Friday, January 16, 2015

Ways to Say "Said"

Probably most that have been following along realize that writing isn't my kids' favorite thing to do. :-)  The last few weeks we've been doing some "fun" writing activities...not big writing assignments.  We'll get back into that, but for right now...let's get the fun back in!

They enjoy "Word Clouds".  The two older have dry erase boards and I have a word at the top for them to add to for a week or two.  It's great what they come up with!  
This word cloud was
"Other ways to say said."  :-)

When my printer is fixed...we'll print them and put them into a binder, for future use.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Snowflake Angles!

My kids do a few minutes of Khan Academy Math, each day.  The other day my 4th grade was like, "I don't get decomposing angles."  I went and did my weekly check of their Khan Academy progress and sure enough it stated "struggling with decomposing angles".  I was like "huh?"  It really should have been a review.  But that's allowed me the chance to pull in some of the Pinterest ideas.  Ha!

That's a Schooling at Home Mom for you...I pin so so much, even if my kids are past that skill or haven't reached it.  It usually comes in handy, sometime along the road. 

 Excuse these snapshots (though they really aren't any different then the others I post, probably). However, I wasn't planning on typing up a blog post...
I wasn't really trying to get decent pics. 
 I take snapshots all day long so I remember some of what we've done. :-)  
We included T., the kinder, because he wasn't taking a nap and we are waiting for his Math1 curriculum materials to arrive.  :-)  He really enjoyed this and picked up the idea of angles really quickly!

You know what, I learned something today!  LOL  The K'Nex set has pieces to create right, acute and obtuse angles.  I was exclaiming over this realization and A., 6th grader, was like, "Well, yeah mom."  :-D  
Kinder actually used those 3 angles to help him with the snowflakes.  He did really really well!  He found angles that I didn't notice until he pointed them out!  Older kids used a protractor to check those really close angles they weren't sure about. Or, like the 4th grader, just use the protractor to see how many degrees all the angles are because that's just fun.  :-D
What's nice about this snowflake is that each child's snowflakes are going to look different because there are umpteen different options for angles!
A. decided to create a craft stick snowflake also.  We used it to look for right, acute, and obtuse for kinder.  

What I didn't get a picture of was our little dry erase board lesson on decomposing angles.  LOL  4th grader and I sat down and I used stickers on K'nex to show various angles and how we can figure out one angle if we know other angle measurements and how to combine smaller angles to make a bigger angle, and so on.   Really, he DID know this stuff.  The problem was he was stuck on the word "decompose".  LOL  That's him for ya!  Definitely something that happens frequently.  It was a fun review anyway!  He got back on and flew through the problems in Khan. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Renaissance Artist: Pieter Bruegel

So, next on our timeline....
is Pieter Bruegel or Brueghel.  
This is thought to be a self-portrait.  Kind of scary, if you ask us!  :-D

I never heard of the artist myself, except for having used the K12 art curriculum for 3 years.  :-)  They introduce these pieces of art.

pics from Wikipedia

A stop at the library helped branch out our mini study.

We focused on Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists: Pieter Bruegel.  However, I always get multiple because my kids love to browse through nonfiction books.  They seldom check them out on their own though, nonfiction books that is.

I decided we were going to do a bit with the "Hunters in the Snow" again.  Here is an art documentary that we watched part of.  I think this is the first art critic/documentary the boys have ever watched.  :-)  I recommend the clip for older kids as the younger ones probably just wouldn't be all that interested.  :-D  It's good for my boys to see things from different perspectives and learn to think more like a "critic".  It's something I'd like them to do more with....look at a piece of art work and discuss it.

I found an art lesson shared online regarding atmospheric perspective and we did it.  You can find it at ArTree.
K-2 art lesson power point final products

grades 3-6 art lesson power point final products

We also watched a couple clips just before the power point lesson, refreshing their memory about the Renaissance (Pieter Bruegel was a Renaissance Artist)

The Renaissance:  Was it  a Thing?
FYI:  this is VERY fast paced.  For older kids for sure.  We had already went through the Renaissance time period with both the 4th and 6th grader so it was more of a review.

and in the middle of it.  :-)

Arc of the Arts: Atmospheric Perspective
Almost TOO slow, after the last clip.  LOL

We also spent some time  on "Netherlands Proverbs".
An interesting piece of art, to say the least.  Ha!
It's been said that Bruegel painted this to go along with his typical theme of "absurdity, wickedness and foolishness of humans".  :-D  Someone so kindly put together a table with the 112 proverbs and idioms that could be identified in the piece of art.  :-)  It's found here.  Quite interesting, to say the least.  :-)  Just a FYI:  it could be be considered crude in some regards.  I skipped over a few of them.  :-D Got us talking about what a proverb was....a short saying, typically well-known, that teaches a lesson.  This conversation also brought up the book in the bible Proverbs.  A little definition I liked: 

A proverb was used to make the reader listen, think about, remember, and then practice.

Of course, we ended with an acronym with his name.  :-D  This time, however, I wrote his name up on the board and we added characteristics as we went along.  This was suppose to  allow us to do an abbreviated study of Bruegel as we were having an abbreviated school week.  Didn't happen though.  We worked into the next week.  Oops!  :-D  Oh well, quality vs. quantity, a wise person told me, is the key!  

Saturday, January 3, 2015

"Word Clouds" to Help with Writing

I find that my children often use the "same ol'" basic words in their writing.  So, I decided we are going to work together to come up with "word cloud" themes.  The first one they did was "movement".  What are different words we could use to describe movement.  They both had a dry erase board that they added to throughout the week and then we combined them into this piece of "artwork".  :-D  I'll be placing these into a binder so that they have an appealing resource to go back to when they are revising their writing.

