The View from the Classroom Window

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Packing Party 2014--This Friday

Hello all!

It's time for the annual packing of the shoeboxes!

Where: the Downstairs right-hand classrooms in the Children's Bldg. at Vintage Faith
When: This upcoming Friday, Nov 7, from 11-1

Bring your own boxes to stuff, and bring goodies to share in the boxes!

If you are new to this event, or have questions about what can go in a box, please visit this link to the official Operation Christmas Child website.

I recommend paying for your shoebox shipment online, so you can track where your boxes go!

Is anyone willing to volunteer to deliver the boxes to our local drop-off location after the event? In this past this has been at Santa Cruz Bible Church. If we do not get a volunteer, then everyone will be responsible for dropping off their own boxes. If we do get a volunteer, then be sure to either pay for your box online or bring $7 per box to cover the shipping fees.

I do have a few extra shoeboxes in the homeschool closet there at church, which anyone may decorate and use for this event. Or you can stop and pick up the free boxes from the local drop-off place.

Any questions?  Ask here in the comments so everyone may benefit from the responses.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Scary Math Party--THIS Friday, Oct. 31

image from this blog, which looks like it could be a fun math read!

What:  Scary Math Party
Where: the Upstairs classroom, Children's Building, Vintage Faith Church
When:  This Friday, October 31, 11-2 pm

Come and have fun with your kids playing some math games and finding out math is not quite so scary after all.  

Let's make it a party!  So please bring a finger food item to share--something that can be served on napkins. But because of all the sugar our children are likely to be consuming that night (and the next day, and the next day. . . ), please consider bringing a non-sweet food to share. : )

We will have a Math Hall of Fame display, so if any of your kids want to participate in that, have them bring an example of their math prowess, and they can share it during circle time. 

We will also have a fun craft activity, but *only for those who RSVP by Weds night. This craft will also have a fee of $2 per child who wants to participate, since I'll be buying supplies for it. (We are going to make creatures from gourds, which the kids will then measure and weigh--and name, of course!)

So if you are coming to the party and would like to participate in the craft, please RSVP in the comments below. 

For those who might want to know--this is not a Halloween party, so I'm not encouraging kids to dress up, but if your kids want to just because they are excited about the day, then that is your call, Mom. : )

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Old School Monday: Back to School 2014

Old School Monday Back to School Party!

When: This upcoming Monday, September 29 from 11:30 - 2:00.
Where:  Vintage Faith Church, first floor classrooms

Yes, most of us have been officially back in school for at about a month now, but it is never too late to celebrate the transition into a new school year! 

This gathering's theme is Show and Tell.  Your children are invited to bring something they have done or learned so far this school year, or they can share something special they did last summer.

As always, you can eat before you come, or bring your lunches to eat while we all catch up on how summers went and how school is going so far. : )  And please bring a finger-food snack for the group to share!

Invite your friends!

Anyone want to volunteer to lead a gym game afterwards? I'm thinking HORSE, or something that involves lots of running. : )  If you are inspired, just let us know in the comments!

Hope you are all having a great start to the school year, and I look forward to catching up.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon : book review

This is one of my favorite books that I have read this year. There is just the right balance between fantasy, magic and adventure. The main character is a little girl named Minli, who goes to find the Old Man in the Moon, to see if he can change her family's fortune. She meets many magical creatures along the way.  The story also includes a lot about Chinese culture and old folk tales.  I love the colorful artwork that goes with almost every chapter. The author really entices you to read more and finish the book. If you are looking for an exciting book to read, I encourage you to read this one.

By Asia, age 11

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Life of Fred

I cannot believe I forgot to mention these books in my list of fun and potentially inspiring math story books:  The Life of Fred: "Math As Serious As It Needs to Be."  The first title in the series is "Apples."  We borrowed it from a friend once and thought it was really engaging and definitely stimulating.  Some people use these books for their math curriculum, but I think they are best as "fun math" for days when I want to introduce a new concept, or get the kids interacting with ideas more independently, or just to have a break from "regular" math and do something different and fun. 

Alas, the library does not appear to have any of them, and I believe we can no longer use Ocean Grove funds to purchase these books. : (  But ask your ES if there are any at the resource center.

Or, if any of you Vintage homeschool parents have any Life of Fred books and don't mind sharing, please let us know in the comments below!

I found a site that allows you to download a preview of many of the Life of Fred books.  Here's the download link to the "Apples" book (let's see if that works--not sure if I can link to a pdf).

Here is the link to all of the previews.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Fun Summer Math Reading

So after starting that last post about our book project for the 2015 Author's Fair, I did some research, and found that our local library seems to have quite a good selection of funny and creative easy-reader and picture books to inspire our young authors. Here are some I found:

Conned Again, Watson! Cautionary Tales of Logic, Math, and Probability

Minnie's Diner

The Great Divide

Divide and Ride

Grandfather Tang's Story

The Warlord's Puzzle

Anno's Mysterious Multiplying Jar

Math Curse

Inch by Inch

The Wishing Club: A Story About Fractions

Lemonade for Sale

The Doorbell Rang

17 Kings and 42 Elephants

One Grain of Rice

Arthur's Funny Money

Measuring Penny

The library also has a lot of these well-rated "Sir Cumference" books--I'll definitely be checking some out!

