I’m a little behind in my blogging, because we just got back from a family vacation to San Diego. Although, I’d use the term “vacation” rather loosely considering my husband and I had to take turns walking a cranky Jenna up and down the airplane aisle for two hours on the way home.
Anyhow, now that we are back I’m really excited to get Bruce started on Scratch, which I read about in “Gifted Child Today” while we were on our trip. It’s a software program that teaches young children about computer programing. The best part is that it is completely free! I just downloaded it on our computer http://scratch.mit.edu/, and it does indeed look very cool. I can’t wait to pick up Bruce from Kindergarten this afternoon, and get him started.
This weekend we have a number of family get-togethers that have caused me to relent and purchase some game apps for our Ipod Touch. As always, I tried to go the educational route so I loaded “Stack the States”, “Pizza Fractions” and “Oregon Train”. The clear winner has been Oregon Trail. I’ve had to keep and eagle eye on Bruce or else he will play it all day. So in between visiting with my Grandma, Aunt and cousins, I’ve been checking in on him and making sure he read Barbara Park’s “Operation Dump the Chump” from start to finish, as well as sending him outside to play. This really makes me glad we don’t have a DS. One weekend with some Ipod games, and my six year-old is obsessed.
Here’s the new toy in our household this week. So far Bruce likes it a lot and has been playing it every day. As for me, I like that it has a headphones jack in it, so I don’t need to listen to the annoying music. As for efficacy, Bruce does seem to be learning his x 12’s, which is an area he was weak in before.
Here’s a picture from yesterday morning, when Bruce made a recipe for kids from the Rachel Ray Everday magazine. It was called “Topsy Turvy Egg bake”, and was supposed to take 3o minutes to make. An hour later, it was ready for the oven. I tried to find it online, but couldn’t. Her magazine is pretty cool thought. http://www.rachaelraymag.com/
Here’s what Bruce, my husband and I played tonight. It’s a game called 10 Days in Europe. What’s great about this game is that it not only teachs geography, but you can play it quite quickly. It says on the box that it takes about 20-30 minutes a game, but it can be even shorter depending on what cards you get.
This isn’t the best picture of Jenna, but here she is with her “spelling wand” my MIL picked up for her. If you are familiar with Super Why, you know that Princess Presto uses her spelling want to write words. Jenna loves watching Super Why now, says “Wands up!”, and calls out the Super Letters along with the characters on tv. I think it’s a fun and meaningful way for her to practice what she is learning.
Bruce got one of these for his sixth birthday and it is really cool! He can use it as a dictionary when writing, or he can use it to play spelling games. There is even a feature where you can type in a spelling list, and then practice just those words. That will come in useful next year in first grade. I heard that the GATE program has the kids learn 22 new words each week. Yikes!
Yipee! Our Leap Frog Letter Factory videos finally came. We are starting with the Letter Factory video, and Jenna has watched in 3 times over the past week. It is 35 minutes long, and very well done. It’s a good progression from Rusty and Rosy because there is more plot, and because it introduces letters and their sounds in a new way. It’s a little too heavy on uppercase letters, but that’s okay. Jenna is almost 21 months old now, and she has the attention span for the video, but either Bruce, my husband, or I will always watch it with her to reinforce the concepts.
Bruce has now finished his 2nd grade Hougton Mifflin math books from our local school district. We are very excited to move on to something more inspiring. Since it is Spring Break, he’s taking a week off from paper and pencil math work. Next week, I’ll probably start him on Right Start Level C. A lot of that will be review, but some of it will be new ways of thinking about things he already knows.
But before I stop blogging forever about Hougton Mifflin, I wanted to share the link to the free online games that go with the curriculum. They are only ho-hum, but are at least worth a few days of your kids playing them while you cook dinner.
(For more information on the how and why of Homemade Books, please see: http://teachingmybabytoread.blog.com/homemade-books/)
Jenna’s Rock Book
Jenna has lots of rocks.
Jenna loves rocks!
Here’s a game we have been playing this week from Right Start Math. http://activitiesforlearning.com/mathcardgames.aspx It’s called Multiplcation Memory. We have special cards for it, but you could make them at home too. This game is set up for X 6s. You put 6 on the left. Then you put out 10 cards numbered 1-10. Then you put the = sign. Then you put out the products: 6, 12, 18. 24, 30 etc. After that it pretty much works like the normal memory game.
Bruce already has a solid conceptual understanding of multiplication, and is now just working on memory recall of facts. This is a fun alternative to flashcards, although at some point we might use flashcards too. As a teacher, I would notplay this game with a child who was a multiplication novice, but it is fine for Bruce.
It is Spring Break right now, so as a special treat I’m letting Bruce play Clue Finders Third Grade Math (almost) as much as he wants. So far I’m not as impressed by it as I was with Reader Rabbit 2nd grade math, which was outstanding. But Bruce has learned about line graphs these past few days of playing, and he has also been adding and subtracting with decimal points. This seems like a pretty easy way to introduce him to new math concepts, without any input from me.