Monday, January 14, 2013

Latin Magnet Board

I tutor Abecedarians this year, so one of the great issues with that is that they cannot all read, and they cannot all write. 


(I especially enjoy this fact when I erase a subject off the white board and a child goes "I can still see that!!" trying to tease me that they're going to be able to cheat at review time, knowing full well they can't read it, so the squiggles on the board aren't going to help!)

This makes Latin especially hard, in my book.  It's not really useful information to most of them.  So far the biggest breakthrough on Latin we had was when I brought in a penny to show them "E Pluribus Unum".  "From Many, One", look! From is a preposition, and many belongs to it! I got so excited and they all stared at me and were very sweetly trying to indulge my excitement at making Latin relate to their lives.


Anyhow, for the second semester of Cycle 1, I wanted something useful to make the Latin at least be multi-sensory.  I tried tracing sheets the first semester, but that took some of our younger abecedarians far too long, where our older ones were done in a split second (the spread in my class is ages 3-6).  So, one day while perusing the Dollar Tree (whoot!) I found cookie sheets and became inspired.  We could practice the Latin Noun Cases each week, and then fill in the chart using magnets! 

Sweet!  So, I color coded the noun cases:
Which is especially important so that I can color code them for each week for my youngest ones.  I think for the older ones, they'd be fine to just match up, but for my younger guys, I'll print the endings out in the correct color, so the only "work" will be to put the singular and plural form in the correct place.  Print your words out to be cut down to 2x2 squares on cardstock, and if you have a laminator, this would be a good time to break it out!  Then apply magnetic strips or squares to the back.  Voila, you have your magnets.

For the magnet board, you'll need:
 A cookie sheet (used is fine).  Before you think that you can save money buying a two-pack of disposable pans, remember that Aluminum isn't magnetic.  However, as I mentioned, I got my cookie sheets at the dollar store.  You'll also need a ruler, wet erase marker, and permanent markers, ribbon, a glue gun, and an envelope with fastener (like a brad or loop of string).
 First, we're going to use the wet-erase marker to figure out the size of our boxes.  I ended up doing this measurement (What's that, like, 2 and 3/8ths? I don't know, I was taught metrics)
 By Two inches.  Thank you so much for happening to work out on a whole number!! (Your cookie sheet may have different needs than my cookie sheet.  Sometimes things at the dollar store are a slightly different size....)
 Here's what you'll end up with.  You need 20 squares in a 5x4 configuration. If you did the math, you realized that at 2 inches a square, I'm missing an inch somewhere.
Found it! You can use the extra inch to write your labels.  (Noun Case, Part of the Sentence, Singluar, Plural).  Originally I was going to write vertically so it was obvious which way the board was to be oriented, but I thought that would be hard for my Abecedarians to read, so I switched it.  It hurt my desire for "Things To Look A Certain Way", but I know it'll be more useful for them. 
Oooohhh, squares.  When you're done, just take your ruler and put it on top of the line you just drew so that you're re-tracing your line in permanent marker just to the side of your wet-erase line.  Then you can erase your tracings.
I wrote each child's name on the top "lip" and "Latin!" on the bottom.  You can see a few magnet squares hanging out on the board just to prove my point.  On the back of your cookie sheet, use your hot glue to attach the envelope (where you'll keep your magnetic words and endings) and the ribbon, so your student can hang up their board if they'd like to.  For my class, I left the ribbons off since they'll be traveling back and forth to CC in my box, and would probably just get torn off.

Have fun!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Classical Conversations Cycle 1 Week 14

How are we doing out there CC folks?  Especially all you lurkers out there from HalfAHundredAcreWood's link up.  I see you in my blog views ;) Say hi so I can check out your space on the internet, too!

I was completely out of commission this week.  I have been struggling with headaches so debilitating that I was at the ER at the end of July.  I was initially told they were "just migraines" and given medicine that doesn't help at all.  This week was so bad that I could barely get out of bed, but I was tremendously blessed by my mother stepping in to help me, and of course by the knowledge that my kids would at least have their "pegs" in place thanks to their CC tutors.  I did come out to tutor on Thursday and my wonderful husband stayed home from work so he could help me in my class (and watch to make sure I didn't do anything embarrassing like faint mid-class).  God greatly blessed me with students who were eager to get back to work and were on their very very best behavior the entire day. The first week back is always my favorite since we can spend a little more time on each piece of memory work doing fun things.

Week 14 should be fun, too.  I've finished up my Latin Magnet Boards for my class to use (and my kids at home since I'm keeping them in my magical tutor box!) and you can find a link to it here if you'd like to make your own.  I'll have a substitute in my class this week as I go in to have a few tests done.  I hate to miss CC day, but when they shuffle appointments to fit you in and it's either a Thursday or a two to three week wait, you take the Thursday :( My substitute is a fantastic Christian mom and former classroom teacher, though, so my main sadness is how much better she is at tutoring than I am! I'm sure my class misses her when I come back!