I've read this one before--and it is a fun read: Spaghetti and Meatballs for All

Some of the books available at the library may not tell math stories, per se, but sound like really good additions (ha!) to a summer reading math unit:

Mathematicians Are People Too

G is for Googol

Millions to Measure

The Boy Who Loved Math

The library also has many of the Encyclopedia Brown books, which do not specifically deal with math but still require logical thinking for solving their mysteries--plenty of good inspiration there for the kids' own math mystery writing.

Then I have a few books here at home that anyone may borrow:

100 Pounds of Popcorn

The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat

Math Talk

Once Upon a Company

If you have any math tales of your own to recommend, please share the titles in the comments!

Announcing the 2015 Author's Fair Book Project!

Well, there parents!  I know, I know.  This is the last official day of school for a lot of us. You are not at ALL interested in thinking about next year already, certainly not thinking almost one year ahead to the next Author's Fair, when we just recently had the last one!  Most of you have not even participated in the Author's Fair for the past two years, so why would I think you would be interested in thinking about it now?

Bear with me for a moment.

First of all, for those who did jump on into the fun and make a "Book of Months"--good for you!  I loved seeing them on display at the Author's Fair.  And a special shout-out to Emmy for her FIRST Author's Fair book!  You did such a great job!  Anyone who liked that project, but just could not pull it off this year--well, you can do it anytime you like, or not. The info will always be here on this site, if you want it. : )

Second of all, because not many families seem as interested in participating in the Author's Fair anymore, I was debating this Spring whether or not to just stop coming up with projects.  I understand completely that some of our kids might be getting too old to enjoy the group projects--totally fine!  If any of the parents of younger kids want to participate in a group project (which we could or could not work on together at Old School Mondays), just let me know and I will plan something if there is enough interest.

But otherwise, I think we will just do projects on our own--not books we make all together, but projects we can do our own way in our own time frame at home with our kids.  I was not sure I would purposefully create projects for Vintage Homeschool families anymore--since it seems like perhaps most of you are not that interested--but then just this week, my kids have stumbled upon a FABULOUS and fun idea for next year.  It's so flexible and has so much potential for engaging young author's in so many ways, so I just have to make it official.

So, ta-da!  Here is the official Vintage Homeschool book project for 2014:

Story Problems

I know, I know: that sounds like the opposite of fabulous and fun, if you dreaded story problems as much as I did in math class throughout my elementary years.  But WAIT--let me explain.

My eldest girl has gotten excited about writing a mystery that needs to be solved with math.

My second eldest is writing a very funny narrative that we started together, having to do with the cost of stamps and raising costs of stamps over long periods of time and the peaceful death of her parents.  (See--don't YOU want to read it?!)

My youngest girl is not yet into the idea, but we will start by using a basic story problem we find in a book and adding to it and adding to it until we get a good story out of it.   Then we can either be done, or she can decide to write another one completely from her imagination.

The titles of the stories will undoubtedly be exciting-sounding ones, like "Escape from The Castle of Doom: A Story Problem," or  "To the Moon and Back Again: A Story Problem," or "The Mystery of the Missing Millimeter: A Story Problem." 

(Don't those sound fun to read?  How much more fun would they be to write?!)

This project will be another one that you do at home with your kids--or they do independently.  It is perfect for any level or writer or mathematician.  It can use any math concepts your children are already familiar with.  And the story can be as long or as short as they want it to be!

There is only one requirement for the stories: they must show lots of math (completed math, not just throwing out math questions without answers).  Your kids may choose to keep it simple and straightforward in the math sections and how they further the story (ala Encyclopedia Brown) or they may get crazy and add as much math as they can squeeze into the narrative (ala "Math Curse").  The math can even function as characters in the story (ala "The Phantom Tollbooth")! 

You could use this project as a fun way to get your kids engaged with math over the summer, as they explore different math concepts and work out what elements they want in their stories.  Brainstorming could end up leading to the viewing of lots of fun youtube math videos (I recommend Vi Hart! Even if she is usually over my head--the kids get glimmers of ideas, and that's often enough to set them excited about a math concept and what they could do with it creatively.) 

And hey--you could use math stories from the library as inspiration  for a Summer Reading Project!   (Do it through somebody like Barnes & Nobel and you can even get free books for your kids' summer reading efforts!)  I'll start a math books list in a separate post, which anyone can contribute to. : )

For my kids, this is going to be a Summer Writing Project--with the goal being to have the book done by the end of summer.

A summer project that involves reading, writing, and creatively engaging with math?

Now you know why I had to tell you about it this week. : )