Words + Pictures = Books

We have been excited to dig into our new math book over the past couple of weeks. E just started the Singapore Math program and so far she is finding it just right for her. She has been studying mass and equalities vs. inequalities.

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I like that each section starts with an example of the problems and answers. It seems to be what E needs to understand what she has to do and then get into the lesson.

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It was a rainy week and so we filled our time with trips to the library, rainy jumps and thankfully the occasional sunny breaks on the trampoline and we built a new reading fort in a poorly used closet under the stairs. First of all we pulled out the jumbled large items that were needlessly stored there and moved a few things to the donation pile. Then we collected some large cushions and extra area rugs to make a cozy nook.

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We brought in a shelf and our big bag of library books.

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We hung up a couple of tablecloths for a door and to hide the remaining storage then created some artwork to hang on the wall and decorate the space. Voila! A new hideaway in which to read while the rain falls outside.

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Of the fantastic books we are reading this week there are 3 that are so great I have to share!

1. Sidewalk Circus by Paul Fleischman and Kevin Hawkes  – This is a great concept book without words!IMG_1580

Although you can leave your pre-readers alone with this book and see what they come up with; I found that sitting together and looking for the clues was an engaging process and that allowed me to see how much they could inference from the pictures. On the first page we see posters for the circus and then through the use of colour and light we notice a little girl coming to sit at the bus stop. Notice how she stands out from the others? While the other people are grey and immersed in their own activities, the girl is looking around and is amazed by what she sees! On every page there is an obvious picture and a more subtle or “hidden” picture. I pointed out the sign for the tightrope walker here and let my children draw the conclusions.

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We all enjoyed this book so much that it’s really hard to highlight just a few pages but this has to be one of our favourites. If you look at the various people in the scene they are doing ordinary activities but their shadows are doing something rather different 🙂 I don’t want to give away all the secrets so please go check this one out at the library for yourself or order it on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Sidewalk-Circus-Paul-Fleischman/dp/076362795X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366648183&sr=8-1&keywords=sidewalk+circus

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2. Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex – this book grabbed me on the title page…IMG_1586

…I absolutely love this little clay picture of the author introducing himself!

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From good to better, turn the page and we have the dedication and the author introducing the illustrator.

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And then the opposing page shows the illustrator with pen in hand and introduces the main character! This book is so witty and unique that we thoroughly enjoyed reading and re-reading it. It is a great book for introducing the parts of a book and literature vocab like “author”, “illustrator” and “main character”.

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I think this might have been my favourite page. I love the total departure from the story and the egotism, power struggle and general argumentativeness of this dialogue. I can hear my kids making their own version of this over and over again and I think we will get many years out of this one! At Amazon: /www.amazon.com/Chloe-Lion-Mac-Barnett/dp/1423113349/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366648687&sr=1-1&keywords=chloe+and+the+lion

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3. A Good Trade by Alma Fullerton – I had to include this one because it was such a perfect fit with with our co-op study on South Africa and the global poverty awareness that we are building in our kids.

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This book has lovely illustrations of children living rural life in Africa and even depicts one character with a prosthetic leg. There are great jumping off points for discussion here and it was such a timely book that we really enjoyed it. The final conclusion of this book is the children of the village receiving new shoes from an aid worker. As we have spent several co-op sessions creating products to sell to raise funds for Food for the Hungry, I loved that this book showed the end result of raising money to help those in the developing world.

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And wrapping up a quiet week, Daddy recruited E to help him assemble the new BBQ Grill. She loves Mechano and Lego and is becoming quite skilled at using a socket set and a few other tools as well.

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That was our week and despite the many days indoors – it was another great learning adventure! What do you like most about rainy days?

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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!