Monday, Monday, it’s here to stay.

So today the euphoria of winning the World Cup has gone, and it’s back to the daily routine.  Maths, gymnastics and a bit of science were the order of the day.

Master Oh is working on his subtracting skills using counting back techniques, and rather cunningly with splitting techniques.  He’s a bit of a sly one, in that he seems to have picked up his skills with very little direct teaching on my part and it suddenly shows up when we sit down to practice new concepts.  Thanks to our lego, some freebie tens frames and our workbook we did some pretty good subtraction within 20 with regrouping.

Miss Oh is also currently working on her subtracting skills with regrouping.  This time she’s working on the mental gymnastics required to do subtraction within 10,000, but in fairness the workbook keeps most of the mental arithmetic to under 100.  This is a good thing because the Miss can do the maths but still stumbles a bit with a desire to subtract the smallest number from the biggest irrespective of whether it’s part of the starting number or part of the amount to be removed.  The technical skills are there but the automatic understanding of what she’s doing and why still needs some more time.

Gymnastics was the same fun as usual.  A great time to learn new skills & stretch themselves physically.  Not to mention great fun to catch up with friends too.  It’s a winner all around.

Science today was The Cell.  It was, as Miss Oh insisted on punning, an egg-speriment !!
Yes, using the egg as a very big & easily seen cell.
I had to go out in the afternoon to have my dodgy back attended to, so it was left to Mr Oh Waily to lead the way here.  Which, of course, is no problem for an ex-scientist.
When I returned home Master Oh was able to regale me with a couple of key parts to the egg and to tell me that plant cells were a different shape and had different stuff in them.  I’ll take that from a just-six year old.

All-in-all a fairly typical Monday, despite everyone beginning to show signs of end-of-year slowdown.


November’s NaBloPoMo game – Guess the source of the blog post’s title .
Today’s Hint: it’s from a song.
Leave your guess in the comments.
Answer confirmed tomorrow.

Art Detectives

Today’s Thursday Adventure Club* outing was to Te Papa Tongarewa, known simply as Te Papa.

I had let my fingers do the walking and found an interesting link on their site, at the bottom of the What’s on for kids page.  The Family Trails.
I mean, who could pass up he chance of becoming an Art Detective?  Not us.

So this rather soggy Wellington morning saw us in town bright and early.  We headed to the Information Desk and were kitted out with our Art Detective bag and gear.  What did we get?

  • a deerstalker hat (what self-respecting detective goes without one?)
  • a matching cape
  • a pair of Harry Potter-style spectacles
  • a magnifying glass
  • some pipe cleaners
  • a foldable box
  • pencils
  • the Art Detective guide

Once we were all dressed for the occasion, Detective G and Detective M and their guide (me) headed off to Level 5 to work our way through the different galleries and the tasks set out in the AD guide book.

Do they look cute, or do they look cute?

Detective GDetective M

The amount of double takes and smiles the costumes generated was worth it alone.  But, in the process of following the art trail they were exposed to a range of artists and artistic styles.

We started off in the Artist In Focus gallery where they did a bit of counting, writing and creating with their pipe cleaners.  Then we moved through to the Arts Studio, which we will try to visit again when there isn’t a school class in the galleries, where I helped them make their own small cardboard waka huia to store their treasures in.  Then in the same area they had to find and then work out how to use a mystery box to help them with one of the following clues.
Then it was off to the Maori & Pacific Encounters gallery to look at and answer questions about a painting done by John Webber 200 years ago while sailing with James Cook.

Next we headed to the Framing the  View gallery where we used the descriptions noted from the Mystery Box to find an art work.  We did some more counting here and also a bit of geometry.   Miss Oh Waily took over the writing duties from here on.  She also drew the geometrical shapes that were used in the art work.
We stayed here and using a set of three clues supplied in our detective bag we had to work out which painting they represented.  And Miss Oh then had to make up a story to go with that particular piece of art.  I was her secretary here or we would have struggled for space and time.

From here we headed into the gallery Emblems of Identity where we got to see a number of Rita Angus portraits including Rutu which was the subject of this section of the trail.  We learned about symbols in art – in this case a white lotus – and made one of our own for our waka huia.  Then we did several word clues to identify the next artworks including McCahon’s The Valley of Dry Bones and then the kids got to draw their version of some Angus portraits and added speech bubbles to them.  Then we moved on to the Being Modern gallery into the Modern Maori Art gallery where there was more writing and drawing to be done.

Finally we made our way through the Art & Change and Contemporary galleries.  This latter one was a bit of a toughie.  It houses a couple of interesting works by Ralph Hotere which were the subject of another project in the book.  But by this stage they were getting to the end of their attention span (almost an hour and a half of detecting by this time) and the glossy attractions of Michael Parekowhai’s amazing piano was proving a bit much for Detective G.  Clearly she is a tactile person (and curious with it) so I had a bit of trouble keeping her hands off it.

We whizzed through the remaining gallery and we were done.  A fluffy and biscuit were their rewards for being so good at detecting and keeping on the trail for almost the entire time.  They did fabulously well.  And I am most definitely going to keep an eye on the Family Trails section for any new options elsewhere in the museum.  It’s a great way to make kids this little stop and actually look at art in galleries.  It makes it interactive and fun, but not laborious.

A complete Pukeko Patch thumbs up for this activity.

But be aware that they only had four or five detective bags at the information desk.  I’d suggest going early on a weekday in order to ensure your little detectives are able to enjoy themselves.  Oh, and you do have to be interactive throughout the process (not just reading the guide book) so that they get the most out of it.  But well worth it in my opinion.


* My arbitrary name for our family field trips.  Makes it sound flashy for the small ones.

Night writer

Every now and then Miss Oh Waily gets so tired during the day that she ends up taking a nap.  This isn’t ideal because it naturally pushes out the other end of the day with a child who should be in bed and sleeping at her usual time not being the least bit tired.

A while back I succumbed to Miss Oh Waily’s solution to this problem.  She asked for pen and paper and the side light on.  She proceeded to sit in bed and draw until she became tired enough to put it aside and fall asleep.  This was fine, she’s in bed, quiet and I get some end-of-day personal time.  Mostly.

So a few weeks back this happened again, but she asked for the “special” pens rather than the usual pen I had been giving her.  I was a bit dubious, but thought that it would be a good test to see if she could take care of very fine tipped markers.  I gave her the pens.  The next day she showed me some of what she had done and asked to do it again that night.

The end result, which you will see below, took her several days of half an hour (or so) sessions.  She instigated it.  I did not help her in any way.  She had decided that she wanted to make it for her very favourite teacher at our daycare and was determined to finish it.  The only influence I had was in suggesting that she draw the cover page.  Here is Brave as copied out by Miss Oh Waily.

She insisted that it be laid out on her blankie, so please excuse the background.  I also had to take a series of quick photographs as she wanted it made up to take to her teacher that day.  Which we did.

The cover page:
Cover Page

The First Two pages:
First two pages

Remember, she is writing on scrap paper as I was expecting her to be drawing and doodling. So not a line in sight for her to keep her words and sentences (not too much punctuation going on, as you can see) level.

The Last page:
Last page

The Little Writer
Cheesy grin

Turns out when she has a goal, she’s a stubborn little madam.  Even though I have been teaching her the rounded a, she wanted to copy the book’s ‘a’, and the same with the ‘g’.  She had to do it like the book.

I have no idea why she decided to do this, but I’m all for anything that will get her interested in writing some more.  A lovely surprise from my very lovely little girl.