Friday, May 18, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up

I guess this is a two week wrap-up but it was a pretty good two weeks.

Most of the new stuff this week involved Vicki.  I have to keep reminding myself that kids are all different.    Georgie likes worksheets and is very clearly a visual learner.  Vicki is a little harder to tell but she’s been very reluctant to do any of her worksheet work, so I decided to try a different approach.   And it worked!  Since she definitely knows her letter sounds and I’ve “caught” her reading a few words, I decided to try a few sight words and word family activities, combined with a more kinesthetic approach.

For sight words, I decided to use the order from You Can Read Sight Word program at 1plus1plus1equals1.   Mainly because I already had it downloaded and this way if Vicki did ask to do worksheets again, I had some available.   I started by introducing the first four words – the, and, see, a – by writing them on one of our chalkboards.  I then gave Vicki a paintbrush and a cup of water to “paint” over the words.   This was a super simple activity that I evidently have never done because she acted like she had never seen it before and kept talking about it, “it disappeared.  That’s so cool.”


After the chalkboard she wanted to do “real painting” so I pulled out the dabber, roller and Paintastic pens for the first time in a long time.  I gave her some pages of the sight words (from 1plus1plus1equals1) for her to paint.


Of course, Georgie wanted in on the fun so they both spent a bunch of time painting pictures.

When we went outside to play, I wrote the words on the patio with chalk and we played a game where she blew bubbles at whatever word I said.


For word families we are using the order from Progressive Phonics, starting with –at words. It became clear pretty quickly that the Little Miss already knows how to read these.

I bought a package of small foam puzzle squares from Walmart.  To each one I taped a card with a word on it (at, bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, pat, rat and sat) and set them up on the kitchen floor.  We started at the beginning and she stepped from piece to piece reading the word.  She was doing a weird kind of sounding out when we started – she’d say “tu”, then “at”, then “mmm”, then “mat”.  Backwards in other words.  I had her hop through the words sounding them out the correct way.


Then I said a word and had her jump to the correct word.  She didn’t miss even one word (and we discovered she’s pretty good with a standing long jump).


After a little while, Georgie came in and wanted in on the fun too so I let them bring the pieces in the living room to play.   Even out of “order” Vicki was able to read all the words. 

I may have to pick up another set (or 2) of these so I can set up games they both can play.


One activity I set up but didn’t get to was putting letters and word endings on unifix cubes.  Vicki will be able to add a consonant to the ending and decide if something is a word or not.  It looks like I might be moving on from the –at words pretty quickly.  I wrote on the cubes with Sharpie markers, which will come off with alcohol.


Georgie has basically been continuing along with the same old stuff.  The reading in return for Pokemon cards is working great.  I’m going to have to make a stop at the Dollar Store pretty soon for more cards.

We started Beast Academy with the first chapter on angles.   Since there’s a lot of vocabulary to this program and since Georgie is a very visual learner, I made up a reference page for him to have on his office board.  I uploaded it to Google Docs for anyone who would like a copy (note:  The original version posted had an error.  An isosceles triangle can be acute, obtuse or right.  The google doc has been corrected.)


So far he is enjoying Beast Academy but we are taking it very slowly.

We’ve been trying to spend as much time outside as we can while the weather is nice.  After our 4-H meeting last week (the write-up on that will be done after our field trip next week) we went over to Frelinghuysen Arboretum with two of the boys from our group (and their mom).  There was a slight drizzle but it was warm and the kids had a great time.  The kids went wading in a small stream and had a great adventure.  A little too much of an adventure since the two older boys (Georgie was one of them) got enough ahead to take an unexpected turn and we “lost” them for about 5 minutes.  Georgie thought it was great, “an adventure without ANY parents”.   The kids found a toad in a meadow that appears to be an American or Fowler’s Toad.   They were able to catch him and get a closer look before we left him alone.

frelinghuysen frog and vicki

By the time we left the kids were tired, wet, muddy and happy.

The kids have been having fun with bubbles, including Georgie using them to clean a boo-boo on his knee, and hanging out in a fort made from putting a sheet over the top of the trampoline.  I’m going to go through my outdoor fun Pinterest board soon and start integrating some of those ideas.


We also spent some time fixing up our deck so the grown-ups can be comfortable while the kids play.  We put up a canopy for shade, with a small extension for my hammock, a nice bright tablecloth for the table and some decorations.  For Mother’s Day, I received some begonias and marigolds that I will be planting in our flower garden, a windchime and spinner to hang from the canopy, and a new thistle feeder.  Along with the hummingbird feeder we got from Granny Franny, hopefully we’ll get a close-up look at some birds.

IMG_8198 IMG_8199 IMG_8200 IMG_8201

Next week we’ll be preparing for our first camping trip of the year, going on our 4-H field trip and checking out the new dinosaur park that opened up here.


  1. I LOVE all the reading ideas! What a fun way to approach the subject.

  2. We're doing Beast Academy here, too. Some of those polyomino and toothpick puzzles are really hard! We just started the skip counting chapter today and it's much easier.

    We do stepping stone-type games for math facts. Fun!