Friday, September 30, 2011

Logical Thinking Skills with Sudoku

I just introduced Alexis to Sudoku, it happened by accident after she saw me completing a Sudoku puzzle in Woman's Day Magazine. "Mommy!" she said "Will you teach me how to do that?" I love it when she asks to learn new things! So, I got online and found Sudoku puzzles for kids.  Alexis caught on really fast too.

These are great for building problem solving skills, maybe I will search for a kids Sudoku puzzle book. I know there are lots listed on Amazon.

What games do you use to enrich problem solving skills?

What My Child Is Reading September 30

Shipwreck Saturday This was part of Alexis's homework this week. Little Bill builds a boat and takes it to a nearby lake to see if it floats. The boats gets turned over by a wave caused by a passing rowboat. A devastated Little Bill runs home crying. Dad convinces Little Bill to go back to the park. At the park, Little Bill discovers that his friends have turned the shipwreck into a kite.

The Pigeon Finds A Hot Dog Pigeon books are some of Alexis's favorites. They are very humorous books and I love listening to Alexis read these books, she reads with so much emotion.

Pigeon Wants A Puppy Pigeon wants a puppy! Pigeon promises he will take good care of a puppy. "I will water it once a month!" Pigeon says. When a puppy appears, Pigeon gets scared and decides he wants a walrus instead.

This week I'm linking up to Read Aloud Thursday and What My Child Is Reading.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Celebrating the Freedom To Read

This week we celebrate our freedom to read books of our choice and the importance of the First Amendment. Every year thousands of books are challenged. A challenge is when a person or group attempts to remove a book from a library or curriculum to restrict the access of others. A ban is the removal of the material from the library or curriculum.

This week the American Library Association will promote awareness of the challenges to library books and materials as well as celebrate our Freedom of Speech.

Over the years many books have been banned or challenged, you can find a list of banned or challenged classics at the American Library Association. Some of my favorite books that have been banned are:

Of Mice and Men
To Kill A Mockingbird
The Lord of the Flies
Gone With the Wind
The Call of the Wild
Ethan Frome

Some more recent children's books that have been challenged  are:
Harry Potter
And Tango Makes Three

So to celebrate Banned Book Week my daughter and I watched a reading of And Tango Makes Three, which was the #1 most challenged book of 2010. If you believe in the freedom of our First Amendment, you can watch the video too.

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas said it best in 1953 with these words, "Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us. "

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What My Child Is Reading September 22

Nicholas by Rene Goscinny - This is the English version of the French book Le Petit Nicolas. We learned about Le Petit Nicolas from a postcard we received from France that had a stamp of the Le Petit Nicolas cartoon character. Alexis and I watched the french cartoon on You Tube. We were both intrigued, so I searched for the English version of the book at our local library.  

This book is a compilation of short stories about Nicholas and his friends. Nicholas is a mischievous school boy. He and his friends get into some very rowdy escapades.  Our favorite story in the book thus far is called "Cowboys." Nicholas invites his friends over to his house to play cowboys but they all get into a disagreement on who is going to be captured. Nicholas's father breaks up the fight and decides he will play cowboys too. The boys tie Nicholas's father to a tree, he is their captive. The neighbor, Mr. Billings jumps the hedges and joins the fun, much to father's dismay. Mother calls everyone in to eat dinner and then the boys head upstairs to play with trains. At the end of the day, Nicholas sees that father is still tied to the tree and remarks at how much father loves to play cowboys!

This book is so hilarious that even my husband enjoys listening to me read it.

The Egyptian Cinderella This book was chosen to be read for our Egypt project. A story about a Greek girl named Rhadopsis who was kidnapped and taken to Egypt to be a slave. Her master has golden slippers made for her feet because she dances so beautifully. One day, a falcon swoops down and steals one of her slippers and it lands in the lap of the Pharoah Amasis. Amasis sees this as a sign from the Egyptian sky god, Horus, and sets off to find the owner of the slipper so that he may take her as his queen.

Junie B. First Grader Cheater Pants Junie B. failed to complete her homework assignment. Rather than getting in trouble for not turning in her homework, Junie B. copy's off of her classmate, May. Junie B. gets in trouble for cheating and Mr. Scary tells her Mom and Dad.  But, Junie B. doesn't think that what she did was cheating and the next day she gets help from her friend Herb on a spelling test. Herb and Junie B. feel guilty and tell the teacher they cheated. Junie B. learns her lesson and regains Mr. Scary's trust for being honest.

