Friday, October 5, 2012

Weekly Wrap-up

I love MEP.  I love the mix of activities.  I love the multiple ways it introduces concepts.  I love that each lesson will have some new stuff and some review.

My kids hate it.  I am now a 3 time (4 time?) MEP drop-out.   They don’t handle the transition from movement to writing well.  They don’t like doing counting, then patterns, then comparisons all on the same page.

So I spent a bunch of time last weekend looking for a new math alternative for Vicki.   I checked reviews, curriculum websites, Amazon, and even went to Barnes & Nobles to look at the Spectrum, Sylvan, and various other workbooks.   The problem I kept running into was that Vicki already knows about 60% of what is covered in most kindergarten workbooks/ curriculums, yet isn’t ready for 1st grade materials (I plan to start her on Math Mammoth when she’s ready).  She also evidently hates Cuisenaire rods (although I will keep working on that).  I ended up settling on printing out some materials from Evan Moor Teacher’s File Box.  I’m really trying to remember I have this whenever I need worksheets or activities to do. 

So, for math Vicki is using pages from Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Kindergarten Math, and a few pages from the beginning of the first grade level of Daily Math Practice.   The first few weeks of these seem to be a lot of review of kindergarten math, with just a few new concepts thrown in.

Vicki did well with these so far.   She even got excited about writing numbers on one of the pages.  “I wrote a 2 for the first time!”.  Even though she’s done some simple addition, when I asked her what 3+1 is, she decided she needed to go get her laptop to figure it out and that was the end of worksheets for that day. 

One day’s worksheet had the opportunity for cutting and gluing.  After doing her worksheet, she spent the rest of the morning making art with scissors and glue.


We moved on to short /e/ words in phonics.  Vicki spent the entire weekend reading from her sentence poster (can be seen in last week’s wrap-up) and definitely has all the short /a/ words down.   She went through a few –ed words (that she was able to pronounce) and then started crossing them out because she didn’t want to read them anymore.  We did eventually get through all the words by using index cards instead of the chalk board.


She did some drawing on the chalkboard instead.


For the rest of the time she kept busy with play-doh…


and making shapes using the Handwriting without Tears capital letter pieces.


Georgie is still driving me crazy with his interesting mix of “I can’t do it” and “that’s too easy, it’s a baby question”.  Especially with math.

All his Algebra Readiness puzzles for this week were “too easy”.  May be time to pull out the third grade book.

We are continuing with subtraction with borrowing.  He understands the concept and solved a few in his head but couldn’t seem to demonstrate the steps.  I pulled out the Base 10 blocks to go over it, then asked him to show me.  His answer?  “I need to show you?  Don’t you know how to do it?”  <<head bang>>   He did manage to demonstrate how to do it before the end of the week.

Since he was in a manipulative mood (in more ways than one) this week, when we worked on making change, I pulled out the toy cash register.   He was able to answer questions about how much money is left from a given amount after purchasing something, but had trouble with what coins to use and how to make change.  We will continue working on this with the cash register.


We went over addition doubles and they were “easy peasy lemon squeezy”.  We worked on multiplying by 10’s and it was “too easy”. 

Yet he would not answer some basic problems, so I pulled out the flash cards.  As long as he was given the cards he answered correctly, he was willing to spend some time doing these.  He was making some connections that allowed him to answer what I thought of as harder questions - “6+7, that’s a baby questions as long as you know another baby question -  6+6 is 12”.   Yet he would miss most of the plus or minus 9 questions.  And even though he had just answered 12-5 = 7 (and had it sitting right in front of him), he couldn’t tell me what 5+7 equals.  Some of this was definitely him being uncooperative, but some was the usual asynchrony – he understands multiplication, fractions and place value but hasn’t memorized his addition and subtraction facts.  We will continue working on all of these.


He is doing well with the Reading Comprehension activities from Evan Moor.  This week he read two stories “The Three Sisters” and “Off to California”.

“The Three Sisters” is a Native American legend about growing corn, beans, and squash.   He liked the story although definitely had his own ideas about it while we were doing the discussion questions.  He is definitely my literal one.

“What is Squash’s Job?”  His answer: “to stay at their feet to protect them but what can squash do?  It’s a plant.”

What parts of the story could not be true?  answer:  “There is no Father Sun, only Mother Nature.  And I bet that’s not the only part not true.  Almost nothing in this story is true.”

So, we ended up having a discussion about what a legend is.

He must be starting to enjoy these because when he read the second story he asked “isn’t there anything more to the story?”.

He didn’t have any trouble doing the various vocabulary activities that came along with the stories.

We moved on to Step 2 in All About Spelling.  He had no problem with any of the words.  He likes getting the cards after he spells a word correctly.  After finishing the lesson, he played with the tiles making up his own stories for awhile.


We worked on adjectives in his Spectrum Writing workbook.   As usual he had to be different and not use the suggested words list.  Instead of playful, small, or funny dogs we had one that was “cool” and another that was “crazy”.  Instead of pretty bows, we had “icky” ones.

Together we started learning Spanish this week.   We are using a combination of The Complete Book of Spanish and free Instant Replay videos.


I played the First Step Espanol video by hooking my computer up to our television.  Vicki was very interested in watching and was repeating words along with the video. Georgie wasn’t as interested and wandered off a few times.

After the video, I hung up the vocabulary pages from The Complete Book of Spanish and went over them with the kids.  I used a small pocket chart (from Target’s Dollar Spot) to hold some index cards with the words on them.  We used these during the week to play some games – I would say a word in English and they would choose the right card (Georgie) or point to the right picture (Vicki) and say the Spanish word.

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Georgie learned enough to say “I feel asi asi, but I feel mal about school”.

Also new this week was Literature studies of Aesop’s Fables.  I’m using some Literature Pockets from Evan Moor and a Scholastic book Teaching with Aesop’s Fables.  We started with The Boy Who Cried Wolf.   We read the story from our What Your First Grader Needs to Know and discussed the moral of the story, how we think the villagers felt being lied to, what we would have done differently if we were the shepherd, and what we would have done differently as a villager.   Georgie said he would beat up the wolf as the shepherd and keep coming even after being lied to as a villager.

We finished two more sections of our Rock & Minerals study this week – Igneous Rocks and Sedimentary Rocks.


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