Sunday, November 6, 2016

Kindergarten Week 12

few things we did this week...

We went to Art Zone for friend S's birthday party. The guests made clay cupcakes.
Gemma began practicing for the Christmas pageant. She's saying she wants to be a sheep this year. The Cherubs are learning three songs: O Come Little Children, What You Gonna Call Your Pretty Little Baby, and Go Tell It On The Mountain.

We went to the library (which we do weekly).

Our afterschool co-op's lesson was on Ancient Greek and the myth of Perseus and Medusa. The host mom wrote everyone's name in Greek, and - naturally - the children made Medusa crowns. 
At home, I pulled out the D'Aulaires Greek Myths, and we reread the myth of Perseus.

We finished reading Prince Caspian! In one of the final scenes, there's a lovely part where Aslan asks Caspian if he's ready to be king, and Caspian asks how could he be ready? He's only a boy. Aslan tells Caspian that if he had said yes, it would have been a sure sign that he wasn't ready to be king. He wouldn't have had the humility necessary to lead.

We're on Question 12 in Training Hearts, and we're taking our time with it. The answer is quite long, and there are 13 Bible passages to look up. In using this book with a five year old, adaptations need to be made. Gemma is attentive as long as we're reading, but when we have to pause to look up verses, her attention wanes. Some days, there are as many as five Bible passages scheduled, which means that, if we were doing the book as written, we would have to pause five times. That's a lot of pausing. I could look up the verses ahead of time and mark them with post-it notes, but, by doing that, I would be losing a teaching opportunity. By looking up verses together, I'm modeling how to do so, which is a skill in itself. 

The Tinker Group spent a morning constructing with PVC pipes at the beach.

Gemma also went to dance class, Church Mice, Sunday School, and Classical Conversations, and did three Duolingo lessons.

At home, she built a "zippy race car" using a kit called "Circuit Madness."
(I don't recommend this kit. The "madness" part is that you need all sorts of items that aren't included in the kit, many of which you won't have, and you'll need to reengineer the projects to get them to do what they're supposed to do.) Gemma read the zippy race car directions and did all of the wiring herself. 
The project was a family affair. I cut the opening in the toilet paper tube. The way it's designed, the fork is just supposed to rest on the axle - yeah, right - so my husband added the tape to the axle to keep the fork centered. That helped a little, but I wasn't satisfied. I reengineered it by taking off the tape, sliding a straw over the axle, and taping the fork to the straw (not pictured). The car is by no means "zippy," but at least now it stays in one piece.

On piano, Gemma worked on a (level C) song called "Let it Pour," and we went back to a song in the Sacred B book that we'd skipped - "Wonderful Words of Life."

In math, Gemma did two more division riddles, practiced her multiplication flash cards, read some Life of Fred: Ice Cream, and practiced skip counting by 14s.

Skip counting by 14s is part of the Classical Conversations memory work. It's one of the more "controversial" items that children are supposed to memorize. Why learn the 14s, if you know the 1s and 4s? One answer is "Why not?" A second answer is because it promotes number sense. 

Number sense is Teacherese for "an understanding of numbers." In About Teaching Mathematics, Marilyn Burns writes that students with a strong number sense “can think and reason flexibly with numbers, use numbers to solve problems, spot unreasonable answers, understand how numbers can be taken apart and put together in different wayssee connections among operations, figure mentally, and make reasonable estimates.”

Learning to skip count by 14s is not about a child memorizing for memorization's sake, or so the child can boast, "Look at me, look at what I can do." It's about helping the child develop an organized mental framework for working with numbers.

Here is one of Gemma's division riddles:
Answer: Don't spook until you're spoken to, Frankenstein!

Gemma is enjoying our Maestro Classics CDs. This week, she's been on a Juanita the Spanish Lobster kick. I don't like that Juanita says "shut up," but she does so to show that she's rude, ungrateful, and unwise. Her actions lead to her almost getting eaten. There's definitely a moral to the story: Be the opposite of Juanita.

Gemma's getting her first adult tooth - which I am not ready for. The tooth is growing in behind her baby tooth, and her baby tooth wasn't loose. We went to the dentist for a consult. The dentist said that it's perfectly normal for adult teeth to grow in "lingually" (near the tongue). I mistakenly thought that an adult tooth growing under a baby tooth caused the baby tooth to become loose, but the dentist explained that the adult tooth re-absorbs the baby tooth's root, so there isn't any root holding the baby tooth in. That's the reason the tooth falls out.
The dentist used two hands to wiggle Gemma's two front bottom teeth (mandibular central incisors). They are indeed loose.
Her x-rays show that her second adult tooth will be erupting - lingually - any day. Her adult mandibular lateral incisors (the teeth on either side of the two front bottom teeth) were also visible on the x-ray, but those baby teeth still have roots, so it will be a while...

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