This week I'm linking up to Read Aloud Thursday and What My Child Is Reading.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Indian Pow Wow

Alexis has been sick for the last few days so I am a little behind on this blog post. On Saturday, we went to an Indian Pow Wow at the Shakamak State Park. We were so excited about learning a little about the Native American Culture. 

Mostly, the Pow Wow was just us watching different Indian dances. Alexis and I did get to join in on a social dance and that was fun. The photo above shows a potato dance. The two dancers are holding a potato between their foreheads. This is a dance for couples and  if you drop your potato then you must remove yourself from the arena. Two couples tied for the winner, the prize was a bag of potatoes.

This is an Indian teepee, that someone was camping in. 

This was Alexis's favorite Indian regalia. I think she liked the colors and the bells attached to the skirt.

We tried Indian tacos. It was made with fry bread with a chili sauce and taco toppings on top.

We bought some souvenirs for Alexis, a dream catcher, Indian money, a wooden top, a small charm and a mood ring . We had fun but we were all disappointed in the pow wow. There were few participants and we did not come away feeling like we were more informed of the Native American culture.  There was another Native American event that took place near us at Angel Mounds. This event may have suited us better, maybe we will try it next year.

Linking up to:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What My Child Is Reading September 15

The Very Hungry Caterpillar One day a caterpillar pops out of an egg and is so hungry he eats his way through one apple, two pears, three plums etc. until he gets big and fat. After the caterpillar has grown from eating so much he builds a cocoon and emerges a beautiful butterfly. This is a great little book that teaches the life cycle of a caterpillar.

The Monster Who Did My Math A young boy is dreading to do his math homework, when a monster appears and offers to do the homework for a price. The boy accepts the deal, signs a contract and opts to pay later. The young boy is happy with the arrangement when he gets an A+ on his homework the next day. One day the teacher calls the boy to the blackboard to complete a math problem in front of the class. The boy now realizes the downside of not doing his own homework. He is unable to complete the problem because he has not learned anything. In order to escape the contract he must use his math skills to find the $64 payoff. While on the hunt for the money, he owes the monster, the boy learns that problem solving is fun.

The Magic School Bus In The Haunted Mansion The class is going to perform a concert at the sound museum but the magic school bus breaks down in front of a haunted house. The students hear lots of strange sounds coming from the house. When they enter, sounds are coming from everywhere, even from inside of books.  Once inside, the children learn that the haunted house is really the sound museum.  They learn all about sound during their visit.

Mummies Made In Egypt This is a Reading Rainbow Book. It describes the techniques and reasons for mummification in ancient Egypt. This book was chosen to go with our Egypt study. Travel to Egypt with Alexis, we have our itinerary listed at Alexis World Traveler.

This week I'm linking up to Read Aloud Thursday and What My Child Is Reading.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekend Fun: Tractor Square Dance at White River Valley Antique Show

Have you ever seen tractors square dance? If you look real close, you will see that the tractors are dressed up. Some of the tractors have pants hanging on the side and some have skirts. This is what rural folks do for fun. 

You will have to excuse the shaky camera. There was a light drizzle and I was holding my umbrella in one hand and my camera in the other.

After, the tractor square dance we watched a sorghum making demonstration. As you can see the horses are driving the press that squeeze the cane. 

Then, school was in session and we sat in on a demonstration of a one room school house. You can see Alexis standing in front at the black board. If you enlarge the photo you can see the Pledge of Allegiance, placed behind the teacher. The original Pledge of Allegiance was a little shorter than today's version.

Before leaving the antique show, we bought a bottle of home made root beer. I'm not sure what it was made from but it tasted like sassafras.

The next day we took Alexis to a Fishing Derby. It was for children 12 and under and they only had 1 hour to fish. Unfortunately, she didn't catch any fish because there were two turtles in the water stealing her bait.

Alexis and Daddy
At last years fishing derby, she caught 6 bluegill. Maybe next year will be better. Overall, we had a very good weekend.

Linking up to:

Friday, September 9, 2011

Professor Pig's Magic Math

Have I been talking about pigs a lot lately? Ha ha, I should have done a unit study on pigs this week. We're reading Charlotte's Web and we are watching the movie this weekend. Monday, we played a math game called pig. Tonight the movie Babe is on, about a pig who learns to herd sheep. Now, I am going to tell you about Professor Pig's Magic Math!

