Thursday, March 22, 2012

Postcard exchange (Pen Pals)

Recently on the Brillkids forum there has been much talk on teaching our children geography. It seems we all want our children to be aware of the world around  them and we seem more and more aware of the 'global village' we are now living in. So one of the parents started a postcard exchange which I quickly joined and yesterday we received our first postcard from Madrid in Spain.

This made my daughter feel very excited about her new friend. We read the postcard together and then we opened up the Atlas (We don't have a globe yet) to a map of the world and I showed her where Spain and Madrid were on the map and how far away her new friend lives. Although I did explain that her new friend lived a long way away this didn't stop Miss S from asking if she could come over and play. :)

This little postcard exchange is really quite exciting and has had my DD asking all sorts of questions about the 1st country we have received a postcard from. It has opened us up to looking at maps and borrowing books from the library about her new friend's country. We even have some Spanish to translate which is quite an exciting prospect to also learn another language along the way.

 I hope as my dd gets older and her penmanship improves she will soon be writing the postcards herself and maybe the postcards will turn into letters and a friendship will be forged over the years. I look forward to receiving more postcards and learning about more countries with my dd along the way.

This is also a great way to teach the kids tolerance of different cultures. Yes we may do things differently or have different religions but we can all still be friends and put our differences aside.

What a wonderful world we live in!!!!! :)

Happy Teaching

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A life lesson given to us by children.

Hi readers,

Today I took my little ones off to the park again to let off some steam in the hope both would have an afternoon sleep. (One did the other didn't humpf) but today the kids gave me a lesson and not the other way around.

I know there is an old saying 'That kids can be so cruel.' in some instances that is true but what I also see is that children can be kind and full of compassion.

At the park today my eldest dd comes across another little girl who she had never met her before and 5 minutes later off they running together hand in hand like they were old friends. Then the little girl gets called over by her mother to have a biscuit (cookie). She grabs the biscuit, comes back to my dd and breaks it in half and gives her the other half of the biscuit without being told to share. The kindness shared in that moment was really touching and the other girl's mother commented to me that we could all learn something from that kindness. I agreed.

They then find another little girl to play with and before you know it they are playing ring-a-ring-a-rosy. The girls did not care about how each other looked, or what race they were, they are blind to all that stuff. The kids just wanted someone to play with.

Children are sometimes the ones to teach us if we are open to it. Sometimes we are so busy imparting lessons on to our children that we miss the opportunity for them to teach us. Today observing the moment take place between two children who had never met each other before was wonderful. It reminds me that there really is good in the world.

Happy Teaching


Friday, March 9, 2012

The geography map is finished

Hi readers,

The geography map of South America  is now finally finished.  We had a great time putting it together and learning about the flora and fauna of these wonderful countries. Miss S has enjoyed it so much that we have borrowed books from the library about the different countries and are going to do some of the activities. She was also very proud of her accomplishment and took it to school for show and tell.

The things my daughter learnt.
  • She learnt how to read a legend and understand what a legend means on a map.
  • She learnt to recognise each country's different flag.
  • You can ask 'Where is Bolivia' and she can find it within a couple seconds
  • By colouring in each individual country she was able to find where the country went on the map by working out the shape. (Like a jigsaw puzzle)
  • We learnt about the native animals of South America
  • It has had her asking to learn more about individual countries. For example we were at the library and she found a book on Bolivia and asked to borrow it.
  • It has deepend my interest in this mysterious continent and I have borrowed books about the Incas and I am now reading it aloud to my girls as they play. 

It has been really fun to do and even if you don't do anything on the scale I have done just remember your library is a great resource and just reading to your children will open a whole world of culture to them.

Sticking on Guyana the last country we did

All stuck on

Colouring in the legend. I taught her that she had to colour in the box the same colour as the country so people could find it on the map

All done

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

All about spelling

Hi Readers,

Recently I made a purchase from the Institute for the excellence in writing to teach my eldest dd how to write,(Primary Arts of Language) in this pack also came a program to help teach your child how to spell. So far my dd and I have just completed lesson 6 and my dd is absolutely loving it.

All about spelling is a spelling program was created by Marie Rippel and what I really love about this program is a great hands on approach for kids (who may or may not be able to write) it really encourages you to use many ways to make spelling fun and as tactile as possible and it also encourages you to be flexible. You know your child the best  so find out what works and stick with it.

What I love is the no pressure approach which is especially important for teaching young children and the key is 'Don't worry about completing each lesson every day or worry about getting behind the goal is mastery of the key concepts.'

We go over a few of the concepts every day and play games like "what 3 sounds does this letter make" and I show her the letter 'a'. We play lots of games and use lots of mediums to convey the key concepts

I have to also say from my standpoint I just open it up to the lesson I'm working on get out the materials I need and just get started. Which is great for me as I don't have a huge amount of time to be preparing materials.

So I must share this with you. It is a great little program and well worth it if you want to teach your kids how to spell.

So I will summarise in dot points the pros and cons

  • Each step laid out in a book with lots of hints and tips
  • Flexible approach no lesson has to be mastered in a day take the time your child needs (I have broken 1 lesson down into 3 small lessons.
  • Its fun
  • All the materials you need are include in the pack
  • A certificate for the child once they have completed the course
  • A progress chart so your child can tick off or colour in each lesson
  • A chart to colour in all the letter sounds once you master them
  • I did spend a lot of time prepping the materials BUT I laminated all the cards which you don't have to do which is time consuming in itself and I magnetised each of the individual letter tiles myself as they don't come magnetised. It is up to you if you wish to magnetise the letter tiles and laminate the cards which you don't have to do. I just did this for longevity of the materials
  • Wish it came with a few more progress charts, sound charts and certificate would be great to be used with subsequent children.

Here are some photos of my DD miss S doing some spelling

As you can see some of the tiles letters on a magnetic white board, we use these quite a bit. You can also see Miss S likes to practice writing as well. Just completed her first 'spelling test' she got 10/10
This is some Montessori moveable alphabet I have (Not included in all about spelling) but just another way to teach spelling

I like to use soft toys to help teach this is 'spelling dog' he likes to help find letters.

'Spelling Dog' helping to find the letter 'd'
Needing a little coaxing to find the letter 'd'

Spelling the word 'sad' of course this can only be done in heels :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

1000 Book Challenge and our 3 weekly trip to the library

Hello Readers,

Well the 1000 book challenge is going well, I am right on target to reach the 1000 by the end of the year. We have been reading everything we can get our hands on. I have even started reading to them so old books like Beatrix Potter and Enid Blyton and really enjoying the old style language and re-living a little of my childhood through these books and getting to share something that was special to me with my kids.

What I also love is the language that is used in these books. None of it is 'dumbed down' it was just assumed all those years ago that children would just learn what the words mean. I love that Beatrix Potter used the word 'sporific' or that you see the word 'perculiar' is Enid Blyton, Noddy Books. As I am reading numerous children's books I can tell you I certainly do not come across words like soporific and peculiar at all.

We had a wonderful time on our regular trip to library to get our books. Miss A gets really excited about picking out books. Miss S needs a little more coaxing. She is too busy enjoying the train but here are some photos.  I am really enjoying this challenge it is causing me to stretch myself to find new material for me to read to them but I am also hoping it will stretch my kids repertoire in books to.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Autumn Days at the park

Hello Readers,

March is upon us and its like the trees have gone 'Yay its Autumn' and already starting to drop their leaves. It is days like this where you can head to the park and really enjoy ourselves out in the sun.

The kids and I today had great fun at the local park. It was the right weather not too hot and not too cold. I thought I would share our day with you just for something different. Here are some photos