Growing Every Day

Archive for July, 2014

First Day of School

When I was teaching in the public school setting, the first day of school was always looked on with great anticipation and excitement.  New supplies, fresh faces, all new possibilities for the year.  It was also accompanied with a multitude of preparations – decorate room, make sure all papers needed were copied, start learning names, PowerPoint presentations completed, etc.

The first week was not my favorite.

Yes, I enjoyed getting to know the kids.  I enjoyed helping them find their way around the building, but not so much the policies and procedures.  The fact that we had to spend the first 4 or 5 days getting used to school routines and classroom procedures never got better for me.  I just wanted to jump into the learning process.

As our first day of home schooling approached, I realized it was my dream come true!  We didn’t have to do policies and procedures!  I didn’t have to spend time “training”  Mason to get a tissue by himself or sharpen his pencil as needed, or how to properly check out of the classroom to go to the bathroom.

I was free!

We could get right to learning all about Forces and Motion, US symbols, skip counting, and silent e words.  I thought about the day and how it would be full of learning and increase of knowledge.  Then a thought hit…

This is the first of a first.

All of a sudden, I realized this was the first, first day of my son’s school journey.  We couldn’t go through the day without celebrating and having some fun to commemorate this amazing day.  However, this epiphany came to me the night before, of course.  So my brain began to reel…What should we do?  Do we do any work?  How do I make this special?  Enter Google and Pinterest.  Hello, where would we be without these beauties.

At the same time that the internet helps, it can also hinder.  In just a few minutes I was swimming in a wealth of homeschoolers first day traditions, more confusion.  Then I calmed myself down and remembered one of the lessons I have already learned regarding teaching/learning at home:  whatever we do it needs to be totally and completely “us”.  This helped me begin to weed out activities, resulting in a half plan that I trusted would fill itself in as we went forward the next day.  Here is a bit of what our first day looked like:

Breakfast

Mason loves doughnut shops so I planned to start our celebration by visiting his favorite.  He surprised me by requesting to go through a different drive-thru doughnut shop, but it was his day and that was easier anyway!

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Not so healthy, very yummy!

School Supplies

I wanted to have a fun basket of school supplies waiting for him on the table when he woke up.  That didn’t happen, so we decided to go and buy school supplies together.  We all had a blast and I believe a First Day of School tradition was started.

supplies - blog

A fun find.

Socks!!!

Picking out school supplies didn’t really take that long.  Since we start our school year in July, I knew there would be great sales coming after public school started.  So, we grabbed a few basics and a couple fun items as well.  Wandering around Wal-Mart we came upon some Angry Bird socks that Mason thought were the coolest.  Aaaannnd, another new tradition was created…fun new socks on the First Day of School.  (P.S. I love fun crazy socks, so this was perfect!)

socks - blog

Woot! Fun socks!

All About Me

I really liked the idea of this four page packet “About Me”.   At this point, it is probably more for me than Mason.  However, doing this at the beginning of every school year, I am betting it will be fun to look back on these when he is a Senior.  We did one page a day for the First Week of School.  I’m sure it will become a one day project as he gets older.

All About Me - blog

Click Here to find download

 

Yummy Graphing

This was a fun little graphing project that I had seen on one of the First Day tradition websites.  Of course, they loved eating the manipulatives at the end.  This was fun, but I’m not sure that it will end up in the “tradition” category.

graphing - blog

Click Here to download

 

Overall we had a wonderful first day.  I’m sure our First Day of School traditions will morph through the years, but I feel this was a great start.  I am very glad that we took our first, first day of school to celebrate instead of hitting the books right away.  I thank the Lord that he placed that seed of a thought in my mind the night before our First Day of School.

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Social Studies – Session 1

And then there is Social Studies

This was also a subject that I did not enjoy during my school years.  To be honest, I don’t remember much about it from early elementary.  Then when we hit civics in middle school, I really closed an ear to it.  However, as I have been looking over the Oklahoma standards for some topic ideas, a little more excitement is mounting.

