Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Week 14, day 2

Bible (Catechism, Bible story, memory verse): We reviewed a couple of memory verses and catechism questions, and read the story of the angel Gabriel's visit to Mary. I wasn't sure I liked the rhetorical style of the children's Bible for this story; it used a lot of unnecessary imagery and figurative language. I don't think the average 3- or 5-year-old (or at least my two) can grasp symbolism at the level the storytelling used. Imagery is great for older children and adults, but preschoolers and kindergarteners need ideas to be expressed more concretely.

Calendar (Update day of week and date of month, record weather and temperature): It's still cool and cloudy, and is expected to remain cloudy for a long time. The rain last night left a large puddle, and I let the kids play in it once we were done with school (I used it as an incentive to keep us on task).

Handwriting: I had P do wet-dry-try with b, c, and d to try to emphasize that "b" starts with a "big line down" and "d" starts with a "magic c". Later on, she complained that we hadn't done handwriting, since she hadn't done any pencil-on-paper work, so I let her make a Christmas card for another friend of hers in PA.

Language Arts: I had P do yesterday's copywork from dictation, and she read the reader quite well. She's clearly gaining confidence and fluency. She also got to make up a story about a fanciful picture, which went slowly at first but eventually she got into it and came up with a coherent and sensible story.

Math (5-a-day, other activities): Before we officially started school today, the kids played with Cuisenaire Rods. When we were putting them away, P counted all the 1-rods and found 22. She divided them into 2 piles of 10 with 2 left over, and I felt inspired to try to introduce adding with regrouping (carrying). So I started by establishing that the way we divide them into groups doesn't change the total, so I had her add 10+10+2, 12+10, and 11+11 both on the whiteboard and using the 1-rods. Then I told her I'd do something a bit tricky, and divided them into piles of 6 and 16. I wrote the problem on the whiteboard and asked her to do the first column. She saw that 12 (6+6) wouldn't fit in the column, so I asked her how many tens and how many ones were in 12. She wasn't quite sure, so I asked her how she would make 12 using dimes and pennies. This made it clear to her that there were 2 ones and 1 ten, so we wrote the 2 in the ones column and I told her we'd store the one ten above the other ten from 16. She added the tens column and got the expected answer. She seemed to readily grasp that this made sense. I'll find other concrete examples to teach the same concept in the coming days and see how it goes. I'm so stoked about teaching my 5-year-old stuff I'm pretty sure I wasn't taught until 2nd grade, and having her understand it.

I put a 2-digit addition problem (no regrouping) onto her 5-a-day, and she needed a bit of guidance with that but did it well. The problem was 40+15, and I made it concrete by having her find 40 cents and 15 cents, and then put them together and compare the result to the result of her addition. Once she did, her response was basically, "Well, of course they match, they're the same problem." So I feel pretty confident that she's tied the more abstract addition problem to reality.

E's "school": E demanded "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs" today, so we read that, as well as a book about 3 boys who spend a day on the river. We didn't get to any P3/4 books, but that can wait for tomorrow. Yay, flexibility.

Geography and/or science: The kids' extended playing outside in last night's puddle meant that it was too late to go to the library when they were finished. I'm sure they absorbed some good physics by splashing around. They also invented an adorable game where they took turns being Jericho and Joshua's army. The child who was Jericho stood still in the middle while the child who was the army ran around Jericho in circles, then stopped, made a trumpet noise, and Jericho fell. Then they switched roles and played again. This worked great for them until E thought it would be hilarious for Jericho to run away instead. P was annoyed at E but then got the idea that a Jericho made of sticks would be easier to control than her younger brother, so they played the same game but both ran around the pile of sticks, and took turns knocking it over and rebuilding it. This is a way more creative game than I'd be likely to come up with myself - it's fun to see them in imaginative play together.

Other: The gingerbread recipe I used for the gingerbread house we made was ridiculously generous - I could probably have made 2 gingerbread houses - so we used the leftover dough to make cookies. Both kids are really good at this now. It was frustrating a year ago to make cookies with E, because he cut out several shapes on top of each other and was upset when the resulting cookie didn't have a recognizable shape (and when I insisted on transferring his creation to the cookie sheet instead of letting him eat it before baking). This year, he's as good at it as P, so now we have even more good things to eat, just lying around being tempting...

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