Face Off!

When we finished our math curriculum this year I wondered whether or not to order and begin the next level.   I decided against that.  With the new baby in the house and the routine gone haywire, we were lucky to do anything with school.  In addition, BroBro had started this Kindergarten curriculum a year early, and although he has breezed right through it, I just did not want him to hit a point where he developmentally found it too challenging.  So staying true to my teaching roots, I did what all of us do when we can’t move on…review, review, review.

BroBro has been using RightStart math this year.  With this curriculum we have learned how to use the abacus to understand basic number sense and apply the concepts of addition.  In our review I thought it might be good to have him start memorizing addition facts.  I created flashcards with specific facts.  First we worked with sums of 10.  Then we practiced doubles.  We are currently working on 10 plus a number.

I knew that calling out numerous math facts and completing worksheets was going to be tortuous for both BroBro and myself so I had to come up with some practice games.  One game I located in my files of old teaching materials was a game called Face Off.  This game is easy to set up and easy to play.  It only requires a printed board, a dice, and place markers (beans, pieces of paper, counters, etc).  The problem with this board though was that the numbers did not work for the facts BroBro was learning.   On this day I just taped a piece of paper on top and changed the numbers to the ones we needed.  This gave me an idea.  I needed to create my own game board that included interchangeable mats so that we could play no matter which math facts we were practicing.  I created a mat for both the doubles facts and 10 plus a number facts.  I will create more as we continue with various other facts.

I laminated the board and mats.  I also added velcro to the front of the board and the back of the mats so that they would stay in place when they were used.

The game starts by having each player cover all of their numbers (we use beans).  Each player takes turn rolling the 10-sided dice.  For doubles we simply doubled the number rolled.  For 10 plus a number we added 10 to the rolled number. As each player rolls a number and calls out the answer to the fact they remove the place marker on the corresponding number.  If they have already removed the marker on that number then their turn is over and the opposing player rolls.  The winner is the first player to remove all of their place markers.  

When we are finished all of the materials are collected in a ziplock bag.  This makes it easy to grab when we are at the house but also when we need something to take with us to a doctor’s appointment or when we go out to eat.

And because I have a copycat toddler sitting nearby I also created 2 different number matching boards.  Pretty girl can’t count just yet but it will be a great way for her to practice when we start that skill.  For now she just places the counters on the numbers.

So if you too have a young one who likes playing games to review math skills then play a game of Face Off!

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Rocks, Rocks Everywhere!

One main curriculum that we have used this year for homeschooling has been My Father’s World. I love this curriculum and definitely plan to use it again next year.

One of the things that I have enjoyed about the Kindergarten level in this curriculum is the way it is broken into themes.  This ends up being a perfect way to focus our curiosity and organize our weeks.  In the past we have talked about everything from the sun and the moon to the apples and the octopus.  This week’s theme was ROCKS.  We started off the week by reading about the wise man who built his house on the rock and the foolish man who built his house on the sand (Matthew 7:24-29).  We discussed how Jesus is our rock and how important it is to listen and obey and build our own life on the rock of Jesus.

We read books about rocks and Big Man discovered that they have different names depending on how they are formed and different hardness depending on how they can be scratched.  Next, we embarked on a nature hunt for….? You guessed it! ROCKS! I started off asking them to find 10 of the coolest rocks they could find.  This soon proved to be way too small of a number as I quickly realized that preschoolers and toddlers care very little about looking closely for the cool factor and way more about being the quickest to get their basket the fullest.   Once we got home, a bowl full of soapy water and a scrub brush was all they needed for another 30 minutes of entertainment.  It was at this point that just a couple of those cool factors started to make a bit of sense.  Big Man began to notice some of the differences in their shapes and colors.  This was 30 minutes well spent….for ALL of us.

Later in the week I was glad that they thought it more exciting to collect a basket of rocks.  We ended up using this rocks to sort and order.  We put them in a row from smallest to largest and then from lightest in color to darkest.  We even found that the basket of rocks made, challenging but yet still fun, building blocks.  They could be manipulated and turned in different directions and we played around with them trying to see how tall we could get them to stack before they all came tumbling down (or got knocked over by Pretty Girl, whichever one occurred first).

We used our theme of rocks to also talk about what objects float and which ones sink.  Along with various other objects Big Man predicated that the littlest of rocks would float while the larger ones would sink.  He was so excited to see he was right when his largest rock fell to the bottom of the bucket but quite surprised to discover so did the itty bitty one too.  I believe his comment was “HEY!”  We also tried markers, balls, apples, water bottles, paper clips and various other objects.  He sorted all the objects into those that would sink and those that would float and now will proudly tell you that the size of the object does not matter.  It is wether or not the object has air inside that determines if it will sink or float.

For added fun I found a paper version of the game Rock, Paper, Scissors and we finished our week by pulling out the acrylics and painting rock people (and a few monsters).  It has been a fun and full week of many ROCK DISCOVERIES and who knows, there just may be a rock monster family production at our house tonight.