Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Hot Cocoa kind of day

We themed most of our schoolwork around winter and hot cocoa today!

I love to surprise the boys with some themed days every now and then since it just makes our days that much more fun.

The older boys did start the day with another minute math test.  Today we tried the ten times tables & Ian was able to get all 21 correct in the minute.  Alec managed to get 14 and Ian congratulated him on getting so many.  I think Alec was disappointed but I pointed out that he'd probably have his scoop earned in just another day or two. 

Once they were done we continued with math and Evan had another roll, count, and cover worksheet and the older two boys worked on a Hot Chocolate Math-- this is a very lengthy packet so we chose only one combination sheet and one of the sheets of word problems to tackle today. 

The boys had to work together to see how many combinations of drinks they could make using two different flavors, three different toppings, three different stirrers and three different containers.  This was just like our snowman activity from last week and I was hopeful that at least one of the boys would remember that you can multiply to find the answer.  In this case 2 x 3 x 3 x 3 =54 different combinations.  

We wrote out about 9 different combinations before the boys told me it was just like the snowman with his hats and mittens and they told me they could multiply the groupings and come up with the answer!  They worked it out together and came up with 54.  I then walked them through the four word problems.  Ian had a much easier time with these since I often had to draw them out for Alec to be able to "see" the answer.  They worked hard and they did a great job.

Evan did amazing with his math.  He no longer has to count the dots on the dice since he just knows what each set of dots equal now.  He also knows  a lot of the combination from trying them so often.  I think we'll move onto subtraction soon, but not just yet.  I want him to know them all really well before we move on.

With math completed we moved onto reading.  For reading today we read The Missing Mitten Mystery, The Hat, and The Mitten.  We love Jan Brett and Steven Kellogg so I knew we'd enjoy these books.

They all asked why we were bothering to read winter books about snow and mittens since it was another warm day and it was raining out besides.  Hard to argue with that logic but I just insisted since it's still winter I'm not wrong.  Eventually we will get more snow-- I think!

We discussed what other books we remember by these authors and I slowly steered them towards talking about their favorite books.  Why they love certain books and how they feel when they're reading favorite books.  This was all in preparation for today's writing assignment.

We had a writing/craft project today called A Good Book To Warm Up To (found here).  The boys made a mug.  We traced and cut them out of watercolor paper then the boys used paint to decorate them.  They got a bit carried away and forgot all about the fact that their book summary had to be glued onto their mugs.  Ian made a painting of a horse and rider and Alec painted a family of sea turtles living in the ocean across the street from a house and road.  They came out great but once I pointed out that they would be covered up the boys decided to make the paintings the backside of their mug and decorate the other side for their words to go on.  Evan didn't want to paint his mug so he used printed scrapbook paper and finished up right away.

Alec's mug (the other side)
Ian's mug
While the mugs were drying they wrote a few sentences about a good book they would recommend to a friend.  I had them write a rough draft first and then copy it, in pen, neatly and carefully onto the final draft.  We then cut out ovals of hot cocoa and some marshmallows and glued the whole thing together.  Then we warmed up some hot cocoa ourselves and had a snack break.

After all what good is a hot cocoa themed day if you're not going to drink hot cocoa?!

Once snack was over, we moved onto to geography-- and I could not for the life of me figure out how to tie that in with hot cocoa!  We will be learning all about Australia for the next few weeks.

Today we read the book-- Wonderful Animals of Australia.  It was a pop up/ action book that Alec in particular just loved.  All the boys loved that the pop up animals moved and, while fairly short, it was very informative.  Alec knew most of the animals already and the other two boys knew quite a few of them too.  When we were done, Alec was disappointed that the Sugar Glider was left out of the book.  He knows that most of the animals that are native to Australia are only found in Australia and one of his favorites, the sugar glider, is one of those animals.  Hopefully, we'll come across the sugar glider in some of our other books.

We're starting an Australia unit and will be "landing" here for a while watching Australian movies, reading books and trying to immerse ourselves in all things Australia.  Before reading I had asked the boys to tell me all about Australia, find it on the map, and, not all the surprisingly, they had quite a knowledge base.  Once the book was over I gave them the option to try out one of the few crafts about Australia I had found.

Moving pop up book
We painted our background using watercolors.  We started with a large yellow circle in the middle surrounded by sunset colors with a small strip of brown for the ground.  After we set that aside to dry we used a stencil to make our kangaroos.  I found this great printable coloring page and once I had printed it out I cut out the mom and baby to make a stencil.  It was a very easy and fun art project.

Alec's Australia painting


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