Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Schedule


It's Summer! You have planned to make this summer the best summer ever.  Not like last summer where three weeks in the house was a mess, the kids were whining, and you were begging for school. No this summer you wrote a schedule, you color coded, you are prepared!

I have three children; a nine-year-old, a four-year-old, and a one-year-old.  Last summer, for me, was survival mode with a newborn baby.  So this year I, too, have shceduled and prepared for a fabulous summer.  Here are my ideas, and I hope they can help you, too.

Summer Schedule

Miserable Mondays
I have Miserable Mondays all year long.  Contrary to its pathetic name, I love Miserable Mondays. Miserable Mondays I clean my house top to bottom, stem to stern.  I scrub, dust, vaccuum, and have a gorgeous house at the end of a long, exhausting day.  It's worth it, because the rest of the week only requires a short amount of light cleaning.  Miserable Monday means Terrific Tuesday, Woo-hoo Wednesday, Fabulous Thursday and Friday and a Wonderful Weekend.

Why Monday?  Because it starts the week off right. Weekends my husband is home and I would rather spend every minute as a family, instead of cleaning the house.

Breakfast eaten by 7:30, the kitchen is CLOSED at 7:30
Chores done by 8:30
Then we head out for a lovely morning walk before the temperature rises.
9:00 am - School Starts!
11:30 LUNCH!
12pm - Read!
Then the afternoon is free for family fun!

Afternoon Schedule

Monday - Finish cleaning the house & Grocery shopping
Tuesday - Pool Day
Wednesday - Library
Thursday - Friend Day
Friday - Adventure Day - We explore museums, and points of interest near our home
Saturday - Surfing- my husband is teaching the two oldest children

Party Days

Every month we have party days

June - Camp Day
July - Art Day
August - Water Day

Drama Week - Last week of Summer Vacation - Every afternoon friends are coming over to practice and put on a play for parents.

This is my Summer Schedule.  What does yours look like?  I'll be going into detail on each part of my schedule each day, but right now I'm late going on that morning walk...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Anansi - Day 1

Reading Core Standard Key Ideas & Details 3
Divide paper into three columns, with three sections in each column.
Anansi Does the Impossible by Verna Aardema
1. Read Anansi Does the Impossible by Verna Aardema.
2. Ask your child what the three things were that the Sky God asked Anansi to bring to him.
3. Write each one at the top of each column.
4. Ask your child "How did Anansi capture the python?"  In the second section of the column draw, or have your child draw how Anansi captured the python.  In the final section of the column write what your child says.
5. Repeat for the fairy and the hornets.

Phonics Core Standard Phonological Awareness 2.a.
Write "Snake" at the top of two pages.  Divide the sheet into eight sections writing "__ake" in each section
Cut a piece of paperinto small squares writing each consonant on a square, also add "st," "sh"
Put squares in a baggie
Baggie with letters
2 sheets of paper with "Snake' written at top and "__ake" in the eight sections
This is a game!!
1.  First person pulls a letter from the bag and puts in front of "ake."
2. If this makes a word, they keep the letter in front of "ake."
3. Second person pulls a letter, puts it in front of word.  If it doesn't from a word they put it in the cast off pile (we called it the "eh-eh  pile")
4. The first person to create eight words wins.
5.After you are done creating words, use a marker and write the letters you pulled in front of "___ake" to make the words.
**To watch me teach this go to

Writing Core Standard
Pour colored sugar or jell-o in a thin layer on a plate
1. Show your child how to form the letter "A," and "a."
2. Let them write the letters, one at a time, in the sugar.
3.The fun is being able to lick your fingers as you write the letter!

**This sis great for tactile learning!

Math Core Standard - Counting & Cardinality 4.a.
Make a mini book writing the numbers 1-20 with one number on each page
Mini book
Stamps or stickers
1. Have your child stamp the number of animals that are written on the page (stamp one bunny for the number one, 2 cats for 2, etc).
2. Do this for each number up to 20.

Get a paper plate or large paper bag
markers or crayons
Get a paper plate or large paper bag
markers or crayons
1. Have your child create an Anansi mask.
**My son really doesn't like art, so his mask was as simple as he could make it. A circle cut out of bag, circles cut out for eyes and he was Anansi.  He thought for sure he was going to scare his older sister when she came home from school.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentines - Day 1

Reading Core Standard Craft & Structures 6, 7, 10
How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague
1. On the cover of the book point out the author and illustrator.
2. Explain the job of the author (to write the words) and the illustrator (to draw pictures to show what the words are saying).
3. After reading each page, ask your child, "How does the illustrator show this?"
This is how I teach it (YouTube video).
Phonics Core Standard Phonics 3.c.
In highlighter or marker write the following words on a piece of paper:
the, to and, is

Newspaper article
Highlighters or Light Markers in various colors

1. Have your child take the marker in the corresponding color and highlight each "the" in the article. (In other words, you have written the word "the" in pink, so your child takes a pink marker and finds all "the"'s in the text and highlights them in the pink marker.
2. Repeat for the other words.
3. As your child looks for the words they may find others they missed, so keep all the markers handy.

