Sunday, September 20, 2015

Week Two: Salmon

This was a very non-traditional week of school. We started on Tuesday with a homeschool group tour of a local salmon hatchery.

Salmon is a huge part of our culture here in the Pacific Northwest. The tour was split into two groups of 40 kids each by age (over 10 and under 10). When our group started, the tour guide called the kids to order and said, "We're here to learn today even though this isn't school." One young boy in the front raised his hand with a confused look on his face and said, "But... this IS school?!" I love homeschooled kids!

The kids were shown the huge adult salmon in the stream before they enter the fish ladder. Did you know that salmon prefer the color red so if you put a red shirt up to the glass, they will congregate around you? Who knew?!

Then the guide showed them the life cycle of the fish from egg, to yolk-sac, to fry (young fish) to adult. We saw the storage area for the fry's until they're old enough to be released. The guide said they housed about 600,000 young salmon!! Wow. The water was really murky though so it was hard to make out the little fish.

After seeing some young fish in an aquarium with much clearer water and talking about the difference between male and female salmon using huge sculptures came DJ's favorite part. The kids were given food to feed adult rainbow trout. The guide explained that the rainbow trout were the same fish as salmon but they just chose not to go out to the ocean. They were greedy little things, splashing up out of the water at the smallest sign of food. DJ giggled all the way through tossing his handful of food into the water a little at a time.

On Wednesday I woke up listening to DJ play in his room. He was chattering about numbers saying things like "three train cars and one train car... that makes four train cars!" He's definitely beginning to internalize basic addition facts. He also made it downstairs before I did and worked with the first box of Constructive Triangles again. He talks to himself while he works so I know that I need to go over the words parallelogram and trapezoid again.

When I did come downstairs, I brought him a surprise. He has asked several times lately to do the 45-layout with the Golden Beads again but I had stored the extra Thousand Cubes upstairs so I kept putting him off. He was really excited when I brought them down and he got right to work. I actually had a work call I needed to make so he did most of the work by himself this time.

Around the time that he finished the tens and had only the numbers laid out for the hundreds, he stands up and looks at the three columns. He says to me, "Why don't any of them go to ten?" I wasn't sure what he meant so he said, "They all only go to nine, why is there ten tens?" I finally realized and reminded him that whenever you get to ten of a category, you start the next category, so "ten tens" is down here and we call it one hundred. He had a huge "oh yeah!" moment and I was very glad I let him do this activity again. I love the way the materials reinforce the basics of our Base-10 system over and over.

When he was done with the layout he was so proud of himself and wanted to pose for a photo. I like how he stair stepped the 700, 800 & 900 squares so he could easily count them as he worked. I also like how the columns and stacks are all wonky and not perfectly aligned as I would do because this is HIS work.

DJ absolutely loves books and particularly the Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? book.  He brought it to me to read it to him.  As I read, I pause on certain words and ask him to tell me the sounds of the letters and then I read the word to him.  He's beginning to see how letter sounds become written words, but he still has little interest in anything on his Language shelves.  After I finished reading to him, he brought out his felt shapes that match the images from this book and asked me to bring up the Brown Bear song on YouTube.  He diligently placed each matching piece as the song sang on the iPad.  I love the look of focus on his face in this picture!

On Friday we went tent camping for the very first time and it was such as adventure it requires its own post. So stay tuned for more fun!

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