Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Flower Power Patterns

The second day we were using 
to conquer
Multiplication Facts,
we discovered another benefit.

Notice the amazing patterning of numbers!

While counting by 4's, the ones digits will follow this pattern.


By understanding patterns of numbers,
you also can recognize if your answer is correct.

The flower s were fun to make,
'cuz you know I love me some cut and paste,
but I knew they were successful when Beka asked today,
"Mom, can I work on my 4's multiplication?"

Yea, sweet.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Flower Power

When you look back to your childhood memories,
is learning your
multiplication facts
one of your favorite memories?

Yea, me neither.

When Rebekah had to start learning the facts
in second grade,
I fussed a little.

"It's too early!
I didn't learn them until the end of third grade!"

At the beginning of third grade, Beka and I were back to the
multiplication tables.

I used flashcards.
I used speed drills.
I used the chalk board.
I used the marker board.

It still wasn't working.

I had to pull out all the stops.

I didn't major in Cut and Paste for no reason,
I love me some cutting and pasting.

While Rebekah was working on the math worksheet,
I began crafting.

Thirteen little claypots were fitted with a green flower  foam.
Since I found a shoebox full of these beauties for $2
at a thrift store, it made the idea affordable.
 I love a good deal!

The flowers could also be tucked into wooden spools,
paper flower pots glued into a file folder
or just lined up on the floor.

Do what's easiest, fastest and/or cheapest for you.
If you're starting out homeschooling,
you might want to make them super fancy.

If you're on your last child, like I am,
you might want to tone the project down.

These bags of flowers and circles were in my scrap drawer.

Recognize them?
I used them to decorate for Grace's graduation last May.
First I cut them,
then I glued them on little Chinese take-out boxes.

Because I waste not, want not,
I had extra flowers I didn't waste, and I wanted,
so I was able to make a quick craft out of them.

 These flat wooden picks were bought two years ago,
when I first birthed the idea of flower manipulatives.

I just never got around to doing anything with them.

Better late than never.

A commercial break to show you my dirty dining room floor.
That stuff will most likely be there tomorrow.

Except for the M&M.
I heard someone cry out in delight with the find
and they promptly ate it.
The guilty shall remain nameless because I know you're totally grossed out.

Your family might have the 5 second rule,
we have about a 5 hour rule.
OK, I'll be honest, it's a 5 day rule.
Yea, yer' right, it's really like 5 months.

Hey, candy is candy!

The first set of flowers are for counting by 4's.

Remember how Skipper helped us skip count?
This is a skill crucial to learning multiplication facts.

Another set of flowers became the math facts.
I didn't use a particular color pattern,
kids can pick up on stuff like that and match answers
according to patterns, not the answers.

If you're an OCD Type A person,
it might drive you crazy to not have the pattern
yellow, purple, red, yellow, purple, red.

C'mon, loosen your rubber bands, girlfriend!
It's about learning.

Calligraphy pens work great when I really don't have time
to fuss with fancy lettering,
or the money to buy many packages of number stickers.

As soon as I had them glued together,
Rebekah started matching flowers in the little flower pots.

Lined up along the buffet in the dining room,
they made a bright spot in math class.


There are a lot of improvements that could be done:

-bright trim along the top edge of the flower pot
-spanish moss to cover up the foam
-paint the wooden stems green
-add leaves to the stalks

Flowers can be made for each number family.

Flowers can be made to show all the math facts with the same product.


Number flowers could be used to separate
even from odd

I have a feeling this project could impact our math class.

just maybe,
she'll learn her
multiplication facts
by heart.

And maybe,
just maybe,
someday learning her
multiplication facts
will be one of her fondest memories.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Continuing the Science Shelf Tradition

Last year I started the tradition of a

Go ahead, click on the link, I know you wanna'.

Well, that shelf got hijacked for a Christmas project.
I've been buying little plastic vintage things for a few years,
and I finally had enough to fill the spaces.

The stuff is down on my craft counter,
waiting for the magical slot of time to appear
so I can complete the project.

