Week Two


At music lesson, Miles received his teacher’s praise for last week’s group class performance of Persian Market.  He worked on the C scale, a Hanon exercise, Eccosaise (J.N. Hummel), Waltzing Elephants (Bastien book), and Play a Fourth (Alfred book).  We will start browsing our Christmas song books and choose one to play at the Holiday Concert.

The boys were celebrating after their performances of Persian Market (James Bastien).   Click this link to see Miles’ recital on YouTube.

Como Zoo Field Trip

We spent a lot of time in the rainforest exhibit at Como Zoo, and they were enchanted by being able to watch fish, a turtle, and a ray underwater.

These fish coming up to the glass got lots of boisterous laughs from Ruby.

Parker asked what the tiger could be eating.  Miles thought it looked like lasagna.  The conversation on the way to the zoo was filled with laughter about a story that Miles heard involving gorillas at a zoo tossing their excrement.  Much to the boys’ disappointment, the gorillas did not ‘fling poo’ at us.

Science – Solids, gases, and liquids…oh my

After learning about solids, gases, and liquids, one of our experiments was making a batch of slime (1 cup cornstarch, 1/2 cup water, food coloring).  Ruby conducted her own experiment involving the left-over french toast from breakfast and the cornstarch.  She concluded that no amount of cornstarch is an acceptable or tasty substitute for powdered sugar!

As the boys were decorating owl masks, an activity that fits into our study of common Minnesota birds and habitat, Miles wondered who got such an awesome picture of the owls and birds in our reference books (Birds of Minnesota and Birds of Prey of the Midwest, both by Stan Tekiela). This brought us to an interesting conversation about careers and wildlife photography.  At morning circle time, we also read from The Boy Who Drew Birds by Jacqueline Davies, which is a story about John James Audubon.  The vivid photos and short facts of 100 Things You Should Know About Birds of Prey by Camilla De la Dedoyere has also been fortifying our bird knowledge for our upcoming trip to the Raptor Center at the U of MN.

We read about eagles, and the boys made paper bag eagle puppets as we listened online to The Fire Bird by Igor Stravinsky (and other music too).  There are many other pieces at the  Classics for Kids music website in addition to other fun ways to learn about music and composers.

Social Studies

We have been reading about various people and cultures either during our morning circle time or after-lunch lego time.  One person of particular interest was the Root Beer Lady, Dorothy Molter.  Miles has been interested in Egypt, and What the World Eats by Faith D’Aluisio  provided a rich but brief description of a family  in Cairo.  We will continue working on creating a map from our house to the play park.

Math and Logic

Miles has been working on subtraction, word problems, and playing Battleship.  As of present, we are relying on worksheets from the Internet. This week we will also play toy store using pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.  Miles counted out his real money to ‘buy’ toys.  Ruby played cashier.

Although we’re pretty tight on our screen time limit around here, the IXL site has some fun games for math (he also likes the Cool Math site).  Miles reviewed with the Money sections ‘names and values’ and ‘word problems’.  All our money games have been leading him to frequent self-directed studies of his Lego catalog.  I see a purchase in our not-so-distant future (actually the MacPhail Extravaganza is on Friday, so he’s due!).

Language Arts

During our weekly (some weeks it’s twice!) library outing, we picked up many good reads, and the boys couldn’t wait to begin.  During morning circle time, we’ve also been reading some poems that are a good fit for our interests (The Swing and The Frog) from What Your First Grader Needs to Know by E. D. Hirsch, Jr.

The boys also had fun playing action word (verb) charades during our grammar lessons.

Art at Dowling Community Gardens

We biked to Dowling for an art lesson in drawing trees. I got this art activity from Mrs. Brown’s Art class website. Now that the leaves are coming down, thanks to all these breezy days, it is easier to notice the branches. So we can see another way to draw trees and they’re not just sticks with a cloud of green at the top for branches (we like those too though). Miles used cray-pas to create his tree with branches sketch.


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