Saturday, February 14, 2015

First Wrap-up in Way Too Long

The kids have been having lots of fun the past few months.  In addition to all the holiday fun in December, they've continued to take once-a-month art tours and classes at the Montclair Art Museum....

December was working with pastels...
while January involved GLITTER!

Vicki and I did some crafty painting fixing up my old dollhouse.  This dollhouse was made for me by my grandfather over 40 years ago. It's been sitting in various attics and garages for the past 20 or so years.



And the Final.

TheY resumed or continued with their various PE activities including Zumba, swimming lessons, ice skating (including a Valentine's party at the rink this week).....


and Vicki is giving archery a try.

We've also been enjoying (eh) playing in the snow that came every Sunday-Monday in January.


The kids learned about Explorers, Simple Machines, and Electricity in the past few months.

Now for what they've been doing in their core school work. Both have been doing very well and progressing steadily.   


Language Arts
HANDWRITING: To encourage writing, they've continued doing some Draw/Write/Now.   Even though she still tends to color anything as quickly as possible, I think Vicki's drawings are coming along fairly well.


HANDWRITING/LITERATURE: Vicki is also getting handwriting practice through copywork using The Wand.  She has finished up Level 2, which included passages from Harry and the Lady Next Door, Owl Moon, Chicken Soup with Rice, Big Max: The World's Greatest Detective, Harold and the Purple Crayon and Olivia Goes to Venice.   She'll be starting on Level 3 shortly and in the coming months may start alternating with Writing with Ease 1.

LITERATURE:  In addition to The Wand selections for Vicki (and WWE for George), the kids have also been doing the Aesop's Fables Literature Pockets from Evan-Moor.  They read The Tortoise and the Hare, The Lion and the Mouse, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, The Miller His Son and Their Donkey, The Fox and the Goat, The Fox and the Stork, and The Cat The Rooster and the Mouse.  Each story had a cut, paste and color activity and questions about the characters and/or moral of the story.


VOCABULARY:  Vicki is continuing to work through Word-A-Day from Evan-Moor.  Word-A-Day is 36 weekly lessons and she is up to Week 16 in the 2nd grade book.  Her recent words include: obnoxious, scholar, vigorous, disturb, miniature, bizarre, companion, trio, retrieve, alert, hodgepodge, affection, scarce, inhabit, identical, participate, decay, modern, grip, abbreviated, bargain, emotion, hardy, gleam, harmony, ideal, jovial, loaf, nominate, occupy, queasy, tedious, advertise, convince, interview.

I like these because in addition to providing a definition and multiple choice options to check understanding, they also ask at least one open-ended question.  Some of Vicki's recent, more interesting answers include:

Have you ever seen someone being obnoxious? What was the person doing? How did you feel about it?  Singing then screaming.  I felt annoyed.

What's the most bizarre thing you've ever seen or heard about?  My bros hair.

What emotions do you prefer?  I prefer Joy.

Write about your ideal bedroom  If my room was a palace, it would be ideal.

Choose an animal and write about the kind of home it occupies.  My snake occupies his cage.
(speaking of Galactic, he's getting pretty big.  He's about 2 feet long now).

READING COMPREHENSION: Vicki is doing Daily Reading Comprehension from Evan Moor.  She has six more weeks left to finish the second grade book.  Each day she reads a passage and then answers multiple choice and one open ended question about the passage.   Passages include fiction, non-fiction, signs, charts, and graphs.

GRAMMAR: Vicki just finished up the 2nd grade Grammar and Punctuation book from Evan Moor.  These books are arranged by rules and the most recent ones were on they versus them, adding -s or -es for plurals, special plural nouns, is versus are, commas in a list, commas in dates and addresses, apostrophes, -ed, changing y to I to add -es, dropping the e to add -ing or -ed, doubling consonants to add -ed or -ing, special words for past tense (had, sang, ate), using -er or -est.  Now that she's finished the 2nd grade book, she'll work on grammar through The Wand and her spelling, and start the 3rd grade book in September if it seems needed.

SPELLING/WRITING/GRAMMAR:  Vicki finished the 2nd grade Skill Sharpeners Spell and Write from Evan Moor and moved on to the 3rd grade book.  She's been doing very well with the words and only misses an occasional word.   In addition to traditional spelling activities like writing each word two times, and using them in a sentence, it explains the phonics rules that may apply to the list, and includes grammar and creative writing activities.    She is up to Unit 5 in the 3rd grade book and has only missed three words - they're (the're), different (diffrent), and Mississippi (Mississipi).   Each unit has 10 spelling words.



