August 27, 2011
We’ve had such a fantastic second week of school. Things are going so much better than I even expected. I’m feeling so optimistic about things and I’m so excited for what the rest of the year holds.
Today we wrapped up Mirette on the High Wire. We found a book at the Library that is the perfect transition from this book to our next book, called Mirette and Bellini Cross Niagara Falls, written by the same author. We really enjoyed reading that today. (Our next book is The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, which takes place in New York.) Elliot and I also just happen to be reading about the World Trade Center towers right now. After reading The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (such a great book!), Elliot insisted on knowing everything about about them and the tragic attacks on 9/11. (Rabbit trails are inevitable with FIAR. We fully embrace wherever a book may take us.) He’ll be taking an east coast trip with Josh next month to Boston and then to New York, and he is now really looking forward to seeing ground zero.
We went over to Williams-Sonoma this afternoon and got to take a look at some copper cookware. A saleslady even came over and explained to us why copper is such a great metal to use for cooking because it conducts heat so well. Elliot told her he knew that and she was very impressed.
Caroline completed her Letter ‘A’ week and is excitedly anticipating what book I have for her next week for letter ‘B’ and what sort of activities and crafts we’ll do. She has already completely caught onto how it works and loves her homeschool preschool “work”.
We’ve been practicing our little poem for the letter ‘A’ all week and Caroline was able to recite it on her own today.
August 26, 2011
In one of our books about France we came across a recipe for a French apple tart so we thought we’d give it a try since we’ve got both a France and apple theme going on this week. (I just love it when we manage to combine themes in one project!) Caroline was my very eager helper, while Elliot was not as interested in the making of the tart, but definitely super interested in the eating part.
She insisted on doing the peeling/coring all on her own and proved to be quite capable.
August 24, 2011
Today we spent time enjoying the artwork in Mirette on the High Wire. We noticed the attention to detail in things with textures, shadows, and a variety of colors and we agreed this definitely made them more interesting.
We also noticed the Caldecott Medal on the front of the book and discussed what that means. The book was awarded the Medal for having the best illustrations in a children’s book in 1993 (the year after it was written).
Elliot attempted his own picture with extra detail. He chose watercolor as his medium (after first sketching it out in pencil).
Detail is pretty hard to do with watercolor. In case you can’t tell, on the left there is a copper pot with a dark shadow on the front (his detail).
One new thing we’re doing this year is keeping a list of special things artists can do to add interest to their work.
We’ll also be doing one for special things writers can do to make their work more interesting to the reader.
We’re also going to be keeping track of all the Caldecott Medal winners and Caldecott Honor books from this year’s FIAR collection.
August 22, 2011
In case you’re wondering, we spread each Five in a Row book across two weeks and focus on social studies and science on the first week and language arts and art on the second week. Today we did our language arts portion for Mirette on the High Wire. We talked about compound words (this book is FULL of good examples) and learned several new vocabulary words.
I wanted to continue our regular discussion on these details about each book so we can compare all our books at the end. I think it will be neat to look back and compare which were the oldest and which were more recently written, which had authors who also illustrated the book, which were written in first person point of view and third person point of view, and so on. I’ve made one of these to use with each story.
And we always love to make a memory game out of vocabulary words if there are enough of them. Some books just have 1-2 vocabulary words, while others, like this one, are loaded with them.
August 17, 2011
We did our science portion of Five in a Row today. We learned about copper. In our book we see all sorts of copper pots in a kitchen, which is very common in France. We learned about how copper goes through oxidation as it is exposed to oxygen in the air, which is why an older penny can sometimes look very dull and almost green.
We took some pennies, took note of the year they were made and compared how they looked.
We also talked more about the circus today. We remembered our own trip to the circus and Elliot wrote about his experience and drew a picture. Then we tried out being high wire walkers on a long piece of tape on the floor. It’
s much harder than it looks to keep your feet on the “wire”. The kids enjoyed doing stunts and asked me to clap for them as if I was at the circus watching them.
August 15, 2011
We’re beginning Five in a Row this year with Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully. We’ll be studying France again (We learned a bit about France when we read Madeline last year). We’ll also be reading a lot about the circus and other books about walking on high wires. For science, we’ll learn about copper for and during art we’ll discuss the Caldecott award.
Our Mirette story disk is placed on France.
This is Elliot’s “book basket” collection.
This short chapter book will be our read-aloud for the next two weeks.
August 14, 2011
Though our first school day doesn’t technically start until tomorrow, this afternoon we went on our first field-trip of the year to the circus! Tomorrow we’ll be kicking off Five in a Row with Mirette on the High Wire this year, so it seemed like the perfect time to give the kids their first circus experience. We thought they put on a fantastic show. We got lucky with some pretty good seats, especially for viewing the high wire walking, which was right in front of us.