Week Six


In our study of  Wassaily Kandinsky, we made our own Kandinsky circles.   Like our Composer of the month, Igor Stravinsky, Kandinsky is also from Russia.   At The National Gallery of Art Kids‘ site we checked out Kandinsky’s Improvisation 31 (Sea Battlle).  We read Kandinsky Sky Blue – An Art Play Book by Max-Henri de Larminat.

Miles has been accumulating interest in knights and samurai after reading Knight at Dawn and Night of the Ninjas by Mary Pope Osborne (and the ‘Samurai Sword’, one of the fine works by Scooby Doo).  We checked out the Metropolitan Museum of Art‘s interactive site and its information about knights and armor around the world as well as curators.  Miles’ favorite was seeing how a samurai put on all these layers of protection (found at the MET’s interactive site).

This lead us to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to see a Japanese Samurai body armor.

On our way to see the Samurai armor, we saw some Egyptian artifacts.

Miles and Parker tried a Makala game, which involved moving dried chickpeas around a wooden board.

Elephant mask from Africa

Japanese Samurai body armor, complete with praying mantis on helmet

Medeval body armor

Most likely inspired by our trip to MIA

Primary Colors and the Color Wheel

Our discussion of primary colors began with pieces of clay dough (red, yellow, and blue).  Then one at a time, bits of colors would hug and make a new color.


After reading about African animals and their habitats, we listened (and watched the video) to Ethnic African Music while decorating lion and elephant masks.  Africa by Mel Friedman and  One Small Square African Savanna by Donald M. Silver are two of our favorites.

Every morning Miles records the weather on our monthly  weather and season chart. One morning we brought the thermometer outside when went out to play.  When we came back in it in, Miles recorded the temperature, what he wore outside, what activities he likes to do (in this weather), and draws a picture of  something outside (such as fallen leaves).  We will do this once per week to practice reading a thermometer and making a connection to temperature, apparel, and seasons.

We discussed photosynthesis, basic needs of plant life, and measured pea plants (11 1/2″ tall already).  Miles estimated the height and amount of leaves one week from now.

Language Arts

While I made lunch one day, Miles entertained us with knock knock jokes from Old Turtle’s Knock-Knock, Jokes, and Riddles by Leonard P. Kessler.  One of his favorite reads about Africa was National Geographic Safari by Gail Truchman.

Miles practiced punctuation, capitalization, and comprehension exercises.  He also started a 100 word spelling list (10 words at a time) of High Frequency Words.

On Gum Ball Thursday, we read a poem called Bubble Gum Tree, book Silly Street by Jeff Foxworthy.  We also read some poems and action poems from our collection of High Five (by Highlights) magazines.

The poetry popper (balloons filled with types of poems) for this week is Cinquain, which heightens awareness about nouns and adjectives.  We wrote one about gumballs and another about cookies (can you tell what we’ve been eating lately?).

Handwriting Worksheets‘s site allows you to create a print sheet with your own words, sentences, or paragraphs.  Miles and Parker both liked practicing their names (using lower case letters for Parker), phone number, and silly sentences.

To choose which Magic TreeHouse book by Mary Pope Osborne to read, Parker used the ‘eenie, meenie, miney, moe’ method, the way we decide who’s it when we play tag.

After reading Can You See It?  by Wiley Blevins we made a game to practice sight words (game idea from the book).  Miles ran to get some Lego guy players for us.

Social Studies

To complement our science studies of African animals, Miles read Africa by Mel Friedman.  We also read Animals of Africa by Lisa L. Ryan-Herndon and African Savanna by Donald M. Silver.  The boys were amazed by the pictures of the family living in the Dar Es Salaam Village in Chad, Africa from What the World Eats by Faith D’Aluisio.  Although this book is not elementary-level reading, it gives us a picture of various people and cultures as well as maps and statistics.

Math and Logic

Collaborative effort to create a book on shapes

Played ‘roll and add 10’ and ‘roll and add 5’ with a dice.  Miles rolls the dice and records the number.  Then he adds either 10 or 5 and records the sum. He also practiced double digit addition and tried some multiplication.

Ahhh, the tasty combination of math (fraction practice) and cookie ingredients.

We each had a role.  Miles scooped, Parker rolled it into sugar, Ruby licked off the sugar and put it on the cookie sheet.  We always say how sweet Ruby is, but today she was sugar coated (literally)!

Health and Wellness

One warm morning, backyard soccer was followed by a variation of alley tennis and then a short bike ride.  ‘Recesses’ outside are a perfect brain break.

We enjoyed another swimming session at Dowling.  Our bike rides to the park for reconnecting and playing with kid and parent friends continue daily.  We really enjoy this part of the day.  Often times we warm up with a book or flash game of fooseball in the park and rec building and then head back out for another hour or so of play.


Miles and Parker made eighth notes using goldfish and pretzels.  We mainly talked about how the spaces spell FACE.  Parker recommended using the M & M’s next time.

Continue daily listening to Suzuki books 1 and 2, and practicing  Jingle Bells.  We looked for eighth notes and various rests in printed pieces of music to strengthen music literacy.  All three kiddos regularly go to the piano throughout the day to play a song, experiment with a low end and high end keys and rhythm, or figure out a melody and sing.  This is a joy to hear!

You may be wondering why we listen so much to the songs that the boys play.  Listening to their songs is like practicing for their ears instead of with their fingers.   This in turn helps them to learn their songs when they’re away from the piano (and eating breakfast or making Lego creations).  This also helps them to play their songs when they’re at the piano.  The Gavotte, MacPhail’s Suzuki Newsletter offers some other benefits and explanations.

We watched  a portion of The Firebird ballet on You Tube, music by Igor Stravinsky (our composer of the month).

Lastly, in response to the burning question ‘So what Ruby do while we’re having school time?’…

Most often she participates in our learning activities.  Other times she empties a drawer of her dresser, gets going on her own Lego creations, progresses in her self-potty training program, or plays and sings at the piano.  Here she was giving herself a nice warm foot bath and playing with safari animals (Miles and Parker were working on their math shapes book) when it was quiet and I came to check on her.


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