Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A prize for Reading and a Preschool Activity

Each time Katie reads a new story in her hooked on phonics books she gets to pick out a prize. I bought some of these at the 99 cent store and others for sometimes even cheaper at Michaels.

While Katie is doing school JD works on various preschool type activities. Here he is doing one of his favorites, using tongs to put dice into an egg crate. Sounds strange but it works for us.

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Easy Science Experiment

Today (9/19/11) we did an easy science lesson on chromatography. (Fancy word right?) Basically chromatography is a way of separating mixtures of different chemicals. For example, pen inks are often made up of a range of different colors.

I cut up several paper towels. (I've read coffee filters work great too.) Then Katie and I colored pea sized dots in various colors toward the bottom of the paper towel strip.  I put about a half inch of water in a cup and then we taped the strips to the top making sure the ink did not touch the water but that the bottom of the paper towel did.  Then we watched as the water climbed up the paper towel and separated the ink into different colors. Obviously we were able to see the most colors come from black and brown. We also saw colors separate from purple and grey.  We used this as a chance to talk about primary colors (red, blue and yellow: colors cannot be mixed from or formed by combining any other colors, and they are the basis for making most other colors.)  We even used primary colors in the experiment to demonstrate that we most likely would see no other colors.  There is the possibility of seeing another color but that is if it was not a true blue, yellow or red color.

After we saw what happened with each color I had Katie tell me what other colors she saw come from our dots.  She wrote these colors on a sheet I made.  You can print one here

I want to do the experiment again because 1) Katie really seemed to enjoy it and 2) I can make sure Katie grasps the idea of primary colors.
I also thought it would be fun to have her solve some sort of mystery when doing the experiment.  Read more about that here.

*If you do this make sure to use a separate container for each color.
Here is another way to do the experiment.

My happy homeschooler! 

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Story About Ping

I have not yet received my FIAR (Five in a Row) guide but I just got some of the books. Since I know the basic premise of FIAR we are starting without the guide (but I can't wait to get it. I have a couple bids going on EBAY.) The reason I wanted to do this curriculum is that I knew I could easily include my 3 year old on some of the activities. So we are starting with The Story about Ping. I remember reading this when I was kid. Both kids seem to like it on the first read through. Katie wanted to know why the last duck would get spanked.

Later, after reading it I was excited to have Katie get started on her first Draw Right Now book. I asked her if she wanted to draw Ping. She did a great job! and was motivated to write one of the sentences. The first duck on the left is Ping in a boat with a flag on top.  The other ducks in the water are Ping's sisters.

Tonight we read the book again and this time I asked questions as I read. I also emphasized how the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and I had both kids do hand motions going from "east" to "west".

Since Katie learned how to draw a duck she enjoyed being able to illustrate "Behold the Duck," by Ogden Nash.  This is such a cute little poem. First I read it to her.  I asked her what animal clucks and made sure she understood the word lacks, dines and sups.  I also asked her why the duck was bottoms up when it ate.  Then I had her repeat it line by line.  Then we read it together.  Finally I asked her if she would like to draw Ping again.  She was happy to do so.  Isn't it cute?

In the above Picture Katie is showing off Ping's family.  This is where we incorporated some math.  She had to color Ping's mother, father, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins.  After coloring the mother and father Katie asked, "how do I count 42?"  Ah.  She realized that when we got to the cousins she'd have to count to 42!  Great memory.  At first I wondered why the sheet did not already say the number of ducks to color but after that I was glad. It forced Katie to recall the number of cousins, aunts, uncles and other family members that Ping had.  She very patiently colored 68 ducks!  She enjoyed doing it too!

Jane Clair, FIAR creator, has used Ping as an example of how to use FIAR. She says, "Ask your student if he knows where China is. If he does, then let him show you on a world map. If he doesn't, then help him find China and the Yangtze River on a world map."
(So a world map will be on my next list of items to order from my charter school.)

Clair says, "Now continue by asking your student if he has ever heard of people living on boats like the one in the story?...Some of the people of China live on their boats and fish for their dinner and eat whatever they catch. Ask your student if he would like to live on a boat and never know what he was going to have for dinner till he went fishing each day."

"Share how the author used a special sentence several times in the story. Read the sentence and ask your student if he can remember where else that sentence was used in the book? If he can't, just find the places in the story where the sentence is repeated and show your student how the author uses the same words in the middle of the story and again at the end. Explain that authors sometimes use an interesting sentence several times in a story to make it fun...we call that repetition (like repeating), etc. An author wouldn't want to use repetition too much, but a little repetition can make a story interesting...

Ask your student if he would like to write a short story (or you can work on it together) using an interesting sentence at the beginning of the paragraph and again at the end? This story can be very simple. The idea is to give your student a chance to try using repetition as the author in The Story About Ping did.

If you are keeping a running chart of "Choices A Writer Can Make," list repetition as one of those choices. You can add to this list each time you have a lesson on "Techniques Used by Writers" and your list also gives you an easy point for review! Later, when your student wants to write a story of his own, he can go over the list and be reminded of the special ways that great authors have created stories that are interesting and enjoyable. You will see him begin to use some of these techniques in his writings, too."

Can you see why I'm loving FIAR and I don''t even have the guide yet!

Printable Activity Guide for The Story About Ping
Resources from the home school mom
Home school share resources
Learn all about Ducks 
Sink or Float Chart

Before we're done with Ping Katie will:
Learn about bouyancy
"Buoyancy is the ability to float in liquid (or air). A ball full of air is extremely buoyant, where a lead ball is not buoyant at all. It's because the ball of air is less dense than the water."(ask kids definition)
Learn that "Yangtze" means "yellow".
Vocabulary : beggar, barrel, scurry, paddle
Learn about obedience and consequences.
Sing "Trust and Obey".
Color a map & flag of China.
Learn about customs of China.
Learn more about ducks.
Learn about repetition as a story element.

