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October post

We have been very busy working on the new 4th grade year so I have failed to do many posts–being up late at night preparing new lessons and materials! Before we started on our new level 4 materials we worked often with writing short stories and studies included learning how to write short stories, paragraphs and proper sentences identifying the different parts of grammar in each. Reading comprehension was also a major topic and being able to explain subjects, articles and books read to understand the message and point each represents. We worked with pre-algebra with workbooks called Balance Math. The girls enjoy these workbooks as the problems are written in a very visual way that makes it easier for them to solve the equations. We worked often on telling time and money math. Some of our outings to our nearby river for swimming included walking the beach and bringing along with us books about nature so we could study lanforms, talk about fossils and plate tectonics and how the earth has shifted over millions of years to form the fossils in the soil and water we see today. We found fossils that only exist in salt water and the river we were swimming in is fresh water so this gave way to many questions. We enjoyed studying the fossils and learning what types of organisms and types of fossils there are. Some of our lessons also included looking at the plant life–we brought along the botany cabinet to match the types of trees and leaf shapes. We began conversations about History in evolution and researched the way the human skull has changed throughout evolution. We have discussed the Big Bang and how it happened and this discussion opened up topics about Matter, atoms and the matter they are made of. We have discussed the solar system in itself and the milky way which is the galaxy we are in. The girls have a good understanding that are are millions more galaxies within the galaxy we are in and the possibilities are endless outside of our galaxy. We the earth and what the universe what like in the time of a young earth. We have discussed gravity, the hemispheres and what holds us here on earth and why earth is productive for life to form versus other planets. We have discussed time in space. The girls were curious about water formation so we discussed the different theories of how our oceans came to be. By using several different websites we researched what the world was like billions of years ago and how the land on our planet has changed. The discussed the last ice age and the girls also have an understanding that ice ages have in fact happened before. They were thrilled to learn that someday the continents could come together as one again as they were before they became how we know them now. We discussed the first forms of life from single celled organisms to multi-celled creatures that evolved from water to land over time. We also read about how plant lifeforms went through a similar type of evolution moving from water to alongside land and eventually growing larger root systems to create bigger plants that were more elaborate such as trees etc. From here we discussed the beginning of other types of animals that gave way to mammals and finally human beings though a lengthy evolution. We have used a number of materials to teach this history one being a wonderful resource called Big History Project. The videos are entertaining to the kids and they work in well with the rest of our materials that I lesson plan with. Books and other online resources, encyclopedias and hours of research form the rest of the lessons.

More recently, we have started out on cursive handwriting as requested by the girls because it was something they wanted to try. They can both identify and read cursive but the actual handwriting part measures out differently. They enjoy working on their penmanship.

In math we are still working on time lessons and fractions are getting more serious as we are now using them in adding and subtracting equations and working with mixed numbers and converting. Word problems using multiplication and division are another focus.

We have started using our Science text book and work alongside it with our workbooks. The girls love reading the chapters and answering the questions with each section and their handwriting is improving greatly since we ‘ve started the texts. Usually we use a more open lesson plan where we combine many things to create the lesson but this years I am adding a basic textbook to the mix. The girls actually enjoy the uniform structure of reading a lesson, answering the questions and doing work on their own in their workbooks based on the lessons they’ve read. I’ve opened this new routine up with several subjects. Social studies has the same sort of feel with a text book and matching workbook and a notebook alongside. We are opening up our new math text next week (waiting for the matching workbooks) and working on various workbooks right now for math in different areas while we wait. We have also opened up the English text and supplemented it with a notebook alongside to answer questions within each English section. Today, we opened up our Reading text and read about the Titanic. After the girls read the stories they answered questions about each story–one being of a surviors account of what happened in 1912 and the other from who found the titanic buried in the ocean in 1985. We did research on what the world was like in the 1900’s and the way of life in the times back then. We then researched what the Titanic looked like both before and after it sank. After doing some online research we watched a short documentary which explained the construction of the boat and the way in which it fell up with water and sank.

Some other fun Science stuff was the study of both the animal and plant cell. We discussed the similarities and differences and did charts for each for visuals during discussions.

We have continued on with our online English Lexia, Time4Learning, and Beast Academy as well.

Here are pictures of a few activities below.

Addition snake game and geometry work.

Clock work

Some added fractions work

Some social studies work

Some multiplication work

Fun with science!

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