Tag Archives: oak meadow

Grade 3: Lesson 1

our classroom (part of it)

our classroom (part of it)

hard at work

hard at work

we're going to work with chalk all year (not OM, we just want to)

Sea Scape. we’re going to work with chalk all year (not OM, we just want to)

I’ve got a blue bear that’s been sitting on my desk all week waiting to be photographed and yarn for two special orders has arrived.

Maybe Grade 3 will be more productive for me – it’s really too soon to tell.

Oak Meadow Grade 2 (the handy stuff)

Emily’s Hot Tips for Oak Meadow Grade 2

  • Go ahead and get both a big wall map and a globe. They are equally important to an understanding of geography.
  • If you don’t like to be outside or if nature makes you feel creepy, Oak Meadow Grade 2 is not for you. An enormous chunk of the Science coursework involves the out-of-doors. It’s a good idea to find some local nature spaces ahead of starting school, you’re going to visit them a lot.
  • Start saving those Ranger Ricks and All Animals now. You’ll need them for collages. Your library may have old issues of animal-filled magazines in their freebie stack. The Best Friends Animal Society publication was also a great critter picture resource.
  • Your local public library will be hugely helpful. I’m sure this is true for any curriculum. There are many opportunities and suggestions for enrichment so making friends with your librarian (and getting library card upgraded to ‘educator’) is a really good thing. If your library system has an on-line catalog that allows you to place items on hold, you’re ahead of the game.
  • My one ‘I wish I had done that differently’ is not giving Social Studies its own Main Lesson Book. The recommendation is that Social Studies and Language Arts be combined while Math and Science each get their own book. Between the enormous volume of work associated with Language Arts and my personal dislike of having Ellie’s writing and illustration juxtaposed with the occasional map of ancient Mali, the combined Main Lesson Book has been a little bit of an angst-maker. By the time I figured out how much this would bug me, it was too late. This is obviously a personal preference and your mileage may vary.
  • Speaking of Main Lesson Books, I switched from the beautiful (and expensive) Waldorf-style books to hard-backed, artist’s sketch books after four lessons. Language Arts had already filled up one book and I did the price tag and storage difficulty math. One decided advantage of the traditional Main Lesson Books is that they are slim, allowing wrists and arms to rest easily on the table. This is a great thing for beginning writers, but Ellie did fine with the thicker sketchbooks. Again, it’s a personal preference.
  • Don’t be afraid to use your little plastic animal collection. For everything.
  • Several of the Lessons could have been tied into Girl Scout Brownie Skill-Building Badges if I had been paying attention (First Aid, Hiking, Painting, and Bugs come to mind). Keep your eye out if you have a Girl Scout.

Things That I Paid Money To Have That I didn’t Really NEED Need
But Ultimately Made Everything Nicer

  • Amazon Prime
  • White board – We use it everyday. It saved paper, helped with gross motor skills, and was all around great. Much less messy than a chalk board and extra nice if you or your child (or both) have a skin condition like eczema (chalk dust can wreck your skin).
  • Project Trays – Oak Meadow prefers a wet paper watercolor technique, so these are great for that. They are also wonderful for storing clay projects to let them dry, collage bits, nature table stuff that likes to shed, you get the idea. Ours came from here.
  • Command Clips!! They hold all the things! Including things you want to hang from the ceiling! I like our curtain wire set-up from IKEA a lot, but I probably would have been OK with a couple rows of command clips.
  • If you are considering a Walt Disney World vacation, this is the year. The Animal Kingdom is the ultimate Oak Meadow Grade 2 field trip – everything we studied in science this year as well as a good bit of Social Studies was reinforced on this trip. Also roller coasters.

Ellie’s Suggestions

  • Having cats is great because they can come to school with you and you can observe them for Science.
  • Having a white board is really cool.
  • Get good colored pencils! It’s nice to draw with really really good ones. (she used my Prismacolor collection)
  • Take all the chances to go outside.
  • Fred
  • Oak Meadow (which I think means that she enjoyed the coursework)

Animal Classification

Ellie sorting tiny plastic animals again

I love these little things.

For the purposes of Grade 2 science, animals are classified as: mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and arthropods.

I also mentioned cephalopods because octopuses are amazing.

I deeply regret not having any plastic protozoa. No one seems to make them.

What We Do About Math

Ellie is a HUGE fan of math. This makes perfect sense to me: Math is cool. Oak Meadow Grade 2 is purposefully flexible about how much and how complicated math practice can be – the idea is to tailor the experience to the student’s needs/development/attentiveness. There is also lots of ‘mental’ math encouragement. Our mental math practice tends to be everyday math: Do I have enough cash to buy bread AND a Snickers? How many cookies can I have if I have to share? If I double this recipe, is there enough peanut butter for lunch tomorrow? Funny how most of my everyday math has to do with snacks. The Big Concepts we’ve covered in Oak Meadow Grade 2 are a super-thorough understanding of place value (you can’t get far without it), carrying/borrowing (‘regrouping’ if you’re younger than I am), and learning multiplication tables up to 12.