Other bloggers on the story about ping:


Even more great ideas

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cut and Paste Days of the Week

Kindergarteners love to cut and paste.  Here is a free printable I found in which you cut out the days of the week and then paste them in order. Click here to print.

While you're at it play this Days of the week song.  It is sung to the tune of the Adam's Family.  Once your kids hear it a couple times they'll be singing it around the house.  (You too.)  Want to know how to sing the Spanish version of this Days of the week song?  Go here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Easy Science Lesson Plan for Kindergarten

For science this week we are going to use a Lakeshore lesson plan to learn more about the parts of a plant. Here are the objectives for this lesson plan:

  • Students will identify the parts of a plant and how plants grow.
  • Students will determine what plants need to survive.
The printable activity page has a plant that needs to be labeled by cutting and pasting the following words onto it: leaves, roots, seed and stem.

I think we will also do the extension activity

Children's Coins Song

Fun!  A song that helps kids learn the names of coins.  I talked a little about this coin song here.  My kids really liked it.  I made sure each of them had their own penny, nickel, dime and quarter so that when the song said "show me the money" they could hold up their own coin.  My 5 year old has had more practice with coins and had no problem with this.  I needed to help my 3 year old mostly with the nickel and quarter.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Labor Day Kindergarten History Activities

So this week will be our second learning record meeting with the E.S. (educational specialist).  I can't believe it is that soon already.  To read about why we are meeting with an E.S. go here.  This time the focus is on math and history.  I have to provide an example of each for the E.S. to put in her portfolio.  Math is simple but to be honest I haven't really thought that much about kindergarten history. So I decided to check out my trusty What Your Kindergartener Needs to Know book.  Here the author says that, "For young children we need to emphasize the "story" in history." and that "The goal in kindergarten...is to orient the child to the past and plant the seeds of knowledge that will grow in later years." 

One thing that is usually done in kindergarten classrooms is to talk a lot about holidays that take place throughout the year.  Labor Day is the first holiday in September.  According to Fun Social Studies "Labor Day is a day of celebration to pay tribute to the working people."

I think we'll talk about when it was first celebrated, 1882, 129 years ago.  I'll write the number so Katie can see it and then I'll write how old she is and maybe how old Daddy and Grandpa are.  Then we'll see if she can say who or what is oldest.  (This should be easy for her.)  As suggested by other kindergarten teachers and bloggers I think I will take this opportunity to talk about some of the different jobs people in our community have.

We read most of a biography about George Washington and later watched/ sang this song about coins on youtube. 

Next I think we'll do a listen and read activity on scholastic.  She can learn about 8 different occupations but I'll maybe just choose a few or have her choose.  There are also 10 American history listen and read books on the same site.  I think I may have her listen and read about what a president does and then tie in Teddy Bear Day, September 9. (Who knew there was an actual Teddy Bear day?)  Where is the tie in?  Well you probably already know that Teddy Bears were named after our president Theodore Roosevelt. The story goes that in 1902 President Roosevelt went on bear hunt and refused to shoot a small bear.  A toymaker saw a cartoonist's depiction of the event and created “Teddy’s Bear.”

Finally I think I'll have my kids go on their own "bear hunt" by having them find 10-20 teddy grahams, counting them and putting them on a numbered chart before they can eat them.  I could have Katie read clues like I did another time to find them if I have the time to set it up.

How bout you?  Have you done any fun History lessons with your kindergartener.  Feel free to leave a comment below.


For the portfolio I ended up having Katie color a picture of George Washington and doing a crayon rubbing of a quarter.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Preschool through 2nd grade (and beyond) Bible resources

Deuteronomy 11:18-20

18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates,

Why do we need to fix God's word into their hearts and minds?  Couldn't we just leave that to their  church group or AWANA?  Children learn by example and so we can't get away with leaving it to someone else.  I have begun putting verses on 3x5 cards and posting them in places where I know I will read them like on the refrigerator :) and by my computer. 

Here is one verse that I have up:
Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. " 

Does anyone else need to be reminded to be patient?    I noticed recently on a long walk home with my 3 kids that when I responded with frustration because they were starting to whine or complain that it only made matters worse but as soon as I started responding positively they did much better.  (Go figure.)  In fact once I started being positive and continued they did not whine or complain the rest of the way home.  

I definitely need this reminder (daily) and not just with my kids. For whatever reason I am, by nature, a defensive person.  I tend to automatically think that a comment someone makes to me that is less than positive is a cut to me personally.  I often am most defensive with my husband which doesn't make sense because he is so on my side it is just silly to think otherwise.  But I have noticed that lately since I have been "meditating"  more on this verse that I have been less defensive.  Hurray!  That is not me.  That is not my nature.  That is the effect of God's word in my mind.  I have not perfected this and never will but I can see the effect.  

So what do you do for your preschool through 2nd graders (or beyond)?

I am very interested in what a friend of mine is doing.  She uses the Jesus Story Book Bible deluxe version that comes with an audio CD.  I listened to a sample and it sounds perfect for this age. As of this post date there are 61 5-star reviews on Amazon and 3 4-star reviews.  To see what my friend is doing, go here.

Raising Olives compiled a great list of verses for our kids to memorize.  She says that they always begin with Proverbs 1:7-9. " 7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
   but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
   and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. 9 They are a garland to grace your head
   and a chain to adorn your neck." 

Seems like a pretty great place to start to me. ; )
Other verses she recommends are:
Check out her full post here.

Make sure to leave a comment to let us know what you do or use.