Thursday, November 6, 2014

It's Science Fair Day!

    We did a minimal amount of schoolwork today since we'd be spending our afternoon at the science fair.  In the past we've never done any schoolwork on science fair day since we spend the whole day getting ready but this year we were all ready ahead of time and so we squeezed in a bit of work and a bit of fun too.  We all wrote the final copies onto our post cards so we could drop them in the mail today when we're out and about in town (I say we because I do have to write Evan's for him or we'd only fit one sentence in the box on the card).  We also looked up where we'll be getting our post cards from this month.  Ian has already called dibs on reading the postcard from Texas to us all.  Since he rarely asks to read out loud I immediately told him that he could.  This has been such a great, fun way to get some geography practice in, which is what I had planned on when I signed us up, but I didn't really think about all the writing, spelling and reading practice we're getting in too.  We've even learned a little bit of history along the way!  I've started leaving the postcards out on the coffee table for the boys to look through.  I punched a hole in the stamp corner of each card and adhered them all to a metal ring for easy flipping and handling.  They look at the various photos and re-read the back when they want to. It's great. 
      Once all the postcards were ready to go we all did some reading.  Alec finished up the Spirit Animal book he picked up from the library last night and I encouraged Ian to read the next chapter in the new book series we started reading together-- Roscoe Riley Rules.  His eyes bugged out of his when I said that but I reminded him that they're short chapters (one chapter was only 1 page long), there are lots of pictures in the book, and they're a lot like the Weird School Books that he used to read on his own all the time.  I'm really struggling to find him another set of "easy" reading chapter books that aren't so babyish he doesn't want to read them.  He flew through the Weird School Books since he found them so funny and engaging and I'm trying to find more books like that.  Evan and I sat down and read Ah Ha! together.  Much like Moo! this book is only comprised of a few words  so it's very easy reading.  We focus on expression and fun when we read these kinds of books. I love hearing all the intonations Evan makes when he reads and I feel like it's in large part to these kinds of books.  I make sure to throw them in with our regular reading every now and then to give us a fun break.  I read the rest of the Harry Potter chapter book we started yesterday too with the rainy, gloomy weather outside we chose to read the book snuggled together in my bed.  It's been so long since we had done that and I forgot how sweet it can be. 

   We finished up  or morning with some quick math.  The older boys took their math minutes and Ian celebrated the fact that he has passed all of his division fact test.  He'll get a few weeks reprieve but then I warned them that we'll be doing mixed minutes a few times a week.  We'll review addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division using all different facts (though I do plan to make sure each individual test is devoted to just one operation).  The older boys played a Spin and Cover math game working with matching equivalent fraction pizzas.  They had so much fun they played twice and had two different tied games.  Evan and I also played a fraction game.  Ours was a roll and cover game though not a spin and color.  We rolled two dice and put the smaller number on top of the larger number and then covered up the picture that matched the fraction we made.  Fractions are fairly new to him so I worked with him repeating the proper name of he fraction as well as repeatedly reminding him that the top number told him how many shaded pieces and the bottom number shows the amount of total pieces.  He didn't love it but when I offered to let him quit and just go get his Star Wars math book he wanted to keep playing the game.  He ended up winning and I think we made a good start on learning and identifying fractions. 

   We headed to the library for our science fair and the boys had a great time.  We got everything all set and they went to wander the room.  We didn't have as many exhibitors as in years past but we still made the most of it.  Alec participated the most making a numbat drawing, a lion plate, filling out a magnet questionnaire as he tested out the effectiveness of magnets on various materials.  I often found him standing in front of various boards reading.  I walked around with Evan for a bit looking at boards together and asking questions.  Ian was pulled along to the owl display by the little girl who had worked so very hard on it and was proudly showing it off.  She taught him a lot about owls and he patiently, kindly stood there and listened. 

Animal display reporting on different animals.  Her snack was
animals crackers and her "hands-on" was some how to draw animal books

Komodo Dragon report

Komodo dragon nest treats

Report on fossils with lots of concrete fossil displays

fossil footprint peanut butter cookies

All about magnets

Learning about rocks and minerals; a fun brownie excavation activity went along with his display

A close up of his board

Learning about types of clouds.  The kids could
make clouds and eat meringue cloud cookies

Experimenting with magnets

This emerald tree boa set up allowed kids to make
their own snake windmill/ sock.  Mostly Evan just
loved the gummy worms. 

Here's Ian learning all about the owls

We weren't the only ones to make cupcake creatures and these owls were a huge hit!

A close up of the owl display

Alec making some animal drawings

Alec made himself a candy circuit snack

Ian mined the brownies looking for various elements

More fun with magnets

As the fair was winding down and all the kids were getting board with the displays and projects they decided to put a few impromptu games of
musical chairs together. 

Ian's mining excavation paper-- I loved that they assigned rock names
to all the types of candy and food findings inside the brownie

Alec's numbat drawing

The owl hand puppet Alec brought home from the owl report
  Once we were all cleaned up and had everything back in our car we headed to the library to drop off books and select some new ones.  Alec was fingering the stacks of paperback books and spotted The Warriors; seeing the cats on the front he was intrigued and told me he thought he had found himself a new book series to read.  We selected the first three books and he eagerly settled onto the rug and began reading.  Evan and I picked out at least 5 more elephant and piggy books and then I roamed the picture books looking for other fun books for us to read together at bedtime.  Ian used the card catalog to look up movies and books he wanted to check out and then helped me use the self- check out on all the books we were getting.  The boys all agreed to try a new book on CD while we continue to wait for our last Heroes of Olympus book to come in from inter- library loan.  We're going to start listening to Dragon Rider.  It wasn't my first choice in books (I'm getting a bit sick of all the fantasy books) but since I have picked most of our other books on CD I let them choose this time. 

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