Oh, those crazy multiplication tables. Ellie’s true math love is problem solving, not repetition and memorization. Flash cards and chanting x tables are a quick trip to Crazy Town with bonus gnashing of teeth. Besides, she’s got all of third grade and the first bit of fourth grade to really, truly internalize the multiplication tables before getting to long division. I would MUCH rather have her really, truly internalize multiplication tables instead of *memorize and then forget repeat from * to end of row. So here’s what we’re doing:

I got the idea (and the handprint printables) here – but it occurred to me that the big, precut shapes from the Dollar Store (in the school section) would have been cheaper and easier. I picked some up for when I run out of the hand prints. As Ellie learns a fact, I take it off of the wall. When there are no more facts on the wall, we eat ice cream and add a new set of facts. I only put up the ones she doesn’t know. Because of the commutative property of multiplication (look at me showing off!) 3×4=12 appears in x3 and x4, but there’s no reason to learn it twice. The non-aggressive repetition is ideal.

She only had to learn two facts for the 11s, but ice cream is ice cream.

She only had to learn two facts for x11, but a scoop is a scoop is a scoop.

When people love something (chocolate, yarn, stuffed animals) it’s hard for them to get enough. Which is why we also have “recreational” math in the form of Life of Fred.

These are the 10 books in the Elementary Series.  Fred goes all the way to Calculus.

These are the 10 books in the Elementary Series. Life of Fred goes all the way to Calculus.

The main character, Fred Gauss, is a five year old math professor at KITTENS University. Seriously. He has a doll named Kingie. Kingie is a prolific (and profitable) artist. Just a few chapters ago Fred also acquired a goldfish named Fish. Ellie successfully calculated the volume of Fish’s new tank. Fred’s narrative has taught Ellie: carrying, borrowing, ordinal numbers, telling time, prepositions, adjectives, geometry, area, volume, cardinality of sets, and is working on her multiplication. There’s more, that’s just all I can think of right now. Ellie begs for more Fred. BEGS.

To sum up

(hahah I am SO FUNNY)

Math = Good
More Math = Better

Since I haven’t seen it mentioned in any reviews and I know some folks prefer to avoid any religious references in their school materials: {God} appears as an example of a set with one member, it is mentioned that Fred attends Sunday School, and there are a few other references that indicate Fred’s personal religious preference. Typically, religious overtones in a text book bug me. If I’m going to teach religion I will teach religion not religion-disguised-as-something-else thank you very much. I don’t feel like that is what’s going on here. Life of Fred is a story about Fred so the things Fred is invested in (Kingie, pets, Euclid, Sunday School) are just part of the narrative.

Ten Weeks To Go

How many more times we can use the little plastic animals in the last 10 weeks of Oak Meadow Grade 2?

Science Last Week: How people use animals.  (fiber animals included)

Science Last Week: How people use animals. (fiber animals included)

Ellie finished her embroidery project.

Time to get a frame!

Time to get a frame!

We’ve also been carrying and borrowing in math (regrouping). We’ve covered all the multiplication tables up to 12 (Ellie has learned 2, 10, 4, 3, 11, and we’re working on 5 – all without stress or memorizing for a test yay), food chains, economics (money v. bartering), scarcity, animal tracks and locomotion, opinion writing, narrative writing, book summaries, descriptive writing, and have read all the things and then some. She makes associations between the content we’ve covered and her experiences in the outside world. Her writing is uh…substantial, so we’ve talked about topic sentences, supporting sentences, and conclusions to help her better organize her ideas (not in the Grade 2 curriculum – don’t stress). Her spelling has been the most surprising improvement for me (without weekly spelling tests and memorization yay) – lots of writing gives a person time to internalize spelling.

This is the BEST EVER. Happy Pi Day!

(we had key lime)

Weekly Wrap-Up: Lesson 19

At the beginning of the school year, I thought we might want to use a white board but I wasn’t really sure how much we’d use it. So I ordered a $30 whiteboard from Amazon and used big clamps to attach it to Ellie’s easel.

I was proud of my ingenuity.

I was proud of my ingenuity.

That worked great until she grew. The past few weeks, we really started noticing how much she had to hunch to write on the thing. Which is most unfortunate since we use it many times every day. The white board is at the top of my list of “wow I am glad I bought that” items and one of the things that would continue to get use for many years. So we splurged.

I'm not sorry.

I’m not sorry.

It’s taller, a little bigger, double sided, and our most expensive non-curriculum, school-related item (it really wasn’t that bad when you compare prices). We love it.

This week we started talking about economics in Social Studies (different kinds of resources – we played Catan Jr. as reinforcement), science will be about birds for the next few lessons (do you know about weaver birds?), Math was a review lesson since this is the first week of the new semester, Language Arts continues with poetry and descriptive writing, and Health was sportsmanship (we played Catan Jr. so Ellie could demonstrate Gracious Winning and Parcheesi so that she could demonstrate Gracious Losing and number bonds). There was also potholder weaving.

She really enjoyed weaving.

She really enjoyed weaving – we used this kit.