Saturday, December 31, 2016

Kindergarten: Week 19

We started out the week by celebrating Christmas with family.

Here is a picture of my dad and Gemma playing Life. I took the college path and became a Secret Agent with a houseboat; Gemma did not go to college, and won the game.
This house used to be my grandmother's house, and this dining room table was her table. I have very fond memories of sitting around this table, laughing and playing board games with my dad, and I'm glad Gemma will get to have them too.

On the drive home, there was snow on the pass. There was a tiny bit of snow on the pass a few years ago, but Gemma was only a year and a half old and had no idea what it was or why my husband and I were forcing her to touch it. Recently, she's been asking to see snow, so she was excited to get out and play - in her pajamas and Crocs.
She and Daddy had a snowball fight...
We made a tiny snowman with penny eyes. Gemma was sooo cold, and sooo happy.
(Somewhere, there exists a photo of a similar snowman my parents and I made when I was a toddler.)

Then, right before getting back in the car, Gemma made a snow angel...
Grandma, Poppa, Daddy, Krystyna, Gemma, and I went to Disneyland. Gemma hasn't been since she was two, and she didn't remember having been, so it was like she was experiencing everything for the first time.

The park was 96% full, but the weather couldn't have nicer.
We all got colds this week. Gemma was in bed all day the day before Disneyland, and I was in bed all day the day after. We watched a lot of PBS Kids, played board games, and took long naps.

At the end of the week, we resumed practicing counting change for a dollar, and the concept clicked. Sometimes you just need to take a little break, and come back to a concept later.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

How to Make a Mister Seahorse Ornament

Here is a craft we made to go along with Eric Carle's book Mister Seahorse.
First, I drew an outline of a seahorse and cut it out. I used this as a template. 

I traced my template onto cardstock. For one ornament, you need two seahorses (cut out back to back because the backs will be glued together).
Next, I put the seahorses back to back and used a 1/8" hole punch to punch a hole for the cord.
My daughter and I glued one googly eye on each seahorse. (The eye goes right above the nose.)
We glued sequins all over our seahorses.
We let the sequins dry, then glued our seahorses back to back.

When the seahorses were dry, I threaded a piece of knotting cord through the hole and knotted it.
Finally, we hung our seahorse on our Christmas tree. :)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Kindergarten Week 18: Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas

We started the week with a drive to the Shalom Institute for Hanukkah Family Day.

Gemma had fun feeding the alpacas and the goat...
...and doing all sorts of activities in the camp's garden...
One of her favorite things was making applesauce by pedaling a bicycle with a blender attached to it.

After lunch in the dining hall and a Hanukkah sing-a-long in the amphitheater, Gemma got harnessed up to go rock climbing. She also tried her hand at tomahawk throwing and archery...
...and dipped her own candle.
There was also cookie decorating, dreidel playing, and hanukkiot making.
It was quite the fun-filled day!

The following day, I hosted our after school co-op. The theme this month is sea creatures, so I read the book Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle. In my research about the fish mentioned in the book, I learned so many interesting facts. (Did you know that some fish are mouthbrooders and incubate their eggs by carrying them in their mouth, which means that they can't eat for a couple of weeks? Well, they don't eat on purpose.) For our snack, each child made one of these...
To make your own cookie aquarium... First, spread a dollop of blue frosting (canned buttercream frosting and blue gel food coloring) on a Pillsbury slice-and-bake sugar cookie. (Canned frosting and slice-and-bake cookies? Finally, a Pinterest pin I can do!) Then, crush a quarter of a graham cracker in a ziploc, and pour the "sand" on the  cookie ("ocean floor"). Add 3 multicolored goldfish crackers, 3 pieces of green Sour Spaghetti candy "seaweed" (this is thinner than green apple Sour Punch Straws, but those could work too), and - for bubbles - a few white candy pearls (available in a craft store's cake decorating section).

