Saturday, August 24, 2013

Katy No-Pocket and the LA Zoo

Week four at Herman Family School (Summer Edition)!  This week we rowed Katy No-Pocket, a sweet story about a kangaroo who had no pocket to carry her baby, Freddy, in.  She goes from animal to animal and asks them for help.  Each animal tries to give her ways to carry her child but none work.  Finally the owl tells her to go to the city to find a pocket!  She does and meets a sweet man who gives her his tool apron with tons and tons of pockets in it.  Katy, now, can hold, not just Freddy, but many other animals in her new pocket apron!  The story ends with one happy Kangaroo!
We focused a lot on animals, the letter "K," pockets and tools and ended our week with a field trip to the LA Zoo!

Late Start and a Preview of Things to Come
We didn't, actually, get to start Katy No-Pocket until Tuesday.  I decided to go into my classroom to pick out music for the year.  For those readers who are not aware a run a, roughly, 120 member junior high choir program as well as a musical theater group at the same middle school.  My school hours are part time, but thus far, my time spent on this venture have not been.  So with the addition of teaching Claire at home this year, I'm trying to figure out ways to hyper schedule my life and cut some things out, delegate. . . ANYTHING in order to make this work out this coming year.  Not sure how long we can keep this set up up but we will see how this year goes.  There are many things I love about my job but I am not sure how long I will be able to juggle it all.  These two days in my room put a huge wrench in our schedule.  We had been doing our "school time" in the morning while Ashlyn took her morning nap (yes, she is still taking a morning nap at 15 months.  Hoping she'll drop this by the time I go back to work). But these two days, I took them in the morning to work and let them hang out in my classroom and watch Milo and Otis on the big screen so I could get a few things done.  But this meant that after I worked for a few hours, I took them home, we ate lunch and then they took their afternoon naps.  On Monday, Claire woke up and we headed straight for her Ballet/Tap class.  After class, we got home, I made dinner, we ate together when Daddy got home and then by the time the kitchen was clean and Ashlyn was put to bed, Claire was tired and ready for bed herself.  No school had been done that day.  So Tuesday we played catch-up before we left for the school and by the end of the week, there was at least one project I didn't even get to.  So, this made me realize the importance of scheduling and being flexible with that schedule.  Either way, it was a good week and I believe, fully, that Claire learned despite the slight chaos.

Starting up: Bible Lesson and Cover Page 
When we finally did get going this week, Claire was in her pjs and was eating breakfast with simultaneously "doing school."  Claire has a little kitchen apron with a big pocket on it that she got to wear during school time.  We started with reading the book and then going into a Bible lesson about being kind to others and giving.  In the story, the kind man in the city dumped out all of his tools and gave Katy his apron because he saw that she needed it!  We talked about how God wants that from us!  Deuteronomy 15:8 says, "but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be" and talked about 1 Timothy 6:18 "They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share," and how important it is to be kind and give to others who have a need!  Great tie in to our story!     

Title Page
I had planned on using a coloring page of a kangaroo to use as the cover for this section of her preschool folder (I'm trying to keep her work in a binder for reference and just to keep for her).  She colored her kangaroo but then decided that she wanted to get some cutting practice in.  I did allow her to cut up the picture, deciding that it wasn't a huge deal if something else was to be the title page.  She did a pretty good job.  She's getting her hand grip down on the scissors, it's just cutting in straight lines she's working on.  To her, it's a game to practice with her little scissors so I figured I'd let her on, what I assumed, was supposed to be her title page.  No biggie.

Letter K and Kangaroos! 
I've mentioned before that Claire know and loves her letters and sounds.  We've been working on hearing those sounds in words and connecting that those sounds, together, make words.  It's been interesting to see the lights turn on in her head, periodically.  We don't push it but make it fun and just a part of our reading and school time if it leads into that.  Claire made a little pocket for her notebook and colored and identified several pictures and words that began with the letter "K." Then, I had her trace the uppercase and lowercase letter "K."  She is fantastic at tracing the letters.  Not so sure on writing them herself.  She wanted to try, so I let her. We'll get there! 

Then we moved on to kangaroos!  This was the fun part.  We colored another kangaroo picture (new title page for the notebook) and talked about several things that were true about kangaroos:
1. Kangaroos are marsupials.  Which means they all have a pouch (which led into a discussion about fiction and nonfiction/pretend stories and true stories, since Katy no pocket could not have had "no pocket" since she is a marsupial!) for their babies to grow and ride in.
2. Kangroos are from Australia. We looked at a world map online and pointed out where we live and where Australia is.
3. Kangaroos eat plants. 

4. Kangroos hop! And not just hop, but hop FAR!!  25 to 30 feet!  So we went outside with a tape measure and a little sidewalk chalk and demonstrated how far a kangaroo could hop and then did some hopping (in our apron, of course) ourselves!

Animal Classifications/Families
Our last "pen and paper" day we talked a LOT about animals.  We put a chart together that told us the names of different animals- Mother, Father and Baby. For example- A Mother Sheep is called a "Ewe," a Father Sheep is called a "Ram" and a Baby Sheep is called a "Lamb".    Kangaroo mommies are called "Fliers" Kangaroo daddies are "Boomers" and babies are Joeys.   Out of these assignment, we also got some glue usage practice "Dot, dot, not a lot!"
Our second foldable for our notebook was a little book showing what animals live in trees: spider, owls, birds, squirrels!

Just for fun (and after removing anything sharp or dangerous and under my watchful eye, I PROMISE) I took Claire back to the part of the story where the nice man dumps out all his tools and gives Katy his apron with all the pockets.  Soooo, we dumped out a tool box from the garage and identified all the tools from the story.  I let her look at and touch the tools, feel how heavy everything was, talked about what each might be used for!  Fun and simple!

The best part of the week, of course, was checking out all the animals at the zoo.  Unfortunately, the LA Zoo doesn't have a Kangaroo but they had some Wallabies which are small "look alike" Kangaroos.  We were able to point to how the are similar, (both hop, are marsupials, are from Australia) but that they weren't the same animal.  Clearly the favorites of the day were the elephants, the monkeys, the giraffes, the tiger, gorillas, rhino, the bear, zebras and the petting area.  We were very lucky. We went with my friend Cindy or "Nini" to Claire. It was a GREAT zoo day.  It was a hot day but the animals were out and moving and interactive. Ashlyn did great and was mesmerized by the elephants and couldn't stop staring at the giraffes.  Clearly had no idea what those huge animals were.  It's was so funny watching her utter wonder.   I'll leave with a few pictures from this great trip!  

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