Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Katy and the Big Snow (Row 2)

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I am so excited to start Five in a Row again!  I adored FIAR when I did it with the boys, but I hadn't quite made the leap into adding another student fully into our homeschool day.  Eleanor is Kindergarten age and has been doing some math and has started Logic of English Foundations, but I could tell she was ready for more.  I wasn't ready to put her in AO Y1 yet, so I thought this would be the perfect transition!

Anyway, I chose Katy and the Big Snow for our first row, because we were supposed to get hit with some winter weather, and even if we didn't get a "big snow" like Katy, this is such a fun winter row!  I then realized the geography/mapping aspect would be good for introducing maps and the story disks, so it worked out well.

I tried to mostly stick to one theme per day, but that meant we weren't necessarily focusing on a single subject some days, as recommended in the manual.  We typically only school 4 days a week at home (we have a weekly co-op) so this has always been done out of necessity anyway.

Day 1 - Social Studies
Cities, Responsibility, Street Signs, Map Skills 
While I read the book, she colored a little coloring page that I found in the FIAR Facebook group, with the intention of using it as the front page for this unit.  (We're just going to put everything into a sketch notebook this year, since she has no need for a portfolio, and see how that works out.)

Much of these lessons were conversational, but she loves to draw so I asked her if she wanted to draw her own map of her own city.  She started with the road around her city, and included a fire station and fire engine, hospital and ambulance, a building for the electric company (and all the electric poles that provide power lines to the different buildings), and a pet store/vet's office, parking lots, as well as a central place for alligators and crocodiles, and a park!  She named it Star City.

Star City, in progress

She wanted to do more, so that's when we we talked about street signs.  We cut out a stop sign from a pamphlet and she colored it (even though she knows the letters are white), then drew her own on a dry erase board, before drawing a great big storm!

I'm guessing this was supposed to be related to the snow storm . . .

Monday was up to around 50 degrees, but I remained hopeful she would get some snow.

Day 2 - Geography; Language Arts; Art
Meet the Character-Katy, Personification
Art: Detailed Personality 
We had some snow flurries and a light cover and moved into a wind advisory, but no big snow.  I normally do the Story Disk on the first day (so we have all week to review) but we didn't do it Monday, so I got out our world scrunch map and we talked about Geopolis again, and she picked USA to place it.  Then I gave her a blank one to color and put in her FIAR notebook.

For Language Arts and Art we talked about Katy, then I introduced Personification and we looked ate the illustrations as discussed in the manual.  She had asked me the day before how Katy could think, then on this day she'd joked about Katy being able to talk, so it was a good day to introduce it, and the conversational art lesson tied in so naturally. After we talked about it, I asked her if she wanted to draw something that was personified.  She picked a Mermaid, because she said it's a fish with a human body that can talk.

She got a birthday card in the mail later that day, and showed me the smiling flower - I could see the surprise and recognition in her eyes!  She couldn't remember the word at first, but she was thinking of personification!

Day 3 - Science and Music
Weather, Water, Snow, Snowflakes 
We got a light covering of snow in the wee hours of the morning, but with the whole polar vortex, negative windchill weather, we did not go play in the snow.  I'm more of a "Sun Day" mom.  However, we did fill a 2-cup measuring cup full of snow, and watched it quickly melt down to less than 1/3 of a cup.

{Messy Morning Hair Don't Care}

Instead of reading the book today, I let her listen to Suite No. 3 Katy and the Big Snow.  She enjoyed the variety of it!

We read a simple reader call Water by Emily Neye.  It was very basic, so Emory (9) was not impressed and insisted on giving her more details about the water cycle and clouds afterwards!

At one point, she wanted to do something in her notebook, so she drew a snowflake, and we talked about how all snowflakes are unique.  She also made a variety of snowflakes with pattern blocks.  {Pattern blocks are great for patterns, geometry, spacial reasoning and so much more - from Preschool and up, we have used these for years!}

Day 4 - Mathematics & Drawing
Grouping and Counting by Fives
I introduced the concept, but she wasn't especially interested.

Measuring Snowfall
So I did something similar to what I did when I rowed this book with the boys, and we got out a tape measure, and measured up the wall the snowfall in inches and feet and compared our height to the snowfall!

My wild girls!  {Yes, they dressed themselves!}

As I said, she loves to draw, and was eager to put something else in her notebook, so I grabbed a Draw Write Now book.  This tractor was from the "farm" section, but she didn't care!  I have the whole set, so I think I'll align a drawing with a book whenever possible.

When she realized there were more books to row (from her story disks) she was so excited to choose the next book!  She loves cats and saw the cat story disk, so she chose Papa Piccolo!  I never rowed this one with the boys, but I was excited for her enthusiasm!

You can also check out my first row of Katy and the Big Snow with the boys.

©2011-2019 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Friday, December 21, 2018

NASA - Air and Space Museum

We had the opportunity to visit the Virginia Air and Space Center when we traveled to Virginia a couple of months ago, but I'm just now getting around to sharing it.  We used reciprocal membership through our local science museum for admission, so it didn't cost us anything extra.

This museum is the NASA Langley Visitor Center.  If you've read Hidden Figures, you'll recognize that the Langley Research Center was the primary setting.  The book has a lot of science talk in it, so I wouldn't recommend it for my kids' age range, but maybe high school and beyond.

