One of the beautiful things about doing a summer school at home is that I have the flexibility of deviating from my plans to accommodate for other needs that arise without anyone paying the penalty. Man, do I wish regular classroom teaching was that way! I spend WAY too much time during the regular school year stressing out about fitting everything in when we have a snow day, or the students just need some reteaching on a concept, or an assembly interrupts instructional time. So as I looked at the schedule for today and saw three different appointments glaring at me, then opened a VERY empty refrigerator to scrounge up some breakfast, I did my typical “teacher panic” for a moment, then breathed a sigh of relief when I realized I could make this day whatever it needed to be for us! Since we had been away on and off over the past two weeks, we needed to seriously replenish our groceries, so we did Morning Meeting on-the-go-style en route to Wegman’s…
Morning Meeting: We reviewed Day 1’s discussion on “What makes a superhero?” then I posed the Question of the Day for Day 2: “Who are everyday heroes?” after we briefly discussed the difference between imaginary/fictional heroes and realistic heroes. This was definitely a little more of a challenging question for them to answer. As dramatic, imaginative little boys, they live SO much in the world of Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, and the list goes on and on; so for them to apply the word “hero”, which they think of as the stuff of comic books and cartoons, to our realistic world made them pause for a minute. As I figured I might need to with this one, I started them out with an example and talked about policemen and how they are worthy of the title “hero” based on the criteria we had listed the day before on what makes a superhero. That got the ball rolling. Then I followed up with another question: “What makes them heroes?” This part of our talk was a bit…meager…but then again, we were in the car approaching Wegman’s, and the boys were getting excited about seeing the train in the dairy section, possibly earning a cookie from the market cafe, and “driving” one of the shopping carts with the double steering wheels (genius, might I add, for moms like me with two VERY active and slightly competitive brothers!). So I told them we would table the conversation and revisit it later at home. When we did come back to it, I recorded our ideas on large paper:
At this point in the day, we should have been ready for AM Activity, but it was time for Noah’s swim lesson, and from there, we were off on our Outing of the Week, so the AM Activity became a PM Activity which ended up including the boys’ friend Sean from the house three doors down who had been over to play. It was great to include him in our family fun.
AM Activity: As you can see form the picture above, Day 2’s AM Activity was a cooking project–making a Captain America’s Shield Fruit Pizza. I had made one back in November for Luke’s kindergarten class for his birthday, so I already had a great recipe which you can find here. Unfortunately, I was really rushed with having to prepare dinner and deal with some other household things since we postponed this to the afternoon, so I wasn’t overly thrilled with how it ended up looking. I just didn’t take the time to roll out the dough for the crust to be big enough to get all the circles of CA’s shield on the fruit pizza. But the boys didn’t care. Like most males, all they cared about was me slicing them a piece to gobble down! Thumbs up and smiles when the slices were consumed let me know that the cooking project was a success even if it was missing one ring of red. By the way, here is what the fruit pizza should have looked like, although I wasn’t planning on using large marshmallows because we’re just not crazy marshmallow fans outside of s’mores, and it would cut down on the sugar intake.
Outing of the Week: Sandwiched in between Noah’s swim lesson and Luke’s swim lesson, I had arranged a surprise meeting with a fellow church member of ours who collects and processes evidence for the FBI (ERT department). One of the very first ideas I had related to this week’s theme was that I wanted the boys to interact with an everyday hero so that they could understand that there are real-life people who exercise courage and bravery on a daily basis, willingly face dangerous or uncomfortable situations, and live out true servanthood and care for others through the careers they have chosen. On any given day if you ask Luke what he wants to be when he grows up, he will tell you that he wants to be a superhero. It’s a cute answer, and I’m not going to lie, I have plans to frame for his superhero bedroom an adorable writing piece that he did at school about being a superhero. However, we know that being a superhero like the Man of Steel is not a paid position, so I know that eventually Luke’s bubble is going to have to burst. I thought maybe this would be a good way for him to start thinking of heroes in a different, more realistic way. So back to the outing..SO. A-MA-ZING. I told the boys that they were going to meet a real hero. They were ecstatic and kept trying to guess who it was. They were pretty convinced that we were going to meet a person dressed up like an imaginary hero. We convened in the church parking lot where the agent, to our delight and surprise, had set up a faux crime scene around his bureau vehicle complete with police tape. He gave the boys “special permission” to cross the police tape, and then spent the next 30 minutes showing them all of his tactical gear, evidence research gear, and some of the cool features of his vehicle. The boys got to hold and try on his bullet proof vest–funny to see their knees buckle a little with the weight of the vest! They also got to see his fingerprinting kit, the suit he wears when entering a crime scene so that none of his DNA falls off into the area, the different helmets he wears, his baton, his different holsters, his go-bag if he suddenly has to leave the country to work on a case, the vault in the back of his vehicle that contains more gear and extra clothes, and so much more. He engaged the different lights and sirens on his vehicle which the boys absolutely loved, and he answered all of Luke’s questions about how bad guys get caught and what it’s like to work day in and day out as an FBI agent. The BEST part of the outing was when Luke asked if the agent could handcuff him!!!!!! Much to Mommy’s delight, the agent agreed:
The agent and I both agreed that Luke was a little TOO into the handcuffs, and both of us remarked that this is the only time we better see him in cuffs!!!! This visit surely was another Million Dollar Mommy Summer School Moment.
Quiet Time Activities: Today’s schedule didn’t allow much time for this portion of our routine, but again it’s all about flexibility, right?
- Reading: Reviewed the special sight words for the week and tried using them in sentences, just verbally, nothing written down. Luke also did some reading aloud to me. My sister-in-law who is a kindergarten teacher let me borrow a bag chock full of books–I’m not kidding, she probably gave me more than 50 books. I had told her the themes that we were going to be focusing on this summer, so she pulled a bunch of fiction and nonfiction books from her classroom that tie in with our themes. She also gave me a big ol’ stack of Early Readers ranging from level B to F. Even though Luke’s kindergarten teacher told me at the end of the year that he is reading kind of between level C and D, I still started him with the level B books just for fluency practice, plus Noah enjoys listening to him read these simple little stories. I have been asking him to read at least two Early Readers a day, and I have been keeping a running tally on a spreadsheet recording the title, author, reading level, and date read. I didn’t necessarily have some pedagogical reason why I’m keeping a list, but it’s something I do for myself every year, and I just think it will be cool to look back at the end of the summer and show Luke how many books he read on his own.
- Writing: Didn’t get to any theme writing today but Luke was plowing through the Summer Bridge Workbook today, so I wasn’t worried.
- Math: Ditto for math. Did lots of addition and subtraction in the Summer Bridge Workbook.