (I was hoping for a couple varieties of them) but boy was it fun to dissect the one we had!  First we cut the stalk down, then chopped off the head.  It was really fun picking the seeds out (we didn't let them dry first) so we could see where the seeds were living underneath the little "pollen" flowers.  Layer by layer we looked at everything.  Inside there is a cottony layer of cellulose where the flower was "drinking" from the stem like a straw!  Right in the center it was hollow.  And we really lucked out that there was even one spot that a worm had tunneled in and made a home!!!  That was really cool to observe as well.  We are going to let the seeds dry out for a day or two, then we will give them to the birds in our birdfeeder.  Oh, and he's doing experiments on the seeds now (in and out of the shell) - did you know that sunflower seeds float? 

If you haven't grown your own sunflower before you really should.  Next year buy a packet of seeds and plant a couple.  They are really cool!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Just had to share this from Thursday's playtime.  Big Hugaboo had made a fort in the kitchen with the doors and drawers to the cupboards.  He then put up a sign.  I asked what it said and of course to him it was completely obvious as he sounded it out for me "C, el, us, Z, D"  Oh, "closed" I said.  Yep, thats what it says. Clearly.  Oh and the two signs hung up next to that one are images of "no girls allowed".  Nice.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

working working working

We've been plugging away on lots of differnt things.  I'm really liking the Story of the World history curriculum we got.  We do have a "social studies" curriculum as well, but I plan to use that as a suppliment here and there and save it for next year most likely.  Its just not as fun!  Big Hugaboo (which I may just start calling Big X since its shorter LOL) is really doing well.  He's not challenging my authority as much if any compared to last year when it comes to school work.  I honestly saw a day and night change when we started using a quasi-workbox method.  He needs that definative "we will do A B and C take a break then D and E" and he can see into the boxes and knows generally what we're going to do for each of those. We're also getting into a more settled rhythem of waking up and doing morning stuff then getting down to the school room to get it done.  They know if they get work done fast they can go to play fast.  And that policy stands well with me as long as the work they are doing is of good quality, I don't see a point in pushing quantity just to fill up "school" hours.

My biggest challenge right now is finding time to occupy little hugaboo when the big one needs hands on help.  I try to keep her busy, but she needs a lot of assistance too.  I'm trying to get a better balance of this and schedule his help work when she can be doing something on her own, but my heart feels like she's getting the short end of the stick in the morning during school time as I'm often just pushing her out of the way with a jar of playdough and legos when she'd really rather be painting or dancing with me as her instructor.  Sigh, that'll get easier as we keep going I'm sure.  And next year she'll go to Small Wonders like Big X did which will work out well as he moves to second grade and more intense work next year.

Ok, enough of my ramblings for now.  Exicited for tomorrow, we'll be making clay tablets and using handmade paper to write things in cuniform and hyroglyphics then a science experiement to see which will erode or wear out faster.  Hence helping us understand about how information was shared in early history and why they changed from things like clay vs paper as well as the different writing forms that were used.  He's also doing map work and will get to see the Nile river from a different view tomorrow than today, so I'm curious about how he will perceive that when he sees the map that is zoomed much further out showing other bodies of water and land.

And one more thing as a teaser.  I am working on a lapbook for the story Stone Soup.  I'm hoping in the next couple weeks.  This weekend I have a wedding, but the kids will be gone so once I get home if I'm not exhausted I may have extra time to get more planning done.  So far its looking really exciting :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

math fun

Just a typical day around here!  Thought I'd just share an example of some math work we're doing.  Just dumped a bunch of dice on the table and then put them onto a chart.  Next time we're gonna do it in two's to practice skip counting by 2.
I wonder what she's thinking about?

Friday, September 11, 2009

quite an adventure

So Fridays are intended to be our go out and do it type things.  Fieldtrips or whatever.  This week we took the public bus to the downtown library.  I thought it would be a great opporunity to have Big X count money so we could have exact change.  Help plan our route (used the map online) and also he could determine where to go.  It was decided by me that taking bus 16 would be a good choice.  We could drop off the car at the mall then take the whole route around (library is the last stop) and it would be loads of fun.  We got on in the nick of time just has they were starting to close the doors.  The kids clung closesly to me as I explained the different parts of the bus and pointed out things outside that perhaps they hadn't notice from this new perspective. Big X got to pull the cord when it was time to stop.  We get out and there is some sort of "issue" arising on the steps of the main enterance of the library.  A women was chaced up not the steps by a number of police officers and several do-gooders standing around incase she tried to run again.  So we decided to go for a hot chocolate down the road and come back a half hour later.  So we go back, cops still there, but they allowed us to pass to go inside.  We wait.  Lots of people come in and wait too.  They keep checking the doors.  More kids arrive and wait.  Finally someone states that there is a small sign on the outer door saying on Friday's the library opens late at 11am!!!!!!!!!!!  So here's something like 30 people waiting at 10am and its the one day they open late.  The one day we take the bus.   Rather than wait an hour for the next bus to come get us, we talked the four blocks to the bus station and waited a while there finding a bus that would get us back to our vehicle.  I like having a car.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

cub scout!