Vicki is almost finished with Math Mammoth 2A and will be starting 2B shortly.   She has two more units left in the 2nd grade Skill Sharpeners Math book from Evan Moor.  This provides extra, mixed practice while MM covers one topic at a time.  The topics covered recently have been addition and subtraction with regrouping, measuring temperature, word problems, fractions of a set, measuring with a ruler, graphing, metric measurements, telling time to the five minutes, calculating perimeter, patterns, symmetry, coordinate pairs, the concept of multiplication, and money.
She's also doing Daily Word Problems 2nd grade for extra practice in setting up equations and understanding word problems.   She does seem to have picked up her brothers habit of not writing out the equation.


Language Arts

HANDWRITING: George enjoys drawing way more than Vicki does.  He likes to draw comics, make up his own Pokémon, illustrate his stories.   He had fun with the Draw/Write/Now they did.  I really like his swan picture.  I think both his drawing and is handwriting are showing a lot of improvement.

HANDWRITING/LITERATURE:   George has finished Writing with Ease 1 and started Writing with Ease 2He still struggles some with the narration (listening!).  Some selections are chosen for him to read in their entirety. 
LITERATURE:  George also did the Aesop's Fables Literature Pockets.

VOCABULARY:  George has finished the 4th grade Word-A-Day book from Evan Moor and started on the 5th grade book.  His recent words have been: detest, scavenger, trivial, hemisphere, ambition, dingy, transmit, encounter, bygone, renovate, elevate, garland, flammable, horde, immaculate, junction, yearn, collate, tuition, tamper, vigorous, flourish, snob, congested, blotch, automatic, glutton, implore, harmonious, deplete, rendezvous, ponder, noxious, quagmire.
And his always amusing answers to the open-ended questions:
Give an example of something you detest.  I detest all vegetables but corn on the cob.
Write about something that may be trivial to others but not to you. To others, computer games might be trivial, but not me!
In what type of situation might you see a horde? Zombie Apocalypse!!  (I supposed I should be impressed that he actually spelled apocalypse correctly.)
How would you explain to a snob that people are all equal? Give it to him/her straight.
What is something automatic that helps you do chores or work? Robots (LOL in the future).
READING COMPREHENSION:  George is working in the 5th grade Daily Reading Comprehension book from Evan Moor.  This level includes more non-fiction passages, tables of contents, maps, charts, graphs and harder short answer questions.  He's been doing very well in reading into the passages to infer the answers.
SPELLING/WRITING/GRAMMAR:  George alternates More Proofreading Practice Please from Scholastic with Skill Sharpeners Spell and Write from Evan Moor.  It shows that he is not just memorizing things long enough to pass the test but able to apply it in a different format.
He is working in the 5th grade book for Spelling and has only missed a few words: environment (enviroment), pleasant (pleasent) out of  50 words.  He seems to enjoy the creative writing assignments that are part of each lesson.  These lessons included passages about ants, Tall Tales, fingerprints, Elizabeth Blackwell (first woman doctor in the US), and the duckbilled platypus.

George wrote a report on his unusual animal:
The Frilliami is an unusual creature.  For one, it's frills can literally zap you!  They like to eat fruit that's oily.  It has a very flexible tail.  It's Natural Environment is swamps or abandoned campsites.  Because of their gluttonous omnivore diet, bears and most birds aren't fond of it.  But it's sharp teeth are no pleasure. Like most animals, it's attacks are physical.  It's main enemy is the black bear.
Gluttonous and omnivore weren't even among his spelling words.  :-)

George is currently working through the last Chapter of Math Mammoth 4B - Decimals.  He's already covered fractions, long division and geometry.  Long division in particular came very easy to him.
George has finished Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Math Grade 4 and started Grade 5.  Like Vicki, he does this for extra mixed practice.  His recent topics have included computation using all operations, geometry, place value, primes, coordinate graphing, logic, reading thermometers, estimating, reading a graph, 2d and 3d shapes, function tables, fractions, decimals.
George also does Daily Word Problems from Evan Moor.  He is FINALLY getting to the point where he writes out his work.  Mainly because he is finally at the point where he really has no choice.  He is slightly more than half way through the 4th grade book. 
Just for fun and practice with mathematical thinking, George also does Logic puzzles, Sudoku puzzles, and Scholastic Fast Facts: Multiplication and Division

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