Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Animal Cell Model

Tonight, we made a (simplified) model of an animal cell. Why? Because parts of an animal cell is one of this week's Classical Conversations questions, and how do you get a four year old interested in vocabulary like "cell membrane"? You let her get one of these...
We walked to a specialty candy store that sells candy by weight, and picked out a few items (like the above gummy snake) to represent cell parts. (The gummy snake was our cell membrane.)
The base of our cell model was brownie, because I had a box of brownie mix on hand.
My daughter frosted it with buttercream "cytoplasm."
She picked out a green gumdrop nucleus.

(She wanted all the cell parts to be green. I had to talk her out of that idea.)
We used this for our Golgi bodies.
Animal-Cell-Model-Hack: I stuck a small piece of uncooked fettuccine through the sour rainbow ribbon candy to get it to stay folded like that. Necessity is the mother of invention.
We used gummy brains for mitochondria.

Lastly, we used four berry blue Jelly Belly jellybeans for vacuoles.

And after telling me what all the parts were, she got to eat a piece of her model! :)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Lunar Eclipse

Last night, we sat out on the sidewalk and watched the lunar eclipse in our pajamas.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Classical Conversations Oral Presentation

This is my four year old practicing her oral presentation about the five kingdoms of living things. Notice that all the images she chose are green (her favorite color) except for the giraffe.

Teaching the "Which Clause"

I'm using Institute for Excellence in Writing with my public school 4th graders. While I love this program, my students are not having as easy a time as the children on the training DVD.

To further explain the Which Clause to my students, I made up the following pairs of sentences to model how to put the first sentence inside the second sentence using "which."

A.1.The slipper was made of glass.
A.2.The prince found Cinderella’s slipper on the palace steps.
The prince found Cinderella's slipper, which was made of glass, on the palace steps.

B1.The basket was full of goodies.
B2.Little Red Riding Hood carried a basket to Grandmother’s house.
Little Red Riding Hood carried a basket, which was full of goodies, to Grandmother's house.

C1.The garden belonged to a witch.
C2.The man climbed over the wall into a garden to steal some greens for his wife.
The man climbed over the wall into a garden, which belonged to a witch, to steal some greens for his wife.

D1.The house was made of candy.
D2.The children found a house and began eating it.
The children found a house, which was made of candy, and began eating it.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Seven Quick Takes

--- 1 ---
This is our backyard. Monday night, my four year old and I took a two-mile beach walk at sunset.

Cycle 1 Week 1 of Classical Conversations includes Fertile Crescent vocabulary, so I used a Sharpie to draw this map on a piece of watercolor paper for my daughter to paint. I couldn't find anything pre-made that was simple and preschooler-friendly. And the best part? When she was done painting, she knew the names of all the places on her map! :)

In our home(pre)school co-op, the theme this month is Transportation. This week, the host mom had the little ones "read" the wordless book Journey by passing around a ball and letting each child have a turn telling the story. Then, the kids got to make their own boats with all sorts of fun supplies (pictured above) and float them in a big plastic tub of water. She even brought along Lego and Playmobil people to be passengers.

We checked these DVDs out at the library. They're called K10C: Kids Ten Commandments and there are 5 of them. (Each episode combines 2 commandments into one storyline.) I got them because we're currently learning the ten commandments in Classical Conversations, and I want my daughter to understand them in a preschooler-friendly way. My daughter really enjoyed the engaging storylines, the little boy main character Seth, and the musical numbers, and I thought the animation was top notch.

Sometimes you just have to do ballet down the street in a pirate mask.

Here is my daughter doing Latin. We're using Song School Latin and love it.

Our morning car ride read aloud is Winnie-the-Pooh, and Friday morning, while reading, I asked my daughter how Eeyore would answer, "Quid agis?" to which she responded with a pretend frown and slow, deep Eeyore voice, "Sum pessime."

In dance class, the four year olds have started working on third position, which they call "mousetrap feet."

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Three-Digit Number Scavenger Hunt

Here is a fun way I taught my daughter to read three-digit numbers...

Sunday, on our walk home after church, we went on a three-digit scavenger hunt.
Prior to this, she knew how to read two-digit numbers. On our hunt, I introduced the concept of place value, and she quickly got the hang of it.

We took turns spotting three-digit numbers, and then I would ask my daughter what digit was in the hundreds place, what digit was in the tens place, and what digit was in the ones place.
Next, I told her to cover up the first digit (the digit in the hundreds place). For example, in the above photo, she covered the 1 in 132. Then, I asked what number she had. She said, "Thirty-two." Finally, I told her to uncover the digit in the hundreds place and say the digit followed by "hundred."

We did this at every three-digit number we encountered for a mile. By the time we got home, she was a pro! I'm looking forward to trying this again with four-digit numbers. :)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Latin Noun Cases

The memory work for the first week of Classical Conversations included Latin Noun Cases. Not easy for a four year old. Or me. So I found this printable and told her it was a matching game. She loved it so much that she asked if she could do her oral presentation on her Latin Noun Cases game. No joke.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Seven Quick Takes

Seven quick takes...
In Santa Monica, one thinks nothing of seeing a man dressed as a tree while out on an evening walk.
If you were wondering how Breakfast in the Classroom is going, this is typical of the amount of food I throw in the trash each day. And this is just from one classroom. Pictured here: chorizo burritos.

