Dividing Lines

I forgot to get my camera out this week so sadly, no pictures 😦
The kids had a great circle time with M and are really taking their apples/ good character traits to heart!
In my lesson we continued learning about genre this week by extending last week’s lesson. The kids played a couple of quick sorting games such as grouping themselves according to who was wearing shorts or pants. Then we grouped according to what colour we were wearing. As they were each wearing more than one of the colours listed they began to consider which group to place themselves in more deliberately. As we became more complicated in our sorting criteria they had to begin asking more questions to determine which category they belonged in. We returned to the library table I had set up and reviewed our genres of fiction and non-fiction. I picked up a storybook, a novel and a poetry book and asked if they were all the same. The kids decided that even though they were all fiction they had very different features. I then start pulling out posters of 12 different genres and we read the definitions together and looked at examples then placed the posters around the room.
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When all the posters were up we broke into groups for the kids to sort our library into the appropriate sections.
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We wrote down some questions to consider as we sorted and learned to delve a little more deeply into how we look at books. There was lots of great discussion during this activity and at the end I asked them to think about which category might be their favourite.
As it was pretty wet out and not everyone had rain gear, we opted for an indoor recess. Most of the kids skipped and then we played a game called Grab the Bacon. I don’t know why this game is called this but played it as a child and always enjoyed it. We created two teams and numbered off each team so that each team had a number 1, 2, 3… player. The teams line up at opposite ends of the playing area then the caller shouts out a number and the two corresponding players have to race to grab an object in the middle called the “bacon”. We used a bright scarf and the  kids were very engaged and competitive about grabbing the scarf! It was lots of fun and a good way to be active on a rainy day!
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In the second half of the class we began making a lapbook that we will add to throughout the term.  For the first activity the children created a little library card index with pockets labelled for each genre. Some of them also worked on their cover designs. Next lesson we will add in more mini-books and some of their personal reflections on genre. I found a great *** free ***link here: http://hedua.com/literary-genres-lapbook which includes all the printables you could want to fill in the lapbook using these 10 genre categories: fantasy, mystery, historical fiction, science-fiction, realistic fiction, poetry, biography, autobiography, fairytale, and tall tales.
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If you haven’t tried lapbooks yet and are interested in learning more then go here: http://howtohomeschoolforfree.com/free-lapbook-notebook-resources/
And for more fun with genre lessons check this out: http://www.3rdgradethoughts.com/2013/10/sorting-books-by-genre-freebie.html
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For the rest of the week we continued with our math and journals. We are also working on a BIG reading response activity. We are planning a Narnia party for October 31! We are so excited and are busy sourcing out props to decorate our house to represent scenes from each book. We will publish a blog post about the party full of pictures after that day but in the meantime we are digging in to our planning and preparation!
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May the autumn winds blow good changes in your direction 🙂

Light a lantern and pour a cup of tea… learning about Chinese customs!

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This week at co-op we learned about China again and reviewed our memory verses in preparation for our recording session next week! Ms. K brought some beautiful items to display from her time in China.

IMG_2843Ms. K then demonstrated a proper Chinese tea ceremony in which the children were very happy to participate!IMG_2860They were great sports and even though the tea was stronger and more bitter than they were accustomed to they were enthusiastic to learn.IMG_2851They followed the tea ceremony with a lesson on Chinese New Year and created a lantern book full of facts about China.IMG_2870

IMG_2871Ms. K also had a great pictograph lesson using the Chinese Zodiac. She had each grade 2 student say the year they were born then come and place the appropriate symbol on the graph. IMG_2879The kids immediately saw the utility of a graphic organizer for it’s ability to show information.IMG_2885 IMG_2889After co-op we had our final day of sports camp. We were so thankful to finally have a sunny day!IMG_2920They played a version of capture the flag trying to capture soccer balls from the opposing team’s net and get them back to their own net. They loved it!IMG_2956 IMG_2981And at the end of the day there was a certificate and freezies for everybody!!IMG_3056We love our co-op group and look forward to each week’s adventures. What is the highlight of your week?

Feeding the world through a small Farmer’s Market!

Finally the Farmer’s Market is here and we are finishing up our products and labelling for the sale! From making and packaging our home-made granola,

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to creating labels for our custom felt creations! It was fully integrated learning this week.IMG_2497

Modelling their choices and planning for everyone to wear their headbands at the sale.IMG_2498

Finally the day arrived with some light rain and occasional downpours. Our spirits were not dampened by the weather though as we were so excited to see it all come together after months of planning and creating! Throughout the year we have focussed on global poverty issues with our children and in partnership with Food for the Hungry, we are planning to donate 100% of our  profits to support various  FH projects around the world.IMG_2591 IMG_2593 IMG_2595 IMG_2597

Almost as exciting as the market was the actual presentation of our funds at the FH office! We met the office staff and found out which countries FH is currently working in.

