Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Paul Revere's Ride

"Listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere."

Wow, I didn't realize how long it has been since I updated my blog. Things have been busy as usual. Anyways, I know I already posted on Facebook about Zoey doing a Paul Revere presentation at the library, so I thought I would share how we got there.

Back in September when Zoey and I were selecting a book from her Five in a Row curriculum she saw, Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. She decided to save this book until after Mat and I returned from our trip to Boston in October. Hopefully, I would be able to tell her even more about the history of Paul Revere. Shortly after we returned we started with the book. I read it once but on the following days Zoey wanted to read it to us. She fell in love with the book. I was not surprised since Zoey loves poetry and this book is a poem based on the events of Paul Revere riding to warn the minute men all over the countryside that the "Regulars" were coming.

We began our adventure with the book on the first day by finding Boston, Massachusetts on the map and putting our story disk there. We also discussed history. We talked about the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere's ride, the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence. After this I suggested Zoey could make a basic time line of these events. I always have required assignments and optional assignments. The time line was an optional drawing activity so I thought she would love it but I was wrong. We moved on. The funny part is weeks later when the girls were painting with watercolor paints Zoey painted a beautiful timeline of these events. Kids make me laugh.

We also discussed how light was a main theme in the artist's illustrations. There also were five new vocabulary words from the book, and finding the name of a ship in italics. We had fun noticing the different colonial architecture, learning about fog over rivers or other bodies of water, subtracting dates to solve a riddle and learning about artists using reflections in water.

I was able to find so many books about Paul Revere and in the American Revolution time period. The girls really had so much fun with these books. We learned Paul Revere was not the only one who warned people that night. We read books about Paul Revere's life. We even read very funny picture books about Paul Revere, John Hancock, George Washington and more. They kept reading a book called John, Paul, George and Ben by Lane Smith. It is a funny book that jokes about what they were like as children. One of the books we had from the library was Who Was Paul Revere? by Roberta Edwards. The girls liked the book because Paul's head is huge on the cover. One day while we were at the library, the girls favorite librarian, Ms. Sherry, asked if Zoey would like to join the book club. It just so happens that in November each child was choosing a book from the "Who was" series. Zoey was so excited. This series has many books and gives a history of the famous person perfect for a elementary aged child. She exclaimed, "I want to do Paul Revere! I want to do Paul Revere!" Even Sierra was excited.

Next Zoey read some of the book herself and some of it I read aloud to her. She put together a small display board with eight facts about Paul Revere. The one that she was the most intrigued by was that he had two wives (not at the same time) and each of them had eight children. Five of those children died as infants or young children. She also decorated the board with drawings of Paul Revere. When the day of the book club was here she dressed up in her home made costume of Paul Revere. She made a horse head to go on a yard stick so she could have a horse to ride. Here she is ready to go...

I love the masking tape to hold the hat in the shape she wanted. I offered to color it brown but she declined multiple times. Sometimes I forget to let her work be her work.

Here she is with her board and her timeline painting.

And here she is at the library. She also memorized the beginning of the poem and said that in addition to reading her eight facts about Paul Revere.

I was surprised that she was not too nervous doing it. She seem to really enjoy herself. I am amazed that one simple book took us so far in learning. I shouldn't be though. We have been using Five in a Row for over three years now along with other things but we continue to learn so much from this curriculum. Way to go Zoey! Keep up the excellent work.

Friday, October 18, 2013

What does learning look like?

Learning can take on many different looks. Learning can look like this...

Or learning can look like this...

Or maybe even like this...
Children are always learning. Learning about family and love....
Learning about where food comes from...
Learning about a favorite author "Laura Ingalls Wilder"....

Learning about nature...
Learning about the letter "H".....

Or even learning that when the weather is nice you can take your spelling test outside...
And still get 100%! 

Sometimes the end result of learning put together with play results in a messy livingroom....

However as my wise parents told me, "There won't always be messes but you'll miss it when they're gone."

So I continue to enjoy learning with my family no matter if it is quite or loud, messy or organized, inside or out. What does learning look like? The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Math frustration

Subtraction. I don't like it. Wait, let me be more specific. I don't like teaching subtraction. Maybe it will be different with Sierra. Maybe she will just teach herself subtraction. She already has an amazing sense about numbers. It is not the same with Zoey. I have a wonderful teacher's manual and follow it well. However, once she starts getting frustrated she shuts down. I am trying to stay on track. But sometimes a kid needs a break. Here is where the hard part comes in. Do I keep pushing or back off a bit for a while? She is the kind of kid who if you give an inch she takes a mile so I don't want to play into her game, if indeed it is that. Hmmm... The crazy part about all of this is she is doing well. It gets ugly when she gets something wrong or forgets how to do something. Specifically with problems like 504-237=. 

Ok just rambling. I think I know what I need to do. 

How about a picture that has nothing to do with subtraction???
This girl wakes up with some crazy hair!

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge / Play With Me

Friday night and I sit here in disbelief that another week of school is done. Some weeks drag on painfully slow and seem never to end. This was not one of those weeks. We didn't quite get everything done that was planned but that is ok because there is always next week. Here is a review of what we did with our Books of the Week.

