Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Teaching Greater Than > Less Than

Like so many other things, I don't really see the point of waiting to teach certain concepts until a particular age or grade. When kids are ready to get it, they're ready.
And they're usually ready before most people think they are!
Right now my kindergartner and 3-year old are at about the same academic level, (Dash is way ahead with his gross motor skills, storytelling, humor, etc. but a bit slower in fine motor skills and attention span )
So I'm embracing this, and am now grateful that I can teach double-duty for these little guys.
In case you haven't guessed it yet,
I simply start by telling the boys that the hungry alligator wants the side with more food.

He always eats the bigger number. Simple, right?

(below, my 3-year old LittleLad draws his "monster teeth," to eat the number 9)Within 30 minutes they progressed from manipulatives (poker chips and number rods, in this case) to number puzzles playing cards, dominoes, Skittles...
I should have taken pics of the Skittle Lesson. We had to turn the alligator around several times, depending on how many of their 10 skittles they ate. Soon, of course, there were no Skittles left, and we moved on to marker board "worksheet" practice.

Playing is the best way to learn!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Paper trees

Anyone wonder why we have Christmas trees? After all, the season is about the birth of Christ... and I've never seen any Evergreens shown in the nativity scene.

I look it up every year, it seems.

"The origin of the Christmas tree is obscured by uncertainties of oral histories
of pre-literate European cultures. For example, according to Christian lore, the
Christmas tree is associated with St Boniface and the German town of Geismar.
Sometime in St Boniface's lifetime he cut down the tree of Thor in
order to disprove the legitimacy of the Norse gods to the local German tribe.
St. Boniface saw a fir tree growing in the roots of the old oak. Taking this as
a sign of the Christian faith, he said "...let Christ be at the center of your
households..." using the fir tree as a symbol of Christianity."

The tradition of the Christmas tree as it is today known is fairly young. It was established by Martin Luther as a Protestant counterpart to the Catholic Nativity scene. Luther established the Christmas tree as a symbol of the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden."

To read more... Christmas Tree- Wikipedia

We made simple scrapbook paper trees,

decorated with buttons and sequins.

Must show a pic, too, of our lovely mostly-pregnant Cooking Club

They've been growing since last month! Here are 4 of the 6 pregger CC ladies, lined up by due date (and height!)...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Giving Thanks & Making Felt Flower Headbands!

We had a wonderful meal with Papaw at his house, on Thanksgiving Day. He made ham, double duchess potatoes, homemade bread, salad, pies... so much good food. We talked about and remembered Mimi. I'm finding that I can miss her terribly, but think about her now without feeling sad. We have so many wonderful memories.... So very much to be thankful for.

After supper, we made cinnamon rolls and the played with the kids while the bread rose...

and read lots of stories, of course.

On Black Friday we avoided the stores, as if they were a plague, and gathered at Mom and Dad's house, with my sisters and their families for the big event. The meal was amazing! Thank you, Mom, for so much hard work and incredible food.

Excuse our bad manners.

(Green beans hanging from my mouth, and turkey from Fred's. mmmm) Then off to the park. It was freeeeezing, but they ran off some energy and went back a bit calmer.

Plus it gave the guys some football bonding time. ;)

Love this one. My LittleLad cowboy strolling along with his great-grandfather, hand in hand.

And now, because this is super-long-post-time, I'll go ahead and share my felt flower projects. While Fred and I watch movies at night, I do laundry and then sew.
It's our evening routine lately.

I handsew them, and add pins to the back of my flowers, so they'll be interchangeable on
jackets, headbands, shoes, what have you.

This is the one I'm wearing to Cooking Club tonight.

Ta Ta, my dears! Hoping and praying that your household stays warm and safe,
full of thanks and joy,
creativity and excitement!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Thanksgiving Turkey

About a week ago, we made a Thanksgiving turkey. I asked the kids, every morning, to write something that they were blessed with, or a way in which they blessed others.
I want them to have thankful hearts.
I want them to stop and think about what we have, and not just take it for granted.
This warm house, plenty of clothes, two running vehicles, too many toys, shoes,
medical care, enough food, clean water, safety...
this is all they've ever known.
One of TheArtist's quotes,
"I am thankful for my mother and father and brothers.
They are always there for me if I need help."
Love it.
Even though she called me, "mother."
Yet so many children go without,
every day,
sometimes their entire lives.
We're so blessed.
how can we bless others?

My kids started off with things like, "I clean the house for my mom a lot..."
and "I helped Noni watch Owen and Scarlett"
but soon, as they listed their own blessings
of friends
good food
family who loves them,
they started to ask how they could bless others who don't have those things.
And, boy, that's a good question.
I have some ideas, and am praying for more...
and I do believe we'll be making a Blessing Tree for Christmas very soon,
to continue this idea.

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving and be a blessing to others!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Leaf Man...and woman, bird, cow, duck, bugs, horse...

A sweet, sweet friend of mine made some awesome leaf crafts with her kids, based on a book she had. For the life of me, I can't remember what that book is, but the idea inspired me!

Thanks, Jennifer!

Soooo, we found and checked out Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. Love, love it!

The pictures are fabulous, and it's very subtle about encouraging kids to do their own crafts.

She knows how to manipulate the masses, in a good way. ;)

We read it through twice, and then the kids were ready to go out and hunt for beautiful leaves. I gave them each a ziploc to fill up, and we met back at the table 10 minutes later.

Yes, I'm letting my kindergartner work on crafts, shirtless, in November.

Here is Dash's butterfly

and bugMy duck and turtle
and my cow
yes, it's a cow.

The Artist's horse

of course.

And her fairies & birds ...

NatureMan's faces

Check out the book! One more library book to keep up with, but you won't be sorry.
At the back, the author has identified many different leaves-- more learning to be had-- which means this counts towards science as well as art and reading. :)

Every day, every activity, every conversation and book...
they absorb it all! Make it fun and memorable!

PS There's a blog, that I've enjoyed in the past, all about crafts based on books. Anyone know what I'm talking about? I can't find it!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Monster Dolls

More Gift Ideas, folks, from a book I love!

Meet my Guest Artist!

This is Cheryl... my Mom.

We affectionately call her "Woman"

(as in Superwoman, naturally)
This is what she is capable of...

This is The ArtistChild's favorite toy ever. One of mine, too.
Who says grown-ups don't need toys?!

Love Big Lipped Betty, below.

If I remember correctly, that one was an original idea.

And, below, is Hungry. His brother, who very much resembles him, is named Silly.
My kiddos are constantly correcting me, when I mix the two up.

He's worn it around for 4 years, and it's held up wonderfully. She makes these toys to LAST.
Yes, a boy's dream come true.
You put your books, toys, rocks, worms, underwear, whatever
IN the monster's mouth, for safe storage.
To empty your treasures, just make the monster vomit-- voila.

And what do you end up with?
A rather rascally monster, with his tongue sticking out and his eyes crossed.
Like I said, perfect for little boys. ;)
This Noni knows what the grandkids like.
Plus she still makes toys for me!