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We learned about their child sponsorship program and how little it takes to feed a child in the developing world.IMG_2736

The children were given prayer cards for the different projects so that they can continue to support FH in prayer and to be mindful of the work still to be done.IMG_2744

We watched a video of a welcome ceremony in Burundi and the graduation of a school project in Uganda!IMG_2756

We met Mr. H, the director of FH Canda…IMG_2759

… and E was a ready and confident spokesperson for our group in explaining to Mr. H why were were touring his office and what we had done to fundraise for their organization!IMG_2761

Ms. M had thoughtfuully created a shopping list with the kids using the FH gift catalogue and an interactive, sticker voting system. The children were able to present the funds we raised along with their choices of projects to support. Their top choices were building a school, and a surprising choice of latrines.(Perhaps not so surprising though if you look back at our lesson on the Ganges river in India, they were all appalled at the devastating health effects of poor sanitation!)IMG_2762

I am so proud of these kids and the way they have embraced their global community through learning and acts of service!

Bees, Butterflies and Caterpillars, oh my!

With a long weekend and warmer summer weather starting school is really winding down, however, we’re not really done yet so without further adieu here are the missing weeks since my last update in mid-may!

First, we went on a great impromptu field trip to the Honeybee Centre as we had run out of honey and wanted to source out some raw local honey to try. This turned out to be a very educational trip with hives to observe, books to look at and samples to try!

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E has been embracing Language Arts this term with reading more complex novels, and a new-found love of writing, Hallelujah!!!! She and her cousin are now engaging in a regular pen pal exchange, she has a diary that is extremely PRIVATE and our house is filling up with little signs and cards that she makes every day.

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In co-op this week we had a medieval market to teach the children a tiny bit about medieval Europe but also to prepare them for the Farmer’s Market sale they will be participating in shortly. We all dressed in prince, princess and pauper clothes and the kids started by reviewing Canadian money denominations by doing coin rubbings and working out some basic change calculations. (ie. “what are three different ways you can make $1?”)

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After practising the money we set up our wares and designated shoppers and sellers.

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Ms. M .made a great observation with the children that a sad or bored seller does not attract customers…

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But a happy, enthusiastic seller does! She demonstrated how you can call out to customers and promote the items you are selling to increase business!

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A few days later we had the pleasure of attending a birthday party for one of our co-op littles that was based on the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

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The moms in our group are always amazing but this party really stood out as a fantastic holistic, community learning adventure! From the decor, to the food and the great activities my children were engaged and enthusiastic throughout!

We made multi-media caterpillars with printed outlines and tissue paper strips and glue,

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butterflies with coffee filters, clothes pegs and food colouring,

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and tiny hungry caterpillar food sculptures with clay. Then Ms. J read the story to the kids.

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They loved every second of it!

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What is the best birthday party you’ve ever been to?

Investigating India

I’m going to lump together 2 weeks of co-op so that we can get caught up again 🙂

Three weeks ago the children were introduced to the country of India. Sadly we were ill and had to stay home so if you want to see their first lesson here are the pics on our friend’s blog: Gathered In

Last week the children learned where India is on a map and some major features of the land and culture and various Indian traditions, such as the festival where they throw coloured powders on passer-bys and about the extent to which religion isin every aspect of Indian life. Ms. K wore a beautiful Sari and told the children about the spiritual and practical significance of the Ganges River complete with a great science lesson on water quality.  She began by discussing the religious customs and the importance of the Ganges as a sacred river to the Hindu people. The children learned that Hindu people bury their loved ones by laying the bodies on a floating pallet and setting them on fire and letting them float down the Ganges river. Ms. K took clear water and then slowly added in other liquids and solids to represent what kinds of things are in the water of the river. She explained that India does not have sewage treatment and people use the river as a toilet. She also showed the industry and pollution that affects the river and finally she told the children that people bathe in and drink this water… ewwwww!

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This week we finished our time in India. Sadly after 4 weeks of South Africa I would have loved to spend more time on India as well but the year is running out on us so this week we wrapped up as much as we could.

In circle time, Ms. M played a fun game with the kids to figure out the virtue they were learning about.

This was a variation of hangman with these cute little people getting closer to the water with each missed letter.
Such pondering and brainstorming going on until finally that a ha moment arrived! 
And here we have G showing her incredible printing as she fills in the answer.
 
Today’s verse: Colossians 3:20
And the joyful singing as our kids imprint the scripture upon their minds and hearts!
 The children also practised their skip counting as they added up the money earned at the booth we set up at the homeschool convention. We sold soup mixes and bath salts as part of our initiative to raise money for Food for the Hungry. (We are setting up a booth at a local farmers market next weekend where we hope to sell the rest of our products!)
 We followed circle time with our lesson in Indian Dance. The song we danced to was called Po Po from the Sons of Sardaar soundtrack or on itunes the album was called Top 25 Songs of 2012 (Bollywood). 
This was our “lotus hands” movement where we took 4 side steps as we held up our arms up and out with middle fingers touching thumbs something approximating that 🙂
 And the slithering snake movement 
 This one wasn’t in our dance but it was so fun to do that we learned it anyways, we called it the “catch me” movement. 
 I love these happy faces when we learn. 
 Next Ms. K showed the kids different way children in India get to school. It was fun for the kids to think about riding to school in a rickshaw or on a camel! 
After that great book we learned about the different climate in India. The children discussed their feelings about the rain and how we react to the sunny hot days of spring and summer. Ms. K showed us a video of people dancing to welcome the monsoons and used a beautiful story about Monsoons to demonstrate the contrast of Indian feelings about weather to our own experiences. We learned that Indian people are joyful and excited when the monsoons come and even though it rains for weeks and weeks they are happy because the rain brings relief from the heat and feeds their animals and crops.
 Another time of body learning before recess as Ms. K taught the children the following yoga poses: tree, cow, cat and… 
 …downward dog. 
 Then during recess the children used the new positions to play yoga tag! (Like freeze tag but with yoga positions. )
 We are loving this sunny weather!!!
After recess Ms. K finished the morning with a mini-lesson on the 7 continents and a map of India. The children learned a song with the names of all the continents and brainstormed ways to recognize the shape of India on a world map or even just a map showing the continent of Asia. They used words like “ice-cream cone”, “pizza” and “upside down mountain to describe the shape of the country.
 Using the whiteboard and a guide map, they marked out significant landmarks such as the Himalayas, Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea and the capital city of New Delhi. 
That was co-op this week and our last look at India. I can’t wait for our next co-op travel adventure! 🙂

Getting creative and doing the Craft Factory

In co-op this week we talked briefly about South Africa again and the social inequality that exists there. To continue with our social justice/ global action project we set up our craft factory again to make felt accessories to sell.

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After working hard to create headbands, broaches, bow-ties and super hero wristbands it was time for a break and the kids played some favourite games outside for recess.

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After recess we came in to do a literature lesson on making predictions. I had left a note in our circle area and when we gathered I read it aloud to the kids. “Dear Co-op kids, I came by to deliver a special parcel from South Africa that looks very yummy, but since you weren’t here I hid it somewhere for you. Ms. C knows the hiding place and will answer your questions to give you clues and help you find it. Happy Hunting. Love the mailman.” Before they could look for the parcel I told them we needed to practise our detective skills and see if we could make predictions using our prior knowledge. I had stapled several paper lunch bags closed with common objects hidden inside and a simple clue about the object on the outside. Each bag was passed around and the children were able to examine it by shape, weight and the clue to try and figure out what was inside.IMG_1554 IMG_1553

They wrote their predictions down in their journals then after passing the bag to each person we opened it up and revealed the item.

IMG_1366They loved the game and were so excited when I said that their detective skills seemed ready for the big parcel hunt. Apparently the “mailman” underestimated their sleuthing skill because one clue and approximately 3 seconds later they found a package of candy sent to us by our SA friends in a previous parcel!IMG_1370

So with a big candy finish that was our Monday at co-op!

Crafting, Patterning and Play

This week we had another look at our littles in their play zone. They have so much fun together!

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We are so blessed to have the talent and ministry of Ms. K and Ms. J working with our littles each week. We can see the love they have for our kids and our children love them in return! 

 

Ms. M wore a beautiful African dress and is continuing to focus on the virtue of truth and introduced an African fable about selfishness.  She did an African song with the children which they loved! 
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The children were able to play with their Jacob’s ladders again and spent some time placing stickers on them to mark the steps when doing tricks. 
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Then a wonderful surprise today with a special puppet theatre and loads of puppets! We continued our African literature study learning about various fables and the lessons that were being presented in them.  The children then split into groups to do a puppet show that taught a lesson, using African animal puppets.

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And our Actors in training took turns putting on shows for the group. 
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Here is our lovely audience showing their attentive listening!
 
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Some of us got very excited during the performance. 🙂

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For recess today Ms. S and Ms. M took advantage of the dry weather and took the group to the park for playground time and snack.

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Everyone loves the playground!
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After recess, Ms. S presented  a variety of examples of African geometric patterns and instructed the children to decorate their own African birdhouse with geometric patterns. We modelled our work after the artwork in the book African Animals ABC’s.  The children each worked on a miniature bird house using these techniques.  They were incredibly focussed working for over half an hour straight.)
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Here’s an independent inquiry to do with your children: look up pictures of African villages. These little houses look very similar to the grass and stick roofed homes found in the more rural/ traditional African villages. 

The children really embraced this project and we saw great diversity in their choice of patterns and colours! While they were colouring Ms. S read them the story of the Greedy Zebra – E really enjoyed retelling her brothers the story, she thought it was pretty funny. 

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One thing we are really proud of is how our children are becoming encouragers.  We have modelled walking around to gain inspiration from one another’s art work and pointing out the great thing that each child is doing.  Today we heard so many encouraging comments and compliments that were unsolicited by us, and were so uplifting to the students.

For closing circle Ms. M had the kids review all their memory verses from the past months. It was great to see their joy and pride in singing all the verses and seeing that they had learned  so many! 

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 If I as an earthly parent am filled with joy at these moments, how much more is our father in heaven delighted by the love our children are developing for him!!