Monday, May 23, 2011

Counting The Days

This year we decided to count our school days. The idea was that we wanted to have a funtastic 100 Days Of School celebration. I've been collecting ideas from all sorts of places, but it's hard to have a 100 Days of school party if you don't know how many days you do or don't have. I was even going to celebrate it on the 100th day of the year last year, but that didn't pan out either.

So this year, I decided we'd have to keep track of our school days in order to know exactly when we should have our 100th day party. I thought of about a hundred {no pun intended} different ways we could do this. All of which I was game to get moving on when a late night google search for I can't remember what turned up some fun printables from Mamma Jenn's.

As it turned out she had links and printables all over for just what I needed. Gotta love that time saving find! I ended up printing out a few different charts that would not only help us count down days but would also help us work on a few math areas that my youngest needed to learn about at that time.

Chart number one is nothing special. We've used one similar to this on and off for a while. Basically we record the date each day. I did like that this one had a slot for writing the date in numbers only. I felt it was a great opportunity to teach that to Morgan, and it so happened we were all ready working on it and this helps enforce it. Unfortunately we could kinda use a new one because the laminate we have doesn't like the dry erase markers we've been using. Alas.. I added the Even/Odd tags. We swap who writes the date each day so that everyone has a fair go at it, whichever child changes the date is also responsible for deciding if it's an even number or an odd one. This was something we added because at the start of the year Jayden was asking lots about odd & even.

Next up we have a weather chart. This hangs directly above our yellow daily calendar. The idea was to give the boys some graph work. It can be hard, as a small family that homeschools, to find great ideas for graphs. Keeping track of the weather seemed a great idea for this. The idea was to compare everything at the end of the month and then at the end of the school year and see how many days we had of each form of weather. I snagged these fun weather charts from here.

On the wall right next to the above charts {it's a corner} we have a Tally Mark sheet. I wanted to work more on tally marks with Jayden as it wasn't something we'd covered yet. Generally we do this by playing games and letting the kids keep track. So this was another fun way to let him work on tally marks. Again, the kids take turns. One day one child does the calendar and weather chart while the other one does the remaining charts. Each day we simply have a tally mark added to this chart. When we get five we tend to write the number we're up to. All though, as you can tell from the jumble above it might have been wiser to have had them use the dry erase crayons.

Here's the infamous 100 Day's chart! Each day we simply add another number onto the chart. Can you tell we swap considering the many different handwritings above? We're been using the Crayola Low Odour dry erase markers. I love them because they don't set off a migraine due to the stink, but unfortunately the boys haven't figured out how to get a nice fine line. I really need to pull out our Crayola Dry Erase Crayons for things like this.

Last, but not least, we have the Place Value "wall". This hangs below the orange chart I showed previously. It's just another way to keep track, but also gave the boys a daily dose of place value. Really, it was nothing new for Morgan, and now it's nothing new for Jayden. They learn so quickly it's fun to look back at what we started the year with.  Can I also share that having these number charts going is fun for me?

It really really is! Why? Ever have those days when you think, "Man we don't do enough school! We're going to be so behind..." You know the typical things Homeschooling Mamma's say, right? Yeah, well when I think like that my husband simply points to the number wall and says, "Just wanted to share with you that you guys have currently done xx days of school." I've needed that a lot over the past month. We made all the school changes and it seemed liked we'd just begun. While waiting on everything's arrival I started having those self-doubts running amuck. It's fun to say, "Wow guys can you believe we've done 50 days of school?"

As long as I'm sharing fun daily math things.. I pulled these fun Thomas Train days of the week out of my file box. I made these up for Jayden when he was in Kindy. He's been a Thomas fan since the day he was born. Really. Isn't it funny how some children are just attracted to certain things? Jayden has always been attracted to trains. The first house we moved into in Tassie had a train that ran past our home several times a day and night. Anytime he heard it he'd clamber up into a window and squeal, "I see it, I see it!" Anyway, to help him learn his days of the week I'd made up these really fun strips above. We use to help him put one on "Today Is." "Yesterday Was." "Tomorrow Will Be." And we'd sing our fun little song. I even went the length of making sure the picture of the train matched the first letter of the day of the week. Except for Wednesday because even my 4 year old couldn't tell me a train that started with a W.  I pulled these out and hung them up, in order {with his help}, on a shelf in the school area. We move the arrow to whatever the day of the week is. I pulled them out because while he knew his days of the week he didn't know them in order, so now we say them in order each day.

I told you we had a Thomas fanatic in our home! I even made these month of the year slips & somewhere are matching calendar numbers for each and every one of them. I pulled these out and had Jayden help me hang them in order. We say these each day too because apparently while he knew how to read a calendar and he knew which months certain things happened in he didn't actually know the months of the year. Problem solved. I made an arrow to point to whatever month we're currently in. Funny thing about pulling these out was that Jayden didn't remember them! I was shocked because they use to be the highlight of his morning getting to adjust all the Thomas stuff. Makes me glad to have the need and opportunity to pull them out and use with him again. Sorry, no printable on them. I made them a couple of years ago and don't even know if I have it saved and/or if sharing them would be a copyright violation due to the Thomas pictures..


Jade =) said...

I love your charts and graphs... I wish I had enough room to post up a ton of stuff like that! Our 'school room' is our breakfast nook and the dinner table so we don't have much extra wall space, but the little I have I am definitely using! Love what you're doing!

Kendra said...

Jade, we homeschool in our dinning area too, but because we rent I'm not great about hanging anything that requires a nail. Posters work because I can use blu*tak on them. BUT.. I will say that Mamma Jenn {where I snagged some of mine from} has her's kept in a notebook!