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Archive for January, 2011

Head on over to Scholastic Teacher Express to catch their Dollar Deals sale! They have an astounding assortment of eBooks on every subject, each one just $1.00. The regular price is anywhere from $5.95 to over $20, so you can save hundreds of dollars by just spending a few bucks.

It ends tonight though (1/31/2011), so hurry on over and check it out!

Here’s what we got. I hear the Human Body eBook is particularly cool! I hope to review more of them as we get time. I think they have this sale often, so I’ll be back for more next time!

  • Easy Make & Learn Projects: Human Body
  • Lift & Look Science Mini-Books and Manipulatives
  • Literature Guide: Lord of the Rings
  • Instant Map Skills: United States
  • U. S. Map Crosswords
  • Word Study Learning Packs
  • Easy Make & Learn Projects: Penguins
  • Frogs
  • Math Skills Made Fun: Great Graph Art to Build Early Math Skills
  • Reading Success Mini-Books: Sight Words in Spanish
  • Instant Habitat Dioramas
  • Amazing Hands-on Map Activities
  • 20 Hands-On Activities for Learning Idioms
  • Easy Make & Learn Projects: Colonial America
  • Let’s Learn Mini-Books: Our Nation
  • Easy Make & Learn Projects: Southwest Indians
  • Money Math Learning Centers
  • Teaching Electricity—Yes You Can!

The Write Source writing program is one that I haven’t blogged too much about so far, so I’ll try to include more descriptions. I chose to switch to Write Source this past fall once I realized Satori loved writing and could do well with a program that actually taught writing. It’s been going well so far, and we’re both glad we made the switch.

The Teacher’s Edition manual is quite expensive and I must admit we haven’t used it much at all, so I wouldn’t recommend splurging on that part. The student text and workbook though are what we definitely use. The Daily Language Workout book we haven’t been using much, and in my opinion, seem overpriced. We do have it, and may start incorporating this as well soon. (It’s just that the first part is way too easy.)

Most of what we’ve been doing in Write Source has been learning grammar and working in the Student workbook. We already have a grammar program, but Satori enjoys the WS workbook anyway. Finally, we are starting the writing part. Here’s a sample page of the lesson we covered this week on Descriptive Writing.

They offer tools to help the writing process, including a Sensory Chart to help with descriptive words for our Descriptive Writing Paragraph. In order, we: Write the first draft, Revise, Edit, and finally Publish. This was the first time we went over paragraphs and how we indent, and write several sentences one after the other (not on separate lines), so I had to explain this to Satori.

Finally, she rewrites and “publishes” the final copy, complete with a title and picture. Over the next month, we will also be exploring narrative, expository, persuasive writing, as well as reviewing fiction/non-fiction books.We will have fun with creative writing with stories and poems, and try our hand at report writing.

Again, Satori is still writing constantly on her own, everyday, so I’m loving being able to teach her all the good habits and tools a writer needs.

Just wanted to give a little progress update on how our All-About-Spelling Level 3 is going. We’re wrapping up Level 3 and will be starting Level 4 next week, as soon as it arrives. There are 28 steps in Level 3 and we just finished Step 25. We take about a week on each step (about 2-3 lessons). Here’s how our time with AAS has been going lately.

To start each step, I put up a word on the white board and we go over past rules. Here Satori has separated ‘understood’ into syllables and labeled them. We also go over our Word Bank sheet to help build the her visual memory of words. Yesterday Satori read the Word Bank for IR, which was a relatively short list of 15 words such as thirteen, birthday, and circle.

Next we tackle the day’s lesson. For Step 25, we practiced the four ways (we learned so far) of spelling the sound of long-i. This red card is one of our Sound Cards. We also may learn new Phonogram, Key, and Word cards, but for this particular lesson, this was our only new card.

I then dictated various words and had Satori put them in the correct column. When we have an activity like this, I like to have her write the words on labels, then stick them in the column on another page.

Normally a Step will include 10 new words for Satori to master. There’s usually a short list of additional words as well. This step was one of the rare ones that did not introduce new Word Cards. So we skipped right on to dictating the 12 sentences. I say the sentence once, Satori repeats, and then writes it on her paper. Here’s her sentences from Step 24. As you can see, she spelled everything correctly except one word.

