September 27, 2007

Pics from our 1st Day of School

This is a little late since we started on 9/10, but I thought I would share anyway!

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I didn't get too many pics, but I did way better than last year!

September 12, 2007

Move Over, Chicken Mummies!

Well, the chicken mummies have lost their place of prominence on the refrigerator (although they are still there).


They now have to share with the current project: salt dough maps of an imaginary land. Tapestry of Grace suggests making these to learn geography terms at the beginning of the year. The kids made them last week. We are letting them dry and will paint them tomorrow or Friday.

For this project, I had Nathan look up all of the suggested geography terms online and find pictures to go with them. He put all of that into a Word document and we printed it out to use as a reference. I think I would suggest using Enchanted Learning's Landforms glossary instead, although it was very helpful to have real photos to look at. Nathan did a great job!

Since we have gone over geography landforms before, I let the kids choose 7-10 landforms to include on their maps. I bought each student a cookie sheet from the Dollar Store that we will reuse. In hindsight, I should have put cardboard down so that we could remove the maps from the cookie sheet. Maybe we'll just take pictures or save one of them for the Unit Celebration instead of keeping them all. You can also use cardboard or heavy paper. I have seen a picture of a map done in a disposable foil baking pan.

The kids made their landforms and labeled them on popsicle sticks. You are supposed to insert toothpicks and make labels out of sticky address labels or paper to stick on them, but I didn't have any toothpicks! The maps take about a week to dry, and then we will paint them with poster paints or tempera paint. I'll add those pictures to this post when we're done.

To do a salt dough map of a specific geographical area (country, continent, etc.), just print out an outline map on card stock and have your child shape the dough using the base map as a guide. You should use an atlas to help locate rivers, oceans, mountains, and other landforms. The student should use the dough to shape these landforms onto the map. Stick toothpicks into the areas of the map to be labeled and add labels to the toothpicks after the map is painted and dried.

Free stuff for this project:

Salt Dough Landforms: This web page has a recipe for the salt dough and explains how to do a similar landform project

Enchanted Learning's Illustrated Glossary: Landforms and Bodies of Water: This is a large list of landforms to teach using this project.

Geography Resources: This is the link to free geography resources that I have posted about. You will find some links to outline maps there.

September 11, 2007

State and Country Exploration

Update: All of the assignments are finished, but the assignments are still listed on the blog for anyone who would still like to do them.

Did you know that Jocelyndixon is hosting a State and Country Exploration blog for kids? You can read about it at her Lothlorien blog. Most recent State & Country Exploration assignments are stickied at the top of that blog.

Her idea is to encourage regular blogging (and learning at the same time) by assigning a specific blog topic each week (in this case learning and blogging about your state). If you would like to participate, post a comment at Jocelyn's blog - don't forget to let her know what state or country you are doing. Next, go to the State & Country Exploration blog to get the code for your state/country icon. Just look in the sidebar for the post about your state or country and go to the first comment. If it isn't listed yet, be patient and check back.

I think this is such a wonderful idea! I hope Jocelyn gets a great response. I'm looking forward to exploring all of the participants' states and countries.

September 6, 2007

Grading Tapestry of Grace

I feel like all I have been doing this week is sitting in front of my computer going over  assignments and scheduling schoolwork. Well, I guess that's probably because that is about all I've been doing this week.

A couple of my children asked for grades at the end of last year, so I decided I would try to figure out how I want to grade different subjects in Tapestry of Grace. This will be good practice for me for next year, when Nathan begins high school, so I am working hard at it. I know it will be much easier for me to assign credits next year if I "practice" it this year (weird, I know, but that's how I work best). I looked over the high school credit chart for TOG Year 2 to guide my "courses" for the year. I use Homeschool Tracker Plus, which is wonderful! I decided to enter lesson plans for each course because I can reuse them each year. This isn't a big deal for lower and upper grammar, but I know it will be helpful to have lesson plans already available for my future dialectic level students.

I decided on a point system for various activities (the points are pretty arbitrary - I just wanted to start somewhere). I'm not doing any weighted grading right now. Each student will earn points for activities, and grades will be determined by total number of points earned divided by total number of points possible for each course. I am including my point system, but I am an amateur at this grading stuff - I welcome input. I linked to the sample pages from TOG's Ancient Egypt Mini-Unit if anyone is interested.

History (history readings, discussion, timeline, map work)
• 20 points for each weekly history reading assignment
• 10 points for each accountability & thinking question - dialectic level only (some will be written and some will be oral - # of questions vary weekly - these are found in the dialectic and rhetoric levels of the student activity pages)
• 50 points for history discussion - dialectic students only (points earned to be determined by preparation, participation and attitude - also found in the student activity pages - the teacher's notes include the discussion outline guide for me)
• 50 points for map work (scheduled map work by level is found in the student activity pages)
• 25 points for timeline work - dialectic students only (dates are found in the weekly overview)
• 25-50 points for group supplements when scheduled (This Far By Faith Vol. I, What in the World's Going on Here Part 2, That's Why They Call it Grace)

English (literature reading, literature worksheet, grammar, spelling, vocabulary and writing)

• 50 points for the weekly literature reading assignment
• 10 points for each question on the literature worksheet (these are found in the student activity pages - high students advance to literary analysis instead of worksheets, so this will be graded differently next year)
• 20 points for each grammar page done during the week - these will be scheduled as needed for writing assignments (from Easy Grammar)
• 50 points for weekly copywork, dictation, spelling or vocabulary work (copywork for Kathryn, Spelling Wisdom and dictation for Allyson & Jordan, Wordly Wise for Nathan)
• points for writing will be determined for individual writing assignments (I do have WritingAids, and I love it)

Church History (Year 2)

• 50 points for the weekly reading assignment
• 25 points for group discussion

Fine Arts

• 50 points for each weekly reading assignment
• 50 points for hands-on activity

That covers the basics for Tapestry of Grace subjects this year. I welcome any input on grading, as this is new to me. I am guessing that it will change as the year progresses. Hopefully, I'll have it pretty much mastered by next year.

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