Sunday, October 20, 2013

Preschool Lesson: B

Ballerinas, Blueberries, Bananas, Balloons and Bubbles!

But first of all, free play! The most important part.

Next we sat on the rug together and did a review of A from last week. Then we introduced B.  We did the sound drawers, the salt box, and tracing the felt letters.

Next we read a story about Ballerinas.

We broke out the ballet slippers and tutus (luckily I have 2 matching sets of these items) and we watched a little bit of

as we followed along.

Using the backs of these tiny chairs served well as a substitute bar.

After expressing our inner ballerinas, we went upstairs to bake blueberry muffins!

While the muffins were baking we blew Bubbles.
And we read a story about Balloons:

It's amazing how time fills itself with these two lovely preschoolers.  They are so fun to teach.   And my little preschooler is pointing out all her "Big Bs" where ever we happen to be.
Oh, I sent them home with a B coloring page

Fossil Day

We are fortunate to live close to a great campus with some fun resources like a planetarium and great museums.  One of the campus museums was offering activities for National Fossil Day.  So we took the day off to go participate.   Unfortunately, many of the activities were closed for various reasons that I won't get into.  But we made the most of our visit and enjoyed what was available to us.

watching archeologists restore a triceratops thigh, discovered in Montana this past summer

Making rubbings of ancient crustations and faux fossils

The Mastadon!

reproduction of a fossil made by a rhino that was caught in a lake when it flooded with lava.

Almost as tall as a brontosaurus' thigh bone

Checking out specimens on this cool microscope

The vent provided some comic relief

The kids were a little shocked at the "inappropriate" statue outside the museum.  Yeah, it can catch you off guard!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Suzuki Festival

Hard to believe we are now in our second year of Suzuki violin. I have to first come clean by telling you that I am by no means the model Suzuki parent. I won't get into my list of excuses. But I really do struggle with daily practice. It has been a source of daily guilt for me for many months. But recently I had to just free myself from that guilt and give myself credit for the small baby steps that we DO accomplish. Last Saturday I took my Suzuki student to a festival and graduation concert held at a college campus 2 hours away. We got up at 5:30 am. We left at 6am. We were registered and in our seats, ready for a day of music and learning by 8:20am.

There was certainly no shortage of beautiful music that day.  Our jaws dropped as we heard some of the older more advanced students play their graduation pieces.  It was certainly inspiring.  But as we headed to our first class, not knowing what to expect I was slightly less impressed with the event.  Due to a scheduling mix-up, our first class started 20 minutes late.  Then the teacher who jumped in to save us was promptly dismissed when the "real" teacher showed up, which only added to the disjointed chaos.  I kept asking myself if I had really just driven over 100 miles, paid registration and lost sleep for this?
The day improved as we went on, however.  Our second class was a mini semi-private lesson with a different Suzuki teacher.  It was interesting to have input and instruction from a teacher we were not familiar with.  In comparison, I definitely prefer our own Suzuki teacher. 
We at lunch in the Student Union Building with our teacher.  Toward the end of our meal we were treated by an indoor performance from the school's marching band.

The music was so deafening that we actually had to leave.  We took a little walk in the nearby Japanese gardens.

After lunch there was a technique class, followed by something that we had never experienced before: A Delcroze class.  Never heard of it? Neither had I.  But it's basically letting kids learn about music by responding to it with their bodies.  My Suzuki girl LOVED it.  It was her favorite class and just what we needed to perk us up at the end of a long afternoon.

This was followed by the final play-in concert.  We had intended to stay.  But the prospect of a long drive home, and our increasing weariness, prompted both of us to choose an early departure.  We skipped out and we left for home.  I felt bad that her hard work that day was not going to result in a performance that she had bee looking forward to giving.  But her little slumped body and sleepy eyes meant that it was time to go. So off we went for home. 

She slept most of the way home and I struggled to keep myself focused on the road!  But we made it and we were glad we went.  I think.  I sure hope the next one will be a little closer to home!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

High as a Kite

As part of our studies on Ben Franklin the inventor, we decorated and put together a kite. This simple kite was purchased at the moving beyond the page website as part of their Ben Franklin unit study. The instructions were fairly clear and easy to follow.

The only real difficulty was trying to give the kite more string when it finally caught a little wind. The rectangular cardboard wound with very thin string was just too difficult for young hands to manipulate while simultaneously trying to get the kite airborne. But we sure had a lot of fun in the process.

We were lucky enough to catch a break between downpours long enough to get outside and test our beautiful kite. Luckily we live in a pretty quiet cul-de-sac, so I was comfortable with the kids running across and in the street to attempt a lift off.

Fortunately, nobody snapped a pic of me and my 24-week belly running down the street with the kite.  The good news is that I actually had it up in the air, if only for a brief time. 

Decorating the kite before assembly

I'm sure the hand-held fan was instrumental in getting the kite up
Oh, if only we could have let out the string a bit. This was a very near success!

Preschooler preferred to watch our antics from secret hideout.
Spooky mystery hand....reaching for the innocent princess. OH MY.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pumpkin Farm

I love this time of year.   One thing that we all look forward to each year is a trip to our favorite local pumpkin patch!

We skipped a few of our favorite activities, like shooting the corn gun (they were out of corn, if you can believe it!!) and riding the cow train.  But this year we let the older girls try out the corn maze and of course we picked up a few treats from the country store while we were there.  They always manage to squeeze us for a few dollars we hadn't planned to spend.  :)  But we love it.  It's become a family tradition.

Riding the wagon out to the pumpkin patch

We tell the kids they can pick any pumpkin they want as long as they can get it in the wheel barrow with out help.

corn kids

Sometimes the funnest things are free! It turned out to be a very warm afternoon

Special delivery!

Brazilian Hot Dogs

Did you know that in Brazil (at least in Sao Paulo) hot dogs are served with some very unique toppings?  It's true.

If you were to go buy a hotdog from a street vendor,  he would automatically put  TWO dogs in your bun.  Then, in addition to your normal condiments of ketchup, mustard, and relish, you could also choose mashed potatoes, corn, and those pik-nik  string potato chip things.  Yes!

When I lived in Brazil the vendors were all very shocked when I insisted on just one dog instead of two (they're the same price).  But I did learn to love my high-carb dogs with mashed potatoes and chips on top.  Yum.

So today I introduced my kids to this gourmet delicacy.  Let's just say it was a big hit!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Preschool Lesson: Letter A

I'm sure our preschool classes are starting much later than most. And our class is very small: Just two sweet little three-year-olds.  And we only meet twice a month.  So, yes, this is a very low key, low stress endeavor.  That's exactly how I like it!  I figure these girls have two years of preschool ahead of them. We can afford to take it slow.

Anyway, today was A.  So here's what we did:

We started with a story.

Then we peeled our apples and put them on to simmer.

While the apples simmered. We read another story:

Then we made some alligators to go along with our story.

If you're familiar with the Montessori method, you may know about sound drawers.  It's been a while since I've had a preschooler, so it was fun to pull out the sound drawers and talk about things that start with A: apple, ant, astronaut.

We traced letter A (big and small made from sandpaper) with our fingers. And then we tried writing it in the salt box.

We made some As from playdough too.
By then our apples were ready to smash. So that's what we did!!


Stirring in the sugar and cinnamon

Enjoying sweet success

After 15 minutes of  play time, class was dismissed! So much fun.