School days - May 2015

If an unclear picture bothers you, I apologize in advance. I definitely never started blogging because I wanted to showcase my perfect picture taking abilities. 

Here recently we have started something a little new. We are going to try it out over the next couple of months and see if it works well. You may have read in this post before about our expectation cards. They do work very well, but right now we are working with a little less space and a busy schedule - baseball, summer coming up, and I'm still the only adult here to get all the other non-school things done. So in an effort to streamline each day of school and be able to add in all the summer fun that is coming in a few weeks, we are going to one subject a day. For their expectation cards right now, I printed out a card for each day except Friday. Monday is math, Tuesday is grammar, Wednesday is language/spelling, and Thursday is history. I listed every thing that might apply to them now or in the future, and their job is to look at the card and know which of those different areas they currently have work in for that day. 
 It will also help my bigger kids to depend a little more on that journal to keep them moving  with what they are doing. 

Okay, now that the update is over, I'll share a little of what I captured over the last 2+ weeks since I did an update here. 

Miss Priss finished all work with the multiplication board. She will be moving on to multiplying with the stamp game, she's done that before but will need a refresher, and working more on division as well.

She also gave Bug a lesson one day in the short bead chains. I have been a bit relaxed with Bug, and it's so true that so much gets picked up through observance and learning that we don't always plan. However, I want to try to get her to a better routine and working daily. She just turned 6, and it's time to get her little brain focused on getting at least 2 or 3 things done a day, every school day. 

Hoss had a refresher in division, because I admit - I wasn't very on the ball about getting his math in order and lined up well. He is working on the memorization charts now, after having finished an abbreviated version of the board. Both Hoss and LM are reluctant to use materials that take a lot of time to set up, so if I find myself in a situation where they need to take their time but know they will buck it, I try to find a better way. For him, he used the blue beads and set up small groups on the table to show the work he was doing, but didn't pull the board out. Eventually, he moved to working the last 20 or so out on the whiteboard, using blue circles and dots. 

Buddy has been doing a LOT of drawing and working on writing his numbers, letters, short words, especially his name. I just ordered the sandpaper letters and moveable alphabet over the weekend. I am so excited to get them in for language extensions and writing!

Some impromptu sink/float work one day. Bug pulled out trays out from our DIY landforms (got the idea from here) work, and used the tray with water to see what would sink and float. 

I've also been doing a TON of creating, printing, and laminating. In this picture you can see grammar strips for parts of speech, decimal cards for laying out amounts on the decimal board, and on the middle left you can get a glimpse of the expectation cards that I printed out. Sidenote - each person's expectation card(s) slide in to their own pocket of a small pocket chart I found at Target, I think. 

Last week, on Tuesday when we were working on grammar, we reviewed all parts of speech up to prepositions (noun, article, adjective, verb, adverb). LM had already had the lesson on prepositions, but I think Hoss didn't for some reason. And, of course, Miss Priss hadn't yet. We worked through what a preposition was, it's function, and then used the preposition cards from Elementary Observations to talk about some common prepositions. It's a great printable, and I was able to separate them into common prepositions and ones that aren't as commonly thought of, or that have special rules. 

Together with the white board to write the sentence on, so all three kids could see it, and objects that they grabbed for the fulfilling of the sentence, we gave examples for each preposition for that day, and then they wrote the sentence down and labeled the part of speech. I have two handy, dandy homemade stencils that help with the labeling. Of course, Waseca and Alisons Montessori have some you can buy, which are perfect for this! But El-Cheapo (that's me!) decided to make them instead. 

Below is an example of one of the sentences we used and Hoss fulfilled with his chosen animal. 
"A/The scorpion sits on the box."
Nothing complicated, just getting the point across.

Recently, Bug has taken it upon herself to do a little self-directed work. In the picture below, she took my bag of Jolly Ranchers (given to me for Mother's Day, which I have no desire to eat and am slowly doling out to the kids) and sorted each one by color, then recorded the color and amount for each group.
Nothing like handwriting, classifying and counting (Math and Science) all in one!

She also found this book at the library last week and we actually just did this work today (Sunday) after their obligatory nap time. 

I used our fraction bars that we got here to show the written fraction for 1/2, 1/4, and 1/8 and then she was able to see that relationship between 1/2, 2/4, and 4/8 as well. 

And speaking of library, our chances to go to our lovely libraries have been touch and go for a few months now, because of our rather busy schedule, but we were able to make story time for the first time in a while this last week, which was so fun - and weirdly comforting, somehow. Even to me. Go figure!

Also - and this is a REALLY bad picture, but the lighting and distance were factoring against me - the children had their Spring concert and awards this last week. Hoss and Miss Priss' general music theory class had a blast this year learning rhythm, how to read basic music, and how to separate in to different parts in a group. I didn't have a picture of them to put in here, though :(, because I ended up stuck in the wings helping bring out boomwhackers, bell plates (couldn't find a link to show you what these are, but they are used for handbell choirs, just a bit less expensive, and other things needed for their part in the program. 
LM was in the middle/high school choir, though only 10, and absolutely loved it! Learning to sing in a group with other sopranos, altos, tenors, and bass singers was very good for her this year. She also sang a solo for the solo and ensemble competition and received a superior medal, pictured below (her actual score was an I+, which means she went above the high score. She wouldn't brag about that, but I'm her mama and I get to)!

We are getting geared up and ready to start the summer reading programs and shift in to summer schedule. On the slightly more personal side, my husband is ALMOST DONE with his school. He gets home in the beginning of July, which may sound like a long time, but when he's been gone since January, it's definitely the home stretch! (can you tell I'm a little happy about this?!?!?!?!)


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