Friday, October 23, 2009

Education Update--October 12-23

Project of the Week

I found this webquest on line and had visions of an enjoyable day completing it.   My kids  would take their roles,   read the websites, fill out the note sheets,  and write the persuasive essay.   Sounds like a perfect way to finish up our unit on persuasive writing, polish internet research skills, combine writing with history,  Right?   Well things might have worked out that way, if the websites weren't technical, long, and dry.   Things might have worked out that way, if all involved agreed that King Tut was murdered or not.    Things might have worked out that way, if one sister and one brother had not decided this week was the time to diabolicly oppose every statement to come out of each other's mouths. 
Good Idea
Ended up with a finished product
Would not repeat with my kids

A-M:  Last week was the freshman project launch at Foothill.  The theme for this year's projects is Think Globally, Act Locally.  A-M is happy to get her choice of topics--tundra, global-warming, pergrine falcon.   This project counts for the majority of her biology grade.   It will also count towards her grade for all of her other classes except PE.  Presentation day will be December 14th.   JT has volunteered to be a judge on presentation day.   Of course, he won't judge A-T, but it will be interesting to see what some of the other students present.   Every week until December 14th  will involve some kind of assignment to work towards presentation.  This week, A-M worked on researching her topics.

N:  Last week N was busy getting ready for Red Ribbon Week.   Red Ribbon Week is a week in which El Camino  sponsors activities that encourage drug free behaviors and lifestyles.   He also finished his English class with another A and started his Pyschology class.   He received his grade for his Japanese midterm and did not do as well as he had hoped.   He was very nervous to take the oral part of the exam.   That was the part he had the most difficulty with.    He is working hard on Japanese; I am very proud of his hard work.  Last Friday his school week ended with a moonlight costume party.   He attended dressed as the mad hatter.  The party was very well attended and deemed a success.   Red Ribbon Week was kicked off with a luncheon and blood drive this week and ended with a presentation from Straight-UP.

The beginning of N's Mad-Hatter

Writing:   Last week was a full and busy week.   I was able to include writing across the curriculum which makes me feel that what we do was exspecially meaningful.  In October,  we are focusing on persuasive writing.   E was able to finish his persuasive essay and has moved on to reading the editoral and opinion section of the newspaper.    I-E and E-R finished their essays this week.  I thought writing went well--we are opinonated at this house--so the opinion statements were pretty easy.
 Calls to Action
E's==Say yes to brushing. Say no to decay, bad breath, and fake teeth.
I-E's==If you smoke, you should stop. If you don’t smoke, don’t start OK!
E-Rs==Go buy healthy food; start eating healthy food.

                 We also worked on outlines these past two weeks.  When beginning their essays, the kids started by writing sentence outlines.     Then later on last week, we did the opposite and worked on topic outlines  from a short article about the Nile River.    We also made Nile River projects in which we practiced reading a paragraph and taking short notes about the paragraph.

I with her Nile Project--the notes didn't show up unfortuntually.

 These past two weeks were very productive weeks in the writing arena.  In November and December we will focus on research writing.

History:   Two weeks ago,  we began a four week study of Ancient Egypt.   So far we have completed days 9,10, 13, and 15 of History Odyssey which involved completing the intro and religion pockets of History Pockets: Ancient Egypt.   I always change the pockets up a bit in order to involve more orginal  thinking and writing.  For example:   The Nile River project mentioned above--it orginally called for the students to simple match the pictures up to a paragraph and to glue them next to the Nile River.    I had my students make their Nile Rivers as instructed, but then to use those paragraphs to practice taking notes--which they included next to their pictures.  We also read an introduction to Ancient Egypt from the Kingfisher Encylopedia and from People from the Ancient World: Ancient Egypt.   Everyone colored and labeled maps of Ancient Egypt and wrote summeries of the reading from Kingfisher.  E-R and I-E read chapters 2,4,12,and 13 of Story of the World volume 1.   I have been reading aloud Tales of Ancient Egypt.   A very dry book that my kids actually like.   I'm not going to stress if we don't finish this one.

I working on Study Island
Math:   I missed working in Primary Mathamatics with E-R and I-E two days these past two weeks.   One day we just didn't fit it in and another day I was sick.   Instead on that day, we tried out study island.  E-R and I-E loved it.   It is full of games that require practice of different skills that are on standarized tests.   E wasn't that thrilled.   I think  he was frustrated by the pretest that he scored low on.   Of course, the point of a pretest is to see just where one is, and what one needs to work on.   He of course did not see it that way.   I'm sure after he watches his sisters play the games, he will be more willing to particapate.   This year will be the first time my younger kids have to take standarized tests.   It will be interesting to see how they do.
           The days we did get to Primary Mathmatics we covered approxiamation and factors.    E completed his chapter on multiplying and dividing fractions in Teaching Textbooks.   He has moved on to the next chapter which involves multiplying and dividing fractions in the real world.   He covered the lessons on sales and recipes and ratios.   He has been much better at concentrating on math since his completion rate has been tied to computer time!

French and Spanish:   We continue to move forward using Calvart, Rosetta Stone, and flash cards.   We also are working on completing Spanish and French alphabet books which I printed off of enchanted learning.

English:   We worked on Sequential Spelling, completed chapter 13 and 14 of Shurley Grammar, and practiced handwriting.  E continued working in Painless Vocabulary.  E-R and I-E read the first few chapters of Trumpter Swan.      E started The Hobbit.  He is making a bulliten board about it as he reads.  So far, he has included a picture of the setting of chapter one, an attribute web for Bilbo in chapter one(we plan on tracking how Bilbo changes throughout the book), predications for what is going to happen in chapter 2 and 3.   A tragidy befall E's Shurley English book when the cat decided to use it for a litter box.   Ummm, maybe he will be starting Rod and Staff ahead of schedule! 

Science:   E-R and I-E read about minerals and rocks in The Usborne Encyclopedia of Science.   They explored the websites that went with those pages and took notes.   The experiment they completed was from Reader's Digest How the Earth Works.   They tested their rock and mineral samples with acid to see if the  samples were carbonates.     Ethan began learning about simple machines.   So far, he's worked with 1st and 2nd degree levers.   We need to work on science much more.   I tend to find history more interesting so I have been focusing on that more these past few weeks.   We'll have to have a catch-up weekend soon to come up to speed in science.

Last but certainly not least:

We ended our week and started our fall break with a ride on the Fillmore Train to a pumpkin patch in Santa Paula.

Our friend, S, and E-R on the train.

I-E waiting for the train

My three littles

The exact moment E realized the merry-go-round would not be a' going around

Our friend S

That's our last two weeks.   We're heading into our fall break.   We shall return in a week or two with education updates.   I do hope to take some time for family updates in the upcoming week!

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