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!

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