Saturday, September 28, 2013

Back to School Night

Tom and I attended Back to School Night at North on Thursday.  It was great to meet Reagan's and Collin's teachers and learn a little about what the school year will be like.

I'm excited about fourth grade for Collin because it is the first year that students are grouped according to ability for their regular math classes.  He is in the accelerated math class, and that will be great for him!  Tom and I also talked to his Spectrum teacher on Thursday; she was so happy about Collin being in both Spectrum math and Spectrum ELA this year!

Reagan's teacher had nice things to say about Reagan, and she seemed very enthusiastic and happy about the school year so far.  The real reason I wrote this post though is to include what Tom and I found when we looked through Reagan's writing folder.

This is all Reagan.  It didn't surprise me one bit.  She has a crazy sense of humor and loves to call people out when she thinks they are a bit weird, or whatever.  At least she loves all of us, weird or not.  The funny thing though is that obviously her teacher does not really know her very well yet, and she just met Tom and I, so I can only wonder what she thought when she read this!  I'm sure that she has seen and heard a few crazier things in her years teaching second grade!


Collin took his first MCAS exam in the spring, and we received his results yesterday.  I knew he would do well because he is very bright and very conscientious, but I was beyond thrilled with his results.  He received a perfect score (280 out of 280) on the Mathematics section and scored at the top of the proficient level in English Language Arts (258 out of 280).

Reading is the only section that he did not earn 100% of the possible points, but he still did awesome scoring 88%!  We are very proud of him!

Tyler took his last MCAS exam in the spring.  Passing this exam is a graduation requirement, and he passed with flying colors.  He scored at the advanced level in both English Language Arts (268 out of 280) and Mathematics (266 out of 280).
Congratulations to both of my boys for doing so well!  We celebrated last night with ice cream from Somerset Creamery!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Alphabet Play

 For alphabet play this week, I gave Kate a bin full of alphabet bean bags and the bag the bean bags came in.  She occasionally looked at the letters, but she had the most fun just putting the bean bags into the cloth bag,
 dumping them out,
and putting them back in again.

*Before anyone asks, the red spots on her chest and arms are from Do A Dot Markers.  They look like a terrible rash or bruises in these pictures, but no, just marker!

Throwback Thursday

There is this new posting activity on Facebook where people post old pictures on Thursdays, and it is so cleverly called "Throwback Thursday".  Anyway, I like stuff like that, so I thought it would be fun to post some old pictures here on Thursdays...when I remember to do so, of course.

This is Reagan and Collin in the summer of 2006.  Reagan was about four or five months old, and Collin was almost two.  I LOVE this picture because you can really see how chubby Reagan was - look at the rolls on her arms and legs, and the double chin is just fantastic, but those cheeks may be the cutest, most squeezable cheeks ever.  I also love how round Collin's face was at this age; now his face is much thinner, and his eyes are so bright and blue here.  Also, I can't be certain, but I would bet that he has something in that hand and he is just mushing and squeezing and enjoying the feel of whatever it is.

I'm going to love this Throwback Thursday thing, alliteration and all.

Kate's Pumpkin

Kate woke up at 4:00 AM today!  She was such a grump about it too.  After walking Collin to school this morning, we continued walking for a bit and she fell asleep in the stroller (second day in a row for an early wake up and for falling asleep in the stroller); she woke up after forty minutes and was even grumpier than she had been in the early morning.  After letting her throw a fit for a bit, I pulled her out of her mood by offering a glue stick, a piece of cardboard, and some torn pieces of orange construction paper.
 You can still see a little bit of grumpiness in the above photo, but she was coming out of it.  I drew a pumpkin to the best of my ability, and let her add glue and pieces of orange construction paper to create her own pumpkin.

She created our first fall decoration and the whole experience put her in a much nicer mood.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

B is for Bears Part Two

 Kate did great sorting counting bears by color.  She knew exactly what to do, and went right to work!  She would even look closely at the orange and red bears to make sure she didn't mix them up.

We played with the bear family puzzle some more.  I tried to read Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? while we worked on the puzzle, but she wanted no part of that book.  She has strong opinions about books, and if it does not appeal to her right away then there is no way that it will be read.  She pulls the books she disapproves of out of my hands and puts them away!!!!  Reagan was like that, but not quite as bad.  Tyler and Collin would have let me read War and Peace; for them, I think it was more about being held.  They didn't care what I read to them, as long as I would hold them.  My girls like to be on the go, and will only sit for books they really want to hear!

