Thursday, November 18, 2010

Physics, Chemistry, Elementary

I'm writing this with the fragrant aura of cloves, cinnamon, garlic and black pepper...cumin, bay and cardamom wafting through the house.  Levity is cooking Chicken Biryani...chemistry class. (otherwise known as cooking.)

Today we also made a puppet show out of magnets.  By attaching paperclips to their illustrations, and then forming a wand out of a powerful magnet taped to a linkin log, the girls performed mini stage puppet shows, complete with inappropriate bathroom humor and farm animals.  (That sounds worse than it is.)  You run the magnet wand under the "stage" of cardboard box to drag the creatures around. 

We also learned about how legos are made, and discovered there is a theme park in California called Lego Land, made up completely of lego blocks.  This study came out of a great book called See How It's Made by DK Publishing.

Bella's lego robot

This chapter details how plastic blocks are made by robots in factories...

the ingredients, and step by step creation process and time line.

Levity's lego robot

Here is our magnet puppet stage.

The magnet wand controls the characters above.

Levity came up with the most elaborate storyline.

Bella helping with the Chicken Biryani recipe.

Levity adding the new recipe to her book

Friday, November 12, 2010

Place Value and Regrouping Super Tip

Our Sonlight K curriculum suggested creating this home made chart to help teach tens and ones place value.  It illustrates how numbers 0-9 are the only numbers that fit only in the ones column, and that 10 and greater take up two spots.  Using close pins to attach number cards is working well, and is tactile and fun for Bella.
It is also coming in handy for Levity's grade 2 regrouping work.  It's a fun way to "take away" a "ten" and cash it in for "ten ones."  After using this chart over and over, Levity has grasped the concept of tens and ones much more clearly.  A visual, hands on set up like this takes the mystery out of abstract math concepts that I take for granted, and sometimes have trouble teaching.
Another great tool I've used for place value and regrouping is the Mathtacular dvd.

"3 tens and 9 ones = 2 tens and ___ ones"  etc.

Music occupies herself with domino houses, made popular by Grandpa Tom

Julian just hangs out and jumps in the door frame during school.  It's his current favorite spot.

cooking quiz etc.

Levity took her first cooking quiz:  make mini chocolate chip muffins all by herself.  She got an A...slightly crispy, but otherwise excellent.
Check out Miss Hannah's Muffin shaped cooking quiz sheet!

bracelet Hannah made...I'm asking for one for Christmas!

I couldn't make a face that amazing if I tried-the artistic perspective of children is always so fresh!
Cooking quiz

Levity's completed quiz

juuuuuust a little extra dark around the edges...

scallops in spicy stir fry w/scallions, green beans and jasmine rice for dinner

my money saving Craigslist find of the year...$$$$$$

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Make everything a game...better yet: a contest! (this child is my carbon copy)

Today Bella was struggling with the leap into addition, without context or pictures. (Horizons Math K)  Finally, I actually consulted the Teacher's Manual.  I realized I'd neglected to introduce "counters."  It amazes me what a difference having the Manual makes.  Before this year I was, for all intents and purposes, teaching with workbooks, having to invent my own strategy for teaching concepts.  I don't miss it a bit.

I was about to break out the colored chips from the Math kit, when I realized I'd been swatting Levity and Bella away from my button collection all day.  Using colored buttons as counters worked.  Bella picked out her 10 favorite green, and 10 favorite pink.  Then she made it into girls (pink) vs. boys (green).  The less abstract, the better, it seems.  She usually does best when I make up a story about the Math.  For instance, she calls circles "heads," and the number nine is "a stick body with a head." 

Levity cooking us all eggs and bacon for lunch.

My little Muse.

random illustration from today

Levity's 'little b' is a boot!

I'm pretty sure this is Bella's 'Adam and Eve'


easy cheat

Salmon with almond green beans and wild rice.  20 minutes, start to finish!  

 Frozen slab of fish from the market, rinsed and dried, wiped down with a thin layer of mayo, and sprinkled with garlic and seasoning salts, baked for 10-20 minutes.


bagged green beans, microwaved...butter and sliced toasted almonds (both in salad section of grocery store)


uncle ben's brown and wild rice bag, microwaved

shazam!  dinner.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Learn to Read

Today Bella read her very first book all by herself.  Granted, it's a teeny, tiny one (Fun Tales) in a series that we'll be completing this semester,'s a book!

Other easy to use, fool proof learn to read resources I've used are: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (for Levity in K, and Bella, prior to starting Sonlight Curriculum), Leap Frog Talking Letter Factory, Word Factory (for Bella-K and Music-3 yrs.), and am currently trying out Your Baby Can Read (for Julian-5 months, and Music-3 yrs.)

We also added the letter "S" to our studies, investigated "S" in our picture dictionary, and did several activities with handwriting elements.  Levity decided to make her own letter page, just for fun, since she finished her schoolwork early.

just a sketch of Bella's

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Have you ever

Did you ever wake up in the morning and decide you ought to dress as a cat that day?  Just wondering.  If you have, I have someone you should meet.

One of Levity's willy nilly photos.

I've included this random shot Levity took of, of all things, tv...for a reason.  These Leapfrog videos that I borrowed from the Public Library are quite effective.  Both the Talking Letter Factory and the Talking Words Factory are quite popular with the little girls.  Basically, they are learning to read by watching t.v.  And isn't that every 21st century mom's dream come true?  (laughing)  If you have space in your life for learning dvd's, these are some of the best I've ever seen.

Language and Arts

This week we worked with Narration and Acrostic poems.  Bella watched a news broadcast and practiced giving a broadcast of her own.  The link for her news story is at:


Levity worked in a written description and illustration of her favorite book of the moment, Gooney Bird Greene, by Lois Lowry.  She also wrote her first Acrostic Poems.

Levity's Acrostic of 'LEVITY' and 'MOM'

Random artwork of Bella's

Levity's illustration and description from Gooney Bird Greene.