Monday, October 15, 2007

Just for Fun!

Thanks for that Tim!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

So ....

How do you all like my template then? I found my old blog template, although I think I've lost a couple of links and some are out of date, so if you spot something that doesn't work PLEASE let me know and I'll put it right.

As we draw near to the end of this half term I can honestly say it's been a good one and seems to be working well atm with my new system.

Mon-Weds are 'normals' days and to be fair are pretty intense - but difficult to make them any less so with 3 primary age children, all at very different levels and with different needs and abilities. Thursday is a more fun day and has been a good mix of music, art, typing, 'Socially Speaking (PHSE), languages, cooking and other hands-on type stuff. Joel has resumed his interest in learning the piano (until this week when it started to get harder!) and A & P have started learning the flute. I am no professional flautist (self-taught actually), but I can certainly get them up to a level at which they can choose whether or not they want to continue. A has a good grasp of it and a reasonable tone already. P is stretched to reach the keys in all fairness, but she definitely has potential to be good. I think she has the makings of a good embouchure. We made an art gallery up the stairs after we made basic 'frames' for all the 'best' pieces they have all done over the last year or so, only they won't stay up with blue tac (any tips for making heavy pictures stay up on walls without pins?).

Then in week 4 we made a start on THIS BOOK and are thoroughly enjoying doing it - and playing the little models that result. It really is very good - perfect level for all of them which is a rare thing! :-) We also have the NorthEastern American Indians and the Mayflower one in the series, so we could be doing these on and off for a while to come. I figured it was a more fun way to do the 'exciting' bits of American History without going into too much nitty gritty that they will never need (and I can learn a bit from it too!) We are all looking to next term as we will have two 'non-book' weeks in which to crack on with this project. I wish there were more time in the ordinary weeks to do it, but with all the playgroup runs int erupting three of our school days and the kids liking to have good long breaks at lunch times, it makes it next to impossible. Great thing about it is that it is virtually (maybe even totally) writing free, so that makes it a real winner with Joel. There is lots of colouring but he doesn't mind that especially when the results are so pleasing.

Aside from all the fun we've been having, some serious school has been happening too...
Phoebe is now on lesson 50 of Headsprout, using 'Easyreadingsystems' too, and breezing through the beginnings of Jolly Phonics - anyone think I'm trying to teach her to read? She seems to need these multiple methodologies to 'get it in' . It seems to me she has very similar 'retention' & 'retrieval' problems to Jacob. She doesn't have the behavioural difficulties that he had at her age, but the struggle seems strangely familiar (although he learnt to read with ease). That said she IS getting the hang of it and is happily beginning to see the fruits of her own labour :-)
A is generally making steady progress across the board. She's a plodder and generally loves to learn - which on the whole makes her a pleasure to teach, although sadly I am not always as patient as I should be with her and when I am not she rushes and her work is then messy. That said - I don't think she is ever going to be the neatest of workers, her motor skills don't seem to be so 'finely tuned' as some of her siblings (iyswim). But she is a bright happy ray of sunshine in my classroom - MOST of the time!
J is doing well generally too, although he is still a slow reluctant writer (hmmm boys...) and he just did poorly in the 'revision' test at the end of MPH 3B (I use this as a measure of how well the concepts have been truly learnt) and we are going to have to go back over it I think :-( First we will us my SPMG Heinemann books that I got from Amazon, for a change of pace, style and 'feel' and then hopefully when we go back to SingaporeMaths it will feel more like review than even it would just now and he will breeze through it and then on to the next level. I think a lot of it is to do with age. He seems to have difficulty applying himself atm (to much 'jump' in him!) and is constantly wandering around. I do give him plenty of 'online' activities to try to keep his interest and motivation levels up, but the three of them have to share one laptop, so there is a limit..!

Some of the sites we are regularly using atm (aside from the reading ones);
Educationcity (on going favourite)

Smartkiddies (complete online maths curriculum and drill - FREE)


poissonrouge (for the littler one)

Starfall (lower primary ages)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

New Template

As all the images suddenly disappeared from my blog I've uploaded a new template, but forgot to copy the old one for all the links, so unless I have it backed up somewhere I shall be busy adding to this for a while! Hope you can see it OK everyone - the old one never worked well with FF anyway, and this seems better :-)
I'll write an update soon too - suffice to say we're ticking along and doing OK!