Kate had some bear sensory play with bear shaped ice cubes.  She LOVED this!!!!!  I found this bear ice cube tray at Ocean State Job Lot and thought it would be fun; now I am so glad that I got it!  They also had apples, cats, dogs, and peace signs, all of which I got for less than two dollars total.

 Kate immediately made an observation that the ice was cold.
 She likes that Teddy Bear Counting book, so she let me read it, but she insisted on counting the bears herself.  She can count to ten, but she doesn't really get the 1:1 correspondence thing yet, so usually she insists there are either two or five of everything.

 She liked putting the ice bears into this little cup and then dumping them onto different parts of her body.

 This gave me the opportunity to tell her that ice melts and turns into water.

 Time to go refill the bear ice tray!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Playing with the Alphabet

 I read somewhere that playing with the alphabet is a better way (rather than using flash cards or trying to point out the letter and expect memorization) to introduce letters to young children.
 We have been using these sponge letters in a bin of water as both a sensory experience and a way of playing with the alphabet.  Kate is having fun with these, and she does pick up the letters and ask what they are over and over again!

The Violinist

Beginning in fourth grade, students in our town can learn to play a string instrument through the school music department.  I mentioned this to Collin a year or more ago and he said he had no interest, that he just wanted to play the piano.  And then there was a demonstration for the fourth graders a week or so ago, and Collin came home all gung ho (I wonder if the phrase "gung ho" is politically correct?) to play the violin!  The price of the lessons (they are free, unless you consider our tax dollars) can't be beat, and while we have to rent the violin, it is a rent to own program, so as long as he sticks with it, we win!

The lessons should be starting soon, and Collin is looking forward to it!  He will continue playing the piano too, and he promises that he will practice both instruments daily without argument!  I would insert a smiley face here if I was a smiley face kind of person.

B is for Bear - Part One

This is the first time I made a theme lunch for Kate, and she thought it was so funny.  She LOVED biting off the bear's arms, legs, head, and then eating up his belly.  I ended up making it again the next day per her request. 

I also made her a bluebeary (ha ha ha) pancake with chocolate chip eyes, nose, and mouth.

Yes, I realize this bear looks a little weird.  Actually, it looks like a bear that got into a nasty fight! Whatever!  She liked it!

My bear cookies look much better!  They are peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips added for details.
 I didn't use a cookie cutter; I just made the head out of a regular ball of dough and then added two little balls of dough for ears.  The first batch looked weird because I forgot to account for spreading!  These look cute though.

This next sentence is for Tom.  Kate has not figured out puzzles yet.  Tom used to make fun of me because I always talked about Tyler and Collin being so good at puzzles when they were little.  Well, Kate doesn't have that spatial reasoning skill yet.  We're working on it.  (She actually spent some time working on puzzles with Grandma this morning!) Kate got this cute bear puzzle for her birthday, and it's perfect for working on puzzle skills and for our letter Bb fun.

I made beary (ha ha ha again, I crack myself up) blue play dough using my regular play dough recipe and adding about a tablespoon or so of grape Kool Aid powder for scent and a lot of blue food coloring.  I only had grape Kool Aid powder and I only used a little because I didn't want to turn the dough purple.  We don't drink Kool Aid; I use it for crafts like paint and play dough.

 We used play dough stampers to make bear paw prints and bear faces (Kate got these for Christmas from Papa and Grandma, and she uses them every time she plays with play dough).  They are super cute.
I am having so much fun coming up with themes for Kate!  I love it!  Stay tuned because I have a lot more bear fun to share!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Letter Bb Play

 I love the look of concentration on her face.

 She tries so hard to put the caps on the dot markers.

She may only be two, but she likes to have "homework" to do when Collin and Reagan do their homework!

Sensory play:

 I gave her a plastic cup and a spoon in the bin with the water beads.  On her own, she decided to transfer the beads into the cup with the spoon (I had assumed she would just scoop with the cup; she's so clever).

She also played with homemade blue play dough scented with a little Kool Aid powder.

We are also having fun with a bear theme this week, but I'll post that separately after we finish all of our activities!