My four year old helped me make photocopies this week.
One of my students dressed in costume for his oral presentation on his favorite family tradition.
While I was outside with my students, teaching P.E., this green June beetle flew through my students, sending them running. I am counting the minutes spent dodging this Cotinis nitida as aerobic exercise. P.E. teacher hack: a piece of paper creates a tarmac for beetle landing.
We went to a pirate-themed Kiddical Mass bike ride. My daughter couldn't keep up on her bike with training wheels, so Pirate Colleen let her ride in her pirate ship. Thanks again, Pirate Colleen!
We went with friends to see A Midsummer Night's Dream at Theatricum Botanicum Friday night. Theatricum is the perfect place to see this play because it's open-air in the woods. DAUGHTER: "I liked all the fairies and all the people who acted." She saw the first half, frolicked with fairies at intermission, and then fell asleep during the second half. She's pictured here with Peaseblossom. (She went to Target and that's why she's wearing the strip cashiers put on toilet paper to make a handle as a Miss America sash.)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Circuit Bugs

I made circuit bugs with my class of 4th graders this week.
I got the idea from Steam Powered Family.

I have 28 students, so I bought: 
Some notes on my purchases:
  • The LED lights: I had to buy 2 packs because 1 pack would have only made 25 bugs, and I needed 28. So, I have a lot of bulbs left over. The least popular colors with my 4th graders were white and yellow.
  • Wire: Yes, you read that right. I bought 3,000 feet of wire. I have LOTS left over. I made it easy on myself and measured out 3 feet of wire per child. Students then went back to their desk, cut their length of wire into fourths (four 9-inch wires), and then scraped 2 cm off both ends of each wire.
  • Electrical tape: I didn't need all of that tape. I gave each student 6 inches of the color of their choice, which was a little more than they actually needed. Each student cut the 6 inch piece of tape into two 3-inch pieces, which was more than enough.
  • Pipe Cleaners: This box came with 1,000 pipe cleaners, so yes, I have left overs of this too. Each student got to choose 6 pipe cleaners. Most of my students picked a minimum of 3 colors. I was really surprised. I had expected them to choose two colors and a glittery pipe cleaner that matched one of their chosen colors, but that was not at all what happened.
  • Glittery Pipe Cleaners: These were over-priced and not necessary, but they were fun. Silver was the most popular color.
  1. Cut 3 feet of wire per student.
  2. Have students cut their wire into four equal pieces.
  3. Show students how to safely scrape the red coating off the ends of their wires with their scissors.
  4. Each LED light has two legs. The longer leg is the positive leg. The shorter leg is the negative leg. Have students twist Wire #1 around the positive (long) leg of LED "A."
  5. Have students twist Wire #2 around the positive (long) leg of LED "B."
  6. Twist Wire #1 and Wire #2 together.
  7. Twist Wire #3 around the negative (short) leg of LED "A."
  8. Twist Wire #4 around the negative (short) leg of LED "B."
  9. Twist Wire #3 and Wire #4 together.
  10. Have students put LED "A" on one of the ends of the clothespin, and LED "B" on the other end of the clothespin.
  11. Test circuit with battery by touching twisted positive wires (wires 1 and 2) to one side of battery and twisted negative wires (wires 3 and 4) to the other side of the battery. If it doesn't work, turn the battery over. (Remove battery. There is no "Power" button, so if a student leaves the wires attached to the battery, it will drain the battery.)
  12. Secure wires to clothespin with electrical tape. (I gave each student 6 inches. They cut the tape into two 3-inch pieces.)
  13. Wrap the clothespin with your choice of pipe cleaners, and make legs, and - if you're making a butterfly - wings.
    (I gave each student 6 pipe cleaners, plus 1 glittery pipe cleaner.)
 Have fun! :)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Our First Day of Classical Conversations

Today was Rosh Hashanah, so the district where I work makes it an "unassigned" day, meaning that I got the day off and was able to join my four year old for her first-ever day of Classical Conversations.
One of the things she learned today was how to run under a turning jump rope (not part of the CC curriculum). ;)
In class, they had a drawing lesson. They had to look at the owl and break it down into circles, dots, straight lines, curved lines, and angled lines.
She did such a good job looking closely!
They were introduced to the scientific method, and looked at the parts of a seed. At home, when she was telling our neighbor about her day, she was able to tell about how she made "a hypothesis, which means guess."
They played Jenga to review, using the different colors for different subjects. My daughter's favorite color is green (geography), so whenever it was her turn, they reviewed the Fertile Crescent.
She played in the gym, and then outside, and...
...was so tired that she fell asleep on the bus ride home. It was a good day.

Wellbeing Festival

Saturday was Santa Monica's Wellbeing Festival. The event was within walking distance from our house, so we stopped by to see what was going on. The first thing we saw was a cooking demonstration, and when the chef said that if anyone from the audience wanted to help, they should just come up, my four year old did just that. They got her a chair and the chef made her his sous chef. ;)
 She won a hat.
 We took a ride in the Shakey Quakey School House (an earthquake simulator).
 My daughter dressed up at Cirque du Soleil's booth for their new show Kurios...
 Then she got a ride on a balance bike at the bike safety stall.
 She did a fitness test.
And she took an exercise class.

She had lots of fun, I had fun watching her, and it was free!