Writing Core Standard Conventions of English 1.a.
Create a race track in the form of the letter "V" on a piece of paper Write "Go" at beginning of letter and "stop" at the end
"V" track
Small toy car
1. Have your child push the toy car along the "V" track, starting at go, and ending at "Stop."

2. Do not let your child go backward.  This is about practicing the letter formation of "V."
3. Let your child race different cars, different speeds, along the track.
Math Core Standard - Comparing Numbers 6
Create a chart with the different color hearts from a box of conversation hearts with a column for each color
Box of conversation hearts
1. Have child open box of hearts and arrange hearts in their columns.
2. Ask which column has more or less than the other columns.  Ask which column has the most, which has the least.
3. Ask, "How many hearts from this column would you have to eat to have equal hearts with that column?"
4. Eat some hearts
Watch me teach this here

1. Teach your child how to cut hearts from paper.
2. Have your child create a Valentine for someone they love.
3. Have them decorate it.  You can have them write "I Love You" because seeing "I love you" in child writing is the best Valentine present  ever.

4. Your child can create as many Valentines as he would like.  For my son that was one Valentine.  For my daughter who joined us that was several.


I have been diligent in having my son follow the writing criteria for the core standards, and he manages to form the letters in his own way to complete the task.  But there's a problem.  He's forming the letters in his own way.  This makes writing more laborious, and more like art, which he hates.  Misery for me.  Misery for him.  I don't believe that misery and education should be simpatico, so until we've learned proper formation of all the letters Writing will be learning proper letter formation.  And so that this won't be boring to him we'll be learning letter formation several ways.  We'll explore the letter formation for 1-2 days, then actually write the letter the third day.  This, I hope, will help get technique down better, and make him a better writer.  Knowing proper letter formation makes for cleaner, neater faster writing.
Teaching for me has always been a work in progress, so while Writing may change, I hope it's a change for the better. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Space - Day 3

Reading Core Standard Range of Reading 7
Cat in the Hat: There's No Place Like Space by Tish Rabe
1. Before reading each page to your child have them be a detective and look for clues in the illustration to guess what the words say.
2.   Praise your child when they correctly guess the text using illustration clues.
Phonics Core Standard Rhyming words


1. Say a space word and have your child come up with a word that rhymes with it.  Let your child give you a space word to rhyme.  Laugh at your silly rhymes.

Writing Core Standard 1.a.

1. As you read books this week keep an ABC book of words that you learned about space.
2. Help your child type words into computer to form an ABC book.
3.  Have your child find pictures on Internet, or print out pages and have your child draw pictures for each letter.
**You'll be working on this book a little each day, don't try to finish in one day, in fact it may take other sessions through out the day to complete the book.**

Our ABC List:
A- Astronomer
B - Bright
C- Constellation
D - Distance
E- Earth
F - Far
G- Galaxy, gravity, Ganymede
H - Hot, huge
I - Io, iron
J - Jupiter
K - Kirkwood Gap (we needed help on this one!)
L - Light, life
M - Milky way, Mars, Mercury, Moon
N - Neptune
O - Orbit
P - Planet
Q - Quick
R - Rotate, rings
S - Solar System, sun, stars, Saturn
T - Titon, telescope
U - Universe, Uranus
V - Venus
W - Water
X - X Marks the spot (I know , we had to stretch it for X! What did you use?)
Y - Years
Z - Zero, Zenith

Math Core Standard - Operations and Algebraic Thinking 3
I have boxes of small items that I use for teaching this: stamps, beads, fake leaves, fake flowers, colored blocks, etc.
Small items
1. Tell your child to make the number 5 (or chose a smaller number if 5 is too large) with the items.
2.Ask them to explain each time they create the number 5. For example, "I made three bunny stamps and two giraffe stamps." or "I have five blue beads" or "I have one circle and four rectangles."
3. Write their creation as an equation.  Example:
"I made three bunny stamps and two giraffe stamps."  Write 3+2= 5.

Say, "Just like words  say a story.  These numbers tell us what you made." Go through step by step how you created the equation.  ("You stamped three bunnies, so I wrote this three.  This '+' means you added more.  This two says you added the two giraffes."

Large sheet of paper
Water colors
Black tempera paint
1. Have your child paint their own planet using the water colors.
2.Have your child create the space around the planet using the black tempera paint.
** My son wanted half his planet to be in daylight, half at night so he only painted half of his paper black