Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Finest Horse in Town

Our next Five in a Row book was The Finest Horse in Town.  It is the tale of two sisters and their beloved horse.  This book is unusual in that it contains three additional stories that tell what might have happened to said horse.

I felt rather scattered as we briefly rowed this book; during this time the flood repair work and new flooring installation was being done, so there was a great commotion that made an unsettling backdrop to our activities.

-We discussed gratefulness and ways to discuss gratitude.
-We noticed that overlapping planes can make a picture more realistic. 
-We talked about what centuries are and K demonstrated that she can easily count by 100s.  We also talked about multiplying by 2s and telling time.

There is a 4th of July parade in The Finest Horse in Town.  We spent some time discussing why we celebrate Independence Day and read some books to learn more about our nation's beginnings.  It so happened that at this time one of our homeschooling groups had a gathering where all the children involved were invited to give a presentation about being thankful. (This was in early November.)  Since it was close to Veterans Day when we rowed this book, I decided to combine our Independence Day lesson and Veterans Day, with being thankful for our country and the many who have fought for our freedom.  K and I came up with a speech she could give using what she had learned about how our country got started.  ("King George III was making too many rules!" she began.)  She did a great job, and though she admitted to being a little nervous later, she sure didn't act like it.  T and I participated too:  he proudly carried the American flag and held it high while I led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and made some opening and closing remarks.  It was a really good learning experience.

The Finest Horse ends in the fall, and one of the activities was to learn about why leaves change color.  Since we rowed this book in the fall, it worked well to study this.  I liked this website's perspective and its description of the process of leaf color change.  I also liked this Youtube of scientists doing an experiment to explain what is happening inside the leaves as they change color.  This science duo has none of the flash and dash of Bill Nye, but I thought it was cute how in their dry way they are friendly and earnest in their quest to further kids' interest in science and learning.
Also, it was a good time for us to go out and observe the colorful leaves.  I had K and T walk around the yard to see what leaves they could find--they found a greater variety than I expected.  Also, they found more than just yellow leaves--the vast majority of trees around here turn yellow in the fall.  I think several of the leaves must have come from neighbors' trees.

I also showed K how to make leaf rubbings.  Once she got the hang of it, she thought that was great fun and the rubbings made a nice fall display on the schoolroom wall.
Finally, what would a discussion of fall be without a romp in the leaves?  We don't have big trees in our yard, so the kids and I took a walk to a nearby park where the trees are bigger.  We hit it just right last year and had a great time playing in the leaves.  However, when we got there this year..there was nary a leaf under the trees.  How disappointing.  The park workers must have been industrious and cleaned everything up.  I let the kids play on the equipment for awhile and as I watched them, I looked over to the other side of the park where it's just grass and a fence, and there were all the leaves.  One of the terrific wind storms we get must have moved them all.  So when I pointed this out to the kids, they joyfully ran over and had a grand time in the deep piles.  Someone had even left a rake (and a pair of shoes) nearby.  I will close with some pictures of the two of them playing.


Anonymous said...

What did you say for your opening remarks??

- Anonymous K

Joelle said...

I love reading your posts for fiar! You do such a great job and are a fun teacher! I feel like a boring teacher so often - I think I just need more sleep! Love the pictures of the kids playing in the leaves! I miss huge piles of leaves!! Did you know I used to rake the leaves at the Denton's home every year just so I could also jump in the leaves? :)

Rena said...

Anon. K-- I don't remember for sure what I said. Something to the effect of being thankful for our country, how it is unique, etc.

Joelle-- That is so cute about raking leaves at the Dentons'! Seems like I remember them having some pretty big trees. I don't think you're a boring teacher at all! I love reading your updates! Are you going to post soon? : )