Saturday, August 13, 2011

Week 2

It has been another good week here at Seven Pillars Academy. Read on and find out what we learned and did!

One thing I wanted to mention at the beginning was the addition of this clip chart that I read about on some first-grade teacher blogs. I thought I would try it out during our school and was amazed at how well it worked! We do have some temper tantrums based in frustration and perfectionism, as well as some disrespect directed at Mom/teacher, and I was interested to see if this strategy, developed for a large class, might also work with only two students. It has pretty well nipped our problems in the bud, as well as improved our whole school day!
I used two plastic clips that I already have and personalized them with ribbon to distinguish whose clip was whose (Emily Anne's is pink and has white daisies, while Will's has a soccer-ball design). Every day, they both begin in the middle of the chart with the green Ready to Learn section. Diligent work, good attitudes, encouraging or helping others, etc. moves their clip up a section, while disrespect, less than diligent work, complaining, tantrums, etc., moves them down a section. I don't say anything to redirect behavior, I simply unobtrusively go to the chart and clip up or down. It is simply amazing to see how the kids can redirect themselves without my nagging or lecturing them. Those students whose clips are in Outstanding by the end of the day get a treat from the Smartie Pants jar, which right now is filled with Jolly Ranchers and Twizzlers. To keep their interest, I think I'm going to happen to vary the treats. I've thought of a certificate for Pajama Day and will have to come up with some other creative ideas. Feel free to share if you have any!

We reviewed our anchor memory verse, James 3:17. Everyone has it pretty well memorized now. We also studied Psalm 1 this week. I read it aloud three times on Monday and again on Tuesday, when the children drew a picture illustrating part of the Psalm. Here is Will's picture.
The tree on the left illustrates a person who does not love God and His law, while the picture at right demonstrates someone who does. I loved how he contrasted them! Notice the fruit and the streams of water.

Emily Anne's tree is also fruitful and near streams of water. We had a little lesson on the spelling of psalm! We continued reviewing James 3:17 throughout the week and worked on memorizing parts of Psalm 1.

This week Emily Anne and Will flew through handwriting/copywork. Will was working on Os and As, while Emily Anne was practicing her cursive on Psalm 1 throughout the week. In Spelling/Phonics Emily Anne worked on words with oo, silent consonants l and gh, and ways to make the o sound (au, aw, o, ou, al). Will is still whizzing through his Phonics. In addition to our Phonics lessons, he read Jan Can, Pat's Cats, and Pop Does the Bop (which he thought was hilarious). He also surprised his daddy by reading Go, Dog, Go in its entirety one night at bedtime! Go, Will Go!
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Emily Anne reviewed pronouns and verbs in First Language Lessons this week. It is great how much she has retained from last year! While I work on these short lessons with her, Will usually listens to books on CD. This week he listened to Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones (too funny), Flat Stanley, and Stanley in Space.
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We also began memorizing our first poem this week, "The Land of Nod" by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Emily Anne's writing this week consisted of narration and dictation from selections from Mr. Revere and I by Robert Lawson. I was planning on using this book again when we get to the History chapters on the American Revolution, so I am glad she got a little introduction to it here. I heard her telling an unsolicited narration of her selections to Will one afternoon, so she must have enjoyed it. 

On Friday we finished our first literature read-aloud, The Stories of Don Quixote by James Baldwin. I was really surprised how much they enjoyed this book, found it funny, and would allude to it throughout the two weeks in which we read it. I feel awesome getting a version of a classic under our belts! I think it is awesome that they will understand the allusion of tilting at windmills now.
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Math improved dramatically this week for Emily Anne with the implementation of the clip chart. She did a complete 180-degree turnaround in her attitude toward math, especially the 100-problem fact sheets. She now looks at them as an opportunity to be clipped up on the chart. Consequently, her time and accuracy have improved! Math this week for her reviewed adding numbers, even and odd numbers, and adding with regrouping. Will is also flying through his math. On Monday we created a bar graph of the extended family's trucks, cars, and bicycles.
We also continued reviewing counting and numbers, ordinal numbers, and left and right. Here is Will sorting and creating number towers with snap-on blocks.
Will also had his first assessment in math on Thursday. He scored 100!

We studied Chapter Two of The Story of the World this week: Protestant Rebellions. We learned how William the Silent helped his country of the Netherlands fight back against the persecution of the Catholic Philip II of Spain. To get an idea of what the Netherlands were like, we read Katje, the Windmill Cat.
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It was based on a true story of a cat and baby who survived a flood when a dike broke. The kids really enjoyed this story.
The second section of Protestant Rebellions dealt with Mary, Queen of Scots. Emily Anne read part of a biography of Mary by Emily Hahn.
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We also did a craft project from The Story of the World and made our own tartans, which the kids loved! We cut up an old flat sheet and got sponge brushes in 1", 3", and 4", as well as fabric paint with three different colors for each child. They then created a pattern with the thin, thicker, and thickest brushes. Here they are painting their vertical lines.

Here are the tartans with the patterns completed, both vertically and horizontally.

The kids loved wearing their finished tartans. We learned that Scotsman would use their "belted plaids" for everything, even wrapping up in them as blankets to sleep.

We also instituted two components of memory work to History this week. On Mondays when we do map work of the current chapter, we will also be filling in blank US maps with the states and, eventually, the capitals. This week we just filled in the states we knew by memory and then used maps to fill in the rest. Here is Emily Anne with her completed US map.

The other memory work we began is memorizing the US presidents and the years of their terms. We started at the beginning with George Washington (1789-1797). We'll add a new president in order each week.

We continued studying about energy this week in Physics, using the worksheets on CD from God's Design for the Physical World. We completed an Energy Conversion Chart where an object was listed and we filled in the initial energy type and the final energy type. For example, the initial energy type for a stove is electrical, and the final energy type is heat. I adapted this activity for Will by asking him the types orally and writing down the answers for him.

We also drew energy chains for a coal-powered power plant and for riding a bicycle. Here are Emily Anne's energy chains:

There was also a quiz for this information, but I thought it was too difficult (the books is ranged for abilities from 3rd to 8th grade), so we completed it as we talked about each question. I think we all (me included!) learned a lot about energy this week.

Now, I have to find the energy to plan, organize, and make copies for Week 3 at Seven Pillars Academy!

1 comment:

Kathryn said...

So fun to vicariously experience Seven Pillars through your blog posts! I especially loved their artistic interpretations of Psalm 1. :-) Oh, and I love the "Smartie Pants" jar! I think a PJ Day reward would be a big hit! :-)