Here's what's on tap for this week, and a few notes from last week:

History: Songhai/Zanj/Zimbabwe
Again, we utilize Story of the World.  I'm really enjoying encorporating some of the Anansi stories through our literature, as well.  These fun fairy tales have some great morals.  I also want to try to show the kids as much as I can. We have a field trip coming up to the Museum of African Art, which should be fun.  I also found some great VERY QUICK introductions to African Empires on HowStuffWorks.  Being sick this week, I was also reminded of what great resources the Timeline Cards and Science Cards are.  Yes, they're wonderful to have as a ready-reference for the song or fact of the week, but have you flipped them over? There's all the basic info you need to feel like you "covered it" and on a week where you just want to put a check in the box (and we all have those weeks) they are invaluable.  We're also pretty adventurous eaters over here, and I thought that making a traditional dish from this region would be fun.  Polenta with Bolognese is one of my faves, so when I saw Sadza from Zimbabwe (a cornmeal paste served with sauce of choice) I decided we'd go with it, and on the side, I'm thinking a Chicken Stew, although I'm reading peanut butter dishes are also a staple. For the less adventurous, how about some Sweet Potato Cookies?

Science: Three Types of Rock
Momma Owl's Lab has a great instructional post on how to mimic the three types of rock with crayon shavings, which is perfect, because we have some crayons that are ready to go, anyway!

I also found a fantastic video on YouTube that uses a "chef" theme.  We might have to simulate the igneous rock at home ;)

Because chocolate sauce on ice cream just seems like a good idea. Don't hate.  If you are not a crunchy granola mom that limits all snacks to kale chips and apple slices, you could even have one kind of rock each day for snack.

Geography: More Africa
In addition to using our Trivium Tables to locate and circle each geography point, I want to really start to focus on beginning to draw the world with the kids.  Wednesday is usually my geography day, so we're going to start this format
Here are the steps for beginning with your family:

1. Obtain a good atlas. Ideally, your maps should include the lines of latitude and longitude, the continents, and the oceans.
2. Give everyone paper and pencil.
3. Draw and label the Great Circles: Arctic Circle, Tropic of Cancer, Equator, Tropic of Capricorn, and Antarctic Circle (younger children should use initials).
4. Draw seven “blobs” for the continents.
5. Label the four oceans: Indian, Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific.
6. Repeat the project every week until it is easy.

Math: Linear Equivalents
We always like to do a little something to "prove" our math.  Last week, we made Kool Aid in my Abecedarian class (which was a big hit- I overheard one of my students explaining at lunch that math knowledge is important so you can make kool aid for lunch!) and this week we'll probably measure a few things using inches and centimeters and then use a calculator to prove that we've done it correctly.  Neither of my children multiplies by decimals yet, so we'll pull out the calculator for a treat. 

Latin: Latin Noun Cases
We'll just be drilling on in Latin.  I hope to start an actual program with the boys next year, but for now, this works :)

English Grammar: Do, Does, Did
I'm working right now on making ships and waves (because they were what I originally found) for a file folder game with sentences for each week.  As soon as I get the file done, I'll add it :)

Have a fantastic week CC mommas!

Friday, January 11, 2013

"Veggie Tray" Soup

Believe it or not based on my cow-like build, I actually try to keep things relatively healthy around here.  That means that when I'm doing lots of entertaining, I make a lot of veggie trays.  I feel like if I fill 3/4 of my plate with raw veggies, I can fill the last 1/4 with a treat and not being doing too badly for myself.  That means, too, though, that I end up with a lot of odds and ends form my veggie trays.  Celery, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower all end up in baggies together and they never make it to the next tray, they just hang out in my fridge.  

Inspired by my children's love of Panera Bread's Broccoli Cheddar Soup, I decided I would make Veggie Tray Soup using a similar  flavor profile.  It's super easy, too!  Shred/Chop/Coarsely Food Processor the mixed veggies of your choice.  I used 2 cups of chopped veggies, total.  

Next, in a soup pot, place 1 tablespoon of butter and 1/2 a cup of chopped onion and sauté until the onions are clear and cooked through.  Next, add the veggies plus and 3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil and cook until the vegetables are your desired level of doneness, between 5-10 minutes depending on your taste and the size you chopped your vegetables. 

Next, add one can of Cheddar Cheese condensed soup (I said it was easy and good, not gourmet!) and 1/2 cup of whatever mixed cheeses you have laying around, and heat until cooked through and warm.  If the soup isn't thin enough, use milk to think it out.  I also added salt and pepper to taste.

If you'd rather not use the condensed soup, you can easily switch it out.  After cooking your onion and butter, and then add and additional 3 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of flour, and cook while stirring for 3 minutes.  Then, add 1.5 cups of milk, 1.5 cups of chicken stock, stirring until slightly thickened, and then your vegetables (cooked in water and drained).  1 cup of shredded cheese will finish you up nicely.  