Any hoo -

This Science project was started partly because through the years
I've developed a personal aversion
to reading a few pages and answering a few questions.
If the teacher is bored, the kids are bored.

The Abeka Science book is good,
but I needed to
and  taste,

But it really started when I was diagnosed with cancer
 and Rebekahn was barely two years old.
For physical and mental health issues,
we began taking walks around the neighborhood,
watching ants,
smelling flowers,
picking up pine cones,
enjoying the wonderful world the Lord created,
and bringing home treasures.

I finally figured out an attractive way to display our precious finds.

(click on pic to enlarge, if you wanna')

This year I found a new shelf at a garage sale.

The bottle on the left filled with green is a simple experiment,
the oil and water one, with a few random cute things floating
in the water for good measure.

Didja' know self proclaimed Science Geeks,
like to do Science projects during a play date?


I got ambitious and spray painted the Scrabble tile holders black.
Yea, I'm matchy-matchy like that.
The dishes may be piled high, your feet may stick to my floor,
but I'm doing something irrelevant because I want it to match.

The cool wood chips are from a beaver.
During a nature walk on a trail along the river,
we found a tree a beaver was in the process of chopping down.
We brought home a few chewed slivers for a souvenir.

 See this beauty?
Some snake left its outer layer on a rock  in Montana
and I had to bring them both home.
Rebekah wasn't too happy about being "this" Science geeky,
she told me politely she prefers plant science.

But, the shelf awaits our adventure.

When the PNW brings us a sunbreak,
we'll grab a wicker basket,
maybe load up our monkies in the stroller,
and take off to
explore and experience

The shelf will temporarily display our treasures,
our minds will contain the knowledge,
but our hearts will always cherish the memories.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Don't Skip Skip Counting, Let Skipper Skip

Skip Counting
 is a long, lost skill.

When modern educators thought rote drills were too monotonous, 
boring and unproductive,
they stopped having the kids chant in class,

The multiplication tables weren't chanted, either.

They even came up for a name for it...
"Drill and Kill."
You can research all the arguments. 
They use a lotta' big words and catch phrases I didn't understand,
but I know this,
some things have to be repeated over and over to be learned.

How many times have you told your kids to flush the toilet?
How many times do you go in a find a toilet full of...
well...um....ah... you find the toilet is unflushed?
My point exactly.
Repetition is good.

Anything valuable has to  repeated over and over  to get through their
knuckleheads, peabrains, noggins,
their precious little minds.

Skip counting is valuable in addition and multiplication.

Jolanthe from Homeschool Creations
is an amazing teaching mommy.

Generous, too.
She offers many, many free printables and ideas to make your
teaching rock.
She inspires me so much I think I wanna' be her when I grow up.

Start by printing out her
If you do this, drop a comment and thank her.
Did I tell you how amazing she is?
2,700 followers think so.

I put mine in clear page protectors in a binder,
but they could also be laminated.
Thanks to Jolanthe blogging about a great deal on a laminator,
I got one for Christmas.

Back to Skip Counting.

Here's where my little touch comes in.
Remember how I love toys?

I really, really, really love toys.
Just like a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down,
toys make any lesson better.

I thought we needed Skipper to help us Skip Count.

Since we're trying to learn the 3's in multiplication,
we hopped through the list a few times,
counting out loud.

Then, we began working on the facts,  beginning with Skipper on zero.

If I said,
2 x 3
Skipper hopped twice up to the six.

I made Rebekah repeat the problem and the product,
yea, that would be the answer in multiplication.

Skipper landed on 27. 
what math fact did I call out?
Yea, yer' so smart, 3 x 9.

3 x 4 = 12
Yea!  Got another one right.

Then you introduce the commutative property.
If 3x4 = 12
It's a two 'fer one kinda' deal.
You memorize a lot less facts when you understand this concept.

Then, just when I was really patting myself on the back about
our amazing math lesson I had presented and the blog I was gunna' write
Skip Counting With Skipper
Rebekah said,
"But, Mom, this doll's name is Stacie."