Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sight & Nonsense Word Roads

My boys LOVE anything on wheels.  Recently they got to go to a monster truck rally and have been pretending to be monster truck drivers night and day since then.  I decided to capitalize on it with...

Using an 11x17 piece of photo matting I had leftover from a Christmas project, I first drew three winding roads and then colored in the "grass" all around them.  The top two roads include sight words and the bottom, longer road is filled with nonsense word combinations.  

Let me tell you, the boys were EXCITED!!  With a timer set for 1 minute on each road, they sped through the sight words in about half the time.  Then a road block.  Nonsense words are harder, obviously, and as Beck began to realize that he wasn't going to make it through the entire nonsense word course in the allotted time, he got frustrated and started giving up.  But that was the whole point!  Because next time the words will be a little easier and make a little more sense and his truck will driver further on the path.  It took him three tries to finish the nonsense words road and he was jumping up and down when he did. 

The Sight & Nonsense Word Road Course quickly became less of a challenge and now we use it as a great diversion when regular school is getting a little boring.  Maybe I'll flip it over and create a race car speed track on the other side!

What ways do you have 
for helping your children learn the nonsense words?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mail from...New York

Now this (the eastern blue bird) is a beautiful state bird!

New York state is such a diverse place!  We could have studied about the Catskills, or Niagara Falls, or a somewhat famous underground rodent that made an appearance earlier this week.  In desperate need of some hands-on creativity, we decided, instead, to recreate New York City...

 Using every block set we own, the boys and their dad worked on building skyscrapers, a zoo, a farm (okay, maybe not exactly from NYC), bridges and other landmarks.  

I especially love that my husband told them all about King Kong climbing the Empire State building and so that had to become part of their skyline.  Do you see him in the photo above?

Beck was adamant about leaving road space for his trucks to drive through when they finished.  His dad has driven a motorcoach in NYC and HIGHLY advised Beck against ever driving there, but he had his mind set!

Bonus for Mom after all the building was complete?  So easy to separate all those blocks into their own bins and put them away.  It's the cleanest I've seen their bedroom in weeks!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

More Math Ideas

I somehow made it through my first unit teaching addition and we've moved on to working with "minus" and "take away".  Thankfully Beck seemed to understand it just as well as "plus"  right from the beginning, because I'm beginning to realize I might not have much more than a kindergarten aptitude for math myself!

Here are a few of the ways we're practicing our addition and subtraction... 

We used snap cubes to add two groups and then put them in different orders
(tallest v smallest, colors, smallest # v largest #, etc)

I drew a number line on a Ziploc bag with permanent marker and put addition flash cards inside.
Beck used a dry erase marker on the bag to figure out the problems by moving the "zipper"
(If I were making this one again, I'd draw the numbers on top of the number line, closer to the zipper.  
The white sheet of paper is just to make it easier to see the numbers on the bag.)

 We started using a math journal.
The template comes from Ketchen's Kindergarten
and has prompts for every month of the school year.  

My husband was super cute one night suggesting we use a game spinner.
Since it only goes up to six, I'm going to make a little template with larger numbers to tape on top.

 And this week I just needed a break,
 so I filled a bowl with mini marshmallows and sent Beck into the living room with his worksheet.
He was supposed to use the marshmallows as counters and then could eat the "take-aways". 
 He did the whole worksheet in his head, ate the "take-aways", and brought me the rest.  I can handle that!

What other ways do you have to make math interesting?

Be sure to check out our  "Card Game Math", 
and bean counters (for your littler ones)


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