The View from the Classroom Window

Monday, January 19, 2009

a late start....but FUN!!

Hi girls -- we are back home in China, and getting more settled into a routine here. I wanted to let you all know that we started "school" today (Monday, January 19th!! 2009)! I guess its not a typical year for us, but Asia was excited!! Our curriculum was easy to follow - but we didn't get thru all the material for our first day. What I wanted to share tho were some neat tidbits that you might be able to incorporate into your lives too - if you think they might apply.

1. We made a HUGE timeline that spans one wall in our "classroom" with strips of orange paper. We measured out the years (in 500 year chunks) from 4100BC all the way to 2000AD. Many of the books on our reading list this year include stories from people/heroes throughout history - and this was their idea to give the kids a larger perspective/scope to their understanding of how it all fit together. I really like this idea, and I am excited to add to it... also our curriculum comes with 3 pages of printed stickers of each character/hero - but this would be easy to create on your own depending on who you want to add to your timeline. Let me know if you want a list of ours.

2. We put a large Map of the World along the wall - its a blank map that you can write on with erasable markers. On one side is the world, and on the other side is the United States. I love this map!! Here's a LINK where you can find one if you want. We added colored dots for different things: green for places our heroes are from, red for our family, blue for friends. I think this will help them get an idea of how big the world really is - and see how people come from all over to shape our history & world around us. Asia ends up having lots of neat questions too. I think this goes great with "global laundry" too!!

3. We also started a Writing Journal today. Its a blank spiral notebook without any lines/etc. I hope to have Asia write a sentence in it 3 times a week - whatever she wants to write about. She can draw a picture too if she wants. The main purpose is for her to sound out the words on her own - not to spell perfectly. My mother-in-law gave us this idea - and so far Asia really likes it. I help her figure out how many words are in her sentence, and make a line for each word she wants to write. Then I let her go for it! Maybe I can post a picture later so you get a better idea. I think I will also see improvements as the year goes on!

Anyhow, those were just a few things from today that were really fun!! Our classroom looks more learning-friendly after today, and I am excited to add to it as we learn more this year.

Some neat Read-Aloud books we have loved:
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Milly Molly Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley
I am sure you could find them at the library too!

love you girls!
Ali

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