Sunday, August 4, 2013

Writing and Math "Extras"

We love...
They are still accepting enrollments!  If you don't live in MI, check the K12 website to see if they have an online public school in your state!

Just a reminder that we "school at home" with an online public school.  Really, the kids spend very little time "online" in a week.  I know that's a common misunderstanding when I say "online" public school.  ☺ This school is through K12.  Our state's program is called Michigan Visual Charter Academy.  We are soon to be starting year two!

So after a year, there were definite changes I wanted to make.  I knew I really couldn't do them all so I picked Math and Writing as the two subjects I'd focus on this summer.  Yes, the things I will be implementing will be "extras"...still count toward attendance but not the actual assignments.

I find the scope and sequence of K12's math curriculum is exactly what I'd want it to be.  However, there is a lot of workbook activities.  Most times we did most of it, other times I made up our own hands-on activities to do the same thing so we could have a break from the worksheets.  Most likely that will stay the same however, I did want to make an Math Manipulative area for the children and expect them to choose manipulatives to use each day.  This is where a "math journal" will come in. ☺  
We will use simple .17 writing notebooks this year.  I saw a really cute Leapfrog Journal for the 1st grader but I'm trying to spend minimal money this year.   Most math journaling I see on various blogs simply use these writing notebooks so that's what we are going to try first.  Trying to hold myself back and "keep it simple!"

After choosing a manipulative to work from....

I'll vary what is out about every 2-4 weeks depending on how it goes.
pattern blocks
unifix cubes
measurement tools
counting circles (from K12)
attribute shapes (from K12)
geometric 3D shapes (from K12)
brain teasers (wood/metal)
hundreds chart games
probability chips
Games: Tetris Link, Blokus, Dominoes, S'Math, Rummikub, checkers, cards, Base Race, Don't Spill the Beans, Yahtzee,
and etc...

...they will then stamp the date on their paper, draw a picture of what they did, and write a few sentences describing it.

(The first month of school I will have some idea cards available for them but my goal is for them to come up with their own ways of working with the materials...even the games.  They can be used in so many different ways!  Let's get the creativity juices flowing...I'm sure they can come up with way more ways than I can!)

End goal (besides more writing!) is to incorporate more math vocabulary.  I won't be picky the first month of school.  I just want them to get into the routine of choosing, dating, drawing, writing.  :-)

Here's something I came that I will also be trying out this help us take a more active approach to math vocabulary.
I am going to create a set of these for each of my grade levels.  I love the idea of the bag front/back cover to put items in that were used to learn about a concept.  What a great idea!  She has so kindly provided the templates for the cover and vocab pages free!  I so appreciate teachers who are so willing to share their creations!

Not sure how I'm going to store them.  Right along with their Math Journals I'm sure.  I'm still pondering that!

If you are wondering about a 1 spot stop for math vocabulary you are!
This is a document from the East Moline School District

So that is one other way I'm incorporating more writing into our day.  The other "new" way was posted a few days ago.  You can read about that and get the free printables on the Spin and Write post.

Here is a 3rd way I'm adding to writing this school year.  
I found these, this summer, in the Target Dollar section.  There were still some there the last time I wandered through!  
Here is a snapshot of the inside.  Each spread of pages has the child write the title, author/illustrator, whether fiction or non fiction, favorite characters, favorite part, star rating, date and a space to draw a picture.  I love it!  Simple...organized, visually appealing.

Side note:
 I had mentioned the 5 Finger Test to a couple of parents and they hadn't heard of it. So, I'll slip it in here for you.  It's a simple way for children to pick a "good fit" book.  :-)
You'll notice that the three new ways of "writing" I'm implementing into our school year requires very little of "me" except for beginning of year prep.  That was done intentionally.  Besides having a preschooler here, we'll also have an infant by Dec.  I really don't need anything else to "correct" or organize!  ☺  And really, the kids need time to write where they can just write without worry of "right and wrong".  Just get those thoughts going!  We'll catch the grammar, spelling, etc during their formal lessons.  

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