Friday, 16 December 2011

Catching up

It's been a busy old week... but I'm not sure what we've done with it!
There's been a dentist visit and the last soft play session of the year, and there has been these delicious scones!

The boys have made family members some chocolates (for the intended recipients of said chocolates who are reading, fear not! I made sure that tiny fingers were very clean!) A good opportunity to talk about early science concepts of liquid and solid etc. We used the free net printables from SEN Teacher to make pretty boxes for the chocolates to go into...

For our numeracy this week we looked at 2D and 3D while making these sparkly little Christmas trees. 2D shapes... snip-snip... ta-da! 3D objects! I'm not sure how much of this went in though as they were both so desperate to get their hands on the tinsel :)

... and we made some crackers, just because.

We also did a little bit of work on Claude Monet, but that will have to wait for another post as we're out of time to set off for our play date with Lamb's Best Bud 1.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Solstice stables

It was quite gratifying over the weekend, to have Moo beg to do more sounds and letters practise!
The alphablocks books, while very basic, seem to be doing an excellent job.

Lamb's favourite thing of the moment is playing with these blocks. I've been using it as a sneaky way to slip in a bit of numeracy. We've been looking at estimating and more or less. Here Lamb discovered that he is 79 blocks tall (thanks daddy for the picture!)

Now although we are supposed to have started our unit on electricity and power sources, Lamb's concentration and focus are all over the place, so we've done very little topic work at all. Even the Christmas crafts we have been doing have proved difficult to hold his attention.
This is Moo's 'solstice stable'... Lamb's doesn't have a roof because it was so difficult to keep him on-task. This was a nice craft activity to test Moo's knowledge of shapes. It led on from the 'festivals of light' banner we made last week. After reminding the boys about the different festivals of light at this time of year we spoke a little more about what is actually going on with the sun at the winter solstice. I find information sticks so much better if we incorporate lots of actions and clapping! After reading some stories about the Nativity we made these solstice stables ~ and yes, it is supposed to be the sun rather than a star hanging inside the stable! We used silver birch twigs to make the stable. Not only are they in plentiful supply they are also nice and pliable. If you fancy making these with young children you'll probably find that you need to secure the joins yourself after the kids have finished :)

Friday, 9 December 2011

Rhyme Monsters!

Finally the bird feeders got finished!

Today's big project was the Rhyme Monsters.
The boys painted up some cereal boxes, added some eyes, hair and tentacles and bob's your uncle!
The monsters hold a card each (which you can laminate if you haven't some how lost your laminator...ahem) and the idea is that the kids then take turns to feed the monster (through the hole cut out for the mouth) words which rhyme with the card they are holding. Lamb needs to work on his awareness of rhyme as part of his speech therapy, and it's a pretty cool activity for Moo's age too.

The activity worked well for Lamb. Keeping to only 2 options really helped him to focus and understand what was being asked of him, and the results were good. For almost all of the words Lamb correctly identified which monster to feed :)

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Catching up

It has been a slow week for us. We've all been ill, and the fact that Lamb's medication is no longer helping him has been taking its toll on us and our 'work'. Not much has been done!
Lamb has been teaching Moo to navigate the Cbeebies website. Lamb showed some considerable patience while doing this, and was more than happy to be the teacher for a change. Moo has gotten very confident in the short time he has been using the computer. Already his fine motor skills have mastered the art of clicking on small boxes, he knows how to find 'play' buttons and 'back' buttons. He is now desperate to master the skill of using the arrow keys to play the simple games on the Cbeebies website, which is what Lamb is attempting to teach him here.
We've made a small start on our 'Electricity and Power Sources' unit this week, and have started by finding different light sources in and out of the house. The boys have also been investigating which of their toys use batteries, and both of them are already great at locating where the batteries go.

