Archive for February, 2009

We continue to practice our sums and finger spelling. We are reviewing odds and evens so we can begin classifying dominoes into odd and even ven diagrams. Stay tuned! You can help by playing games that involve dice, dominoes, counting, and adding with your child. The more practice with dice and dominoes the better. The workbooks that friends have reinforce the concepts that we’ve been practicing with manipulative.


Today we read a story entitled “Yeshi’s Luck” from the book, Tibetan Tales for Little Buddhas by Naomi Rose. The story explains the outlook taught in Buddhist philosophy. The wise father keeps reminding the children who are judging events as lucky or unlucky that they are just events and we give meaning to them by how we think about them. He reminds the children to open their vision and experience the events, and the end of the story reveals the joys and sorrows of which life is made. It’s all about the big picture, and those events are the “string of pearls” that make up the “necklace” of life!



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We continue our journey in Tibet. Today we read I am a Yak by Norbu C. Kharitsang. The story tells of the significance of the yak (the male) and the dri (prounced “dree,” the female) to the Tibetan people. The story, told from the yak’s perspective, ties this strong beast to the people and the land of Tibet. Dri butter and dri milk (often called yak butter and yak milk) are a large part of the Tibetan diet. Often compared to the American Indian’s buffalo, the yak supplies nutritious meat, and skin and hair for clothing and boots. In addition, the yak is an important “beast of burden,” for the Tibetan people and the many explorers to the Himalayas. White yaks, which are somewhat rare, are reserved for the spiritual leaders of Tibet. They are not used for heavy work, but are instead used as sacred transportation for the holy leaders.


Our work with sums continues. We are using dice to add sums of two and three numbers. We have also been practicing “counting up.” (Remember that “counting up” means starting with the larger die, and then counting up from there. Then, we make it a practice to say the whole equation. For instance, 6 + 4 are added by pointing to the die with six dots. Which one has the most? They point to six. We identify it as “six.” Then we begin to count the other die starting at 7…8…9…10. Then we say together “6+4=10.”) We have begun to classify our numbers as odd or even. Some of our friends passed along a rhyme from the Belmont Day School to help us remember (Thanks Jodie, Sophie, and Eli!): 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, odd numbers are just fine. 2, 4, 6, and 8, even numbers are really great. We’re beginning to explore probability, and trying to decide which numbers will come up more often as we add sums together. (NOTE: We are practicing sums with two numbers and three numbers. For the two numbered equations, we count up. For the three numbered equations, we add up the two smallest dice, and then count up for the third.)


We are using our American Sign Language alphabet to play rhyming games with finger spelling. Short words are displayed on flash cards, and then I sign a letter, and we change the word by adding the letter we signed onto the beginning of the original word. Even those who are already reading have fun practicing their finger spelling, as well as making up goofy rhyming sentences!



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Dice Games

Dice Games

Originally uploaded by mtviewcollaborative

Dice games have been a successful way of teaching addition and subtraction.

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Friends rolled, cut out, and decorated Valentine’s Day sugar cookies and we partook in the sweet snack in the afternoon just before going outside. We finished our valentines, wrapped bookmarks, and began our Tibetan New Year’s flags. We water colored paper that will become our the background and animals for our decorative new year’s declarations. We are saying goodbye to the Year of the Earth Mouse (2135) and hello to the Year of the Earth Ox (2136).

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As Black History month continues, we have been discussing Martin Luther King, Jr. and his “I Have a Dream” speech. It has been interesting for me to explain racism to children, and have them imagine not being able to interact with all people. Most were surprised to know that Black folks were unable to share water fountains with Whites, not to mention public swimming pools, bus seats, etc. Their first question is always, “Did you do that Kate?,” as they personalize the information they receive. It is often difficult to explain that I benefit by my white skin, although I did not personally partake in racist practices. Part of my privilege as a white person is that I did not even know institutional racism existed until I was aware of the Civil Rights Movement as a young adolescent! We talk about being Peace Travelers and using our might in words and actions to stand up for people when they are being treated unfairly. Sebastian illustrated a beautiful storybook about Martin Luther King, Jr. He was able to share his story, knowledge,  and pictures with friends.


Preparing for the upcoming day of love, we read the book The Rainbabies by Laura Krauss Melmed (a story depicting parents’ longing and love for children) and began making valentines.




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Our journey to Tibet continues….Today we began our day with the story, Where is Tibet? By Gina Halpern. Tashi and Pima are two Tibetan children living in exile with their parents in India. As the children ask their parents about Tibet, they embark on a mystical journey as they listen to their hearts, speak to the moon and stars, and eventually, meet the Dalai Lama, the leader of the Tibetan people.


We spent the afternoon with our friend Ruth Craft. She is busy working on a huge puzzle that the friends found interesting. We also shared scones that we had made back at Mountain View and baked at Ruth’s. We had a “picnic” on a big blanket on the living room floor. We enjoyed the book, Verde by Janelle Cannon, about a young snake that is free-spirited and careless in his youth. He continually resists getting older and changing from bright yellow to the more mature bright green. After Verde is hurt by his own carelessness, the “greens” (as he calls them) take care of Verde. And as he rests, he learns a new perspective about being still, observing the beauty of the natural world around him, yet holding on to his youthful spirit. Both, the story and picnic were enjoyed by all.


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Our expedition to Tibet begins….


We are learning about the country at the top of the world, the Chinese occupation, and the people and their culture and traditions. We began with the book, Our Journey from Tibet by Laurie Dolphin. An interesting discussion ensued as we discussed the children in the story who had to leave their homeland. Our conversation revolved around the concept of freedom, one country hurting another, and children leaving their parents to live in another country. Friends immediately wanted to be angry with the Chinese people. We talked about the difference between people and the soldiers who enact the orders of their government. What really brought the conversation “home” was letting friends know there are probably international people who thought about the American people as they thought about George Bush….


We read Kami and the Yaks, a story about a deaf child who needs to communicate to his family. One of the family’s yaks is hurt way up in a rocky pass, and Kami’s bravery and pantomime helps his father understand that he knows more than his father thinks. The watercolor illustrations are outstanding.


Our bookwork continues with number and number word recognition, adding two and three numbers, and adding/counting with manipulatives. We are reviewing our ASL finger alphabet which is remembered quite well across time. Having friends decode with fingers helps put phonetic sounds with their letter symbols in their body.



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