Friday 27 September 2013

Classification lesson (using buttons)

We have done something similar to this before but I thought it would be a good time to revisit it as part of our Zoology unit.

I started with a discussion about how many living things there are on earth and how difficult it would be if there wasn't a way to sort them.

I presented the girls with a pile of buttons and asked them to select a specific one I needed without telling them which it was, this was obviously difficult to do. I asked them to sort the buttons by the 5 kingdoms (just like we sort living things into 5 kingdoms).

Then I selected the 'red' kingdom to work with and explained we would need to sort these further. For Phylum they decided to sort by no holes and holes, 

for Class was number of holes, Order was transparent or not, Family was pink or red shades, Genus was if it had writing on and Species was the word written on it.

This all lead them to selecting the right button out of the hundreds available : )

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Classification of living things

For science this week we have been looking at living things.
We started by examining the difference between living and non-living using some sorting cards.

Then the older girls studied the characteristics of living things (from Montessori for everyone)

After that we moved onto the 5 kingdoms of living things - I found a great lesson idea here (definitely worth checking out the original article she suggests) using hands as an example. 

The girls decided that the song at the end of the lesson would be better with some hand actions and pictures, so they created their own to go along with the song : )

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Planning and Organisation

Historically I've planned a month in advance and while this has been great for playing to the girls strengths and planning around their interests it has left me exhausted - constantly planning has left me drained and lacking in enthusiasm for homeschooling : (

I decided for sanity (and because I desperately needed a break) that we would actually take some time off this summer, when I say time off I don't mean we did nothing, more that only the basics (Math and English) were covered while the rest was free time for them and organising time for me.

Over the last month I've managed to finish unpacking the school room and plan activities, lessons and experiments for the next six months - this does mean that I have spent ages printing, laminating and collecting supplies but it also means that I have enough to cover the next six months then hopefully take a break and plan for the second half of our year : )

In case you are curious as to what we will be working on:
  • History - ancient world
  • Science - Revisit botany and zoology, cell structure, weather types and cloud formation,volcanoes and earthquakes, tectonic plates, rock and minerals, chemistry and biology.
  • Geography - world map work, Middle East and Africa
  • Art - forms, famous artists, perspective and drawing
  • Music - musical theory, singing, piano and recorder
  • Math & geometry
  • English
  • Latin

It's also had the added benefit of watching the girls plan some lessons/activities for themselves. While I was unpacking and organising they discovered a model ship I purchased ages ago and never got round to using. They decided to build the ship and discovered it was the Mayflower which lead to researching and touring it online, studying the early pilgrims, learning the parts of a boat/rigging etc. 

Tulip learnt to crochet

We hatched two lots of chicks so they researched what the eggs look like inside on each day, parts of a chicken, parts of an egg and life cycles.

Harvested our fruit trees, veg patch and learnt about the nutritional benefits of fresh vs. dried fruit.

I love child directed learning : )

Monday 16 September 2013

Peoplekeys Student Strength Report - TOS Review

We were offered the chance to review a Student Strengths Report produced by PeopleKeys.
PeopleKeys are a worldwide leader in behavioural analysis and provide a number of products designed for educational purposes to understand students learning traits and strengths.

I decided that even though Lilly was outside of their age range (13+) I was keen for her to use this as preparation for future tests and to give her more insight into her learning strengths and personality.

Both the assessment and report are on line. She started by taking the assessment - this took about 25 mins and she was advised to use her gut instinct when responding to the questions and not to over analyse, they are also keen to point out that there are no right or wrong answers. I did sit beside her incase she needed help, this proved useful as she didn't understand some of the words (hence the 13 year plus age range).

Once the assessment was submitted we received the report both immediately on the website and via email. 

The report is a 34 page document detailing her results and outlining how she learns best.
The report is broken down into three sections
  • Personality
  • Learning Styles
  • Cognitive Thinking Skills. 
Both the Personality and learning styles sections contain informational pages on each style, Lilly's results (which were presented in a graphical format), tips for guessing/interacting with other personality types, career suggestions, suggestions for ways to improve your learning skills and information on how to improve your learning environment (it suggested Lilly would learn well in an organised environment but thankfully isn't put off by background noise)

The Cognitive thinking skills section included information on why learning styles are important,
how you best absorb information, how you process information, tips on how you learn best, communication skills, strengths and weaknesses, how you think best and an action plan to help
apply what you have learnt. They do stress that all personality styles and learning styles have unique strengths and gifts.

I liked the Action Plan provided in the report and that it provided further insight into how Lilly learns best - some we already knew but others were a real insight.

There was some repetition in the questions asked which did annoy Lilly slightly but otherwise it was easy to use and came up with the results we expected. I am fortunate that DH is a psychometric tester and when I asked him to look over the report compared to others he had used at work he was impressed at its thoroughness.

PeopleKeys sell the Student Strengths Report for $20.

You can see what my crew mates thought of this and other peoplekeys products including their Personality Style Report, StudentKeys Student Binder, Cognitive Thinking Style Workbook, Student Strengths Report, DISC Career Style Report, Values Style Workbook, Children's Profile (ages 9-14) and more over at the TOS Blog

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