As a family, we plan to travel our nation in the not too distant future.  With this in mind, we have already had discussions about some of the major US symbols.  Our son is really into knowing all the states and where they are located.  This is a great foundation for studying 5 main US symbols: the US flag, bald eagle, the Liberty Bell, Mount Rushmore, and the Statue of Liberty.  This works wonderfully for a six week focus.  We will focus on a symbol a week, planning two days a week for each.  The last week, he will choose what US symbol he wants to learn more about.

QR snap

Click to Preview

The website teacherspayteachers.com has a fun little US Symbols unit using QR codes that the students can scan and listen to facts about each symbol. It comes along with a simple recording sheet, and the facts included are right along the lines of what I want my kiddos to learn.  I am hiding the QR fact sheet and having my son follow three written clues to find it.  This will help incorporate some reading aloud objectives as well.  Here is what the basic unit looks like:

Week One:  United States Flag

  • Define “symbol” – (conversation)
  • Go through “Symbol” Power Point, including a fun brainpop video regarding US symbols
  • US flag QR code hunt, and fill in recording sheet
  • Make a US flag – craft, write the name of the original 13 colonies on the stripes (will upload template when I finish, or click here for another template option)
  • locate the original colonies on our state puzzle, color those states on a black-and-white US map template

Week Two:  Bald Eagle

  • Review US flag info (hang up the flag craft and place a “know” chart underneath)
  • Bald eagle QR code hunt, fill in recording sheet
  • Bald Eagle video
  • make a life size bald eagle on the floor and color, click here for example
  • make a life size bald eagle nest, click here for example
  • bald eagle craft for wall

Week Three:  The Liberty Bell

  • Briefly review US flag “know” chart
  • Under bald eagle craft, make a “know” chart for bald eagle facts
  • Liberty Bell QR code hunt, fill in recording sheet
  • Liberty Bell craft, discuss Liberty Bell facts while creating the bell
  • 5 facts Liberty Bell mobile (will upload template when complete)

Week Four:  Mount Rushmore

  • Review flag, bald eagle, and Liberty Bell facts
  • Mount Rushmore QR code hunt, fill in recording sheet
  • Read book(s) about Mount Rushmore
  • Mount Rushmore craft – rubbing of coins to create a Mount Rushmore

Week Five:  Statue of Liberty

  • Review flag, bald eagle, Liberty Bell, Mount Rushmore facts
  • Statue of Liberty QR code hunt, fill in recording sheet
  • Read book(s) on Statue of Liberty
  • Statue of Liberty canvas painting
  • make a separate name plate for painting, including three major facts
  • copper penny experiment (why not a little science!) – example of why the Statue of Liberty has turned green

As mentioned above, Week Six will be set aside for student choice.  We will either delve deeper into one of these symbols, or pick another great symbol to study for the last week.

Onto the First Day of School…

 

Science Session 1

Science…not my favorite.

That may be an unfair statement. As a child, I was never really interested in science class, but I was always asking my Dad questions about the world, be it nature, mathematics, computers, etc.  Looking back this is more science than I realized.  The ability to formulate questions,  test those questions, and find answers is science – from there you have scientific topics.  However, they are all based on asking questions, testing, and finding answers about the world around us.  Therefore, I believe we are all “into” science at some point – whether it be physical science, life science, or social science.  We are all constantly observing that which is around us in the world and trying to make sense of it and the intricate interactions that happen every second of every day.

Now, curriculum…

As mentioned in the previous post, Dream and Provision, I am not always the most frugal.  However, I also understand that finding those freebie gems and discounted goodies is a wonderful thing.  And so, my first science unit came from a discounted science bundle (I believe through educents.com).  It was a bundle that came with four or five separate science units.  One of which is a Kindergarten/1st grade level unit on Force and Motion by Christina DeCarbo.

