Saturday, February 19, 2011

Katy and the Big Snow

Way back over a month ago our book of the week was Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton. We still had snow around from the previous week so snow was fresh in our minds. The story is about a snow plow that saves a little town after a blizzard. I really liked the story but I was worried Zoey was not going to like it. It was one of the books I ordered at the beginning of the year and when she saw it she told me she didn't like it at all and put it back in the pile. Thankfully when I pulled this book out Monday morning she was so excited. I think the highlight of the week was the snow plow video I checked out from the library. Both Zoey and Sierra loved watching the snow plows and different snow moving machines on this short DVD. It was made for children and filmed in Canada where they have plenty of snow.

One of the first activities I had planned was to create the city Geopolis from the book with our blocks, cars, train track and people.  I thought this would be Zoey's favorite activity of the week. She didn't even want to do it. I was so surprised! I sat there trying to convince her and then realized how useless that was. We moved on to our discussion of the different responsibilities of different people in a town, like firefighters, police officers, doctors and more. We talked for quite a while about this and Zoey had so much to talk about. We also talked about the responsibilities of each of us around the house.  The next day we had vocabulary words from the book then we discussed how personification is used in the book. Our activity was to take wiggly eyes and put them on different things around the house to make them more human like. The girls loved this and laughed and laughed.

Here is Sierra personifying the front door. I thought the funniest one Zoey's. She personified the light switches in her room. There are three together. The end ones looked like eyes and the middle one looked like a nose. It made us all laugh.

For art we talked about all of the detail in the pictures of the book. So much is going on in each one. There is one picture where a house is on fire and the fire department is putting it out. Zoey had so many questions about that page. What happened to the people in the house? How did they get out? Why was the house on fire? And more and more questions. It just goes to show you never know what will spark a child's interest.

For applied math grouped manipulatives by fives until we had 55. Katy had a 55 horse power engine and we had already talked about what that was. Zoey likes counting by 5's so this was fun too.

We didn't have enough horses so we used all of our farm animals. Little things like this really seem to be helping her get a better grasp of numbers in her head. This makes me think of something that happened last week. I recently bought a book called Games for Math by Peggy Kaye. It has so many suggestions for simple math things to do with your kids. I needed to keep Zoey busy for a minute so I asked her to go count all the doors at her end of the house. She lit up and ran to go count. After a minute or two she came back and said, "19!" I said, "Wow, I didn't know there were that many doors down there." She told me she counted drawers too because they are kind of like doors to her. How could I disagree. The point was to get her to count and to keep her busy for a minute. Success! I look forward to using more of the ideas from this book.

For science we briefly discussed weather patterns. We made a weather chart in December so she did not want to make another one. No big deal. I am glad this week turned out so well after Zoey's initial reaction to the book back in August. Sierra was right there for most of it too. As she gets older she is joining in on so many more things.

Both this book and the book we used the week before this, The Snowy Day, brought up discussions about street signs. It went great and we did so many things inside but Zoey never wanted to talk about it when we were driving around. That was last month. Earlier this week we were reading one of the street signs books that we still had checked out from the library. On our next car trip Zoey had me read and explain every street sign on our drive. Some she already knew and read those to me. It is funny to me how, much later, things children have learned can all of a sudden pop up and make sense to them.

I am glad that I am blogging about all of this because it really makes me realise how much fun we are having and that we are all learning new things. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Zoey is starting to read some three-letter words! I really didn't expect her to get it (reading) until sometime next year but we kept plugging away at our phonics. She has been reading little words for a few weeks now but yesterday she read her first sentence all by herself! She was so excited. The sentence was, "Pet the cat." She wanted me to read it first, this is what we usually do, but I told her I knew she could do it. Once she did that I added another word to it, "Pet the wet cat." We both agreed we would not want to pet a wet cat, lol. She likes so write and asks me to spell words all the time but now when she asks me she already has the first letter or two sounded out herself. I must admit I am having a great time teaching her to read among other things. It is not easy and sometimes downright frustrating but to see her reading is so wonderful.

Meanwhile, Sierra is counting everything, finding "o's" everywhere  (her favorite letter) and just learned to cut with scissors. In no time at all she went from barely holding the scissors to cutting correctly.  She is wanting to cut so much and in such tiny pieces that I started giving her papers that need to be shredded. It saves me some time. I have even got her cutting over the trash can. She also talks all the time now. She is quite the chatterbox. It wasn't that long ago I was worried about her not talking.

I hope to have more week reviews soon. Thanks for reading.