Sunday, November 27, 2011

$462 minus $58....That is a Hard One!

The math problem I gave the boys was that they had $462 and had to give me $58.

First I had them use our place value cards and count out $462.

 OK...they both have the $462. But now HOW do they give me $58?  I expected Douglas, 8, to have the solution quickly as he has been doing subtraction with borrowing for a couple years. However, we had not used these cards in a long time and he had forgotten how to use them. I had brought them out to make Charles, 6, do some thinking. So for the moment they are both stumped.

 Charles gives me the $50, but has no idea where or how to get the $8. 

To help them, I keep pointing to the extra cards, referring to them as a "bank."

Charles simply takes the extra six 1s he needs from the bank.

 So Douglas follows suit. Problem solved, right? Hmmmmmmmmm.  I tell them there is just one problem. I am going to have to have them arrested for robbing the bank. They laugh, but put the money back.

 They keep thinking and moving the cards around, but are finding no solution.

About this time, Charles remarks, "This is the hardest problem ever!"

 I remind them again that this is a bank....Charles says, "I got it!" and he told Douglas his idea. He could give the bank one of his $10 and get some $1s.
Douglas immediately sees what he had been missing. He could "borrow" and he knew how to do that.

 Now they still have $462, just with different denominations.  So... is now easy to give me $58.
And the answer is $404.  $462 minus $58 equals $404. PROBLEM SOLVED! 

And a new concept has been introduced. We went on to work the problem out on paper and it made complete sense to him.  He worked several problems with borrowing...both using the cards and on paper.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dress Code

We have the most interesting dress code at our school. Children may dress as they like. They choose some amazing styles.

Diana in her ballerina dress. She thinks it is beautiful and wears it often. Mom is happy that she is willing to wear it over warmer, modest clothing.

Princess Diana. She loves to be dressed "pretty" which includes jewelry and gloves. It often also includes her fairy wings.

Accessories are important for the well-dressed princess or fairy.

You can never tell who might show up at the school table together. Today it was two super heroes and "Pastor John." As soon as Wesley got up this morning he asked Douglas if he could wear Douglas' new tie. So, of course, he had to wear a dress shirt too. The other boys told him he looked just like Pastor John (from their church) except Pastor John has different shoes. (Wesley has cool spiderman shoes!)
Pajamas are acceptable attire, especially first thing in the morning, or in the evening after dinner.
Even pajamas that glow in the dark!

Hats are OK, too. Grandma often asks them to remove them if she is taking pictures and wants to see their faces though.
Pirates are welcome.
Even those who are heavily armed. We have no metal detectors here...except for the new one Douglas bought himself to hunt for treasure.
Super hero in red is ready to fight for peace, justice, and the American way...or anything else that allows him to use water pistols, swords, guns, bow and arrows, or light sabers.

The Fearsome Foursome!  Douglas in red, Wesley in green, Diana is the ninja and Charles is Zorro.

Wesley, the green caped crusader.
Charles makes a handsome Zorro...even with barefeet.

 Diana is quite a ninja.

The children love to dress-up or be in costumes. They also love to be fairies (Diana), cowboys, Vikings, knights, Pa Ingalls and family, Daniel Boone, and of course, Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker (since they found light sabers at Goodwill). I love their imaginations and their play-acting.

Of course, they get it from their mother who also liked to dress up when she did her schooling at home oh, oh, so many years ago....
Their mom...Cortney.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Apples to Oregon - Literature Unit

Covering most subjects can be done starting with any topic. I like to start with a fun book and spend the morning, day, or week with it. 

Right now we are reading Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. According to the cover, this is "the (slightly) true narrative of how a brave pioneer father brought apples, peaches, pears, plums, grapes, and cherries (AND CHILDREN) across the plains."

The children love the funny tall tale with its many exaggerations and delightful illustrations.

Although we had read the book before, we are reading it again and loving it just as much. We read it yesterday. We enjoyed the story and talked about exaggerations and tall tales. Then we watched another tall tale...Paul Bunyan DVD. 

Today we again read the story. The children were watching extra closely for the exaggerations. Their favorite is Delicious's description of the Plate River. She describes it as "as wider than Texas, thicker than Momma's muskrat stew, and muddier than a cowboy's toenails." The part about the toenails sends them all into fits of laughter. I guess the fact that summer is just past and they easily remember the days of being barefoot with muddy feet and toes, gives them a very clear picture of this.

The map of their journey, which is included inside both the front and back covers, fits right in with us learning the states. 

Here Charles is pointing out Oregon to his cousin Jacob.

Before Jacob and Aaron arrived this morning, the other children worked on their US geography. We are learning the northern border states. So while putting the US map together, the Northern Border States song played over and over.
 When the map was completed the children took turns pointing to the states while we sang the song a few more times.

And back to Apples to Oregon. We waited for Jacob and Aaron to arrive before we read the story today because they were not here to enjoy it yesterday. 

This is a good moment while I am reading (and slightly posed). The two littlest ones have a hard time sitting still for stories unless they are on my lap. So I used some events in the story to give them a moment to move.

When they are crossing the Plate River on a raft, the raft begins to sink. Delicious (the oldest daughter who is telling the story) gets the idea for all the children to take off their shoes and put their feet in the water and kick FAST. 
So the children lined up along the edge of the rug (pretending the rug was the raft) and kicked!

Another opportunity to move during the story was when Delicious described how the trees they were transporting began to droop from lack of water. So the children all stood and first pretended that they were strong, straight, well-watered trees. Then we talked about the long time in the desert between waterholes and the "trees" began to shrivel. The children were eventually almost to the floor. BUT...Delicious saves the day again. She finds a water source. So our "trees" began to perk up and gradually were once again tall and straight.

 Since we wanted to learn a little more about Oregon we turned to our favorite collection of state books by Sleeping Bear Press. Here Wesley is holding B is for Beaver, An Oregon Alphabet by Marie and Roland Smith. Below Douglas is showing some of the beautiful illustrations by Michael Roydon.
The "O" page which tells about the Oregon Trail reminded the boys of their other favorite book series Little House. They think the girl looks just like Laura or Mary Ingalls.

The "J" page tells of Chief Joseph, of the Nez Perce tribe.

So Douglas is going to read the American Girl book, Meet Kaya. Kaya is of the Nez Perce tribe.

After we finished reading today, all the children drew a picture from the story. 
Charles also wrote a few sentences and Douglas did a couple paragraphs about a part of the story.

This was a fun part of our morning today.