Forces and Motion snap

Click the Pic to Preview

I have organized our lessons into a weekly focus and then also into lessons for the day.  This way I can follow the days in succession even if we get a little “flowy” with the week schedule.  We are planning on three days of science a week.  The following list is an abbreviated version of what we are doing throughout the week. If you are interested in the daily, more detailed notes comment on this post or email me at thelearningleaf.mail@gmail.com.  I have not gone into detail on some of the activities in order to honor copyright of the unit purchased.  All I can say, is that I believe it is a very worthwhile investment.

Week One – Motion, Force, Push/Pull, Directions

  • define motion, force, push/pull, direction (spread out throughout the week)
  • Play “Red Light, Green Light”, but use the wording “At Rest, In Motion”
  • Push/Pull several objects around the house, observe and record what happens with each object
  • Go to the playground to see what equipment requires pushing or pulling
  • Go outside and have students exhibit different directions an object can move (i.e. zig-zag, diagonal, circular, straight, etc)

Week Two – Energy, Work, Friction, Roll/Slide

  • Experiment with several household items, (hot wheels, paper clips, a small box, etc), to see which items roll and which items slide.
  • Ramp Fun to focus on the subject of energy.  Build ramps (using books and a ruler or something the like) and experiment with different height ramps to see the differences in how far the object goes.
  • Define friction, use ramps with different surfaces to explore the concept of friction (wood ruler, sandpaper covered ramp, towel over the ramp, etc)

Week Three – Motion/Forces Review

  • “Motion Mania Mission” – an activity from the Froces and Motions unit mentioned above – several small quick activities to revisit the concepts of motion, force, push/pull, direction, energy, work, friction, roll/slide
  • Motion Memory – cards with pictures representing these concepts, cards are placed face down and the standard “concentration game” is played to find matches.
  • Push/Pull website – click here to view
  • Balloon Rockets – a fun activity to experience the “pushing force” of thrust.

Week Four – Assessment and Gravity

  • Push/Pull assessment – pretty informal to see what has been retained (included in unit)
  • Introduction to Gravity – video of astronaut Chris Hadfield – this video is of making a peanut butter sandwich in space.  If you go to YouTube and search for “Canadian astronaut”, you will find many different fun videos of Chris in space.
  • Gravity Art – a fun marble and canvas art with a focus on gravity in as much as the marble rolls down because it is always being pulled to the earth.
  • Gravity Art II – Ramp Racing Art , again focusing on the force that is pulling the cars toward the earth
  • Play with water balloons throwing them and watching for the point that the force of gravity begins to overcome the pushing force from your arm.

Week Five – Magnets

  •  Defying Gravity Shoe Box trick – (showing that gravity is a force that can be worked against by other forces)
  • Sensory bin – I am using a rubbermaid box filled with rice and objects that are both magnetic and non-magnetic, they will record that which is magnetic.
  • “House Hunting” – will explore the house with magnets to see what is magnetic (staying away from computers, phones, tablets, etc).  I will actually give the kids a camera to take pics of the magnetic and non-magnetic objects to place on this magnet mobile.
  • explore magnets attracting and repelling
  • use a Filing Viewer to observe the difference in the magnetic field when magnets attract and when they repel.

Week Six – Magnets

  • Magnet races – using magnets on top of table controlled by magnet under table to complete a course.
  • Magnet art – I will probably use a thin cardboard box, unless I can find some plexiglass in the garage!
  • Inspector Magnet – from the Magnet Mini Unit by Casey Dawson
  • Magnet Mini Book – which I will create closer to time and then post a link here!

 Extra Resources:

  • Motion/Force Children’s Books –
  1. Motion: Push and Pull, Fast and Slow
  2. Push and Pull (Rookie Read-About Science)
  3. Move It!: Motion, Forces, and You (Primary Physical Science)
  4. What is Friction (Rookie Read-About Science)
  5. And Everyone Shouted, “Pull” : A First Look at Forces and Motion
  • Gravity/Magnet Children’s Books –
  1. Gravity is a Mystery
  2. Magnets:  Pulling Together, Pushing Apart (Amazing Science)
  3. What Magnets Can Do (Rookie Read-About Science)

And now, Social Studies…

 

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