Thursday, December 19, 2013

Crystallized Snow Flake Pipe Cleaner

You will need:
Pipe cleaners
Boiling water
Borax ( found in detergent aisle)

To make the snowflake:
1.Cut 2 pipe cleaners in half 
2. Twist three of your strips to make your snowflake
3. Cut another pipe cleaner into fourths and twist those pieces on the edges of your snowflake.

1. Measure out how much water you need to fill your jar.
2. Then bring that amount of water to a boil 
3.Mix  1/3 cup Borax for every 2 cups of water
4. Submerge your snowflake into the mixture and let sit overnight.

And Tada!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

K5 Online Reading and Math Program

K5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students. I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program. If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their open invitation to write an online learning review of their program.

I'm really excited to try out this program with my kids and will share my thoughts with you!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Red Light Green Light: Our frustration level speedometer

Just had one of those "Aha" moments where you feel like you're just getting everything right. Unfortunately it came after I got everything wrong.

I was doing a Hebrew reading activity with my 4.5 year old when she got totally frustrated and threw a major tantrum. Now I know many of you are going to"tsk-tsk" me for doing such an activity with my preschooler, but let's just put that aside for a minute.

Her lack of frustration control and inability to handle being wrong EVER really worries me and we continue to try different strategies to deal with this, but after the above fiasco occurred I did none of those productive things.

I yelled and said everything I should NOT have said. Of course this helped no one and her tantrum escalated.

Once I took some deep breaths, I walked into her room to console her with my tail between my legs and just held her until she relaxed.

Then the light bulb went off in my head.
I told her that we cannot continue this way and when she is starting to feel frustrated she has to let me know in a calm way.
Hence our red light/green light strategy:
We decided to leave out  red, yellow, and green construction papers on the table while we do our school work.
We start with green on the table. Once she starts feeling frustrated, she puts out the yellow sheet. At that point she will ask for help or choose to pull out the red sheet to stop the activity completely.

It's the yellow zone that we so needed. It's the zone where she can take a step back and evaluate her feelings and the situation at large. Leading to a state where her feelings can be validated and she can end an activity calmly. Otherwise we are back to tantrum land where both of us are in a heated red zone and nobody's feelings are acknowledged.

We put our plan into action with a similar reading activity and it worked beautifully! She owned the activity, she owned her feelings, and our lesson went smoothly.

What started out as a terrible mom moment turned into an awesome teaching moment for us all.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Math Monday: Sensory Play with Rice and Numbers

I bought two sets of these super cute magnetic wooden 
numbers for less than $1.00 on Amazon

I then buried them in a plastic shoe bin filled with rice:

The girls had a great time digging through the rice finding numbers 
to match to their identical counterpart on the table. 

My 4 year old said that next time it would be better if we had groups of items 
set out on the table and she would find the number that matched how many were in each group.

I then set out a bunch of different measuring cups and spoons on a sheet on the floor. 
We explored how many scoops of the various cups it would take to fill one whole cup with rice.

Sunday Science: Butterfly Life Cycle

The best way to learn about an insect's life cycle is to watch it first hand. 
A really easy and amazing insect to care for is a butterfly. 
We used the kit by Insect Lore and love it:
You receive a net habitat and a cup of caterpillars with food. Once the caterpillars form their chrysalis you transfer them to the net.

Our butterfly emerging from it's chrysalis

 Butterflies grazing on juicy oranges

 Butterflies mating!!! We did not expect to see this.

 Butterfly laying over 70 eggs.
 The instructions said to let the butterflies go within a week and we should not have to worry about eggs. These eggs appeared 5 days after the butterflies emerged.

If you look closely, there is a tiny and very hungry caterpillar on top of this leaf.
We let most of the eggs out in a field in upstate NY and kept a few at home on a bed of wet paper towels and leaves.

And of course we had to introduce him to the famous hungry caterpillar by Eric Carle (in Hebrew). 

There are tons of other activities that can be down alongside "The Very Hungry Caterpillar":

The Very Hungry Caterpillar activities and crafts
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Tot School Tuesday - Very Hungry Caterpillar
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