Zoey was ready to get back to school work after a week off. She continued with The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge by Hildegarde Swifte, as her book of the week. We started off with geography and Zoey was excited to find out that the lighthouse and bridge are real structures that still exist. The bridge is the George Washington bridge in New York and the lighthouse is still there. We looked at pictures of it online and both of the girls loved this. Then they asked to go there. Um, maybe not today.... We also talked about New York City and read some books about it. We had two drawing activities this week too. In the first one we showed the balance of the title words and in the second one we showed contrast in size. Sierra has her own book of the week but she loves to join in on anything she can. Here are their drawings. I thought they were cute so I had to share. Ok, I can't get them to rotate, ugh! Well just turn your head. Nice huh? Sierra didn't quite understand to draw the lighthouse on one side and the bridge on the other but that is ok. I love how they both drew the light coming out of the lighthouse. Today we also compared lighthouses from before electricity and computers to today.

For art study we discussed the contrast in size between the lighthouse and the bridge. I asked the girls to draw pictures of something really big next to something really small. Zoey drew a bridge and a lighthouse. I guess she was not in the mood to think outside of the box on this one. Sierra drew an elephant, and alligator and a cherry or an apple. I forgot which one it was.

By far Zoey's favorite activity with this book was when we talked about how the fog made it hard for the boat captains to see. The girls took turns wearing a blindfold trying to find their way around the house. Then I stood in the middle of the living room pretending to be the lighthouse and yelled "ALARM" if they got too close to me and the pretend rocks. They played this on and off all day. There was lots of giggling and eventually fighting.

This weekend Zoey wants to set up the Brio train track set because it has a bridge in it. We are trying to figure out how to make a lighthouse to put next to the bridge. So as you can see we are still loving Five in a Row. And that was just Zoey's book.
Sierra finished the book Play With Me by Marie Hall Ets and started a new book. One of the first things we did with this book was to talk about the different emotions you can see in the little girl's expressions. I made funny sounds that the little girl might be making and then they begged me to do it again every time I read it after that. We also talked about the morning dew. This was amazing to Sierra that the grass was wet even though it didn't rain. Now when she sees the grass wet in the morning she gets so excited and says, "Mama, morning dew!" I know it is a simple thing to us but I love to see them discover something with their young eyes.
We went for a bike ride to our pond to see how many animals we could find that were the same as in the book. We saw plenty of turtles just like in the book. Later we added new animals from Play With Me to our classification cards. Sierra loved sorting them in many interesting ways. First we did it the way we usually do; mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, etc. Then Sierra made new groups. Animals that like the night. Zoey corrected, "You mean nocturnal." Animals that jump. Slimy things. Animals that like trees. Bears. Bears had their own group. I wish I could remember them all. It was so funny. She decided to dived them up even further and line them up with help from Zoey and me. That is when I took the picture.

We did a few more things but I need to go to bed. Thanks as always for reading. I hope you enjoyed it.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Vacation Week

We had a great month of school in August. We are already four weeks into the new school year. This first week of September we are taking off. Daddy has the week of and we have been having some great family fun. We went to Carowinds and had a blast. It seems Sierra likes roller coasters and can't wait until she is tall enough to ride more. Zoey wanted to try a roller coaster again but after last year she is just not ready. They rode all of the kiddie rides. Some of those rides were quite wild for kiddie rides but that was great for them. My favorite part was the lazy river. LOL!

A few days later we made our annual trip to the apple orchard. The girls have been talking about going for months. There are chickens, peacocks, turkeys, goats, sheep and geese at the orchard too. We were able to feed the chickens, goats, sheep and geese. The girls really like this part. The orchard also has jungle gyms and play houses. I laughed when Zoey started cleaning out the playhouse. There was hay all over the floor. Zoey also found that if she was loud enough she could hear her echo. Being loud enough is not difficult for Zoey. She kept saying, "Yodel lay-he-who" and "echo." It made us all laugh but especially the older couple sitting nearby. Next we were off to the waterfalls. The water was higher at sliding rock and colder this year so we went over to Looking Glass Falls. Mat and the girls played in the river and had so much fun. Mat was skipping rocks and finding eastern hellbenders. What is a hellbender?  Zoey and Sierra played with the mud and collected rocks. An extra nice thing about today was that Grandma got to come with us. We were all exhausted at the end of the day. The thing I love about day trips is we all get to sleep in our own bed at the end of the day.


Today we went to Charlotte Nature Museum and Discovery Place. We saw the IMAX movie Flight of the Butterflies. That was really cool. It did make me dizzy a few times though.

Tomorrow we are off on another adventure and that will be the last one for this week. After that the girls are off to Grandma and Poppy's house so Mat and I can go out for our anniversary.
I have to say I am truly loving the age the girls are right now. They are not so small that you have to do so much for them but they are not teenagers either. I will enjoy it for as long as it lasts.
Coming Soon...A review of our new art program.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

First Day of Kindergarten and Second Grade 2013

We are off on a new adventure! On Monday we started our 2013-2014 school year. It was mostly a great day. The girls were excited to unpack their backpacks and look at all their new school books and materials. Zoey was over-the-top excited about everything and Sierra was very surprised by the new package of colored pencils. Here I'll let you see the excitement...

Zoey is very excited about cursive handwriting. Seriously!

Sierra was surprised to get so many new things.
After we went through all the fun new stuff it was time to take First Day of School Pictures.

I wanted to take their picture in front of the front door but we have a wasp nest inside the cover for the front porch light. They had to look at it before I could take their pictures.

I hope you enjoyed the photo session. lol I am glad we are off to another great start of a school year. I'll try to do more updates than I did last year. Thanks for reading.