Professor Pig's Magic Math curriculum is written by Ellen McHenry. Professor Pig and his assistant Memory Mouse say numbers that add up to ten are called the magic numbers. Using the magic numbers as a base will help teach children to add other numbers without using memorization. 

The Professor Pig Math curriculum is available for free. There are only 5 chapters written but I have downloaded all of them and each chapter has lots of math games to play at home. 

We have already played the Ten Penny Game. In this game you give your child ten pennies. Without your child peeking have them place some pennies in your hand. They can now look at the pennies they have left and figure out how many they gave away.

Here is my version of the Stop and Go Game.
On a sidewalk or pavement, draw out some squares using sidewalk chalk. Write the numbers 1-9 in the squares. Have your child hop onto the first number. Aloud, they must state which number they can add to the number they are standing on to make 10. In my example the first number is 8, the child will have to give the correct answer of 2 before they may hop to the next number. (8+2=10)

The child may continue to hop to the next square each time they answer correctly. For a variation of this game, the child could hop on one foot. I like my version of the game because it also promotes outdoor play and exercise.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What My Child Is Reading September 8

Come Back Amelia Bedelia -Amelia Bedelia must look for a new job. Mrs. Rogers has finally had enough. But for poor Amelia Bedelia, each new job is a bigger mess than the last. Can she ever find a place to belong?

Ducky- A storm causes a crate filled with bath toys to wash overboard. Follow Ducky on his long journey back to shore.

We still have 4 more chapters of Charlotte's Web to read before the weekend. This weekend we will borrow the movie from the library, we can't wait to watch the movie together.

This week I'm linking up to Read Aloud Thurday and What My Child Is Reading.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Playing Math Games: Pig

We had a beautiful Labor Day weekend and enjoyed a yummy family potluck. My body is sore from playing badminton and frisbee with 5 thru 8 year olds. I'm still recovering but we had a great time.

Of course we couldn't have a three day weekend without brushing up on some math, so we played a game called Pig.

How To Play: Math Pig
All you need is 2 dice and paper for keeping score.

Players take turns rolling the dice as they mentally keep track of the sums of the two dice. Players may take as many turns as they like, but if they roll a one their score for that round will be zero. The first player to get sums to 100 wins. 

We only played to 50 and Alexis beat me three times.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Alexis Has A Message For You

A message from Alexis:

I am Alexis, World Traveler and I would love for you to join me on my many travels to different countries. Together we will learn about the children and families of these lands. We will learn it is ok to be different, that we are all God's Children. Follow me to my really cool blog Alexis World Traveler. I even helped my Mommy make this really cool button, so you can help me spread the word about my amazing adventures around the world. Will you join me?

Alexis World Traveler

It is really easy, all you have to do is visit my blog and follow me! Then grab my code in the above text box and add it to your blog. Together, we will have great adventures!

See ya later alligator.

Friday, September 2, 2011

What My Child Is Reading - September 2

Uptown This book portrays the foods, sounds and culture of Harlem, through the eyes of a little boy who lives there. Alexis picked this from her school library. I was impressed that she picked a book that relates to our Geography/Culture Project.

This Is The Way We Eat Our Lunch This book shows children from around the world eating their favorite foods. At the end of the book is recipes for hummus, wild rice soup and fruit salad.

Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus It is Junie B's first time riding the school bus and she doesn't like anything about it. She doesn't like the mean kids on the bus, the smell of the bus, or the way the door opens and closes (she is afraid the door will cut her in half, if it closes by accident). So Junie B. causes a lot of trouble when she decides she will not ride the bus anymore.

We love the Junie B. books. They are very witty and humorous. Junie B. does everything she shouldn't. She is very opinionated and will say whatever is on her mind. This is part of the charm of these books.

The Junie B. Classroom Club provides teachers guides for Character Education using the Junie B. books. I thought this was a great idea. The guides are created to help teach children about acceptance, tolerance, honesty, kindness and respect, among many other character traits.

This week I'm linking up to Read Aloud Thurday and What My Child Is Reading.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Really Cool Geography Resource - Virtual Tours & Webcams

I found this really cool google map listed at ChangEd. Each blue pin will take you on a virtual tour. Now you can travel the world without leaving your home. Cool...huh? If you click on the link under the map, called Virtual Tours and Webcams, a larger map will open with all of the links listed on the left hand side.

View Virtual Tours & Webcams in a larger map
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