Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Who's training whom?

Dog training. Shannon found the clicker again. She loves the clicker, and of course, so does the dog. Click means treats.

Unfortunately, with Shannon using the clicker, it usually means random treats at random times. I know she's confusing the dog more than anything else, but I'm tired of always saying 'no, you're doing it wrong.' I know she doesn't want to hear that either. But I can hear her in the living room trying to teach a new trick... explaining to the dog what he did wrong, and then clicking. I want to scream. We've gone over and over in the past how to use the clicker correctly. I've asked her repeatedly NOT to train a few specific things such as what she's doing right now. She's calling him to 'come' from across the room directly from a 'stay' ... when he doesn't 'stay' reliably yet, the obedience trainer I used to work with back when we did the school thing said that until dogs can reliably 'stay' through all kinds of distraction, they should only be released from it when you're next to them.

But... today is about picking battles. I just can't have a negative day with her right now. The truth is, I haven't been working with the dog either, so I have to believe that any kind of mental stimulation is better for him than nothing.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ah, spelling

So Shannon's Tuesday spelling assignment is to use all her spelling words in sentences. Normally, she does this with her dad... she gives him three random words that  he has to use in a haiku, while she tries to make a single sentence with three spelling words. This makes for a fun challenge and a nice bonding experience.

They didn't get to her homework last night, so she has to make it up today. She's doing it right now and asked that I'd do the haiku part. No problem. She's sat there for 15 (FIFTEEN) freakin' minutes staring into space and doodling. I'm busy walking the line between letting the creative juices flow and screaming for her to focus. She says the first three words are really hard to get into a sentence. I told her that the original intent of the exercise is to write a sentence per word, but she had changed the rules to challenge herself. I reminded her it was OK to just put a single word in the sentence. "NO! It's faster this way!"  Um, really kid? Staring into space for fifteen minutes is NOT faster. Sorry.

Oddly enough, she comes up with her sentence about 60 seconds later. The words giving her trouble? Two colors and a noun. Blue, Green, Shoe. Her dazzling sentence that took her fifteen minutes to create? "My shoe is blue and green."

So, we're back to focus issues. (I'll cover later what I think about the spelling words for this "advanced" curriculum, blech)

(oh, and she gave me the not-so-random words tulip, scissors, and crystal... my haiku:
Lovely crystal vase
The tulip yearns toward sunlight
Get me my scissors)

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's Volcano Time!

Science: Geology, rocks, minerals, earthquakes, volcanoes, continental drift, etc.  This has been a really fun unit for Shannon. She performed mineral scratch and streak tests for identification. She broke apart a geode. We found rocks in our back yard (mostly igneous, unsurprising for this area) including a really awesome sedimentary conglomerate. We've grown sugar crystals, salt crystals, and even baking soda crystals. Today we're playing with graham crackers ... sliding them over a bed of peanut butter to demonstrate continental drift.

Tomorrow, though, we're supposed to build a volcano. You know, the traditional baking soda red food coloring erupting science fair volcano.

I hate that. I think it's a really lousy demonstration of "what happens when a volcano erupts" ... fine if you're just wanting to show effects, but VERY poor if you're trying to look at causes. Which I prefer. See, to demonstrate the causes of a volcanic eruption, you need to show that it is NOT a chemical reaction, but instead heat and pressure.

I think we're buying dry ice tomorrow, and doing a "don't try this at home" experiment instead. Place dry ice inside a pop bottle. Seal lid. Go inside and wait.  Watch out for shrapnel. ;-)

Yup, I live dangerously.