Kindergarten Home School Week 13: Thursday

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We deviated from the curriculum today, with Travis losing interest in Mo Willems-themed activities. Luckily I was able to engage him with the following:

9-9.30: ELA. After a page on the letter Y in his workbook, y as in yellow prompted us to redo an old color wheel activity, which of course turned into messy water and food coloring play. So a good way to start the day! He also did about 10 minutes on Lexia.

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9.30-10: Telling time. Travis filled out a summer workbook page with clocks showing the time at :00 and :30 intervals.

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10-10.30: Snack/recess. This may have involved walking on pillows.

10.30-11: Art. Upon learning it was Corn on the Cob Day, we made a quick art project! Travis made a big blob of glue roughly in the shape of an ear of corn, then loved dropping in unpopped corn kernels.

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We added marker for brown silk strands on top and green husks. We continued the fun late day by shucking and roasting real ears of corn!

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11-11.30: Math. Travis only wanted to do Star Wars addition problems. I encouraged him to write a “math story sentence” to go with one problem, to much protest, so we switched over to…

11.30-12: Music. Travis’s teacher posted a wonderful sing-along of Lift Every Voice and Sing in solidarity with those demonstrating across the country right now. I spoke to Travis about the protests in an age-appropriate way, and asked him what the song meant to him. This was a little tough for him to grasp, and we zeroed in on the concepts of fairness and love.

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I was proud of his heart to share with his music teacher.

12-2: Lunch/free play. And social time with a friend on Zoom!

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2-2.30: His teacher asked the kids to think about summer goals, a great prompt! Travis settled on learning to ride a bike, and then wrote a sentence for it and drew a picture.

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2.30-3.30: Outside. We finished the day with a gorgeous walk to count critters! And then enjoyed that roasted corn of course.

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Counting Critters

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Here’s a quick science and graphing activity to go with your next nature walk! It put a fresh spin on a route we’ve taken quite frequently in the past few weeks.

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The idea here wasn’t to count the number of each animal we saw, but rather to notice groups and then see which group had the most. I was proud of Travis latching onto this idea, meaning it didn’t matter that we’d seen two butterflies; it mattered that when we saw them they were alone, so in a group of 1.

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What else could we spot? We saw lots of chipmunks, but only ever one at a time.

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We saw dogs out for walks. And spiders, which were always alone.

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Travis enjoyed the count so much that we continued even once at the playground. Here, we saw lots of birds, and the most we saw in a group was 3.

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But the winning species? Ants. Travis spotted five together in the woods. We actually then spotted an enormous cloud of ants so big I didn’t bother counting it towards our game; the numbers wouldn’t have fit on our graph paper!

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Once home, I offered to label Travis’s graph, but he wanted to draw the pictures of the animals himself! Then we graphed how many were in each group and could easily see what had the most and what had the least.

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I encouraged him to think about what this said about each species’ behavior. He correctly surmised that ants lived in social groups. Chipmunks and spiders probably lived alone. In sum, this simple activity turned a regular walk into not just a math lesson but a fascinating thought experiment on animal behavior.

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Color Cards

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These easy DIY color flashcards are similar to a set I made for Veronika last week, that time featuring shapes. This time, I likewise covered construction paper with sticky contact paper for durability, and then cut two squares from each color. I wanted all the shapes to be uniform, because the test now was on colors!

I laid all the squares in front of Veronika and held up one green. If I had a green, could she find the match?

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It was interesting to watch her go through this game, as it made clear which colors she knows and which she still guesses. She mixes up blue and green, for example, as well as red and orange, but she has a solid grasp on yellow, pink, and white!

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Honestly the game didn’t interest her nearly as long as the shape version. But since the squares fit neatly into a zip-top bag, and I can pull these out again and again, the older she gets and the better she knows her colors!

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Walking on Pillows

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We had a rainy and overcast day today, and the kids were sad to learn they couldn’t head to the playground, especially since it is only newly reopened in our state. Thinking quickly, I devised this gross motor game for them inside: walking on couch pillows!

We stripped the couch of every single pillow, from the big seat cushions to the little side pillows, and arranged them all in a big line. This alone was a thrill – pillows all over the floor!

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“Walk?” I asked Veronika, who loves to test her balance. She immediately took my hand and walked the pillow course from start to finish.

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Of course then she wanted to do it “all by self”. She was wobbly on the smaller pillows, but so proud.

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On the times she wobbled to her knees, she simply turned it into a crawling course instead, which was equally great for gross motor skills.

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Big brother Travis could even do it backwards.

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She kept trotting over to walk the line over and over again, a sure sign that we had a hit.

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And then of course the couch pillows were perfect for a rest after. “Cozy lie down,” she told me.

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A quick rest, and then she was up to do it again!

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Aside from being great fun, this activity was excellent for building balance. So we had the perfect playground for our rainy day.

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