Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Moon sand, sight word slam, and Amusment park race

    With thunderstorms rolling through our area this morning we decided to just jump into our schooling today and hope that the weather cleared up by afternoon.  While the boys were finishing up breakfast (and driving me nuts with their teasing and fighting), I decided to throw the movie Hercules in and start our morning learning about the Greek gods.  Alec balked and went and on about why he didn't want to watch the movie (the boy who asked to learn about Greek and Roman mythology and gods!).  I interrupted his tirade to tell him he did not have to watch it, he was free to go to his room and read or whatever.  I try not to force the kids to learn about anything they truly don't want to know about.  He thought the movie would be scary and was afraid to watch... I needn't have worried though, by the end of the opening song Alec was hooked and all three boys sat and watched.  
     The boys took off the minute the movie was done.  Ian and Evan made an alliance today and are getting along quite well.  They were busy working on Lego's in Evan's room most of the morning while Alec was content to play alone in his room with all of his stuffed animals making up different scenarios and acting them out.  I knew I didn't have a lot of school stuff planned and so I was content to let them all play as long as they were getting along.  Alec came down for a snack and we played Yahtzee and The Scrambled States of America Game (my kids LOVE this game and ask to play it all the time-- seriously, I'm getting so sick of this game, but they just love it! I highly recommend it too as they are all able to find the states pretty easily on the map now!). 
    For math we read Perimeter and area at the Amusement Park.  It was pretty long and I'm not sure it kept their attention through the whole thing, but they sure did love seeing the photographs of different rides, parks, and attractions. It was a neat look at the way parks and rides are developed, the history of amusement parks and the attractions found there.  We're an amusement park kind of family and the boys are now asking if we can go visit some of these other parks that they saw in the book.  I set the older two boys up with an area game I found on Pinterest called Racing Rectangles.  In honor of the book we called our game Racing Amusement Parks and I explained how to play.  Using two die and a piece of grid paper they take turns making square and rectangles to represent the numbers rolled on the dice.  They have to figure out how many squares are inside the box and write that down. If they can't fit their box on the grid they loose a turn and the one with the most boxes at the end wins.   I didn't tell them that we multiply length times width to find the area (though this book did and the book we read last week did) because I wanted to see #1- if they would remember that and #2 if they didn't remember that, could they figure it out on their own?  They seemed to enjoy the game (though Alec made pretend Zoo's while Ian chose to make pretend amusement parks) and I liked that it reinforced multiplication as well as worked on the concept of area.  They quickly learned that boxes of all shapes could still have the same area.  If only they hadn't bicker and fought over the dice, the crayons and, well, everything else it would have been perfect. 

     While the older boys were working on math I pulled Evan aside to work on some sight words and reading.  We re-read a few Bob Books and then I put up some sight words, written on post- it notes, onto the wall and had him throw a ball at them.  He had to call out the word that the ball hit.  It was fun and funny and he really enjoyed playing this game.  I got this idea from the word family slam game found here.  He was still struggling with finding the words after we had been playing for a while and I thought it might be easier to find the word rather than read the word so I started calling out words and having him hit them.  He laughed a lot and we had such a good time he didn't want me to take the words down when we ended.  I warned him I'd ask a few times through the day what is this word and I'd point to one.  He then proceeded to tell me "I'm near the word wall mom" every single time he walked by it!
      I liked a page on Facebook a few months back called Incite to Write and I just love the ideas and suggestions for getting reluctant writers to write.  Last week I decided to sign- up for a free video training course by the same author and creator of Incite to Write and decided to start implementing some of her ideas-- best of all; week one requires NO writing!  So the boys were OK with participating.  I didn't make it a secret that this was a new writing program I was trying so they were skeptical but willing to give it a try.  They were able to come up with all 30 questions with just a bit of help from me and we discussed how we would answer them, how many sentences we COULD have come up with if we had wanted to write them, how many sentences are in a paragraph and how many paragraphs we could have come up with.  I felt it went pretty well, but Ian told me his problem with writing isn't getting the ideas. He told me he has tons of ideas and stories in his head but when he starts to write them he can't get all of his ideas down on paper fast enough and starts to forget his ideas.  I'm thinking we may need to buy some little tape recorders (or the equivalent now that "tapes" are obsolete!), but we'll see how this is handled as the program progresses. 
     We read another chapter in Surviving the Applewhites and The Robot King and then we turned to some science fun.  We read The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons and made Moon dough/sand by combining 8 cups of flour with 1 cup baby oil.  Once mixed I put a bit in tin pie plates for the kids to play with and had them drop marbles into the dough showing how craters are formed on the moon.  They had fun shaping mountains, seas and the like and then dumped out the pie tins onto some large cookie sheets and had fun playing with all their toys in the moon dough/sand.   Our day was done and they played happily for quite some time while I went through our library books and got ready to make a trip for some returns this afternoon. 

      At the library the boys ran to the movie section and picked out some new movies.  I don't know when we'll find time to watch them but hey, they're free!  We picked up some of the books we had ordered that came in and then went to fill out paws for the summer reading program.  There were not enough paws so Alec found the children's librarian and asked her to find some more.  She happily photocopied a bunch of them for the boys.  While they were waiting they found some hula hoops to play with.  Ian and Alec decided to see who could keep theirs going the longest and then Alec tried to see how many hula hoops he could use at once.  He managed to keep three of them up for quite some time.  I asked them to try walking in a circle, using the hula hoops around their necks, arms, or legs.  They decided to try meditating in the circle too.  It was a wonderfully, fun and totally spontaneous way to get them moving! 


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