Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Coffee Filter Turkeys, gobble math, and Thanksgiving stories

   I planned to head to the grocery store as soon as the boys were up and ready this morning so I knew we'd get a late start on school today.  I pulled everything out that I wanted to get to today, last night while I only had Evan home with me, because I finally had time to think and plan.  I wanted to get some math, reading, writing and art done as well as grocery shop, clean the house and make a pie or two.  Yeah, I know you are all probably thinking I'm such a slacker with my short "to do" list-- right?  (I say totally tongue in cheek!).  Sometimes I'm amazed at all we survive during the holiday season.  It's wonderful to see our families and spend time together but it is so hard not to get caught up in all the prep work. Usually by the time the actual holiday arrives I'm a grumbling mess, but I'm determined to enjoy myself this year. Anyway, onto schoolwork. 
       The boys decided to sleep in and all got out of bed later today than I swear I've ever seen them get up.  I made them all shower real quick while I finished cleaning the bedrooms and then I shoved everyone into shoes, a coat, grabbed a math sheet for the two older boys and headed out the door.  Since I knew Evan was getting sick of the color by number pages I had found for Thanksgiving we tried something totally new today.  We have been working on counting by 5's and 10's and I found this great skip counting worksheet.  I knew I'd have to work with Evan on skip counting by 5's but I was able to give Alec the skip counting by 2's worksheet as practice and Ian worked on the counting by 3's.  They completed their worksheets in the car while we listened to The Hobbit on our way to and from the store. 
     Once home the boys finally ate breakfast (and I say finally because it was almost 10!).  Once they finished eating and I was done putting groceries away, I sat with Evan to help him on his skip counting sheet.  First we reviewed how to count by 10's then we counted together by 5's and then we dug into the sheet.  Mostly he wanted to skip count by 10's (15, 25, 35, etc.) but by the end of the page he was really getting the hang of it.  While I worked with him the two older boys were sitting at the table playing a cute addition game I found called Addition Gobble Bump.  Using three die they add the numbers quickly and cover the sum with a colored marker chip, they can bump one another off a space unless they manage to get two of their colored chips on a space then they're safe.  The first one to run out of chips wins.  They had fun and good naturedly grumbled and moaned when they got bumped.  It was very basic addition practice but you'd be amazed how much they still really need that! 

     After math Evan wanted to read to me.  He picked out 5 Bob Books!  I love that he's so enthusiastic but I'm getting nervous that one day I'll have to scramble around to find the time to sit and listen to a dozen or more!  He did great reading his books and was happy to share the stories with his brothers.  When he was done we all sat together and read The Night Before Thanksgiving.  It was a cute rhyming story set to the same rhythm as 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.  The boys immediately pointed out the similarities and we loved listening to the silly story.  The boys grumbled a bit when I mentioned writing a story so I suggested we sit in a circle and tell stories out loud.  They loved that idea.
     I had found these wonderful Pick- a - Turkey cards that we used to pick a character and setting every time we felt the need to change up our story a bit.  We had some really hilarious stories going on too!  At one point we had 6 turkeys, a hungry bear, a cow and a cook in the market after getting tired at the amusement park.  You probably had to be there but I was amazed at the stories and details I got out of my boys.  We worked together and stopped the story teller when things didn't makes sense.  I would then model for them one way they could have phrased it without confusing the reader.  We often recapped our story to a new character we stumbled upon and had so much fun laughing.  It's not often you encounter a turkey at the beach or a cook working at the post office!  Mostly I sat and thought of how much shorter (and, frankly, boring) their stories would have been if I had made them sit and write them down.  While I do agree they need to learn to write and put their ideas down on paper I think that is something they can learn to do at a later date.  Like I told the boys, many authors dictate their stories first into a recorder of some kind so they don't loose their ideas while thinking about spelling, punctuation, and proper letter formation.  All in all I think we had a fabulous "writing" activity going on today.  You know it's good when they all groaned as I cleaned it up and asked it we could do it again tomorrow! 
     With all of our work done for the day we turned to some fun.  We were making coffee filter turkeys today.  The boys used brushes, watercolors and coffee filters to make the turkeys' colorful plumage feathers.  Once the coffee filters dried we glued construction paper bodies and wings onto the front, added some cute googlie eyes, yellow paper beaks and red waddles and we had a wonderful collection of birds.  I love how they look hanging in the windows. 

        Ian helped make our Thanksgiving pumpkin pie this afternoon.  I basically just watched over his shoulder as he measured and mixed everything.  We popped it into the oven and he looked at me and said "that's it?"  I agreed that pumpkin pie is quite easy to make.  We then all sat down to lunch and watched a few episodes of How it's Made.  I couldn't believe how fast the day flew by... until I thought of all that we had accomplished!  

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