Saturday, December 12, 2015

Strassner Academy: Week 13 {and LOTS of Christmas resources!}

I'm trying so hard to take photos of our weekly adventures.  You might have noticed, I'm not awesome at it.

So after 2 weeks without photos, we're back.  We're talking J is for Jesus, and it was one of our most fun weeks to date!

We started with these adorable Nativity cut-outs to better help us envision THE story.

I laminated them, then we cut them out and added magnets so that they could play on the dishwasher, which is our only magnetic kitchen surface.

We also watched this wonderful retelling of the Very First Noel; one of my favorites.  So sweet and tender.

We made J ornaments with pipe cleaner and beads.

We did a Nativity characters scavenger hunt (inspired by this one from No Time for Flash Cards) with our Little People nativity.

I set up the manger scene, but absent all the people.  Then, I wrote clues so that the kids had to figure out who it was, and where to find them.

Can I just tell you, the kids loved this activity!

They ran from place to place and were so happy when they figured out the clues!

It was adorable to watch.  Scavenger hunts are my favorite.

Mystery.  Intrigue.  Critical thinking.  Movement. Team work. Plus, literacy skills?  Yeah, I'm in!  I'm dying to do one of those escape room adventures.  But I suppose that doesn't really belong in a post alongside tiny plastic Jesus...

We did an awesome Candy Cane science experiment looking at the effect of different substances on the rate of dissolution of the candy cane.

This one was so much fun!

And such a fascinating process to watch!  We used cold water, hot water, vinegar and Sprite to observe the process and test which ones would cause it to dissolve the fastest.

We also threw in a cherry-flavored one with other colored stripes, just for fun.

We recorded our predictions before putting them in, and then our findings after 10 minutes

and again after 25 minutes.

I love her face in this photo.  She's such the serious, studious little thing!

The one in the hot water didn't stand a chance!  But what was really interesting to me was that the vinegar and soda both had slower reaction times than the water.  Who knew?  It was also really neat to watch the color changes in the various cups.

Although we've done some "scientific method" experiments at school, this was the first one we've undertaken at home using the formal method.  It was a great opportunity to talk about how important it is to accurately record our observations.  I was really proud of what a good job she did!  She even remembered to record the bubbles in the soda, which were big at 10 minutes and barely visible by 25.

The recording sheet I created can be found here if you're interested in using it with your kiddos.  (It was pretty simple, so I won't blame you if you want to create your own!)

This was a super fun one, so I highly recommend it.

We practiced counting with Christmas trees and mini M&M "ornaments."

Logan's fine motor skills just blow me away.  The fact that he can glue those tiny M&M's on without making a huge gluey mess at not yet three and a half is astounding!  He is also stellar at counting and numbers.  I can't tell you how often he does math in his head.  He kept saying things like, "I have four, so I only need two more to make six!"  He just does it without even realizing what a big deal that is.

Speaking of math, Leah started practicing doing double digit math.  Not carrying yet, just adding sums less than 10 in each column.  We've done fractions and analogue clock reading recently... it's getting very real up in here on the first grade math front!

We also did a fun guided reading about the way Christmas is celebrated throughout the world.

Leah finished her phonics program last week, so the next step is to practice, practice, practice and work on increasing her fluency.  Luckily, the www is an amazing place and has come light years in a very short amount of time in terms of teacher resources available.  I don't have to buy a full curriculum, and I don't have to create things from scratch as I did as recently as 3 or 4 years ago when I was still teaching in the classroom.  It's awesome.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't share this version of Angels We Have Heard on High with you in closing.  It's one of my very favorites, and brings me to tears every time.  The kids and I watched it probably half a dozen times this week - it's just that good.

Such a good reminder of what the season is really about.  It makes me grateful every time, to think that these kinds of lessons aren't just a part of my children's lives, they are the very foundation of their education.  They're a central part of what we do every day... and I love it!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I changed my font at