Wednesday, 7 October 2015

September 2015: Grade One Language (Letter K, Q) & Math (Number 3, 4)

~ The Magic Piper by E.L. Marsh ~
There Piped a Piper in the Wood 
Strange music soft and sweet 
And all the little wild things 
Came hurrying to his feet. 

They sat around him on the grass 
Enchanted, unafraid 
And listened as with shining eyes 
Sweet melodies he made. 

The wood grew green 
The flowers sprang up 
The birds began to sing 
For the music it was magic 
And the piper’s name was “Spring.” 

Week 1

Snippets from our week…

Number 3
We began this week with a bit of a review of the letters and numbers we have already completed so far in our journey through the alphabet. Then we moved on to new work, and this week our numeracy “pirate” left another treasure map leading us to the Number 3 and the well-known Norwegian story ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff’, a version of which can be found <here>.
Story: ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff'

TL: Story telling (we used deer as we didn’t have any goats :D)
TC: Playing with our neighbour’s new kids
TR: MLB Drawing

ML: Walking the Number 3
MC: Modelling Number 3
MR: Skip counting by 3’s in our MLB

BL: Number 3 in nature
BC: Geometry with parquetry tiles
BR: Skip counting by 3’s on our multiplication ring
For our afternoon walks this week, we visited our neighbour’s brand new kid goats and spent many lovely afternoons playing with the beautiful new babies in the delicious Spring sunshine, which tied in rather nicely with our Billy Goat Gruff story for this week :)

This week in our science studies, we looked a little more closely at germination. It is Spring here in Tasmania and the garden is quickly greening up and returning to life. We germinated a pea seed in a glass jar, so we could watch as it uncurled and stretched upwards toward the light. We compared this to a garden-germinated broad bean seed. We then did a simple drawing in our Science MLB.

Week 2

Snippets from our week…

Letter K
This week our theme was the Letter K and Australian marsupials. We used the Indigenous Australian folktale ‘How The Kangaroo Got Her Pouch’, a version of which can be found <here>.  

Story: ‘How The Kangaroo Got Her Pouch'

TL: Story Puppetry
TC: Blackboard Drawing (K is for Kangaroo)
TR: MLB Picture Alphabet Letter K

ML: Walking the Letter K
MC: Modelling the Letter K
MR: Wax-resist watercolour painting K/k

BC: Needle-felting alphabet bunting
BR: K is for Kiwi fruit
Following on from the story, we learned about mammals and marsupials. Each boy chose a local marsupial animal to study - Mr 7 chose a Wombat and Mr 5 chose a Bettong. We read about their lifecycle, breeding habits, diet, habitat and threats to their survival. 

Mr 7’s marsupial study - Wombat
Mr 5’s marsupial study - Bettong (with my help)
Handwork & Artwork

Other artwork this week
Other artwork this week

Week 3

Snippets from our week...

Festivals & Celebrations
We spent this week doing some revision of concepts we’d learned, particularly math concepts and skip counting by 2’s, 3’s, 5’s and 10’s. Later in the week, we celebrated Spring in the lead up to the Vernal Equinox on September 23rd. We crafted, told Spring themed stories and studied the lifecycle of the butterfly. Friends came up to spend the day and to collect frog-spawn to hatch their own little tadpoles. The tadpoles began emerging after 5 or 6 days and are a great source of interest in their (temporary) new home. 

We spent lovely days in the garden planting carrots, peas, beans, radish, potatoes, kale, spring onion, and lettuce. The boys each worked on building their very own garden plot and planted out lettuce seedlings and planted pea seeds. Mr 7 assembled a fairy garden terrarium which was a birthday present from his grandparents. 

Mr 7 also finished this month's September calendar.

Stories: ’The Story of a Butterfly’ & ‘Butterfly Birthday'

TL: Story Puppetry
TC: Spring bunting
TR: Blossom baby peg dolls

ML: Watercolour paper butterflies for the window
MC: Spring!
MR: Beeswax modelling caterpillar and butterflies

BL: Marking the shadows at midday on the Spring (Vernal) Equinox
BC: Finding moth cocoons
BR: Planting peas and lettuce in their own green beds

Quick and easy craft to help tell ‘The Story of a Butterfly’ for the Spring (Vernal) Equinox
Collecting frog spawn
Juicy fat worms and healthy soil
Mr 7’s fairy garden terrarium

Week 4

Snippets from our week...