For our craft, we made Mister Seahorse ornaments...
I came up with these myself, thank you very much. While I did use Pinterest for the cookie aquariums, I'm taking all the credit for these seahorse ornaments. ;)

As is our Christmas Eve tradition, we went to my husband's parents' house...
Every year, we dress up all the children as characters from the Nativity story, and send them outside to sing "Cantos Para Pedir Posada," which is "Song Asking For Shelter." We turn them away at the back door, singing that there is no room at the inn, but when they come to the front door, we let them in. Once inside, we all sing a song of adoration to Baby Jesus, a role that goes to the family's newest member. Everyone takes a turn kissing the baby's tiny feet.

A little while later, after everyone has put away their wings and shepherd's crooks, Santa Claus arrives...
Merry Christmas!


Kindergarten Week 17

Here is a video of Gemma singing "Go Tell It On The Mountain" during the Christmas pageant at church.
This week, Gemma lost her first tooth...
...and then her second.
She decorated our potted Christmas tree; we bought it at The 99 Cent Store 5 years ago, when Gemma and the tree were both tiny.

She learned the first four lines of the first passage from Ken Ludwig's How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare (from A Midsummer Night's Dream)...
We read a chapter of Life of Fred: Ice Cream (in addition to lots of free reading). The chapter we read included the concept of counting back change for a dollar. I'm hitting the pause button on LOF so I can break this concept into several small lessons. For the first lesson, I told her a rule: If a number ends in 1, 2, 3, or 4, we use pennies to count to the nearest 5. I gave her 4 pennies, and I had her draw two cards (tens place cards were 1-9, and ones place cards were 1-4) so she got random numbers like 24, 53, 82, etc. Then she used the pennies to count to the nearest 5. That was Lesson One.

Our afterschool co-op lesson was about orcas.
We found out this year's dance recital number will be a tap dance! Her last two recital numbers were ballet, so this is new and exciting.

In dance class the students got to present his or her favorite tap step. Gemma chose a buffalo...
We finished off the week by celebrating a friend's birthday at My Gym.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Kindergarten Week 16

We started the week with Christmas pageant rehearsal.
After church, there was an Advent lunch. Gemma made Christmas ornaments.
This week's afterschool co-op was about octopuses (yes, that is the plural of octopus). In addition to learning fun facts about the octopus and how to play octopus tag, the kids made balloon animal octopuses.
There was, of course, a trip to the beach.
Here is Gemma learning a new song from her Alfred Prep piano book...
She got to see a performance of A Christmas Carol.
My friend Lynn gave us matching panda bear hats, which we then wore on a walk. We got lots of smiles.
She graduated from friendly beast to shepherdess. Here is a picture from the pageant's dress rehearsal:
There was dance class...
...and the CC Christmas party.
We read, but I didn't keep track of what. Oops.

I do know we read one chapter of Life of Fred: Ice Cream.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Kindergarten Week 15

We traveled home from visiting family in Central California. This is Gemma "trainschooling" in the dining car. (This is also the only math lesson we did all week; I'm not counting reviewing all of our skip counting songs. We actually did more math on our Thanksgiving break than this week.)
Over Thanksgiving, Gemma mentioned John Henry. I'm not sure where she heard of him, but while we were at the library, I checked out Ezra Jack Keat's picture book about John Henry, as well as the Disney's American Legends DVD (with cartoons about John Henry, Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan, and Casey Jones). Both are great. (I remembered watching - and loving - those Disney cartoons when I was little, so I was excited to share them with Gemma.)

Our afterschool co-op lesson was about birthday celebrations around the world. We sang Happy Birthday in several different languages, learned about how different cultures celebrate birthdays, and learned about the women who wrote the Happy Birthday song. Then the kids got to have sensory play with shaving foam and water beads to make birthday cakes. These are two of my favorite pictures...
The Tinker Group built a castle with a working drawbridge at the beach.
We went to a birthday party at the Santa Monica Airport's...
...observation deck...
The guests got to sit in a plane and pretend to be pilots.
Gemma reviewed her CC memory work, practiced piano daily ("Sing We Now of Christmas" is one of the new songs she's been working on), practiced the songs she's singing in the Christmas pageant at church, and went to dance class.
We did a Mad Lib...
One of our December traditions is going to see The Nutcracker. I'm not good at tradition-keeping, but this one is doable. Gemma said her favorite scene is the "scary part" when the mice come while Clara is sleeping on the couch.