Moo has started on the road of beginning to read in earnest. I was concerned that maybe it was too soon... A chat with NemNem sorted that out and she set my mind at ease. In the words of the sage: 'If he's hungry then feed him.' Excellent advice :-) So Moo was left eagerly awaiting his new books so he can learn to read. We chose the BBC 'Fun with Phonics' pack and have started on the 'Sounds and Letters' pack.
This comes with an animated dvd which Moo loves, a work book and giant poster. The picture quality of the dvds isn't great, but it is bright and kid friendly, and the pack comes in a handy folder to keep everything together. We also ordered a couple of the new Phonics Bug Alphablocks books to see if they were any good. These are very short, very simple, but also very clear. Moo loves these even more than the Fun With Phonics pack, and I have to say that I have high hopes for the Phonics Bug books, enough that I think that Moo will be getting some more of them for Christmas.
We have already started on phonics, but only half heartedly really, and using the free jolly phonics printable flashcards available on the Communication4All website, as this is what Lamb used when learning sounds. However Moo was reliant on the pictures and without them wasn't able to recognise the letter.
Today after only half an hour of watching his new dvd and reading through the alphablocks books together Moo is now finding both the letters 'a' and 's' within text. I'm rather impressed!

We've also started looking at our new artist with this wonderful book called 'The Magical Garden of Claude Monet' by Laurence Anholt. In this lovely book a little girl goes to meet her mother's friend, Mr. Monet where she sees both his garden and his paintings. The illustrations are lovely and actually incorporate Monet's famous paintings into the illustrations. For young children it's a wonderful introduction to the artist.
We've also been working on making paper mache bird feeders, but these are still work-in-progress! Right now the pva glue (intended to make them water proof at least for a little while) is drying, and hopefully the boys will remember some of our conversations while making them about why it is especially important to help the birds through the winter.
Fingers crossed next week will be a little more productive.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Sculpting blind

We've finally come to the end of our time looking at Georgia O'Keeffe.
Towards the end of her life O'Keeffe's sight began to fail her and she turned more to sculpting.
To emphasise this point the boys attempted to make some models blindfold.
Neither much liked the experience of not being able to see what they were doing. Lamb lasted only a few minutes before he could stand it no longer, though Moo actually asked to be blindfold again later in the day to play with the blindfold :-)

They both got the point though, and found it much harder when they couldn't see what they were doing.
More than any of the art they have done thus far this little exercise has really ingrained the name 'Georgia O'Keeffe' into their minds.

There is a lovely free 'festivals of light' printable available on this winter's edition of 'Rhythm of the Home',
intended for use to make a little booklet. The kids used this to get in some good pencil control practise and scissor skills practise, which both of them need to work on, while we talked about the Winter Solstice and the various celebrations at this time of year.
Instead of making little booklets, the kids made some banners to hang on the wall using reflective baking foil
- which included a little bit of scientific discussion on why some things are shiny :-)

Now they are both desperate to start getting the Christmas decorations put up!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Salt dough angels and more Georgia O'Keeffe

We're coming to the end of our time looking at Georgia O'Keeffe's work. Moo is the real art lover, Lamb can take it or leave it. Today we had a look at some of Georgia O'Keeffe's bone pictures again, and looked at some more photos of O'Keeffe throughout her life. The boys then had the opportunity to get really messy and had a go at drawing some duck bones with charcoal sticks. Lamb wanted to post his off to Georgia O'Keeffe for her to see and I had to explain why that wasn't going to be possible.

Get messy they most certainly did!

Getting into the Christmas spirit again, today we made angels using salt dough. The boys wanted to make some angels we could hang from the ceiling so we made their heads hollow to put ribbon through. Before the little angels went into the oven to dry out we made the holes in the back to insert their wings afterwards.
And then came the glitter... an explosion of glitter, quite literally (the tops flew off the glitter shakers)!!
As we had some of the salt dough left over and lots of glitter to clear up we combined the two and the boys used the cookie cutters to make some sparkly star decorations to go on the tree when it finally goes up.
All in all a rather peaceful day (I suspect that the lack of any numeracy work might have something to do with that!!).

Maths out of doors

Well, Tuesday wasn't a great day, so yesterday it seemed prudent to think creatively. With a lot of help the boys made various shaped dice from nets. Oh the tears from Moo when he realised he had cut the tabs off one of his dice! From the 4 shapes that they attempted (alone and with help) 2 made it into 3D.

We talk the dice and the chalks out to a quiet spot and made a rather odd version of hopscotch.

They both loved this SO much (although it seems Lamb has forgotten the number 5 exists) and we had to keep going back to it throughout the day.

Moo decided to put the chalks to good use when we finally came inside :-)

NemNem suggested we put on a Christmas play. I figured she was being funny but it led to these rather handsome 3 Kings being made yesterday to learn the song 'We 3 Kings'. We've given the chorus some simple actions and the boys are starting to remember the words.