Letter Q
We explored the Letter Q this week (Q is for Quoll), using an adapted story from Susan Perrow’s wonderful book ‘Healing Stories For Challenging Behaviour’. Her story was called ‘Anything New’ about a little wombat named Womby Woo. I changed this to 'Quolly Woo', and adapted the story accordingly to be about a little quoll who was afraid of the dark. The boys really enjoyed the repeating rhyme throughout the story. I’d highly recommend her book.

I also brought in a little SE Australian Aboriginal lore about the moon being a quoll who fled to the skies, and how the moon represents the quoll who carries the faces of the moon in the spots on their backs. Some great resources for Indigenous Australian astronomy and dreamtime stories can be found <here> and <here>.

Story: 'Quolly Woo (who was afraid of the dark)'

TL: Story Puppetry
TC: Blackboard Drawing (Q is for Quoll)
TR: MLB Picture Alphabet Letter Q

ML: Walking the Letter Q
MC: Modelling the Letter Q
MR: Wax-resist watercolour painting Q/q

BC: Letter practise
BR: Q is for Quartz 

Week 5

Snippets from our week...

Number 4
We told two Number 4 stories this week, firstly ‘The Bremen Town Musicians’ which is a fabulously funny tale, a version of which can be found <here>. We also read the classic ‘The Story of the Root Children’ by Sibylle Von Olfers this week, and talked about the 4 seasons in our part of the world. 

Story: ’The Story of the Root Children'

TL: The Story of the Root Children by Sibylle Von Olfers
TC: MLB Number 4
TR: MLB Skip Counting by 4’s drawing

ML: Walking the Number 4
MC: Modelling Number 4
MR: Number practise

BL: Number 4 in nature
BC: Skip counting by 4’s on our multiplication ring
BR: Playing with the geometry of 4 sides

Mr 5’s Four Seasons study

Festivals & Celebrations

This week we also celebrated Michaelmas with some fun activities. We used a version of Reg Down’s story ‘The Most Beautiful Dragon in the Whole World’, which can be found <here>.

Story: ‘The Most Beautiful Dragon in the Whole World'
TL: St Michael and the Dragon
TR: Knight’s tunics made from pillowcases
BL: Wet-felted, turmeric dyed ‘shooting stars’
BR: Dragon bread!

Saturday, 26 September 2015

August 2015: Grade One Language (Letters Z, H) & Maths (Number 1, 2)

Week 1

Snippets from our week…

This week we began to introduce the Six Sense Numbers program from the Earthschooling curriculum. Mr 6 already has an excellent grasp of numbers and is able to calculate quite challenging sums in his head. Six Sense Numbers is allowing us to really explore each number individually in a creative and holistic way, and to finally bring the numbers to paper for the first time. Both boys are really enjoying this experience. 

As a way of introducing the number each week, I decided that rather than have the 'Container Story’ we have been using for our Language Block cover both literacy and numeracy, instead we’d use a visiting ‘pirate' who leaves a treasure map each week. The map contains compass directions, counting and measurement as clues to where the ‘treasure’ is hidden. Each week the map is increasing in complexity. This has been a lot of fun! 

The ‘treasure' is a gold-painted wooden number token with the number stamped on one side, and the equivalent Roman numeral on the other side. Also included in the pirate booty is a chocolate coin each :)

In circle time we have been practicing counting forwards, backwards and skip counting using manipulatives and lots of big body movement, catching and clapping. We also made a multiplication ring by hammering fine nails into a wooden embroidery hoop.

Number 1
This week we explored the Number 1 using the sweet story ‘Brother Acorn’ from Sieglinde De Francesca’s lovely book ‘A Donsy of Gnomes’. 
Story: ‘Brother Acorn'

TL: Blackboard drawing: One acorn seed
TC: Tactile exploration of Number 1
TR: MLB Story Picture

ML: Number practise
MC: Modelling Number 1
MR: 1 sided Mobius strip

BL: Making ‘Stone Soup’: Many ingredients, one soup
BC: One planet Earth
BR: Treasure map leading to the Letter 1 token and treasure!
We made a Multiplication Ring this week from an embroidery hoop.
The wood split a little in places as we hammered in the nails, so we will have to treat it gently.

Other Happenings...

In other exciting news this week, Tasmania was caught in an intense snowy weather pattern which only happens roughly every 20 years, and as we were snowed in for 5 days up here in the mountains. We declared a snow holiday for most of the week! Here are some pics of the snowy fun :)
Day 1: Snowed in!
Day 1

Day 2: Snow drifts building up against the doors
Feeding time for the chooks and ducks!
Snow ducks
All of the families in our little community got together and built a huge igloo with the children.
So much fun!
Day 4 of our snow-in, and we are walking to the gate to pick up grocery supplies kindly left by our neighbours
Day 5 - Snow finally receding. We can finally get out!

