Monday, March 9, 2015

Work Plans for the Week of March 9, 2015: Science and Superheros

Our curriculum is especially science-heavy this week, with Science Fair prep and Science Club and zoology, but that's what the kids are into right now. History and Literature and Art and Civics will all still be waiting when the Science Fair is over and the zoology curriculum has been completed and Science Club is adjourned for the semester.

The kids' dailies this week consist of Chinese language practice (mostly using videos from Learn Chinese with Emma), keyboard practice (based on their Hoffman Academy lessons), typing practice (still using Dance Mat Typing, although I think the children have maxed out that program and need me to find them a new one), cursive practice (I've got them copying stanzas from "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud," in preparation for a cute project that I have in mind), and the book of the day, which this week includes Chinese vocab and mythology, a Mongolian short story, horse books, and some grammar--basically whatever I've got on the library shelf for them but don't have any other immediate plans for.

MONDAY: We have big plans for Pi Day! Most of our plans for March 14 involve making lots of pie for an evening Feast of Pi(e), but I've got some enrichment activities planned to prepare for the big day. Later today, the kids are going to get out the tape measures and rulers and many circular things, and I'm going to see if they can discover the principle of pi on their own.

We've got our regular volunteer gig at the food pantry today, and the kids have another Hoffman Academy lesson, with its accompanying worksheets. Chinese class will be on hiatus for the next two weeks so that the children's instructors can go on Spring Break, but the children do have homework, so the first of my promised enrichment lessons for Chinese will be spent completing that.

Last week, I had the kids prepare these Girl Scout badge checklists, and I encouraged them to look through each checklist, note activities that they've completed this school year, and write them down. I think this will make it easier for the kids to see when they've already completed two or three out of the five activities for a particular badge, and therefore encourage them to complete the remaining activities to finish it up. They'll be using their checklists to figure out what Girl Scout badge they'd like to work on this week.

TUESDAY: In Math Mammoth this week, Syd is studying division, and Will is finishing up decimals before starting a long computation review next week. I've also got them, just for fun, watching the BrainPop movie on pi and reviewing a song they memorized last year--it's the first 25 digits of pi!

In Mandarin class, the children have been learning vocabulary for family members, which is kind of complicated in Mandarin, as paternal and maternal grandparents have different names, as do older and younger siblings, etc. I discovered, during this, that the kids can't automatically recall who is a maternal and who is a paternal relative, so I'm going to start them on a family tree project. I plan to have them use photos of family members, calling or writing for a photo when necessary, and I'll ask them to lay them out in family tree format, and then label them in the languages that we've studied recently, so Latin, Spanish, Mandarin, and, of course, English. For projects like these, I tend to let them work together on one (it makes the whole project seem less important and useful if you know you're making duplicates, don't you think?), but that one project must end up looking pretty darn nice.

The kids are really excited about Science Club on this night--they'll be doing the ubiquitous Egg Drop Experiment!

WEDNESDAY: We've got First Language Lessons on this day, but I actually have some functional grammar that I want to teach--paragraphs, the capitalization of "I", the fact that you don't capitalize the word that comes after a comma--so I'll probably be ditching or supplementing FLL beginning next week.

Speaking of paragraphs... Syd dictated the longest book report in the world to me a few weeks ago (seriously, I was nodding off at the keyboard while typing!), and there was not a single paragraph break in that whole damn report. Believe you me, she'll be putting in some paragraph breaks on this day! Will has horseback riding class on this afternoon, with the resultant homework to complete beforehand.

I love that most of the activities in Zoology for Kids can be completed independently by the children, AND the book is written directly to them, too, so I'm happily able to simply hand it off and let them get on with it. I've flipped through it, however, and have notes on what activities I want to require them to do; they've always chosen to complete additional activities just for fun, which is the sign of a great textbook, if you ask me.

Watching a video of the Sleeping Beauty ballet fell utterly flat last week--both children nodded off, and napped comfortably curled up together on the couch for the duration of the program. I think now that my plans to take them to a production of the actual ballet this month are off. Nevertheless, we'll have a lovely time listening to the music of the ballet, simply because I'll bring out the coloring books!

THURSDAY: This will be an easy ending to our school week, as we've got Gym Day, a talk about our community center's history as a segregated school, and Syd has gymnastics. I'm hoping that we'll have time, nevertheless, to try pysanky, as I've been looking forward to it, and yet have had to continually put it off for a couple of weeks now. If not then, then perhaps during the weekend.

Syd completed the City of Rocks Junior Ranger badge book a while ago, but it got lost in my paperwork--oops! I discovered it this weekend, and figured that if I was going to send in one badge book, I might as well send in two, so Will can complete hers on this day while Syd is at gymnastics.

FRIDAY: Free Day!!! We'll be going on an all-day field trip on this day to the Indianapolis Comic Con; I'll have my face painted to look like my favorite superhero, Krrish, and I'm not ashamed to tell you that I am PAYING the children--five bucks and one Snickers bar each--to wear their Awesomes costumes. There are some panels that I want to attend that may seem a little dry to the children (how many lectures on gender in comic books/superhero films/manga can two kids sit through?), but we'll compromise with plenty of time in the board game room, kids' craft room, exhibition hall, and movie rooms.

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: Thanks to our local university's Spring Break, we surprisingly have NOTHING scheduled this weekend! Also, the weather should be gorgeous. Hiking, perhaps, then. Pysanky eggs. Yardwork.

And, on Saturday, pi(e) for dinner!

No comments: