Saturday, January 30, 2016

Week in Review

Last week...
We met up with our home(pre)school co-op for a lesson on resolving conflict. The kids made stoplights to remind them to 1)stop, 2)think of some ways to solve the problem, and 3)give one solution a "go."
At Classical Conversations, they looked at art by Fra Angelico. The art technique they played with was integrating "gold leaf" into a painting.
One night, she helped make dinner. She patted a steak dry, and rubbed it with salt and pepper.
She used a real knife to cut cucumber.
She and Daddy went to the Fowler Museum at UCLA to see an exhibit on masks and global African art. There was a mask making craft for children.
Her finished mask.
Ball change.
This is what happens when you give your four year old a container of body butter and don't supervise.
Note the toes.
The Usborne sticker books are a favorite around here. We've done folk costumes, ballerinas, action heroes, and now soldiers.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Week in Review

Last week was pretty mellow. I had a cold over the weekend, and it was a holiday weekend, which meant there was no Classical Conversations community day. Additionally, our home(pre)school co-op was cancelled.

We read several stories and poems in My Bookhouse, and library books of her choice.
I also instituted a policy in which I, too, get a bedtime story (a couple of pages of Magic Treehouse - she's currently reading Buffalo Before Breakfast to me).

At work, I've been busy administering a computerized reading test to all twenty-seven of my students. The test involves each student reading the first two pages of a short book to me, while I take running records. Fourteen or fifteen years ago, when I learned how to do running records, I learned on paper. Now, I'm doing them on an iPad.

While a child reads to me, I have the text displayed on my iPad screen. If the child repeats a word, I have to press the repeat button. If the child self-corrects (example: reads "these" as "this," but then says "these"), I have to press the self-correct button and write the error word across the screen (in the same awful way one has to illegibly sign one's name during a credit card transaction). Self-correction and the repetition are the only two actions that don't count against a child. If the child substitutes a word, and doesn't self correct, I have to press the sub button and record the error word. If the child omits a word, there's an omit button. If the child inserts a word (example: children often insert articles before nouns, not changing the meaning of the sentence; the error counts against a child regardless of whether the error affected the child's comprehension of the text or not), there is an insert button, and I have to record the error word. Finally, there is a told button if the child needs to be told the word.

If a child can read the text with very few errors (95-100% correct) and answer 4 out of 5 comprehension question correctly, the text is considered to be at the child's independent reading level.

If the child reads with an accuracy rate of 90-94%, and answers 4 out of 5 questions correctly, the text is at the child's instructional level. 

If the child reads with an accuracy rate of 89% or less, and answers 3 or fewer comprehension questions out of 5 questions correctly, the text is at their frustration level.

Part of me wants to test my four year old, just out of curiosity. But all of me knows her reading comprehension level.

Like I said, she can read Magic Treehouse, and she understands what she reads. There are words she needs help decoding, vocabulary she needs defined, and phrases she needs explained. Because she's four. For example, the title of Chapter 2 is "Ocean of Grass" - a reference to the prairie. We talked about how, when we look out at the ocean, the water seems to go on forever, and how the prairie grass seemed to go on forever. She also needed words like tepees and Lakota explained. She got North and South Dakota (from her USA map puzzle, I'm sure), but she needed help reading Minnesota.

I consider this book to be at her instructional level. She can read almost all the words on one page without any help from me, and she understands the story. Magic Treehouse is written at a Guided Reading level "M," 3rd grade.

With my child, I don't need to record every error; I just need to read to her, and have her read to me. 

This is one of the things that originally attracted me to the Charlotte Mason method. Its simplicity. It wasn't about student workbooks, teacher editions, and curricula miscellany. It didn't cost a lot of money. It didn't need its own room. It didn't require me to keep a second lesson plan book. It needed bookmarks. It was about reading to my child, listening to her read, and talking about books.

