Saturday, September 11, 2010

A is for Apple Blossom Fairy, St. Anne, Angels, and Apples

We have pretty much finished our first week along the Alphabet Path - our first week of homeschooling! The letter A guided our theme this week. I have been using much of the basic structure from the lesson ideas at Serendipity, as well as looking over a few other blogs of moms who have incorporated the Path in previous years. Such a huge wealth of ideas out there!!

Above, you see the Flower Fairies Alphabet book open to the Apple Blossom Fairy. Each week, a different fairy is introduced, along with a saint for that letter. There are also other themes that we focus on for each letter. Behind the open book is our orange basket - that is my essentials basket, which lives right in the middle of the school table. It has all our important books and binders in it. You can see An Alphabet of Catholic Saints in it, and that is the book from which each of the saints is presented. I will be painting a small wooden saint for each week to be found on the table on the first day of each new letter!

Saint for Letter A

Here's a close-up of our first saint, St. Anne, mother of Mary. So, she has a small Mary alongside her. The original idea was to make the saints using felt and pipe cleaners and glue it together, but I thought it might be easier for me to paint them after seeing how Jessica painted hers.

We had an angel this week as well, since angels were one of our A themes.

Book Baskets

Here are our book baskets this week. The one on the left contains an assortment of picture books with various A-word themes, and the one on the right contains books relating to our themes of the week.

Science Theme - Apples:

Theme - Angels:

Favorites for letter A:

We also will have seasonal books in our baskets - for instance, we had a book about Peter Claver in the baskets last week because his feast day was on Thursday. I am loving making use of interlibrary loans... I have been able to obtain nearly every book I wanted! It is pretty neat to see books that come in from library branches in counties on the other side of the state! I have been making multiple library runs as the books come in, and I am learning to reserve way in advance so that books have time to be pulled and sent to my local library. It is really cool, though, and I can't believe I never realized how it works before now... and I do it all online (except for the picking up part! ;).

I bought this blue pocket chart in the dollar spot at Target and will be using it to display the themes for each week. Caroline can refer to it when writing these words.

Work Activities

Caroline and Cecilia each have a shelf on which different work activities are placed each week. They use these on their own throughout the week. Some of the activities relating to A were: alphabet puzzles, abacus, animal puzzles, America puzzle, and acorn letters. There are also matching cards for the Seven Sorrows of Mary because that is this moth's dedication.

Caroline and Cecilia pretended to be flower fairies in the yard...

I am not sure what kind of flowers these are... not apple blossoms!

Food for the Week

I loved this aspect of the week - planning as many A foods as possible for our meals. It made meal planning very easy! In addition to having almond chicken, asparagus, angel hair pasta, artichoke, and apple-cheddar muffins, we also had:

sliced almonds,

angel-shaped tortilla sandwiches and avocado,

apple bread,

asparagus-cheddar quiche,

and apricot fruit leather!

We kicked off the Alphabet Path with a special Letter A Teatime. We had A-shaped cookies, apple slices, animal crackers, and Martinelli's apple juice in apple-shaped bottles (on sale at Kroger a few weeks earlier)!

At teatime, I read to the girls from the first book in the Catholic Children's Treasure Box series, which included the beginning of a story about a guardian angel.

Here's Caroline's plate full of goodies!

The girls helped make the A-shaped cookies, and Caroline also made this one shaped like an angel.

They wore aprons and helped to mix the dough (which happened to be an Arrowhead Mills mix, also on sale at Kroger!)...

Then I rolled out the dough and they helped me to cut out As using our alphabet cookie cutters.

The cooling cookies

Here is Caroline working with making numbers on the abacus during work activity time.

Cecilia worked on an alligator animal puzzle.

Letter Formation

Caroline made the capital and lowercase As using a fresh batch of homemade playdough.

She got carried away and spelled out St. Anne's name!

Tracing letters in a tray of cornmeal

A good tactile experience!

Then it was on to tracing the printed letters with her finger and then with a pencil.

