Sunday, 29 May 2011

Drawing With Children

I have just stared using the book Drawing With Children by Mona Brookes to get the children drawing more realistically. The book breaks down shapes into the element families of dots, circles, straight lines, curved lines and angle lines. First we had a go at producing the different elements.

Elements of shapes by R
Elements of shapes by L
Next we searched around us for real examples of the types of elements. For example a stool seat is like a big dot, a circle is found on the rim of a cup, straight lines and angled lines on shelving and curved lines on plant leaves.

Next we followed simple instructions using the elements of shape to make a bird drawing. (L walked off to do something else at this point).
R working on his bird drawing
Next we used water colour pencils to paint the drawing. L returned to have a go with these.

Working with water colour pencils
R's finished bird drawing

Butterfly Cakes

This week's cookery session was sweet. R saw a recipe for butterfly cakes in a magazine but their wings were made from chocolate drops. Chocolate makes the children crazy so we substituted marshmallows instead for the wings. Sour snake sweets make up the bodies.

Cakes with butterflies on top

Friday, 27 May 2011

Engineers at work

We managed to get a cheap version of Knex/Lego from ALDI today. R and Dad spent quite a bit of time making a ferris wheel with it. It has a motor so it can really turn!

Portrait Tiles (part 2)

Today we used acrylics to paint our plaster portrait tiles. Here are the results:

L's tile
R's tile
Mum's tile

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Native American Rain-sticks

Today at our home education group we made Native American rain-sticks. The real ones are made from cactus filled with beans and are used in ceremonies. Ours were made from packing tubes filled with foam packing pieces to which we added various beans, rice and corn. It was interesting to find out that different fillings made different rain sounds of varying duration. Thankfully we did not bring on rain!


Altered Books - Page 1

The children are making altered books at their weekly home education group. The books started life as old toddler board books and are gradually being converted to works of art. First we removed some pages to give space for collage and cut holes in the books to make spaces to embed objects. This was then undercoated.

Our first page is a collage made from papers, pictures, beads, sequins, ribbons and anything else we could find! Look out for our next pages coming soon.

L's butterfly themed collage page
R is working on a giants theme, here the beanstalk goes up to the giant's castle

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

English Mini Office

I made R a mini office to use when he is working on English projects.

English mini office
Its made from 2 file folders joined together at the centre. To this I have added the alphabet and phonic sounds that R has been using, some tricky words, date words, and punctuation. Also included are some definitions and writing prompts. I hope R will find it useful when he is writing. I will gradually change parts of it as his needs change. I'm also hoping that it will act as a visual barrier to help him stay focused on his own work and not what other people are doing.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Portrait Tiles

We used up some spare clay from another project to make plaster portrait tiles.

  • clay
  • knife
  • dolls head
  • pointed stick
  • textured wallpaper
  • plaster of Paris
  • First flatten a ball of clay into a flat tile shape, cutting off the edges to make a rectangle.
  • Use textured wallpaper to imprint a pattern all over the tile.
  • Take a dolls head (Barbie) and push it quite deeply into the clay to give a face impression.
  • Use a pointed stick to add hair and other details
L's clay portrait
R's clay portrait
Mum's clay portrait
  •  Next use some clay to build a wall around the tile.
Tiles with walls of clay
  • Fill the tile with plaster of Paris, we embedded a hanging string into the plaster at this stage.
  • Remove the clay wall once the plaster has set.

Our plaster tiles removed from the mold

  • Paint the tiles (come back soon to see ours)

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Autumn Seeds

It was a lovely sunny day so we went to our local botanic gardens at Mount Annan to see how the plants were looking during Autumn. The children enjoyed looking for, and collecting, different types of seeds and berries. There were also some lovely Banksia flowers and their amazing shaped seed pods. Most of the trees in the garden are native gums which don't lose their leaves in winter so the gardens were still quite green.

L collects some huge seed pods
R opens a seed pod to find out what's inside
Banksia flowers
Sculptural Banksia seed pods
Ferns in Autumn colours

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Chinese Ribs With Roasted Pumpkin

Cookery this week was Chinese pork ribs served with roasted pumpkin and rice.

L adding more sauce to the ribs

The meal made by R and L

Treasure Hunt

Today R and Dad made a scale map of our garden.  They gave it a key and marked on important features. Dad then hid some "treasure" around the garden which R had to find using his map.

The map with treasure locations added
Using the map to locate treasure
Finding a hidden coin
Hunting in the washing for hidden treasure

Friday, 20 May 2011

A Warm Autumn Day

Today was lovely, warm and sunny. The children spent lots of time outside. We checked on our Square Foot Garden and noticed a couple of red strawberries which were quickly consumed. We have lots of peppers ripening in various shades of green, red and orange. The plants in a couple of squares are beginning to die down so we will have to replant soon.

Tickletown - final installment

We finally got to scaling down our Tickletown (junk model village) map to a more user friendly size. R looked at lots of different maps and we talked about what information they showed (including a key and a scale). We shrunk down the map by copying each square into a smaller square, one at a time, using a scale of 1cm on the small map = 5cm on the "real" town. This was quite challenging! R added the compass points, scale and a key. We used rulers and tape measures to check the accuracy of our smaller map against the original, using our 5 times tables of course!
Tickletown map 1:1 scale
Tickletown 1:5 scale map
Tickletown 1:5 scale map
Well after writing so much mail for our residents of Tickletown we thought we should send a real letter. R wrote this lovely one to his grandparents, its just waiting for us to get into town to post it.
A real letter to Nanny & Granddad

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Stone Suns

At our home education group we have been learning how to make stone suns. First we used clay to make a sun face.

R's sun

L's sun

Mum's sun
Next we used plaster to make a mold of our clay suns. We had to make a clay wall around the sun to contain the liquid plaster. We let it dry and then took the clay out.

R's plaster mold

L's plaster mold

Mum's plaster mold
Next we will have to fill the mold with some kind of concrete mixture. Check back soon to see the results.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Room Rearrangement

I'm finding the room rearrangement and the accessibility of materials has led to lots of independent maths and English play. The children have been playing with the materials and making up their own games.

R and L play with unifix cubes, counting trays and dice

R made these sentences. I really like the 3rd one down, don't you?
(Today I don't sit and agree do I !!)

Both children love the scales and weights and the sorting bears.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Campbelltown Steam & Machinery Museum

Today we visited Campbelltown Steam & Machinery Museum for their open day. We saw lots of old steam machines, a steam train, tractors and traction engines. We also got to ride the train and a trailer pulled by a steam engine and another pulled by a tractor. R particularly loved the replica organ and stood for ages examining how it worked. 

Finding out how steam engines work

Working replica organ that fascinated R. We went around the back to see the workings and to watch the paper music being fed in

Miniature steam train

Pub sign

R admires the stationary engines

R finds out that pumping water by hand takes a lot of effort and is much slower than pumping by machine