Growing Every Day

Posts tagged ‘craft’

P-Week, Passover

One thing I remember and adore about the ten years teaching in the public school system is all the times I remember seeing the Lord Himself leading my lessons.  He came as words of explanation I never would have thought of, lesson plans that tied together when I didn’t plan ahead that way, or words spoken to a student that you could tell went straight to their heart and soul.

These were beautiful moments.

Up until now, I haven’t really had that type of experience.  This “jumping in” year has been a lot of wading through days to find our identity as students and teacher.  Don’t get me wrong, the Lord has helped me tremendously in sorting through paradigm shifts in my thinking and expectations.  He has definitely been present in that way.

This week has been different.

Come Monday of this week I was already two steps behind.  I only had Monday and Tuesday mostly planned, with hopes that I would have time to finish planning the rest of the week (insert hysterical laughter here).  As expected, I didn’t have time to finish planning so it has been a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of week.  Our printer stopped working and our math units are primarily printed out.  This almost sent me to a place of annoyance and frustration until the Lord reminded me that people have been learning long before printers were around!  We have also started doing a Letter-a-Week focus for Madison (3 yrs).  Lately, she has been trying to find things to do and so I have been having letter activities waiting in the wings.

Not a hard thing, just one more thing.

This Letter-a-Week focus is where the Lord showed His presence just like I had experienced in the past.  I picked a random letter order from something I found online.  This week’s letter is P.  So I set up our sensory bin with P objects, had some ‘pig’ and ‘pumpkin’ crafts ready and waiting.  All well and good.  It took me a couple of days to realize we were also making daily crafts to celebrate Passover.  Hello, the ultimate ‘P’ focus.  Since the printer is not working and the plans were not made, there have been days this week where all we do is focus on the Passover crafts.  The entire time we have been making these crafts, I have seen how the Lord had this week set in all of time and history…

our own personal P-week focus…Passover

I was contemplating how to teach my kiddos about the death and resurrection of Jesus.  I tossed around thoughts of focusing on each day leading up to Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.  I just wasn’t sure, so I decided to ask the Lord!  He told me to focus on Passover, including letting the kids know that Jesus died and raised during Passover.  He told me that if I focus on teaching Passover, when the time comes to focus on explaining Jesus’ journey to the cross and tomb, it will be that much richer, make so much more sense, and be effortlessly internalized.

Passover is the framework on which the crucifixion and resurrection are built.

So, I found this great Passover craft at Creative Jewish Mom website that showed different placards for each of the plagues leading up to and including the Passover.  We didn’t have dow rods or pipe cleaners so we went with tongue depressors and construction paper.  We did two plagues a day and read the account each day from their Beginner’s Bible.

Photo Apr 03, 2 46 38 PM

1st plague – water to blood; 2nd plague – frogs

 

Photo Apr 03, 2 47 01 PM

3rd plague – gnats; 4th plague – flies

We changed the fourth placard from the website.  There is debate over the Hebrew word used for this plague.  Some interpret it to mean “mixed or swarm of wild beasts” while others interpret it as “swarms of flies”.  Since the Bibles we have read flies, that is what I went with, informing the kids why we changed.

Photo Apr 03, 2 47 18 PM

5th plague – Egyptian animals died; 6th plague – Egyptian skin broke out in sores

I also changed up the 5th plague just a tad.  She had pictured an elephant upside down, however when reading the account it doesn’t mention elephants.  So, we went with a horse/donkey.

Photo Apr 03, 2 47 32 PM

7th plague – hailstorm

*We are working on completing the 8th-10th plagues.  I will add the photos when we finish.

They had a lot of fun acting out the plagues with their placards each time we read the account.  It has been a lot of fun, and I have learned along the way as well.  Always.

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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…

 

Just Do It

I have recently found myself caught up in a whirlwind of stuff.  There are so many free activities, lessons, units, etc.  This is a good problem.  However, I find myself looking for…

the next best thing 

I have a difficult time settling on an activity because what if the next link I click is the perfect one!  This week I have been brought back to a place of just do it.  We are definitely not short of time at the moment.  So, without wasting our time, I can do that great activity I found AND we can still do the “perfect” activity if it happens to be a click away.

As an example, I had downloaded a “limited time” free addition activity.  I wasn’t completely sure if Mason would like it or not.  Finally, I decided to just do it.  It was time to stop deliberating and decide to move forward.  He loved it!  It was an addition bingo game that is part of an addition and subtraction lapbook designed by Cyndi Kinney at knowledgeboxcentral.com.  He played it 3 or 4 nights in a row.  It was something he could do with me during the day, as well as sharing a game with Daddy after dinner.  It was amazing.  Throughout the week, Mason did over one hundred basic addition facts simply by playing BINGO.

bingo copy

Much of the uncertainty comes down to the fact that I have never before walked this road called homeschooling.  After ten years of teaching, I knew my curriculum.  I knew the “best practices” of teaching middle schoolers.  I knew the type of activities that really worked, and those that were big flops.  What I am having to remind myself is that I didn’t learn that overnight.   And so I am reminded and comforted with:

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” – Isaiah 30:21

There is grace on this journey.  Mistakes are lessons in learning.  We, as a family, get to learn together in the complete grace of the Lord.  Blessings.

