Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Snowy Day

Today while showing my parents some pictures of the girls I realized that I never did a review of our last two weeks. So here we go. Two weeks ago we did The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. This book was taken from the Before Five in a Row that is for children ages 2 to 4 so I knew Sierra would be able to join. She loved every bit of it! Zoey did too. As if on cue, Monday morning we woke up to a snow covered world. We went out into our snow covered world and played and sledded and had fun until we were too cold to do anymore then we came home and had hot chocolate for the kids, tea for the grown ups.

We didn't end up starting the book of the week until Tuesday, but it sure did help to have all of Monday's memories with us as we started this adventure. Since this was a Before Five in a Row title the activities are much simpler and shorter. We discussed how Peter realizes that he is not old enough to play with the big boys in the snowball fight and how he handles that. Every time we read the book after that Sierra would say, "Not old enough" when we got to the page of the snowball fight. We discussed sharing memories. I told Zoey about the time it snowed in Florida when I was a girl. I remembered all I wanted was to see snow then one day my mom woke me up and had me look out the window. It was snowing! It was also very early in the morning. I remember being excited to see the snow but not being to happy about being woken up. Sounds like me now. I told her how my sisters and I scraped up all the snow we could from the car to make a very small snowman. I asked her if she could remember any snow story she wanted to tell me. She said, "No." Sometimes I get so much out of her and then other times, nothing. Oh well on to the next day.

Zoey reading the book to Sierra.

Zoey and Sierra loved art day. We had tissue paper cut into shapes, water color paints, and colored glue. They were the quietest they have ever been while working on their pictures. Sierra was very specific about wanting only circles. Zoey cut some of her own tissue paper and made a picture of a girl with a hat for her first picture. For her second picture she put layer upon layer upon layer upon layer of tissue paper and colored glue. She was really enjoying mixing the colored glue.

Also Sierra had to have her hair in braids like Zoey. I can't believe I was able to braid it.

We also looked at the stoplight in the book and used this as a jumping point to talk about street signs. We read a few books from the library about signs and Zoey wanted to make her own.

It says, "Caution, Watch for Children." She put it in the hall and when I walked down the hallway she would jump out and say, "Watch for children!" What a nut she is.

We also talked about different types of clothing and weather. By the end of the week the snow was almost gone. We got our new snow boots on and headed out. Sierra went down to our neighbor's tree-covered yard where there was more snow. She was walking around in it saying, "Tracks, tracks Mommy!" I asked her if she was making tracks in the snow like Peter in the book and she gave me a  big smile and said yes. I had planned on talking about making tracks in the snow but I forgot. Thanks to Sierra we still go it all done. She walked around and around for the longest time making tracks.

Both of the girls worked on making lapbooks for this story.  A lapbook is a file folder folded to open like a shutter in the front with different things glued inside. For Sierra this was her first lapbook. She was SO happy to use glue stick and "do school" like Zoey. She is so proud of it. She showed it to my mom and dad with big smiles on her face.

Last but not least we learned a new snow song this week. I used to sing this one all the time when I taught. It is sung to I'm a little teapot....

I'm a little snowman, short and fat
Here are my buttons, here is my hat
When the sun comes out I can't play
I just simply melt away.

By the way there is still snow piled up in places here or there. Crazy.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Who Owns the Sun?

The last week of school in December before I flew away to Florida we studied the book Who Owns the Sun by Stacy Chbosky. I was not sure if Zoey would be ready for the topic of this book or not. It is about slavery. This book was written by a 14-year-old girl, Stacy Chbosky. It is a simple book but very well written. I decided to go ahead with this story for the book of the week since the history lesson in it is very valuable and one that will continue to be built on throughout Zoey's schooling.

The week started off with the obvious discussion of slavery. I kept it as simple as I could and answered any questions Zoey had. She didn't have too many but she agreed that it was wrong. I found so many picture books at the library to go along with this theme that we are still reading some of them now, almost a month later. We also discussed family relationships, how we show people we care about them. Then we placed our story disk in south eastern US.

We learned new vocabulary words on the second day and learned about the question mark. Zoey now uses it from time to time when writing the words for the people in her drawings. Our last discussion for this day was poetic prose. I think it went over her head, it kind of did mine. lol

The next day was art. We looked at the pictures in the book and noted how the illustrator used watercolors. She used bright light and shadows to help with the emotion of the story. This led to a discussion of shadows and using them in our artwork. Now Zoey is noticing shadows everywhere! We painted with watercolors. Sierra joined in on the fun with this and both girls painted many, many pictures. Sierra always surprises me. She is very particular about her artwork. She doesn't just pile stuff on until the page is full. I have examples of this for my review of The Snow Day, which will be next.

For applied math we counted the stars on one page and the pickets in a fence on another. Zoey can count very well from 1 to 12 and 16 to 40 but 13, 14, and 15 are not always all there. Sierra can count to 12 and I haven't even been trying to teach her numbers.

The last day was science and we never got to this because I got busy packing. I am sure we will pick it up again at another time.

Now this has nothing to do with our school work but when we were at the library the girls got to decorate a gingerbread house together. Isn't it cute?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New curriculum

I decided tonight on a new curriculum. Every day the girls will watch the previous night's episode of Jeopardy over and over again until they have all of the questions (answers) memorized. Done. LOL I wish it were that easy. That wouldn't be any fun anyway. I couldn't decide if I wanted to start back to school this week or not so I set up a lesson plan for the week. Well it is Tuesday night and we have been so busy with other stuff that nothing has happened. I guess we will start back next week. We worked on school right up until the day before I flew to Florida so I guess this is just our second week off for winter break before we start a bunch of weeks with a winter and snowy theme. When I get a chance I will share what we did the last week before our break. Our book was Who Owns the Sun and we are still reading all of the great books to go along with it that I checked out from the library.  Zoey never ceases to amaze me at all the books she will listen to me read to her. That is a very good thing. And it seems Sierra is now memorizing the books I read to her. Off to bed with me, night all!