Monday, October 29, 2012

Co-op update - October 29, 2012

Lots of energy today! In retrospect I should have had outdoor time but I had this storm stuck in my head and thought it wouldn't be suitable for them to be outside. I'm thinking now that this storm isn't going to amount to much! So if they're high energy tonight, I apolgize. That's my fault!

Anyhow, here's a brief overview of the day.

Math word problem:

While our two older students worked on their studies, the other kids worked on a math word problem. At first, they were overwhelmed with the wording. They thought it was much more complex than it really was. Once we discussed the idea of making the problem into a picture, all of them, including our youngest, was able to solve the problem. They all used the picture method. For fun, I showed them how they could have used division to solve for the number of vampires and the number of robots. They had a speed lesson in long division for those who weren't already familiar with this method!

Paper Bag Monsters:

We made these paper bag monsters in two steps. We started with the sharing of ideas of different 'monster' like features we could add to the bags. In the first step (in the morning) the kids painted the bags their monster skin tone.

After lunch they added the features. They were then stuffed with plastic bags and stapled closed.

Notice the big purple teacher monster on the far right!!

Suspense story writing:

We talked about the genre of suspense stories. I read through a list of story prompts that I have used with students in the past to generate some ideas. The older two continued to work on their own. I scribed for our youngest on the computer as he pulled his story together. It was probably the best (don't tell the others!) of them all. He has quite the imagination! The other two boys worked together and Mickey wrote on her own. When all stories were complete, the kids presented them to the group.

Lunch Prep:

While the kids wrote their stories, the older two started on lunch. Their first task; making breadsticks in the shape of bones!

After the stories were completed, the rest joined me in the kitchen and I put them to work at various food prep stations. I recently participated in a Thai cooking class and now I totally understand how our chef felt as we followed her about the kitchen asking questions and looking for appliances, food, and utensils! Wow, she was calm and organized. Not sure if I pulled that off today!

 Our menu consisted of:

  • apple mouth bites with slivered almonds for teeth
  • cheese string fingers with green peppers for finger nails
  • dried fruit eye balls
  • mummy pizzas
  • big cat veggie platter
  • bone bread sticks
  • ghost toasts made with cream cheese
  • mummy hotdogs

The kids did a FABULOUS and co-operative job on lunch! Unbelievable. It all came together beautifully and they did not starve! They all ate extremely well.

 Literature Time:

We finished Paddle to the Sea and I'm hoping that we'll get time next week to discuss Paddle's route in more depth.

We continued on with Frindle and at one point I assigned two chapters for the kids to work on with a reading buddy. In their pairing, they either took turns reading, or one read while the other followed along. It was an interesting experiment. Those who normally don't take a turn reading while we're in the group, tend to just listen and not follow along in the book. In this situation those kids did a great job of following along.

 Cupcake decorating:

I couldn't let Halloween pass without a small treat. The kids decorated and ate some Halloween cupcakes. Hopefully they're not too hyper for you tonight!

Fingerprint Art:

Using various colours, they created different halloween characters using their fingerprints and markers for adding details. They turned out great!

We finished the day with two games of UNO!

Have a wonderful Halloween everyone and we'll see you next week!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

New Photos

I did a very quick photo shoot with the kids at a local photo spot on the weekend. I'm very behind in updating my shots of them. Mason used to be my goofy one, now it's Mick's turn. And trying to get a picture of the two of them, without one making a face or sticking out their tongue was next to impossible! 

See what I mean!! :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Co-op update - Wednesday Oct. 24, 2012

Another dreary day today with no hope of the sun every coming out or the backyard drying enough to have running games. Remarkably, we got through the day with very little outdoor time. 

Working with words started our day. Can you tell that I like this to be a component of every day! We played two games; Boggle and Scrabble Slam. The kids really enjoyed both and each achieved some degree of success. As we planned we talked about word beginnings, endings, and the use of vowels. When playing Scrabble Slam, everyone worked together, to help the others get rid of their cards. These are both excellent games for getting in the word work time. The kids have so much fun, they don't even realize they're learning!

While the younger ones played the games, the older two worked on their studies. Many of these word work activities are suitable for anyone that needs to work on vocabulary usage and spelling.

The games took some time (as we were all quite engrossed in what we were doing), so after we finished, the kids had a quick snack.

The two older participants joined us in the family room for more Paddle to the Sea. Even though we've taken a little break from our Canada studies, this book has given us some insight into the geography of the Great Lakes. We'll explore this region more over the next few weeks. Hopefully we will finish this book next week!

We moved on to Frindle and read 3 chapters with some taking turns reading. We talked about main idea and how to summarize the main idea. We also talked about making connections to what we are reading; text to self, text to text, and text to world. As we read we tried to find connections we could make to the text.

Art time! Today's lesson was on positive and negative spaces. We began with a quick drawing exercise (that I believe was originally from Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain).

After they had some understanding of positive and negative spaces we moved on to creating a Halloween pumpkin image incorporating both. The kids followed my example step by step and did a fabulous job piecing it all together. This is not an easy art exercise, especially for the younger set.

It was time to get outside and get some fresh air. We went for a quick walk in the neighbourhood and collected some sand and gravel that was needed for our science activity. It was amazing how well they all did today without running around time. I'm always amused to see neighbours looking out windows and the confused look on their face as they try to figure out why a group of children is outside (nowhere near a school) on a school day! I amuse easily!

Lunch followed our walk and then 20-30 minutes of silent reading. Our eager readings find this time a little challenging because it's not long enough for them to really get into their books. Often those less interested done before the others. Sometimes I have those kids go on the computer to do some word or reading activities on line (eg/ Perhaps parents could send along some quiet work to do while the others read. Some like our circular sofa downstairs and the special window seat!

We spent the afternoon doing science and then math. A few weeks ago we did an experiment exploring how leaves change colour. We continued that lesson today and spoke about photosynthesis and what occurs in this process in the fall/winter and why the leaves turn colour. They completed a worksheet which will be kept in the work folder.

Our session moved to the front porch where each child created a rainforest in a bottle. The kids eagerly participated in this activity - dying to know how it was going to work! Fingers crossed. Hope it works!

We continued our lesson inside and I taught them about the water cycle and they made labelled drawings in their notebooks. Many of the kids were able to actively participate in this discussion and knew some of the steps in the process. They took their knowledge of the water cycle and applied it to their rainforest in the bottle. We talked about where the water collects and what it would look like when the water evaporates and condenses. If they keep it closed and in a sunny spot, hopefully their experiment will work and will survive until the plant outgrows the bottle!

Our next activity was a quick add-on. I always have extra activities planned because I never know how long each thing will take. They were so focused today that we had plenty of time to do some geometry. We started a geometry lapbook, and used colour sticks (from the dollar store - similar to toothpicks but with flat ends and square) for our samples. They constructed and glue examples of parallel lines, perpendicular lines, intersecting lines, and various regular polygons. They really got into this. Over the next few weeks we will add to our lapbooks and talk more about geometry!

 Once again a fabulous day and as always - a highlight of my week. Each co-op day I think, do I have the I have enough ideas? Then the kids arrive... full of energy and boost me up. I absolutely LOVE these days! I cherish the individual and group conversations we have and am really enjoying getting to know these young people. Had a great conversation with one young man when I took him on an errand after co-op. There is a reason why we all homeschool and I can't tell you how much the work that each of you (as parents) as put in, has paid off. Your kids SHINE!