Thursday, May 7, 2015

Star Wars Theme - April 29 - May 6, 2015

Drew is currently very obsessed with all things Star Wars. Mostly it is Lego Star Wars since he hasn't seen any of the movies yet, but since the games are a walk through of the movies he has a good idea what is going on (well except the whole Anakin/ Vader thing, they are still two totally different people to him).

The Bible lesson we used for the week was The Garden story, and choosing to listen to God or listen to the serpent.  It was kind of a stretch, but he seemed to be ok connecting the good side of the force to listening to God's word and that being on the dark side of the force was listening to bad things. This gave us some good jumping off points this week as we had some run ins with lying and misbehaving.

So, since May the Fourth is Star Wars day and our library is doing something to celebrate it I decided to make a whole unit on Star Wars. He was really excited to see me working on the school print outs and wanted to do them all as they were coming out of the printer.

I printed out some simple puzzles for him to try, and well they were too easy. He put them together correctly in seconds and then spent a couple of minutes mixing and matching Luke and Yoda. Thankfully there are some still in the printable pack that have more pieces, maybe those will last a few seconds longer.

Working on his handwriting basics is going to kill me. I finally got him to understand Alligator Grip. I had been hunting a way to make it make sense to him and this one finally clicked. He would go back to fist holding the crayon and I could remind him alligator grip and he would correct his hand placement. I am also struggling to get him to  understand you have to be gentle writing. He doesn't get that he doesn't have to grind the crayon to get it to work, the same logic he applies to glue sticks. He still has a hard time focusing long enough to trace the lines. Like I noticed in Earth Day week, he does much better with tracing shapes than he does lines. Maybe I need to jump him up to letters instead of lines.

I did find this worksheet that was a mild challenge for him. It was a section of three numbers and one was missing, for example 2 x 4 and he had to identify that 3 was missing. He had a harder time getting the missing part concept. Once he knew what number was missing he could identify it and then glue it down, but he needed help on working out which number was missing, especially if it was the first number in the sequence. We did figure out that the maker of the sheet gave the wrong number to one of the problems, and that really confused him.

He did much better on sequencing the pictures. Last time we tried sequencing he got annoyed with it, though I think that had something to do with I was using candy and he just wanted to eat it instead of using it. It also cracks me up to hear the names he uses for the characters and the mild mispronunciations of the names, like Wooooookie Chewy.

Technically our letters of the week are Y and D, but since he knows them they are more of a reinforcement of them. We go over Y is for Yoda and D is for Darth Vader on the coloring sheets because of trying to make that connection and getting a head start on sight words.

Our library had a party for Star Wars and Free Comic Book Day, so of course we had to go! They had a snack bar, lightsaber making, Star Wars Clone Wars movie, and Lego Star Wars video games. It was fun and D had a great time playing lightsabers with the much bigger kids.

Some times I am still amazed at how hard it is to catch Drew in motion in a picture. I was shooting in sports mode and he was still a blur. These are the best ones I could get. 

My favorite quote from the boys playing was "Watch out for that little one. He hits hard and is really fast!" I think they all got the point that they didn't have to baby him because he wasn't going to pull any punches on them. The librarian was dying laughing about the whole thing, and all I could think of was Yoda. Drew only came up to these boys waist and was taking them all on as a group.

After a fun weekend and a mini break on May 4th to watch Star Wars Clone Wars at home, we got back into school work. Drew worked on letter recognition and had the sheet done by the time I walked back from grabbing a pair of scissors. He is getting too fast on some things for me.

I needed a few extra minutes to get the craft set up, so I thought another worksheet would buy me some time. It bought me about 90 seconds after I told him what he was supposed to do. So, while he got it all right to start with on the matching he got bored and started just drawing random line and then went back and was telling me what other letters were on the Y is for Yoda sheet as he was coloring them in.

This tells me I really need to have everything all set and ready to go from the start from now on, because he isn't going to slow down for me. Which honestly just makes me go "EEK".

The craft I was trying to set up was sun-catcher planets. We did three sizes and he put them in size order. We did Naboo, Tatooine, and a giant sun. I wanted to do a Death Star, but I didn't have any black and grey tissue paper. He got to use blue and green for Naboo and we talked about water and trees since he knows Amidala and JarJar are from. We talked about how Tatooine was desert and he was using different yellows to make a desert. Then he told me that the sun has reds and oranges in it before I could even say anything about it. 

He helped me hang them in his room. I think it is amusing that for Naboo and Tatooine he covered the contact paper completely with the tissue paper, but then by the time he got to the sun he was over the activity and got bored with sticking the paper down, so it has more gaps in it. I haven't learned how long a longer activity will hold his attention. Side note, he looks so like Dennis the Menace in these overalls.

We did more complex pattern matching this week. The ones that stumped him a bit was the one that was missing the start of the pattern (the Yoda on the first line in the picture). The others he had to have talked out, but figured it out pretty fast. It is a skill I know we need to keep working on.

He is really enjoying the glue the number down sheets. I need to make sure there are some of those in each week's lesson. He keeps pointing to them on our hanging board and asking to do more.

His scissor skills are getting better. He is still trying to use both hands to open and close the scissors, but when I remind him to put his fingers in the loops he will. He is also starting to understand that holding the paper tight makes it easier to cut. I switched it to shorter cutting lines this week. He just had to cut on the big grey line between the characters. This seems to be easier to do and understand than following the curved lines of some of the other sheets we were using.

Some days school goes really well, and other days I just want to give up. The last day of the Star Wars theme I just wanted to throw in the towel. He didn't want to cooperate or even participate. I finally got him to do a couple of things with the promise that we would paint at the end.

He did a great job at tracing his Ys and tracing Yoda's name, but he refused to do the Ds and Darth Vader.

He did a little better attention span wise with addition of stormtroopers. This was a new activity for him. I would pick out the numbers to add at the bottom and then he would help me count out the sets of stormtroopers for that number. When they were laid out he counted the totals and then found the number to put down. I am not sure if he understood the adding them together part yet, but he enjoyed picking out numbers and "adding" them together with the stormtroopers.

This was another painful activity. I know I should have called it quits on this one, but he really wanted to play with the glue and paint afterward. This one he was supposed to glue the pictures where the description said, like next to the planet or on the TIE fighter. It was like pulling teeth. We finally got it done, and thankfully it is stapled to make a book so that we can read it and now talk about directions and positioning. So, hopefully it will be worth the frustration in the long run,

The final activity for celebrating Star Wars was making an X-Wing hand print painting. While it didn't turn out like I was thinking it might, it still turned out cute. He couldn't understand how to hold his hands to make the X. He did slightly better on the second hand print, but it kinda looks like a wonky spider. He did enjoy getting to make stars around the X-Wing with his fingers.  He was all excited a couple of the stars came out looking like hearts.  After the structured painting he got to go nuts with the rest of the paint on the plate and free paint. He got more paint on him than on the paper, but that is a known with him and paint.

One of the things I am really happy about this week is that the homeschool wall is coming together finally. It isn't finished in its ever evolving process, but I do like it. I am really liking the orange clock next to the digital clock on the microwave because Drew is starting to put the numbers together that they are saying the same thing. I am also in love with the way the cork board looks now that I spray painted it.  While I was looking for some good quotes for the week I found the Yoda one, "Always pass on what you have learned." It seemed like a good permanent quote for our wall.

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