To assess each student individually, the rest of my public school class has to be occupied with an independent activity. I've been testing every afternoon - all afternoon - for the past two weeks, while the rest of my students code on code.org in one of our school's 5 tech labs. I have not been teaching.
Last week, we also started 10 minutes of daily piano practice. (We had been doing 5 minutes.) 
The song of the week was Roller Coaster. 
She spent time outside, riding side saddle.
We played Some Body, which is a super fun game with question cards and vinyl organs. It is best played early in the morning, while still in one's pajamas.
I came home from work one afternoon to find my husband napping on the couch and my daughter cutting up one of my bulletin board books. "Look Mom," she whispered, "I'm making a beaver." She was so happy doing it, so I didn't tell her it wasn't an activity book for her. I'd had the book forever and never used it. I just wanted to enjoy the moment.
She went to ballet.
She is about 40 pages from finishing her 1st grade math book. Math Highlight of the Week: She got so excited when she realized she could correctly write the number 3.
We went to see her BFF's drama class do their culminating play.
The night before, my daughter said, "If someone is hurt, maybe they will need me to play that part." I said, "Maybe not." Then, walking home after the performance, she said to me, "Did you see the girl who was hurt?" (There was a girl in the play who had her arm in a sling.) My daughter said, "See, I could have played her part."
While digging in the dirt, she found a woodlouse. I heard her speaking to the pot of dirt in a sing-song voice: "Come here little arthropod."

Woodlice are fascinating! Really. For instance, did you know that the female has a marsupium, a pouch on the underside of her body to hold her eggs? And that's just the beginning. Look them up. Fascinating.




Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Week in Review

It's been a very light week. I started back at work (the opposite of light!) and then caught a cold...

1.In Sunday School, the Bible story was about Mary and Joseph finding young Jesus in the temple. So, one of the centers was a building-the-temple center.  The "bricks" are simply two paper grocery bags put together. Such a great idea.
2.Our friend Anita invited us over to celebrate Epiphany with delicious kings' cake. She hid a ceramic trinket shaped like bread in my daughter's piece of cake.
The trinket became a treasure in Daughter's dollhouse.
3.The home(pre)school co-op's theme this month is prosocial skills, so the preschoolers painted a collaborative circle art mural. Prior to painting, the children were shown circle art paintings, and instructed how to ask another child if they could add to their circle. This activity completely goes against what 3 and 4 year olds want to do, which is one of the reasons it's so interesting. Little ones want their painting to be their own. They don't want to move. They want their own spot. They don't want to paint on someone else's painting, and they don't want someone else to paint on theirs. And when they're done, they want to cut their art off of the mural and take it home.
We moms encouraged the children to trade spots, and helped them find the words to use.

4.My daughter is using Duolingo to learn Spanish. So far, she's completed 8 of 63 skills, and this week, she reached 21 lingots (Duolingo jewels). She's been "saving up" to buy her owl a jacket and monocle (cost: 20 lingots).
A few days later, she earned this:
5.We were invited to Friend B's house for dinner: potsticker pizza cups.
We layered potsticker dough with sauce, cheese, and toppings like turkey pepperoni, mushrooms, and green bell pepper slices, and baked - covered with foil - at 350 for about 10 minutes.
Very yummy.

6.She also went to CC, and reviewed memory work at home. 

She has an easy time with Weeks 1-8, except for Latin and geography. The timeline and history sentences are the ones she finds easiest.

But now we're on Week 14, so I'm trying to focus our review on Weeks 9 through present. And I don't want to spend a lot of time doing this.

(Tangentially, I just read The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua, and I found it fascinating. In it, Chua writes about how Chinese mothers drill their children for as long as necessary, so their children will score 100%. Yes, this is the opposite of Charlotte Mason. But I think Chua made some excellent points. As a public school teacher, parents tell me All. The. Time. that they can't get their children to do their homework, and can't get them to read at home. Can't. Chua wrote that Western parents don't make their children practice because they fear that their children will hate them. She also wrote that Western parents perceive their children as fragile, not strong. And I see this, too, with my 4th grade students. Children are strong enough to sit and read for twenty minutes, or go through multiplication flash cards for fifteen minutes. They ARE strong enough.)

We listen to parts of the CD most days. And now I'm having her choose one color per day for flash card review. We have also started reviewing the map daily, pointing to the week's geography memory work. A couple of the things she has learned by doing this is that rivers are represented by blue lines on maps, and that cities are represented by dots. I let her play a Quizlet CC geography game, and we watched some CC songs on YouTube.

