Monday, April 18, 2011

Highs and Lows - 4/18/11

I feel like we did a million things today! We were very busy, I know that. We started off with some puzzles, a scientist station, and some pasta counters. The puzzles I put out today were a little harder. I thought it was time for a challenge. I did have 2 easy ones out, but I wanted to see how they handled the harder ones. Both tackled the easy ones no problem. Freddie did the medium hard ones with no problem too. The harder ones neither of them would try. They dumped the pieces out, but then said "I can't do it." When I had a minute, I sat down with Flossie and took just a few pieces here and there out of the puzzles and had her try putting them in. She did fine with that. We'll keep doing that for awhile until she gets better at seeing how to do them. Freddie dumped one out that had the imprint of the pieces on the cardboard underneath. After dumping he said he couldn't do it. I thought he could so I said, "Well you dumped it all out, so you better try to put it back together. Look at the shapes on the board. That shows you where the pieces go." After about 5 minutes I turned around and he had 3/4 of it done. I have learned that reasonable but high expectations are really important if you want your kids to excel. If you let them settle for "I can't do it," then maybe they never will. But you can help them with the baby steps needed to get to that final goal. (Didn't get any pics of the hard puzzles. Was too busy helping them!)

I was so proud of Freddie at the pasta counting station. He just sat right down at it and started working without any direction. This was the first time I had put this one out, but we have done numbers and counting almost every day, so I guess he just automatically knew what to do. The mini cupcake tray had 12 spaces. We have never done our counting game past the number 10. But he just sat down and counted out the correct number of macaronis for each cup and did the 11 and 12 without an extra blink! Way to go!  For KFlossie it was more of a struggle. The new format threw her off her game. She really doesn't have the counting and numbers down yet , so moving it to the tray just confused things, or at least, if she wasn't confused, she just still needed me to sit there and count it all out with her. I think the other format where the numbers are all laid out side by side is clearer. I also think I am going to reduce the number I am giving her to 5 and let her get those down first. They also both need more work in just recognizing the numbers. We'll work on that too.

The other station was the "Scientist" station.  Basically it consisted of a bunch of beakers and measuring cups and pipettes with some colored water. They mixed yellow and blue water first and then later if they wanted another turn, they mixed red and blue water. They all seemed to love "Being a scientist."

On the other side of the table I set up the Montessori Metal Insets - (Unfortunately mine are PLASTIC!) BUT, they work the same :)  There is a good description of the purpose of the Metal Insets here. We used the oval because we are going to be doing Easter activities all this week and I thought the kids would like making Easter eggs shapes. After they drew them, they wanted to cut them out, so it was a perfect time to let Freddie and Flossie practice their cutting. Freddie did pretty well. I need to find my little guy scissors though. I had several pairs but they are now nowhere to be found. He used a pair he brought but they didn't allow for his two lower fingers to be in the bottom hole. He did ok with them though. He didn't give up anyway :)  Flossie cut her first egg in half! The second one, I sat and held the paper for her and showed her how to cut on the line. That one went much better. I think the eggs came out pretty cute.

Jem decided at this time to go out and work on a wood project he got for his b-day. It was a ball toss game. He got a little kid size tool kit for Christmas so he just set out with his tools and kit and went to work. He did a great job, but after he came in he was feeling low. He checked his blood sugar and it was 58 :(   Had to stop and eat some crackers and drink some milk. that usually does the trick. After a bit he was back up and running. I am so glad he is home and not having to deal with this at school!

If you can believe it, it is STILL not lunch time yet!!  So now Freddie and Flossie did some more preschool work. Both took turns doing the consonant beginning sound cards, from Homeschool Creations. We did both letter B and Letter L. They both did really well with this.  Then we did Letter Hunt worksheets for Letter L.  Both needed a little bit of help finding the small "l"s.  The double "ll"s really threw them. But overall they did well. I have one more thing I want to do with Letter L and then we are done.

While I was working with them, I had put out an Easter-themed math page for Jem to work on. I just happen to have colored bunny counters that he could use to do it with too. When Freddie was done with his consonant cards, he saw what Jem was doing and wanted to do it too. Jem was doing subtraction, but I modified the sheet to make it be addition for Freddie to do. I showed him how to do simple addition using the bunnies as counters. After a few tries he seemed to get the hang of it. He is doing really well with his counting, so maybe this is something we will continue. Jem was using the dry-rease marker to write in the numbers as he did his problems. Freddie wanted to do this too, but I thought it would be a bit much since he didn't yet recognize his numbers. I thought all the concepts together would just confuse things. BUT, I also wanted him to be able to emulate what he was seeing Jem doing, so I got out his number chart so he could see what the numbers looked like and told him to go ahead and write some problems down if he wanted to. Of course his numbers didn't match up, but it didn't matter. He was just play-acting really for what he will someday do in the future, and he was totally engaged in doing it for about 20 minutes. Flossie wanted to play with the bunnies too, but 1) I only had one of those worksheets, and 2) it would have been way over her head, so I pulled out her colored dot pattern sheets and she used them to make patterns with the bunnies. That is something she is getting good at :)

STILL, not lunchtime yet! We had time to play the egg dice game.  They seemed to like this. We used the bunny counters again for the game pieces. It was easy, and the bunnies win, not the players, so no one got their feelings hurt. Then it was finally time for me to start making lunch! Scout listened to her Music at Our House lecture while the little kids did coloring books and I got things ready. Freddie  seemed to enjoy the music too. It was Renaissance music - specifically the music of the Franco-Dutch School and artist Josquin de Prez. Freddie and Scout couldn't help singing along :)

SO, after lunch, while the preschoolers napped, Scout worked on her salt dough model of the Mississippi River. Jem got a surprise in the mail. He had written an email to Lenny the Lion, Medtronics Pump's mascot. About a week later, Lenny wrote back to him and told him he would send him something in the mail. Today he received a card and a stuffed Lenny! He was so excited. We don't even use this kind of pump! Cool company!

After naps it was just some Mr Potato Head and Easter Egg matching and of course some tag around the yard and through the house, and then the day was over. So you see why I feel like we did a million things today?? I'm pooped!

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