Thursday, November 6, 2008

Zoo Diaries

So we've made good use of our Zoo membership. We've probably already been 5 times since we got it in May. I think that we will get a different membership every year and do it to death! I think by May we will have done all we can do at the zoo for now. In a few years we may be ready to revisit a membership. It was of course an awesome day to go yesterday. Weather was great and not a lot of people.

Yesterday each child made up their own zoo diary. We used a file folder and using templates I made up, put them into the folder to make a diary. On the template there's space for a photo, drawing, and blanks for animal name, food, habitat, classification, country of origin and description of what the animal was doing when we visited. My intention was for each child to choose 5 different animals to study for the day, giving us a total of 10 that we would learn about on this visit. So we plunked ourselves down on the boardwalk overlooking the tigers. When we started we were essentially alone although there were a couple of pacing tigers below!! The kids got right into their animal study. Mickey was writing and drawing about orangutans while Mason was drawing a detailed drawing of the tiger. Before we knew it, we had a bit of a gathering around us! It was nice to hear positive comments about what the kids were doing.

Today the kids finished off their write-ups. We needed to look up more information about some of the animals they chose. Of course the conversation took off and we got into a variety of topics including; endangered species, habitats, kingdoms, classification, vertibrates/invertibrates, animals without a face, etc...!! Next week we will graph weights and lengths of various animals using both horizontal and vertical bar graphs. I'm hoping that this will reinforce that a reticulating snake can indeed be longer than our truck! This was a tricky thought.

We also tackled place value today. With my schedule I have to put thought into what resources/manipulatives I'm going to buy and what I'm going to make. So anyhow, I caved and bought a place value chart for $14. It was worth every penny. I could so easily have bought straws and made the number cards but it would have taken valuable time away! Anyhow, the kids got the concept fairly quickly and it really helped to cement their understanding of numeracy and the values 1 to 100. We will of course constantly revisit this!

Our day also included a play date with a neighbour we recently discovered who also homeschools and a treasure hunt for sight words.

Tonight Mason and I are being Invested at Beavers. Stay tuned! My leader name is Tic Tac!! I'm sure it could have been worse!

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