Tuesday, September 10, 2013

2013-2014 School Year...We're off!

(post one with misc. pictures of of our first few days of school)

And we are off!  Left to right...
C.-2nd grade, L.-1st grade, A.-5th grade, T.-Preschool, K.-1st grade

Another first day snapshot :-)
First task of the morning!
Working with Clay
This was two fold.  
Number 1) it reinforced that we will gather as a group every morning.  :-)  Our school morning starts at 8A and usually we spend about 30 minutes together.  
Number 2) As they were kneading the clay to soften it, the children shared with K., who is in her first year here doing MVCA, what they felt she should know about schooling at home.  I loved hearing it from their perspective.

The children created something that reminded them of "school" and then shared them.  I really want to focus more on that "public speaking" component.

K.- pair of glasses (though, interestingly enough...she doesn't wear them!)
L.- a book shelf
C.- an old fashion pen and ink well
A.- a pencil that does not roll.  :-D

We also worked together with doing our first self portrait of the year.
Fun stuff!  Every student has to do a self portrait so this was a good 1st day project.
We are also trying something new.  A math manipulative center.  This is not an everyday activity...but we try to have it happen as often as possible.


The children have 3 shelves of math manipulatives available to them.  They choose what they want to work with and then journal about it.  So far...it's going good!

Another day, K. chose the Venn Diagram laminated sheet I got at the Dollar Tree and the shells and she was sorting them and just having a lovely time checking out all the shells.  :-)

 Hands on sight word practice is really a "must" for those younger kiddos.  The beginning of the week with both sight words and spelling, each child works with me so I can evaluate where they are with the words and talk about spelling rules.  Then the remainder of the week they work with practicing them on their own.  I'll share more as the year progresses.
Having multiple computers in the house really enable us to work through in a timely manner.  No waiting for someone to finish what they are doing.  Now if we can only keep them working right!
I do want to say though...we really don't spend the majority of our time at the computer...even if the name of our school is Michigan Virtual Charter Academy and it's an online public school.  :-)  
Last year my goal was to have A. (10 years old), especially, to help with the snack and meal making.  It really just didn't work out.  We ended up with the 3rd grader making lunch with me on Tuesdays as she needed the fine motor practice and 1:1 time with me in an area that she enjoyed.  This year...so far so good.  :-)  The kids have all helped me here and there with snacks and lunches.  I hope we can keep that up!  They loved these fruit kabobs by the way.  We added a marshmallow in the middle of each stick, just for fun.  :-)  C., 3rd grader made them for us.

A. made lunch for us this same day.  PB and Banana on raisin bread.  We rounded out the meal with sausage links, yogurt, and mandarin oranges.  Definitely went over well!
  K. helped make the pancakes this first week of school.
C.'s birthday is at the end of August so he sometimes got cheated out of doing a "school treat".  He didn't want cake or cupcakes...he wanted "decorate your own pancake".  So that's what we did.  :-)

 1st and 2nd graders needed review in skip counting by 2s.  So since we decided we really did need a break from our "tablework" we now eat a quick snack and go outside to do something physical as a group.  
They all worked together to create a numberline around the driveway pad.  Then they began to jump around the numberline, skip counting by 2.  The preschooler, 3rd and 5th grader just had fun along with us.  The 1st and 2nd grader benefited the most and we sent them around again.  :-)  Such a simple thing to get us moving but also incorporate math.  1st grade Literature was also about a Jump Rope poem.  So we pulled out the jump ropes to see where everyone is on knowing how to jump rope.  After seeing that the majority of the children did NOT know how to jump rope I did the circle jump with them, reinforcing counting by 2's again.  :-)  (and jumping with BOTH feet off the ground.)  They found out that it's easier said than done and I found out that this pregnant body of mine doesn't do all that grand going around in circles twirling a jump rope as the kids jumped it.  Ha!  

Get out and move!  It so helps our brains!
Lots of introduction and review of geography going on these last couple of weeks.  :-)  In this picture K. is copying the little ditty...
North, South, East, West
Home's the place I like the best.
We do have a simple geography wall that will be a "work in progress" over the next few weeks.  I'll share the songs and Daily Detective that we are doing in the next post.
Oh, Say Can You See....
Remembering what the Social Studies2 lesson taught us about the words of our National Anthem and coloring a flag.  L., 2nd grade, is doing awesome with working through his independent work in a timely manner.  Glad that it looks like we can get in the "extras" I had planned for this year!
Mr. C., 3rd grade.  He's doing great this year.  We moved him to a room to himself so there are less distractions for him and he distracts US less.  However, I do have him come out to the kitchen computer for Science since he's doing that semi independently this year...just so I can observe how it's going.  :-)  But really, he's doing so well with timeliness of his tasks.  
 K. is working on some syllable sorting.   Last year I learned to not assume they learned something in brick and mortar.  I'm seeing the same "gaps" this year already.  So that's a nice thing about schooling at home.  We can spend as much time as we need on "extra" practice to make sure they "get it"!
Something that I found myself repeating last year that helped so much...at all grade levels.  Every syllable has at least ONE vowel. That really helped with spelling!
Something else I learned last year...never assume that something is "too young" for them.  :-)  So many times they saw something the preschooler did and really wanted to do it.  So as often as possible, we try to slip those in.  These are those paint with water pages!  :-)  Even the 5th grader did one!  I call these type of things "no-brainers".  We all need those sometimes!

Better stop for now.  This is getting quite long...I don't think I'm even half way through the first few days of school.  Ha!  Yes, that camera is not very far from my reach most times.  I see so much when I go back through the pictures of the day.  Helps me evaluate what needs to be done...or what went well.  :-)

1 comment:

  1. It all looks and sounds so interesting! Hope you all have another wonderful year!!