In Level 3, Step 14, AAS introduced a new section called the Writing Station. They give about five words, and the student should write the base word, add the suffix, and then write sentences using the new words. We no longer do this, as I don’t think she needs the extra practice.

One of my most memorable elementary education experiences was learning about Greek mythology. I think I might have been in fifth grade at that time, but Satori is lucky to learn them at age six. We’re taking an extended study into the Ancient Greeks, learning all the fascinating Greek gods and goddesses and mythology.

To kick it off, I wanted Satori to be able to physically handle each persona as we talk about them, and I thought about making puppets, but that would take too long. Instead, I found this wonderful resource to print out your own Greek Mythology Flashcards. It took me several hours to prepare them, but finally I had them all printed off on cardstock, cut, and laminated with edges rounded.

The above website had an amazing assortment of greek gods, goddessess, mortals, monsters, etc… but they were missing a few important ones, so we made a few of our own. Excuse the rough sketches, but we get the gist of the flashcard at least. 🙂 I had to add these six flashcards – Dionysus, Hestia, Iris, Eros, Persephone, and Cronus. Some of these I had to add because they were some of Satori’s favorites.

If you wanted, you could even print off two copies of each, so you could play games like Memory or Go Fish, but we’ll have plenty fun with one copy only.

I even stuck a little magnet dot on the back of each card before laminating, so we can put them up on the magnetic whiteboard. Here’s all the gods and goddesses on their thrones on Mount Olympus. We included Hades, god of the Underworld, below.

We’re using the following books to learn about Greek mythology. The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus by Aliki, is a quick and easy read, full of glorious color illustrations. It’s 48 pages and is suitable for young children, and is great to kick off Greek mythology, quickly getting up to speed with the main characters.

No family household should be without this amazing book – D’aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths. I’ve had this for over a year, but only this month have we started reading it. Both Satori and I immediately fell in love with this timeless book, with the lavish illustrations and inspiring stories. It goes into much more depth than the above book, and we both can’t wait to read more of the stories. Along the way, we learn little nuggets, such as how peacocks got their tail spots or why we have winter during Persephone’s stay in Hades. We learn where we got some of our words – like Nike and Atlas. Satori is constantly reminded of Rick Riodan’s book we read last summer, so maybe she will get into the rest of his books now. There is even a Literature unit for the book, I’m sure we’ll get some use out of this resource.

Of course, we have to have a related coloring book when studying something major like this. Satori loves to color. The Dover Coloring book, Greek Gods and Goddesses is great for this purpose.

Classic Myths to Read Aloud by William F. Russell is also an excellent book that covers many of the greek stories, and it’s aimed to read aloud to children five and up. While there’s no pictures in this 264 page book, I love it’s detail and how it gives pronunciation cues (which none of our other books have done). It even has a Kindle version, which I’ll definitely be getting, as I’m very addicted to reading books on my iPad now.

When I was a young girl, my teacher chose Greek characters for our class, and I was Athena. So today, Satori and I have also chosen a Greek god or goddess for everyone in our household, including our pets. Satori is Aphrodite, Mama is Athena, Daddy is Zeus…

As I write this blog post, Satori is playing with her dolls, and acting out the Greek mythology stories. She can’t wait to perform a play for Daddy this weekend!  She just took the D’Aulaires book and is reading the stories over so she can better perform her plays.

Thanks to all those who have commented and encouraged me to get my act together again in regards to this blog! My computer that I have Photoshop (what I use to edit photos) on started dying back in December and so it’s been over two months since I’ve picked up my camera or opened up Photoshop. Slowly, I saved up enough money to build my own ultimate computer and today I re-installed Photoshop and everything I need to start blogging again. That’s not my only excuse why I haven’t been blogging, but it’s probably the most important one. I always seem to get thrown off after we go on a long vacation though.

Here’s a few photos from our cruise trip. Here’s our ship, the Norwegian Epic, only four months since it first set to sea!

Our little inside stateroom, which was actually not as cramped as we were expecting. Not shown are the bathroom and shower area. Everything was very efficiently situated in the room.

Satori went on the water slides every single day.

Satori with a fresh flower given to her by a little Mexican girl on one of our stops.