Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I've been a snail or a slug!

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I blogged last. It has been a busy couple of months for us. I did some traveling, my dh did some traveling, my kids did some traveling. We're all back for a few weeks then dh is off to Europe for ten days. Then the holidays hit! Where does the time go?

So, I can't think about all I haven't blogged about in the past 6 weeks. What is going on in our lives now?

I just made a bluebird Halloween costume for Thing One. He wants to say "Trick or Tweet"! I took some of his falling apart onesie pajamas, cut them up to use as a pattern and turned a couple of yards of blue felt that I bought for another unfinished project into a costume. I made some simple "wings" that I attached to the back of the arms, and I attached a simple tail to the back below the zipper. I used a helmet pattern from a knight costume to make a hat. I sewed a blue feather boa onto the helmet and onto the edges of the wings.

Thing Two is either going to be a pumpkin (borrowed costume) or a ghost (hand-me-down from Thing One).

DH and I? who knows. We usually throw something silly together at the last second.

School is going fairly well, although it has been somewhat inconsistent with all our traveling lately. I have workboxes out in the classroom, and downstairs as well. They are varying complexity, so some are good for each child, and some are good cooperative activities and games for all of us to do together. I've been letting the boys pick when they're ready.

I also ordered a new curriculum that arrived yesterday. I will have to report on it later, but the one lesson we've done from it today went well and was engaging, except for the "practice writing letter B" page. It's called Moving Beyond the Page. I ordered one unit (environment) to see how we like it.

We've been doing lots of Halloween activities. We did a cool painting technique called watercolor and ink resist. It made a nice Jack-o-lantern painting.

I have tons of beautiful photos from my trip to Santa Fe, and our trip to Ocean City while the kids were with their grandparents. That will have to wait for another day!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Snail and Slug Week

Thing One has developed a fascination with slugs. We have found some real doozies around our house lately. He asked to learn more about them. Unfortunately it's hard to find much about just slugs for young kids, so we broadened our topic to include snails (and we touched briefly on mollusks in general).

We read:
Snails, Clams and Their Relatives by Blaxland
The End of the Beginning: Being the Adventures of a Small Snail (and an Even Smaller Ant) by Avi
The Snail and the Whale by Donaldson
The Snail House by Ahlberg
Mr. Carey's Garden by Cutler
Some Smug Slug by Edwards
My Buddy, Slug by Krosoczka

We tried a couple of experiments at attracting slugs. Several friends made suggestions and we tried most of them. We set out canned catfood (and attracted nothing, that we saw anyway). We set out a dish of beer (again, nothing). I also heard that wet sisal mats attract them but we didn't try that. We had the best luck just looking under big rocks or bricks, and checking the sidewalks early in the morning and after rain.

Plant week

So I've gotten a little behind in blogging! We've been out enjoying the gorgeous weather.

A few weeks ago, we studied plants. We did several science experiments. We did the classic cut a stalk of celery and put it in water colored with food coloring, and watch the leaves turn colors. we did this with white carnations too. Oddly, the blue worked well with the carnations, but we noticed almost no difference in the red carnations.

We put some damp paper towels and lima beans in an empty jar and set it near the window for a few days. When some of them had swelled up and split open, we looked at the inside of the beans and named the parts. When they started sprouting, we planted a couple of them.

We also put some grass seed in an old pizza box. I cut half the lid off the box. Then I closed the box lid. Supposedly, the grass seed would come up on the side where it was exposed to the sun. Actually, it all grew on the side that was covered. I often have luck like this with our science experiments!

We went on a nature walk and tried to find as many different kinds of seeds as we could. Then we took them home and examined them closely, and compared and contrasted them. We talked about how each of them served a purpose in helping the plant grow new plants.

We read:
A Parade of Plants by Stewart
From Seed to Plant by Gibbons
A Seed is Sleepy by Aston
Plants by the Ontario Science Centre
Plants Grow! by Wade
How a Seed Grows by Jordan
A Tree is a Plant by Bulla
Ten Seeds by Brown
Oh Say Can You Seed? by Worth
Plant Life Cycles by Ganeri
Flip, Float, Fly: Seeds on the Move by Macken