Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Monday Math: Number Fishing

Magnetic number fishing
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Tie string to paper clip and use as fishing rod for magnetic numbers.

Use for:
Number recognition
Comparing numbers: greater/less than
Adding, Subtracting, Dividing, Multiplying 

Sunday Science: Brain Hat

We made a brain hat to show our girls that our brain has different parts and different jobs to do. It is the control center for our body.

We found this brain hat template through Scholastic's Human Body- Easy Make and Learn Projects. It is full of manipulatives and models to help kids learn about the human body.

Click on the link below to access a PDF version of the entire workbook:

Here is another great resource with tons of brain and neuroscience activities and lesson plans:

You can also check out the play dough brain we made by clicking on the image below:

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Friday Phonics and Language: Alef Bet Flashcards with Vowels

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Love this set of Hebrew Letter Flash Cards we got at our local Amazing Savings Store.
You can find a similar item on Amazon.
They are big and come with an easy to turn wheel with Hebrew vowels under each letter.

Note: This set doesn't have the phonetic transliterations on the back of the cards. Made more for a Hebrew speaking teacher to help a child or adult to learn Hebrew.

It seems to make sense to teach the letters with the vowel at the same time. This way the child is already "reading" Hebrew just by joining for example the /b/ sound from the Bet with the /ee/ sound from the chereek underneath it.

The truth is we have not been that systematic with our teaching of Hebrew sounds and would love to hear from others about the order they use to teach Hebrew reading and writing.

Thoughtful Thursdays: Caught In A Lie

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I have to admit that I have been guilty of telling a few too many white lies to my kids.This was recently made very apparent to me while struggling to convince my 2 year old to go down for a nap, my older daughter whispered in my ear, "tell her that I'm going to take a nap too".

AAAAHHH!! My 4 year old was now giving me tips on how to lie! 
I took a major pause.
My daughter knows that I lie and is following in my foot steps.
Not OK.

As parents we tell many lies:
- "if you don't come with me right now, I'm leaving you here."
-"you were the best dancer in the whole show"
-"if you watch too much TV, your brain will turn to mush"

Unfortunately, our hypocrisy will come back to bite us. How long can we lecture our children on the importance of telling the truth  if we are fibbers ourselves?
Children do not respond well to the "do as I say, not as I do approach", nobody does.

We lie at different times and for different reason. Some are justifiable due to child's age/maturation.

But, I do not want to risk losing my child's trust over my silly lies.
Usually there is a valuable lesson in giving them the real reason why they must come right now, work hard to be a great dancer, and not watch so much TV.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wild Card Wednesday: Play Dough Brain

In preparing for our upcoming unit on human anatomy, I created a play dough brain.
Using the recipe I blogged about here, I made a really quick and simple no bake homemade playdough. Just add more flour if texture is too sticky.
 Started out by covering a ramekin with play dough
 Roll dough into long snake like ropes and loop them in sections across one half of brain.
Continue same process on the other side and your brain is ready to go. 

I froze our brain so that it would harden and the kids could play with it without mushing it. Check back on Sunday for our investigation into the brain's functions.

Torah Tuesday: Parashat Matot-Masai and Compromise

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In this weeks's parasha, The tribes of Reuben and Gad (later joined by half of the tribe of Manasseh) ask Moshe if they can stay in the land east of the Jordan River and not settle in the promised land of Israel. They preferred the East Jordan since the land was fertile pastureland for their cattle. Moshe is initially upset, but eventually makes a compromise with them. They can stay east of the Jordan on the condition that they do not abandon their brethren in their conquest of Israel and that they lead them in the battle. 

Moshe proves again to be a leader who is sensitive to the needs of his people while maintaining his position among them.

This event has got me thinking about all the compromising and deal making that goes on in our home.  We are definitely not the "because I said so household" nor are we the "do whatever you want family."

Finding the right balance in between those extremes is often the struggle. Giving your children a sense of control over their lives while also steering them correctly is a tricky thing.

 Seems Moshe is setting the example for us. Only after Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh fulfill their responsibility to the greater family of Israel, can their individual needs be met. Only after my daughter helps her family space stay neat by putting away her toys, can she have the free time to play in the kiddie pool.

I still struggle with the all the compromising that goes on here. At times, wondering if we make too many concessions and other times regretting not making enough.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Monday Math: NY Math Standards and Decomposing Numbers

I came across the NY State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards for Mathematics and was looking through the Prek and Kindergarten math standards. I will likely use them as a rough guide in thinking about the upcoming homeschool year. 

One of my favorite goals is: 
"Decompose numbers less than or equal to 10 into pairs in more than one way, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each decomposition by a drawing or equation (e.g., 5 = 2 + 3 and 5 = 4 + 1)." 

Simply stated: understanding that to get to any given number there are several combinations that will get you there. 
I appreciate this goal for its focus on truly analyzing and understanding numbers. Kids will learn that that there are lots of ways to make a number. 

Math coach's corner had a fun way to play with this concept:
1. Give your child a target number and they count out that many counters (jelly beans, marbles, etc. )
2. Child covers her eyes, while you hide some of the counters under a cup or bowl.
3.  Child opens her eyes and tries to figure out how many counters are under the rock.  
   4. Take turns being the hider and guesser.

So for example, child counts out 6 marbles, you hide 2, child only sees 4 and has to figure out that 2 are missing to add up to 6. 

If your child is ready for it, you can have them work on  writing out equations for the combinations they discover. So for our example your list would look like this:


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