Friday, 22 March 2013

Spring Practical Life Activity

To celebrate the spring equinox this week I created a new set of practical life trays the girls.

they started by making their own biodegradable paper pots with a really nifty pot making tool,

then they had to fill with soil and plant some seeds,

then finish by watering and placing their pots in a mini greenhouse.

not that it will do us much good - this was the 'not very springlike' view from the window this morning : (

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Polar Activity Day

We went to an amazing Home Ed activity this week.

The day started with a presentation from an Atmospheric Scientist - he talked about what he does, the experiments he is involved with (he even let them use one of his sensors that detects particles in the air), a run down on the atmosphere, clouds (including a making clouds activity), his research trips and wonderful stories about his experiences in sub zero climates, frostbite and a polar bear.

The kids all clamoured to try on his Arctic weather gear : )

In the afternoon we had various hands on activities including a penguin drawing table,

penguin lapbooking,

being educated on ice fishing and how to make an emergency fish rod,

poster making,

a demonstration on the differences between the Arctic/Antarctic,

and an insulation experiment. 

There was also a great activity about packing for cold weather where they had to select suitable clothes from a rail and fill a suitcase.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Vocabulary - Absorption Method

I have been fairly lazy when it comes to vocab lessons (we don't really do them) and I was feeling guilty about this until I read a great article over at Raising Arrows

After reading, I realised we relied on the absorption method - we read loads and if they come across a word they don't understand it gets written in their vocabulary book along with a definition. This obviously seems to be working for us as last week Lilly complained of 'gastric distress' : ) 

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Lone Star Learning TOS Review

We've been using a wonderful programme over the last month from Lone Star Learning called Target the Question

Target the Question is an on-line, interactive maths programme that focuses on developing problem-solving strategies. It encourages your child to identify the pertinent information and find a method to answer the question.

Target the Question is really simple to use. Once you have logged in you are taken to your homepage, click on start the programme and it takes you to a new screen with 40 boxes on - each box links to one weeks work.

The weekly problem is then opened and underneath the core information are colour coded tabs with different word problems for each day of the week. (please note this is a picture from the first grade programme)

You use the highlighting and drawing tools to mark the pertinent details for that question and use the drawing pad to solve the problem. Your child can view the answer immediately using the 'view the answer' button. The program includes a Pdf download for the parent with answer keys, reference sheets, and worksheets students can use to solve problems.

I did have to help Lilly navigate the first couple of days and show her how to use the drawing pad and tools but she is now happy to use it independently.

We started using this programme on a daily basis (each question took between 5-10 mins) but I must be honest and say that Lilly has taken to doing more than one question a day which is a sure sign she is enjoying this : ) 

When I asked her why she liked this programme so much, her answer was 'I get to draw on the computer to work it out' but after hearing her yell 'Hurray' when she gets the answers right I think the real reason she likes this is the immediate confidence boost it gives her.

I like that the questions are designed in an interesting way and revise many different aspects of maths (geometry, probability, arithmetic, factors, measurement, algebraic thinking etc.) but I think the real benefit with Target the Question is how it encourages children to think creatively, identify relevant data and to use different strategies.

I loved this programme and the only improvement I can think of for this product would be on the problem of the week page, where you click the box to select the weeks work. It would be great if once a week had been completed it changed colour so you could easily see what had been done (Lilly did have to check a couple of times what week she was on)Target the Question is designed for 1st through 7th grade and is available in English or Spanish (grades 1-5 in Spanish). A years subscription costs $59.99

You can try a sample week for free to see how it works for you. 

You can find out what my crewmates thought of Target the Question and other Lone Star Learning products over at the TOS Blog

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

A Use for Sisters.

This just made me smile. 

Rose was doing an alphabet scavenger hunt when she got stuck on the letter 'n' so she grabbed a sister whose name started with 'n' and plopped her on the empty space : )

Got to give her points for ingenuity. 
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