Ok, so not school related, but I just can't resist sharing.  My little guy looks so big!  He's officially a cub scout today.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

legos and soup

Well we're all in the recovering phase from influenza that has been at our house for the last week and a half so figured today would be a pretty light day, but we actually got a lot accomplished.  Started out playing with Legos which is always fun for a five year old :)  After he built his creation he'd take it apart one block at a time and made a chart for each color used.  This was a fun activity because he could use his creativity to build then math and charting skills to count and make the chart.  Then we did it again and he had to only read the chart to me (vs counting each block- he had to actually look at it and find that it was colored to line 8 for white, therefore there were 8 blocks.) 

We also talked about nomads for history and made a "cave painting".  We used only brown paint and a giant piece of paper.  Um, his cave painting consisted of "an octopus stuck in mud trying to squirt ink" at something not even on the page.  Not sure if he entirely understood the concept of cave painting that I was trying to convey!

After all the other regular stuff we trekked out to gymnastics since today was the first day of this session- and I figured it would be good for them to get out since we were inside ALL weekend sick.  The little one moved up to the big girl class so it was pretty exciting for her especially!!

We bought some groceries afterwards and decided to make soup.  Pasta e Fagoli and all sorts of extra veggies.  I didn't think about it until after the fact but we should have gotten stuff to make stone soup, so we'll do that next time :)  The kids had never been involved with soup making before and it was pretty fun for them to help cut the carrots, "squish" the garlic (with the press of course!) and add all the different types of beans and lentils.  But alas, it wasn't done in time for supper (beans weren't ready yet) so we'll have it tomorrow instead. 

Oh, and BIG news!  Frankies moved into a new shell.  We had stopped this afternoon at a mom & pop fish shop that we'd not been in before and I figured I should buy SOMETHING so we got several new shells at a whopping 25 cents a pop LOL  A few hours later I discovered that Frankie was in a new shell :)  The kids are so excited, but then again, so am I.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Knights Lapbook

This was such a fun project!  We all enjoyed it a lot.  Oh, and that is a griffin drawn on his coat of arms/ shield btw :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Busy Knight!

We've been having so much fun!  We started the Story of the World book today and made a timeline of the kids' lives.  Of course, on the timeline right after birth was "Pee on doctor and nurses" for the big hugaboo LOL  We played a game from File Folder Games for Reading and then moved on the our box of fun knight stuff!

I have to pick up some laminating sheets so we can finish up the art projects the kids made that are themed of course!  We also continued to work on a coordinating lapbook and the kids seem to be enjoying this one and learning from it more than the first one.  I think this time they understand better what the final project will look like and what its for.  Plus, this time around we aren't doing it all in one day.  Yesterday we made a couple of the books for inside & today added some pictures with vocabulary words and mounted everything into the folder.  Tomorrow we'll work on the cover and I'll put pictures up then :)

And for our really fun (and tedious, messy, and pretty drawn out....) project here's a little teaser picture.  I'm hoping we can get it finished up over the long weekend because this is the type of project that really does need Daddy's expertise & skill!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"This is fun Mama" ... "Uh, no its not"

After our regular school work we went to the library today.  Upon arriving there the fire alarm went off.  Like, literally as we opened the door.  No, we didn't set it off.  But the library is connected up with the Kindergarten so I tried to make it fun for my kids too and we went to the designated meeting spot for the library (according to the librarian of course, it wasn't marked!)  Little hugaboo thought it was pretty cool, but the big one- not so much LOL

While there we got a number of books on medival times, knights, and castles.  We're starting a little unit on it I suppose you'd call it, even though its totally unplanned to do so!  Just wait until you see what we're doing!  Its so cool... more info and pictures to come tomorrow!!!

Things We Learn from SpongeBob

There are so many valuable lessons we can learn by watching the entire Season 2 DVD of SpongeBob Squarepants. And in order to fully realize the value of the lessons it should be watched in sequence from beginning to end in just one sitting.  Ok, you can take a potty break, but not a long one.

1.)  Timeliness is important in the work environment
2.)  Consistancy at boating school is necessary
3.)  Pet care is a big responsibility, especially if your pet is a snail
4.)  Being loyal to your mentally challenged friends is the key to happiness
5.)  Never, ever shave a squirrel when she is hiberating

Feel free to add additional lessons that you or someone you love has learned as well :)