Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's slightly reminiscent of potty training

Remember back in the day when you may have given your potty apprentice a little incentive for toilet use? Perhaps an M&M, or a jelly bean? Well I had an idea to revisit that today. Except for vocabulary words.

It seems like writing new vocabulary words and their definitions just isn't cutting it. They aren't sinking in for real-life purposes like I want them to. The whole point of learning new words is to use them, not to write them and forget them a week later. That's not learning.

So starting today, in an attempt to spark a little more effort in really learning, every time someone uses one of their vocabulary words in a real, relevant, pertaining-to-the-conversation sentence, they are going to get a chocolate kiss.

And maybe a real kiss too, if I'm really impressed.

Just thought I'd share. Can't hurt. Might help. I'll let you know.

Because chocolate matters,

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


We have been learning about mountains with our Planet Earth DVD. This week we wrapped up our research and papers with a trip with friends to the Wichita Mountains. We went to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. It was great! They have a museum there that we weren't even expecting, and we did a lot of exploring.

lunch on the lake.

We found a log beavers had chewed on.

Mountain exploration!

Checking out the museum.

Riley and Cole did the Five In A Row book "When I Was Young In the Mountains" by Cynthia Rylant to go along with our mountain study. In the book the little girl talks about hearing a bobwhite. At the museum they had a stuffed bobwhite and you could push a button and hear its call. Score!

The story takes place in the Appalachian Mountains, so we learned a lot about them. I got an idea from the Five In a Row message boards to make this cake, complete with tiny chocolate Appalachians. I don't think any of us will ever forget where the Appalachian Mountains are! We are moved by chocolate, we are.

We also made a mural of the mountains and animals that live there.

Good times!

Monday, March 9, 2009


I love that Spring is here. I am patiently awaiting the green. We really enjoy doing some of our work outside when the weather is oh-so-perfect, like it has been lately.

Something about the peaceful breeze and the fresh air and the sound of birds makes the backyard a perfect learning environment. If you're needing to change things up a bit, head outside! It gives you a whole new perspective! We did our "independent work" outside today.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Money fun

One thing that still catches me off guard is how simple it is to teach when you are just working with one or two kids instead of a whole classroom. When it was time to teach Riley and Cole about adding money I approached it with a classroom setting method. Write the numbers, look at pictures of coins and add them together, blah, blah, blah.

Then it hit me. Hello? I want them to learn how to add money so they can, you know, add money. So we ditched the math book and dumped out a big stash of coins that David may or may not use for poker.

The difference in touching and sorting and adding real coins was no comparison to the workbook sheet we had started with. It made it real.

After playing with and adding the coins, we moved on a did the original worksheet. It was a breeze after the real life experience.

It's always better with the real thing!