I've never been to one of these museums, so I wasn't sure what all we'd be getting into or what the kids would end up enjoying.

Here are a few snapshots of their favorites . . . though the images aren't the best quality.

They loved looking at artifacts and learning their place in space history.

The kids could be an astronaut with their own team in these "capsules" that played like video games.

Katherine Johnson was one of the women featured in Hidden Figures, is from West Virginia, and had an exciting career at Langley.

For the kid who loves airplanes and flight, there was a lot going on for them too with airplanes and parts of airplanes everywhere we turned.

There were a lot of hands-on activities throughout the museum, which helped engage the kids more.

The kids have never flown before, but they liked walking onto the airplane and seeing what it will be like when they do fly.

She buckled up and didn't want to leave!

They loved taking turns "flying" the airplane and just seeing what everything looks like.

Overall, it was a nice place.  There was so much more to see and do than I could possibly capture.  It's hard to read all the placards and really experience everything when you have a 3 year old that likes to go-go-go, but there was a lot of interactive and hands-on stuff to keep the kids interested.  You could make your own paper airplanes to fly through a "wind tunnel" (if I recall correctly), learn how luggage is transported when checked, and walk through an entire exhibit dedicated to Mars, the Moon and beyond.

If your kids are into airplanes or space, this is a fantastic field trip!  I imagine other NASA centers would be equally impressive.

©2011-2018 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Master Kitz The Starry Night {review}

I don't have a strong background in art, so I'm always looking for ways to bring art into the house that will help me encourage my kids to appreciate art and enjoy artistic endeavors without a lot of work or background knowledge from me.  Recently, we had the opportunity to review Master Kits The Starry Night.  This is a product of, which makes creating masterpieces easy and fun for kids!  I used it for an evening project with my three and five year old girls!  My five year old is especially artistic and enjoys all things arts and crafts, so I knew this would be an exciting project for her.

The Starry Night kit comes in a sturdy box with magnetic closures so you can store supplies, and includes acrylic paint, oil pastels, rollers (including the specialty van Gogh roller), stencil, art paper, star stickers and the Van Gogh learning booklet.  Also, an instructional booklet is included.

The only thing I added to our session was a cheap tablecloth to cover the table, a paper plate for the paint, and tape to hold the paper in place, as well as an old t-shirt for my three year old.

Everything came neatly rolled in the box, so it was protected, but you might want to flatten your paper and stencil under heavy books first.  I didn't do this first, so they were a little difficult to handle for little hands.  If I'd though about it before showing the girls the kit, I would have definitely done this a day or two ahead.  Otherwise, set up was easy and straightforward.

The instructions are written out with picture guides, so they are easy to follow.  I read them aloud, because I wanted the girls, or at least my Kindergartener, to understand what and why we were doing certain steps.  I helped the girls set up and get through each step, but an older child could do this independently.

To get started, you need to tape the paper down, place the "star" stickers on the paper, and then use the rollers and stencil as instructed.  I let the girls do this together, but that meant there was a lot of back and forth for me as I helped them through each step, and managed supplies.  I would think ages 10+ could do this independently, while younger students will need varying amounts of assistance based on reading level and fine motor skills.

While there is enough paper for two projects, and probably enough paint for more, there is only one set of the star stickers and rollers.  That means I had to improvise.  I used the perforated part under the original stickers since they were the same shape, and my three year old didn't care.  By starting one child ahead of the other, I was able to go back and forth as one child moved to the next step, they could pass the roller to their sibling.  I just had to find a good rhythm.  Of course, one child could have waited for their sister to complete the entire project, but that's difficult to do at their age, so I did my best to accommodate both within my ability.

Once they finished the painting part, it needed to dry.  You could speed up the drying process with a hair dryer, but we just went and played, and came back later.  After the paint is dry and the star stickers removed, the kids are taught how to use the oil pastels to fill in the stars and the city landscape.  They're encouraged to make it their own, so they can "be inspired" by the original work, or they can get creative and imaginative.

My 3 year old wasn't particularly interested in the details, but she really enjoyed the overall process.  At this age, it is just great to expose her to famous paintings, and the idea of enjoying art, and recreating it in a fun way - the rollers and stencil were exciting for her!

My 5 year old really enjoyed filling in the little details and blending colors . . .

She also took it to heart to get creative with hers.

Both girls were very proud of their finished product, and have them hanging over their beds now!

The informational booklet about Van Gogh is a nice, child-friendly introduction to the artist and some of his works.  You could read this before you start, during the project itself, or they could read it independently.  We just looked through it and I told them a few key facts.  At their age, that is enough to interest them, without overwhelming them with facts.

Overall, I am pleased with the Master Kits The Starry Night.  The instructions were detailed and easy to follow, the artist information was appropriate for kids, and the activity itself was fun!  There are several more Master Kitz and other fun products from, and I am thinking my five year old would love for me to add these to her gift list for Christmas or her upcoming birthday!  I really do think they make unique gifts for young artists to help them learn about different techniques and to build an appreciation for master artists.  There is also one "Art Party" set designed for 12 children - I think it would make a great birthday party activity or co-op session!

If you're interested in learning more about this fun little kit, be sure to read more crew reviews!
Master Kitz The Starry Night { Reviews}

Master Kitz The Starry Night { Reviews}

©2011-2018 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.