Week-in-Review

Math:  

Basic Facts Addition Practice – Bingo

  • This is the activity described above.  We used the portion of the game that focuses on addition facts 1s – 5s.  The answers are on the BINGO cards, and the question cards have simple addition questions such as 1 + 4.  This is ultimately part of an addition and subtraction lapbook, that we will be putting together as we complete each activity.

Handwriting:

Tracing Letters

  • We are still making our way through the learning workbooks that have come at birthdays and Christmas and such.  Mason did a few more of these alphabet pages.

Disney alphabet book copy

Reading: 

Audio Book

  • I have been wanting an audio book for Mason to follow.  Not finding any I liked at the library, we happened across the CD that accompanies his children’s Bible.  He sat and followed along better than I expected.

Story Sequencing

  • Using the Blue’s Clues story sequencing cards (that I purchased in college!), Madison “sorted” the cards for him, while Mason put the four part stories in the proper sequence.
  • This was a great sorting activity for Madison.  She loves to find ways to be a part of it!

sequencing

Sight Word Practice

  • Mason’s reading has really been progressing recently, so I thought it would be good to begin to add to his sight words.  Using the Dolch sight words, I created a PowerPoint.  Each Power Point presentation is comprised of 10 sight words and a sentence to accompany each of the words.  This could be a great way to do a spelling list if desired.
  • I hooked the computer to display on our TV and Mason thought it was the greatest!  I will definitely be creating more of these Power Point presentations in the near future.

two slides

click to download List 1 and List 2

Word Fishing

  • From cardstock, I cut out eighteen 3″x4″ cards.  I drew six pictures that were ‘S’ words (snake, sock, etc), six pictures that were ‘M’ words, and six pictures that were ‘D’ words.  I then put a paper clip on each card and put them on the floor in a “pond”.  I attached a string and magnet to a pencil for both Mason and Madison – creating “fishing poles”.
  • Then the fishing began!  The objective was to first catch all the ‘S’ words.  If one was caught that was not an ‘S’ word, he would have to throw it back.  They both loved this activity as well!

Arts/Crafts:

Foil ‘Sun’ 

  • Mason is very interested in the sun, moon, stars, planets, space etc.  So as an art project, found in Alphabet Art by Judy Press, I cut out the letters s-u-n and several rectangles of foil.
  • Mason glued the foil to the letters and we will hang it as a mobile in his room.
  • There was also a flavor of Spelling to this.  I placed the letters on the table (out of order, stacked on top of each other) and asked Mason what word he could make.

sun

Day-by-Day

Keeping it honest here,

I will have to say that I did not put much effort into a focus of “schooling” last week.  In preparation to write this post, I started to reflect on last week and realized – I don’t remember a whole lot about it!  You know those weeks, where you just live it.  You walk through it and press on.  I love how the Lord prevails and toward the end of the week, I was able to come out from under the fog.

Last week, I decided that it would be fun to work within a theme of the Sun.  I did a little searching online, but as the last post stated sometimes there is just Too Much Help to wade through on the internet.  There are many units out there about the solar system, but not many just focusing on the sun.  I was having a hard time even knowing where to begin or what to do.  We did a craft or two, but it was a sensory activity that helped move me forward.

We poured out a good amount of regular table salt onto a cookie sheet (saw this on the web).  Mason enjoyed this and started writing his name, letters, and such.  Then I had the idea – the Sun theme.  I asked him to draw a sun.  Then I asked him to write a word that described the sun… he wrote ‘hot’.  Yes! I had a feeling I was onto something here.  He continued to come up with words to describe the sun.  Wow, a spelling activity within the theme of the Sun.  No striving, just flowing.

salt letters

There is a small part of me that wants to have a beautiful, complete, out-of-this-world (pun intended!) unit put together.  Yet, I know this is not needed, nor do I have the extra time in life right now to create one up front.  In the meantime, we will walk day by day exploring our sun, moon, stars, comets…

What activities would you suggest for a Sun theme?

Week-in-Review

Math:  

Counting Practice

  • While cleaning our utility room, I found a roll of Thomas the Tank Engine stickers.  Mason thought they were amazing and quickly stretched them as far as they would go on the couch.  Seizing the opportunity, I asked him to count them.

Recognizing Patterns

  • With the roll of Thomas stickers, there were over 30 on the roll.  I noticed there was a pattern every six stickers.  I asked Mason to find the pattern.
  • I also asked him how he knew the pattern was starting over.  I want to better understand how he is recognizing patterns.

stickers1

Basic Addition, Crayola Pad

  • A sheet of basic addition problems, purchased at Wal-Mart.

Crayola practice pad

Science:

  • We created a Solar System mobile.  This was a mixture of several activities that I had seen from an art book Adventures in Art by Susan Milord, and two other crafts online.  The mobile was a spiral mobile.  We made a circle of cardstock and stapled it together for the top – we used yellow paper to represent the sun.  The planets hang down each one a little bit farther to represent the distance that each planet is away from the sun.  I chose to use a smaller hole punch so that we could simply knot the ribbon behind the hole.  This was a fun way to work on the order of the planets.  Also, a great way to revisit the order time and time again.

planet mobile

Sensory Activity: 

Salt Letters (mentioned in post above)

  • We place a good amount of salt on a cookie sheet – Mason then went about drawing pictures, as well as letters, numbers, his name, etc.
  • I also classified this as a Spelling activity since he started writing words describing the sun.

And again, Mason worked on his calendar activities from RoyalBaloo.com throughout the week which covers some Handwriting, and Math – graphing, shapes, number awareness.

desk

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