7.Second half of the week, we're both sick. We've practiced this week's song on piano, continued practicing adding and subtracting 2-digit numbers without regrouping, cuddled and read library books, Milly Molly Mandy, and My Bookhouse, worked on some piano book-work, sneezed, coughed, and watched Babar, Wind in the Willows, and too much PBS Kids.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Week In Review: El Niño

1.My four year old cried when I threw away her 2015 calendar, so I told her she could choose a new one. She chose a "Where's Waldo" calendar (and she wore her Christmas dress again - it was, after all, The Tenth Day of Christmas).
2. I was off work, so I got to go to Classical Conversations this week. They started a visual art unit, and made tempera paint with chalk and egg yolk.
3.At home, we made this pop-up book to answer the CC science question for this week. It's going to be her presentation for next week.
4.She worked some more on adding two 2-digit numbers without regrouping. When she solves problems, she thinks out loud (which I love), saying things like, "I know that 7 plus 1 is 8, so 7 plus 2 must be 9," and "I know that 4 plus 4 is 8, so 4 plus 5 must be 9."

One night while we were going over skip counting 11s, she realized there was a pattern. So I taught her how to multiply by 11s, which she thought was neat-o.
Another night, we were reading My Bookhouse. We read "The Elves and the Shoemaker." (He lived a good, pure life; so his heart was light amidst all his troubles, and he went peacefully to bed, trusting that he could finish the shoes the next day and sell them. Leaving all his cares to heaven, he fell asleep.) The first night, it's one pair of shoes. The second night, it's two pairs. The third night, it's four. I asked my daughter how many shoes were in one pair, how many were in two pairs, etc. She was very excited to have figured that out too. After the story, I got out my multiplication Wrap-Up and she was able to do the 2s.
5.A Formidable List of Attainments includes #15: to tell three stories about their own "pets"--rabbit, dog or cat.

Once upon a time, Annabelle Bunny stretched out on the floor beside her busy child...
6.This month's home(pre)school co-op is pro-social skills (sharing, helping, cooperation, etc.) (CMers might recognize this as Habit Training.) Our lesson on Tuesday was about recognizing people's emotions. They made food faces for snack, listened to a story in which a character experienced different emotions, drew faces to illustrate various emotions, and each made a paper flower to give to a friend who was feeling sad.
7.After, she went puddle jumping with friend S (puddle jumping just out of frame).
8.We bought next year's Christmas dress on clearance for $21. (Despite her facial expression, she does like the dress.)
9.It rained all day, so we made snow globes. Prior to Christmas, the store Marbles was giving away Mindware snow globe kits to customers who spent a certain dollar amount, and a man who spent the requisite amount asked me if he could give my daughter the kit. It was so generous. On this rainy day, we pulled out the kit, and made a cupcake and a goldfish from clay. This was definitely a mother-daughter activity; my daughter kneaded and formed basic shapes, and pressed pieces to other pieces. Then we baked them - covered with foil - at 260 degrees for an hour, and let them cool in the oven. They turned out very cute, if I do say so.
10.We looked at some of Giotto's paintings. Her favorite was one of his Annunciation paintings. I drew a coloring page with Sharpie on watercolor paper, and Daughter painted. She asked such good questions, like "Why does Mary have a halo?" and "Why does she have a Bible on her lap?" We talked about the painting in terms of what Giotto was trying to show (example: Mary was pure and obeyed God).
11.She wore her Christmas dress to Manhattan Beach, where Mommy met friends from graduate school for lunch. (We all met 10 years ago!)
12.She asked her teacher if she could wear her Christmas dress in ballet. The answer was yes. 
13.One morning, she assembled our Wonderfoam Giant USA photo puzzle map by herself. If you're looking for a USA puzzle, this one is very cool. It has photos of what each state is known for. For example, California has the Golden Gate Bridge and a gold nugget.
14.We went to a fan book making class at the public library. (Our public library system is amazing.) I was so impressed with how she paid attention to the instructor and took care folding and gluing. 
She made her book for Friend G.
I made mine for her.
Then we celebrated the library's 125th birthday with cupcakes!