Caroline coloring her Apple Blossom Fairy sheet from this coloring book, which matches the book exactly. We also listened to the Flower Fairy CD, which has all the songs. This helped Caroline to memorize the Song of the Apple Blossom Fairy - she can recite it from memory much better than I can now! We listened to the song some as background music each morning.

This is our Alphabet path binder in which we will keep Caroline's work that relates to the Path. Each week, w will put her flower fairy coloring page in along with the copywork from An Alphabet of Catholic Saints and God's Alphabet - she will also do illustrations for the poems which are copied.

In the beginning, each poem will be traced. I have made up sheets for the poems using Startwrite handwriting software. Eventually, she will move to forming the letters herself by looking at the printed poem and copying onto her own lined paper. In this photo she is tracing the St. Anne poem.

Making an illustration of St. Anne to go along with the poem

A is for Apple Aprons

We cut apples in half and then dipped them into fabric paint to stamp prints onto aprons.

Here are the completed aprons, which we can use each week when we do our cooking project of the week!

Caroline retold the story of Brother Bartholomew and the Apple Grove and I typed it... this is an early form of oral narrations. I am planning to read up more on how to do narrations properly. Caroline loves to talk and has a good vocabulary, so I figured she'd like telling me about some of the books we read. Here she is illustrating the typed up narration of the book.

Punch Out the Letter

This is an idea I saw at Pinewood Castle... I believe it is a Montessori activity in which the child uses a pin to punch around the outline of a letter. I think the idea is to make the punches so close that the letter becomes perforated and separates from the rest of the paper, but I think they look really neat attached to the lamp like this:

Notice how much better she did on the second letter... I think this will help improve small motor skills and strength, which will aid in handwriting in the future.

Word Box Work

We have an index card file box and will be adding words to it each week. I got this idea from reading Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home, and it includes lots of things we learned in our college education courses on teaching reading. It has dividers in it for each letter (including Mc, which Caroline asked about, ha ha - guess it was designed as a Rolodex-type thing!). Each week, Caroline will choose some new words from our weekly Alphabet Path story and I will write them on cards, which she will then file. It is a very basic introduction to alphabetical ordering. We will also use these words to do word sorts (like all the long vowel words, words that fit a certain consonant-vowel pattern, rhyming words... the possibilities are plentiful for word box work). We will also include words for our themes, so this week we added angels, apples, and Anne to the box.

All About Me Book

As a project this week, Caroline worked on a lapbook with the theme of All About Me. I found most of the printouts here. She hasn't quite finished it - it is lots of cutting, which I am helping with, but cutting is a skill she needs to practice!

Caroline weighs herself so that she can record her weight in the All About Me book.

Picture Study - A is for Apples

We are using the book Museum ABC, which has artwork in it from the Metropolitan Museum, Each week, there are four pieces for each letter, and this week the works featured apples. Caroline made her own reproduction of Paul Cezanne's The Apples. Do you know how many apple paintings that guy did????? The idea with the picture study is to just familiarize Caroline with some famous pieces of art and the names of the people who created them: art appreciation.

Cecilia did her own picture study...

Here is Caroline's picture above the original.

Here is Cecilia's... distinct apples, for sure.

Here are the girls modeling their new aprons!

Here is Caroline's angel poem copywork from the book God's Alphabet, along with an angel coloring sheet.

In lieu of a bulletin board, I am using sticky-tack to display the week's work on the massive mirror that (for some reason) covers most of a wall in our schoolroom. I will leave it up for the week and then put the pages into the Alphabet Path binder. I also plan to compile a report cover-type booklet of the picture study reproductions. The narrations will be in their own folder as well. I am thinking of having a folder of storybook narrations as well as a folder of field trip narrations.

The last thing to do is make an apple pie using some of the apples we bought when we made our trip to the apple orchard! I will post pics once we do that, hopefully tomorrow if our recently-developed colds/sore throats don't get worse...

Whew, we did a lot! Next up, Letter B!


Carrie said...

WOW! You did do a lot! Sounds like an idea first week of school!

Maureen said...

This is so impressive!! I love all your crafty learning activities!!