Saturday, March 29, 2014

Taking off with math

     As they woke one by one they each migrated downstairs and they watched the movie Wall-E.  I consider Wall-E one of those fun yet educational shows.  I think it really drives home the importance of taking care of our planet so I sort of consider that movie as science.  By the time the movie was over they all started getting ready for the day; eating breakfast, getting dressed, making their beds, etc.  Then the house got silent.  Eerily silent; but in a good way.  All three boys were up in their rooms playing with toys.  It was so totally silent it was like I was home alone.  There was no way I was going to interrupt that to start school!  I started modifying our plans for the day to allow for them to play as long as they wanted in the morning. I got all my computer work done and sat down to work on our family jigsaw puzzle (well, I say family puzzle but I think I pretty much put this entire puzzle together by myself this time around).
    The younger two boys came to me to tell me all about Lego Chima.  They had been putting Lego Chima sets together and were ready to play but first stopped to tell me ALL about the whole story behind Chima, the characters, the history, etc.   They then asked if they could have a scarf and pocketbook like yesterday (I had gotten a new pocketbook and scarf in the mail and before I had even finished opening the box they tied both across their chest Rambo style and used them to hold their assorted weapons).  We went up to my room and found them each a scarf and pocketbook with a long enough strap to use cross- body style and they set off to battle with the forces of Chima.  We also had to find Evan's riding gloves and all the cylinders in our foam block sets to use as Skunk In A Jar (I had no idea what that was but I guess it's a weapon the skunks in Lego Chima use!) and then they were off and playing. 
     It was probably after 10 by the time Ian wandered downstairs and asked if we were ever going to start school today.  I could have said no and they would have all gone along playing happily but I'm not one to look a gift horse in  the mouth.  Within moments all three kids were sitting at the table asking what we were going to do today.  The older boys wanted to start with their math minute and Ian was thrilled that he passed his 8 times tables and has only his 9's and 12 times tables left.  That ice cream party is so close he can almost taste it!
    While they worked on that Evan asked if he could to the dot to dot on the computer but counting by ones instead of by two's.  So I went back to ABCya! and found him the dot to dot page.  He was bummed to discover it was an octopus again.  We then looked through other kindergarten games and he played Keyboard Zoo.  He practiced finding the letters on the keyboard and then the computer tells him the name of an animals that starts with each letter.  He kept trying to guess what animal they would show him for each letter and was thrilled when he got them right.  I was thrilled he could come up with an animal name for almost every letter of the alphabet (a few like x really stumped him). 
    Alec moved onto to his math workbook and knew what he needed to do for his next page while Ian and I worked a bit with our fraction tiles.  I was showing him (& asking him to show me) equivalent fractions.  From there we moved onto reducing fractions, which was today's lesson in his workbook.  He struggled with it a bit mostly because he's afraid to make mistakes.  We talked about that being a part of learning and I think I may have gotten him to loosen up a little...maybe.  I told him his workbook is a WORKbook, it can be messy, it can have eraser marks, lines, scribbles, etc.  It's for working, learning and figuring things out.  He smiled a bit and I noticed he started making notes to help himself next to each equation.  He made a few mistakes but seems to have the general concept.

      Alec finished his page and started telling me all the answers to the next page; which was multiplying by 10's.  He stopped more than half way through and said "why am I doing this?  I'm just going to have to do this all over again!"  To which I replied "nope, I was just thinking if you got through this whole page I'd mark it as done and then you don't have to do any math work on Monday."  A moment or two later when he still hadn't made a single mistake I stopped him and marked it as right.  He obviously got the concept!  Next thing I knew he had completed 5 more pages! He worked with reading the names of numbers and writing them, place value, ordering numbers from least to greatest and greatest to least, he worked with fractions too.  He was writing fractions and even making equivalent fractions!   "Now I don't have to do any math work next week!" He declared.   Ian started to complain that it wasn't fair and Alec would be done his math workbook before he was when I showed him all the multiplication fact ice cream cones and reminded him that he's ahead of Alec.  I reiterated that they can work at their own pace.  I expect at least one page a day to be done but they can always do more if they want.  I will never tell them to put down their math books!  Ian then started flipping ahead and found some easier pages and orally completed a multiplication fact page too.   I guess I found the right motivation for these math workbooks!

      Evan and I read a story together.  He reread the story he had picked out yesterday.  Since it had a lot of new words he had a hard time with the story yesterday and I wanted him to be more confident with it before adding it to his bin of bedtime books.  He was able to read the story straight through without any mistakes today.  He asked if he was done school today and I asked him if he could do one last thing for me-- count to 100.  I had planned on having him do a dot to dot puzzle starting at 100 and counting down to 1 but he had assured me he did NOT know how to count to 100.  To make it more fun both Evan and I got up off the couch and did jumping jacks and hopping on one foot while he counted to 100.  He lost his place a time or two but if I counted a few numbers before where he trailed off he was able to find his place again and made it all the way to 100 without any mistakes.  I told him he could go play and that I didn't have anything else planned for him.  He decided to sit at the table and "play" with the fraction tiles until his brothers were available to play with him.

    Once Ian was done with his math book he wanted a snack and I offered to coach him through making Chex Mix.  Typically I'd give him the recipe and have him read and follow the directions but I don't really use the recipe and I modify it as I go along.  He pulled out all the ingredients and I talked him through the amounts to use.  He knew which measuring tools to use; the 1/4 tsp. measure 3 times for 3/4/ the 1/2 tsp. three times for 1 1/2 tsp., etc.  By the time he had the Chex Mix done all the boys were pulling out lunch ingredients.  I had no idea it was lunchtime!  Our morning flew by!

    The boys asked to watch Wild Kratts during lunch and we learned about the spider monkey.  I figured with all the math work they had done this morning, with all the reading the older boys did last night (Alec once again read 8 books at bedtime!), and with the science movies and shows that we had watched  that school was pretty much covered for the day.  The boys wanted to go outside since the thermometer said it was 50 out but it started to rain.  Bummed they all asked to watch TV and I figured, hey, it's Friday! 
    The rain cleared up and the sun came out so all the boys headed outside to play.  The younger two boys brought their weapons and my scarves outside with them to play and they didn't even bother stopping to come back inside when it started to rain again.  Ian, however was bored, so I offered to help him make some more snacks and treats.  It seems that everyone in this house has a real sweet tooth lately and our groceries just aren't lasting.  We decided to make some brownies and since there are directions right on the box I left him to do it by himself.  It's great reading, reading comprehension, science, and math practice for him-- not that he knows that.  He just thinks "oooh, yummy brownies!"

     The younger boys came back inside once the rain picked up and Evan wanted to make some mousse.  I had some instant mousse packets I bought at the Christmas Tree Shoppes this past weekend and so I helped him mix some up.  We did a double batch so he had to add 2- 3/4 cups together and came up with 6/4.  I did tell him we could turn that into 1 1/2 but since he's only 6 I had him measure out 6 -1/4 cup measures.  We then turned on the mixer and I had Alec tell us what time it would be when 5 minutes went by.  I showed Evan the clock on the stove and told him it was 2:18 that the first number before the dots tell us the hour and the numbers after the dots tell us the minutes.  He then called out the time every minute as the clock changed.  He even told me when we only had one minute left until we had to turn off the mixer.  He turned it off the second the clock turned to the correct time and we started scooping out the mousse into dessert cups.  The house smelled heavenly between the mocha mousse and the brownies baking in the oven. 


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