Next up, other words for....


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Extension ideas for When the Root Children Wake Up by Audrey Wood

Read Write Think has a document with picture books that have well-developed settings.  You can find that document by clicking here.

I used this as a guideline for my kiddos, 4th and 6th grade, to go through and write about the characters, settings, and giving a short summary. Good practice for them and will help them in their journey in being stronger writers.

We read these books together as a group after the fact to discuss what they wrote down, as they need much practice in writing about books.  After reading, we also did an extension activity.  I found there were not a whole lot of ideas for these books online, like other more common books so I'll share the extension of this particular book with you.

When the Root Children Wake Up

This book was about the four seasons.  There is a character to represent each four seasons and children who had been asleep all winter wake up to enjoy spring, and then move through summer, fall and back to sleep.  

Before reading we brainstormed what we thought about when we see a color.  At first they started out with objects and then after a little talk about how certain seasons would fit into specific colors, they began to move into ideas/feelings colors may represent.  We talked about how illustrators often use a set of colors to portray an idea. 

At Web Design Depot we found this image that added to our conversation.

This image was stated to be at ZoeSoulSpa but is no longer available.  Moods/feelings are something we try to fit in as often as possible for the 4th grader, especially.

Another image that couldn't be found, supposedly at Educational Coloring Pages.  Kids liked this one because it was in a familiar format.

Google images are USUALLY a homeschooling mom's friend.  :-D  We can quickly BUT CAREFULLY search a topic and usually come up with a visual to help extend our conversations and thoughts.  My goal with discussing color is to bring their attention to how authors use color in their writing, especially to set a mood.  
An art project that we did to go along with this book was a Four Seasons Tree.  We got this idea from Arteascuola, a classroom blog. 

They used oil pastels and a toothpick to create the patterns, with exception of kinder who just used watercolor as this project was a bit above him.  We attempted doing watercolor-crayon resist but it really didn't suit for the paper we were using.  Regular construction paper, it probably would have worked.  Kiddos picked 2 or more colors to layer onto each section, per season, then used a toothpick (we did start with a paperclip but toothpick worked better) to create a pattern, if they wished.  

We "doodled" trees in our sketchbooks first.  This video helped us...

She went at a PERFECT speed for us.  :-)  Her calm voice helped diffuse any anxiety.  However, it starts out very light....the kids had a hard time seeing what she was doing at first, when we watched it as a group.  So, recommendation, watch it individually if you can and watch it completely through before starting over and sketching with her.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Exploring the Periodic Table

We've been spending a few minutes each day with the periodic table.  Here are some resources I wanted to share with you.  :-)

We are enjoying this book
Check your local library!  I suggest this book for maybe 3rd grade and up.  My 4th and 6th grader are enjoying it.  It's above my K student, completely.  :-)  He likes the experiments though!

Some quick snapshots of what you'll find.  Very kind of book! :-)

Good intro to what the elements are.

Intro to the periodic table, as well.

You can find youtube clips about the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev in connection to introducing the periodic table. The following clip is a TedEd clip.

The genius of Mendeleev's periodic table - Lou Serico

A simple periodic table and poem to go with it.  

There are so many options out there!  This one is by  I like that it shows solid/liquid/gas/radioactive or artificially made at room temperature.

I especially like the poem.  :-) We are going to use it as copywork. 

At the beginning of each category, they have a "Meet the ...." which gives us a simple history of why they were categorized the way they were.  Then a few of the elements, from that category, are discussed a little more deeply....each one having a little "poem" to help remember it. 

With each element they discuss more, there is a simple experiment and explanations. 

At the end, they have a page like this that "touches" on the elements they didn't go into more deeply.

Making the Periodic Table "fun" to learn.  I don't feel it's necessary to actually memorize it all but if they enjoy it...and learn where the information is...that will serve them well in their "further education".  :-)

And last, but not least,
The kids have really enjoyed these.  Maybe it's just my kids.  Ha!  Short little clips, usually less then 10 minutes about most of the elements on the table.  We went through a few together but it was becoming very time consuming so we do the video clips that go along with the book, for each group I introduce, and then they do the rest of that group on their own time.  :-)  They aren't complaining either.  They want to go through ALL the videos. Ha!

There is a table that shows Relative Abundance in the TedEd clips.  The kids loved it so I went looking for one to print.  :-)
This was created in the kind of old, but we had a good conversation about the difficulty in estimating something like this.  :-)  Cool infographic though!

There are SO MANY resources out there to go with exploring the Periodic Table.  We may pull a few more activities in as time goes on...or we may hold off and come back to it another time, if interest lessens.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A New Year....right around the corner!

Every holiday, every birthday, every year....
I never do what I want to do with them.  I'm always losing track of time and not realizing that I need to get started on planning if I want to do anything "special".  So, nothing gets done.  However, this year I'd like to make a goal to be more "on top of it" and maybe start some family traditions of our own.  :-)  

Created this document quick-like, with hopes it'll get me started on planning some things for the new year for our family....but if not, I'll at least have this done for the kids AND I to fill out.  :-D  You can click the link below to get this document WITHOUT the gray color.  Really, that's suppose to be white.  Normally when I save the .pdf as a .jpeg, it shows true colors.  Ah well, keeps me humble :-D
I chose not to put the year on, in case we want to use this document again.  The larger empty area at the bottom will be "decorated" with our names and 2015. 

I will be encouraging them to choose "small-doable" things and we are going to try to hold each other accountable for what we write down.  :-D  Should be interesting!

What are some traditions you have for your family?  I would love some ideas!