Friday, March 7, 2014

2 Week Wrap-Up: Weeks Ending February 28th

This is a two week wrap-up thanks to my computer deciding to crash last weekend.  We had to restore it to factory settings but luckily I was able to load most of my documents and pictures to an external drive first.  Unluckily, I am now temporarily without all my internet bookmarks and my Microsoft Office.

So, first the fun stuff of the past few weeks……

The kids have gone ice skating a couple times in the past few weeks.  Jen has been teaching them to skate and after a bit of a rough first time, both kids are starting to work their way around on their own.

Our new pet snake Galactic shed for the first time with us.  It was a nice, clean shed that included his eye caps and tail tip.  Vicki is having a great time learning about snakes and getting close up looks at the scales, and feeding.  George isn't quite as into it as she is.

They celebrated Dr. Seuss's Birthday by making oobleck.  Vicki, as usual, got right in there with both hands, while George was a little more cautious but did eventually dive in as well.  Oobleck is a non-newtonian fluid. Which means it can be poured like a liquid, but acts like a solid when pushed on.   The name comes from the Dr. Seuss book  Bartholomew and the Oobleck.    Oobleck is made by mixing cornstarch, water (and food coloring if you want to make it colorful).

The kids are now taking swimming lessons at the Y and taking a free Zumba class twice a week.

They also went to another class at the Montclair Art Museum. This time they did some weaving.  A lot of the strings were fairly thin so they didn't manage to fill it up.

We had a few warmer days in the midst of all the snow and the kids had a fun time playing outside.  Vicki discovered the mud beneath all the snow.

Easy to see the kids are getting out and keeping busy.  But, they still are accomplishing lots of school work as well.

They finished the last two Native American tribes in the past few weeks - the Iroquois and the Seminole.

Both kids have been making great progress and are right on track to be moving up a grade by Fall.  I don’t worry about this too much except to keep it in the back of my mind.  Generally both of them work slightly ahead of where they would be in public school.


Language Arts

HWT 1st:  Vicki is just about finished with the grade 1 book and will be moving on to the grade 2 book.  She has improved a lot in her ability and her willingness to write (in fact she’s more willing than George to use correct capitalization).

Scholastic DoDEA Skill Builder Grammar, Usage and Mechanics Grade 1: finished through page 34.  This is a very slow easy introduction to grammar that is probably the perfect pace for Vicki.  There is minimal writing on the page (but she is doing the writing herself!).  The past couple of weeks she has worked on word order, capitalization at the beginning of a sentence, periods at the end, question marks, and naming words.

Scholastic Second Grade Basic Skills: Reading Comprehension and Skills:   Another nice easy introduction to skills.  She is up to page 23 and doing fine in the 2nd grade book.  She has covered choosing the right words to describe a picture, choosing words to complete a sentence, answering questions after reading a passage, and putting sentences about a passage in the correct order.

The Wand:  She finished up the activities for Fox In Socks with some copywork, worked on spelling – fox, socks, bands, bent, and then – discussed short vowel sounds and sorted words by their vowel.

Vicki then started Level 1, Issue 2 by reading A Kiss for Little Bear.  She did copywork, with a discussion of quotation marks, discussed /s/, /l/, /f/, /z/ and /ai/ sounds and worked on spelling words – kiss, will, pass, fell, off.  She also worked on the additional words – to (which she initially spelled too), be, say, said (which she initially spelled sead) and as. 


Math Mammoth 1A:  She completed MM 1A and has started MM1B.  While this is at the right level for her, she doesn’t like the amount of problems and busy pages so this is the last thing they do for sit-down work each day.   Putting it at the end makes things go smoother.

Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Math Gr 1:  Will be returning to this next week since I finally printed out more.

Solve the Riddle Math Practice: Addition & Subtraction:  Vicki is doing scattered riddles to find ones that match her level.  She finished riddles doing addition facts to 18, adding 10, doubling numbers to 50, subtracting from 18, subtracting 10, and 1 and 2 digit subtraction without regrouping.


Language Arts

HWT Cursive:  George is continuing to progress well in cursive handwriting.  Once he finishes the current HWT book, he will just continue with copywork since he shouldn’t need more instruction, just practice.

Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Spell and Write Gr 4:   Since we are covering two weeks here, he’s done two spelling lists.  His first list of words included: thought, ought, brought, caught, auction, design, sign, doubt, judge, symbol, statue and America.  The passage was about American Symbols.  He missed one word from this list – America.  Additional activities included matching the words with their definition, correct use of commas in a letter, writing an acrostic poem about eagles:

Eternal Poop J
He also used a graphic organizer to write about another bird that he thought would be a good symbol for America.  He chose a Brown Kiwi (a bird that is not even found in the US but whatever).  His main thoughts were – “cool & rare”, “has a rare good sense of smell”, and “related to giants”.  Hmmm, not sure where he’s getting his information about kiwis.

He also wrote his idea for a new American symbol. 

His second spelling list included the words: island, walked, climber, listen, scent, whistle, express, expression, mission, attention, enough, friend.   He missed one word again with this list – mission.  The passage was a fictional travel diary about visiting a tropical island.  The activities included a crossword puzzle using the definitions, filling in the correct word in a sentence, proper use of quotation marks, creating a poster about the town where he lives that would make people want to visit, and writing a personal narrative about his favorite trip.

Evan Moor Daily Reading Comprehension Gr 4:   This week (weeks) he learned about the life cycle of the pacific salmon, the history of chewing gum, popcorn, recycling running shoes, and the difference between fact and opinion.

Evan Moor Word-A-Day:   Each day George covers two words – looks them up in the dictionary and then answers the questions, then one day verbal review and one day for the final worksheet.  Recent words have been: withdraw, unfortunate, banquet, babble (a word he should be very familiar with), hubbub, ancestor, quarrel, and prompt.

Writing with Ease:  He finished up copywork and narration for Charlotte’s Web.    His narration is getting slightly longer these days.  Charlotte’s Web is a book he read in it’s entirely and enjoyed.  His narrations:  “Avery grabbed a gun and a doughnut, while Fern only grabbed a doughnut” and “Wilbur’s third home was outdoors under an apple tree”.

The following week covered two different passages.  The first was from Davy Crockett, Young Rifleman and his narration was: “The mother’s shears came from Maryland”.  The second passage was from Sacagawea: American Pathfinder and his narration was: “There were only three people in the family Sacagawea, Travels Fast and the mom”.

He has started to do his copywork on narrower lines and that seems to be working much better for him.   Jennifer is writing the passage in cursive and (for now) letting him copy it in print so he continues to get familiar with cursive while he is learning letter formation.


Math Mammoth (4A):  George has moved on from Order of Operations and finished up Chapter 1, which included bar graphs, line graphs, rounding, estimating, and a review of money.  As usual, every time something completely new is introduced it’s “too hard” until he actually listens to the explanation.  Then it’s “too easy”. 

Scholastic Algebra Readiness Made Easy Gr 5:  He’s doing a great job with these.  Sample problems from the past two weeks:

Figure out the cost of each dog’s flip-flops:
A) Curly’s flip-flops cost $7 plus twice the cost of Ziggy’s flip-flops.
B) Ziggy’s flip-flops cost half as much as Squealy’s flip-flops
C) Squealy’s flip-flops cost $8 plus ¼ the cost of Porky’s flip-flops.
D) Porky’s flip-flops cost $16

Use the clues to figure out M.
1) M+M+M ≥15
2) M<6x2
3) 5 is a factor of M
4) M ≠ 10

I purchased these books at a Scholastic Dollar Days sale.  I’m not sure if they go any higher than 5th grade since 6th grade is not an unusual time to start pre-algebra but I’ll definitely have to check the next time they have a sale.

Scholastic Solve the Riddle Math Practice Multiplication and Division:   These have been great for drill.  George knows most of his multiplication tables at this point.  He is a little slow with the 6, 7’s and 12’s but can answer with just a slight hesitation.   He has started working on the division riddles now.

Scholastic Logic Posters, Problems and Puzzles:  George LOVES doing logic puzzles.  He is almost finished with this book and will continue doing matrix puzzles using a new book.

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