Once we were able to drive the car out, we were all keen to catch up with friends and see the outside world. We spent a lovely sunny day nature journalling at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, and on the weekend went to the Model Train Show.
A day spent nature discovering and journalling with friends in the Botanical Gardens
Model Train Show 2015
Model Train Show 2015

Week 2

Snippets from our week…

Letter Z
We explored the Letter Z (Z is for Zebra) using the African fable ‘How The Zebra Got His Stripes’, a version of which can be found <here>.
Story: 'How The Zebra Got His Stripes’

TL: Blackboard drawing: Z is for Zebra
TC: MLB Picture Alphabet 
TR: Letter practise

MC: Modelling Letter Z
MR: Walking the Letter Z

BL: Needle-felting Alphabet Bunting 
BC: Bread dough Letter Z
BR: Z/z wax resist watercolour
Number 2
This week our “pirate" left the boys another treasure map which led to a Number 2 token. The pirate also left us a story for the Number 2, ‘Snow-White & Rose-Red’, which can be found online <here>, though we read ours from the gorgeously illustrated book ‘An Illustrated Treasury of Grimm’s Fairy Tales’ illustrated by Daniela Drescher.
Story: ‘Snow-White & Rose-Red'

TL: Blackboard drawing: ‘Snow-White & Rose Red'
TC: MLB Story Picture
TR: Writing practise

ML: Two hands to knead the bread dough
MC: Modelling Number 2
MR: Skip counting by 2’s on our multiplication ring

BL: This week’s pirate treasure map
BC: Walking out the number
BR: 2 sides to a coin, playing ‘Heads or Tails'
We also learned about Odd and Even numbers with a funny little story found <here> which the boys absolutely loved and asked me to tell over and over! We got out teddies and used some Cuisenaire Rods as math manipulatives to explore the idea of odd and even further. We also practised skip counting by 2’s in our morning lesson.

Odd and Even numbers by climbing up a ladder
Dividing the “berries” evenly between teddies

Week 3

Snippets from our week…

Letter H
We started off feeling well and enthusiastic with the letter H (H is for House) using the story ‘Mother Holle’, a version of which can be found <here>, though we again used our copy of  ‘An Illustrated Treasury of Grimm’s Fairy Tales’ illustrated by Daniela Drescher. The story was particularly appropriate given our snowy weather of late and as I told the story using the story props, the snow began to fall outside again!

Story: ‘Mother Holle'

TL: Blackboard drawing - H is for House
TC: Story Puppetry
TR: MLB Picture Alphabet

ML: Wax-resist watercolour painting H/h
MC: Modelling Letter H
MR: Needle-felting Letter H bunting

BL: Letter practise
BC: Walking out the letter form
Artwork & Handwork

Mr 6 finally finished his homemade calendar month for August!
Mr 5 finished stitching his Nature Journal bag.
(I stitched up the sides with occasional help)
Mr 6 needle felting stars for a mobile. He sanded the twisted willow branch first.
However, as the week progressed we all were hit very hard with this year’s nasty influenza strain, which saw the entire family mostly in bed for well over a week! The poor boys were barely awake an hour in total each day, but lots of rest, cuddles, chicken broth and VitC/Elderberry syrup slowly had us all on the mend. We took almost 2 weeks to recover.

Week 4

Snippets from our week…

Another snowfall, this time just a dusting.
Blanket forts and quiet play.

We continued to slowly improve as the week progressed and spent our time resting, reading, quietly playing (very unusual for two normally very boisterous boys!) and I spent time birthday prepping. Toward the end of this week we celebrated Mr 6 becoming Mr 7! This birthday was a rather low key affair as energy levels had not yet returned to normal and we even ate Indian takeaway for dinner as no one felt up to cooking, but we had a lovely quiet family day.

Finishing the peg doll animals chosen by Mr 6 for his birthday ring
The entire animal menagerie finally finished! 
Mr 7’s birthday breakfast and his new pentatonic wooden recorder
7 times around the sun <3

Candles lit for the evening birthday meal.
The following weekend, we were all feeling much better and we celebrated Mr 7’s birthday with special friends in true Tassie style - outdoors, at the beach, in the drizzling rain! :D Despite the unfortunate combination of inclement weather, an outdoor party and a number of friends unable to come because of illness, he had a wonderful time. Here are some pics from his 'Wombat beach tunnelling' birthday party :)