Enjoy!  (We had ours with warm Pampered Chef Beer Bread, and it was awesome!) 

Tell Me Some Parts of the Earth Cycle 1 Week 13

Classical Conversations Science, Cycle 1 Week 13

Tell me about some parts of the earth.

 That sounds like an open invitation for some playdoh! We created ours out of 4 colors of playdoh, one each for the inner core, outer core, mantle, and crust.  I didn't make these quite to scale because all of my tubs of playdoh were the same size, but when I did it for my abecedarian class, I made homemade dough (and added some glitter to it! yay!) and was able to scale it better so that the mantle was larger than the other sections.  I think doing the inner core in a solid ball of something (maybe a bouncey ball from a vending machine?) would be really great, too! How cool is it that the center of the earth is so incredibly hot, but yet it's solid because of the incredible pressure?  So cool!
 For my abecedarians, I also wanted to reinforce the hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere, so we printed out a coloring page of the beach:
And I let the kids color their picture and then glue on labels.  The beach theme was nice because it had life (bio), water (hydro) and air (atmo).  They had so much fun doing some projects during class, which I really enjoy doing with them when I get time.  Typically our classes are so quick and tight there's not time for anything fun, and I know Leah Bortin's vision is "stick in the sand" but teaching is more fun for me when I get to be creative, so our "first day" of each 12 weeks is my favorite because we can have fun :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Week 13- Back To School

I absolutely loathe our CC break.  I think that next year, I'm going to invite people to come over each Thursday for review days.  I do CC for accountability and I'm never pleased with the way that our December goes without it. I should be able to self-regulate better, but I fall short (in this and so many other ways).

That being said, we're overjoyed to be back to our regular schedule this week! Yay CC!

Here's what I have for this week:

History: Tell me about the Kush
There's a site called "Mr. Don" that has information about the Kush including religion, exports, land type, etc.
We use Story of the World, so we'll be doing Chapter 12 (Middle Kingdom of Egypt) which goes along with the Usborne Book of World History (16-23), Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia 114-117, Kingisher Illustrated History 26/27, and Kingfisher Encyclopedia 10-11. I think that in addition to the review questions, narration, and map work, we're going to do the monkey doll and bracelets, and I'm going to try to find Rimonah of the Flashing Sword.

Science: What are some parts of the earth?
There's a Bill Nye Video for this week- Episode #2 "Earth's Crust"

Here's a site that talks about how we can know what's in the center of the Earth since we're unable to physically study that far down.
Teaching in Flip Flops has a fun idea for the Core/Mantle/Crust.  Most of the sites I'm finding use inner core/outer core, and while that's not in the CC approved response, we're going to learn it that way.  I'm becoming increasingly disappointed with some of the CC responses, especially in science, because they leave out a portion that is considered vital in our state's SOLs, which I always keep an eye on.
Loving this site- a brief explanation of each portion of the inner/outer core, crust, mantle, including a worksheet with answer key.
Here's a great resource by grade level.  The material we should be covering is Grade 4, but you could certainly benefit by using all of the resources! There's an online reading and questions for older children that I'll have my 9 year old do here. We're going to take some time to learn landforms throughout the next few weeks of science, too.
We'll also be making a play-doh model of the layers of the earth.  I think that we'll use toothpicks with strips of paper to label the layers.

English Grammar: Helping Verbs
I'm working on making sentences that will work with each week of helping verbs.  I was inspired by a sentence sort on Teachers Pay Teachers where there were "waves" made of sentences and 3 boats with helping verbs on them that filled in the blanks in the sentences.  I'm going to make the same concept into a file folder game and will add more verbs each week and laminate it when we're done.
Here's a worksheet:

Latin: Noun Cases 
With my abecedarians, I want to have a "project" for us to use as our review for Latin.  I found cookie sheets at the dollar store, and I'm going to put magnets on the back of their words or endings each week.  After the first week of review (since we do 2 weeks of the same material) we'll glue down the Nominative/Genitive/Dative/Accusative/Ablative along with ribbons to make a "chart" for them to put their magnets in each week.  I'll put up a picture next week (assuming this works!)
Math- Liquid Equivalents
Well, if you're talking about pints, quarts, and gallons, you're obviously talking about ice cream, right? I think a field trip to the grocery store freezer section is in order.  Beyond that, we'll use a pitcher to "prove" the math equivalents by making kook-aid.  I think I'm going to do that with my CC class, too, and plan it for right before snack time.

Science: Van Cleave 121/124
Art: Giotto
Our CC campus is doing egg yolk and chalk painting, which a large amount of God's grace.  One of my wonderful class moms is going to sketch out a paintable object so the kids aren't tempted to spend 20 minutes drawing something too small to paint.

Hope you have a great week!!