Growing Every Day

Posts tagged ‘resources’

Water and Fire

Water

We are continuing to save toward our Water of Life project to help provide clean water to individuals/villages/schools.  The kids continue to save spare change here and there and are very excited about how their donation bowl is filling up.  Our final donation will be made at the end of our campaign on November 1, 2016.  We would like to invite you to join in our campaign to help those in need of access to safe water.  By clicking on the donation button below, you are able to donate straight to our campaign…be it $1, $5, $15, or more, the money you donate will go 100% toward clean water to those who need it.

donate-button

For those of you who may be discussing this with your children, I created this color sheet to show some more concrete facts about the need for clean water.  Feel free to print and use.

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Click Here to download

Fire

In late October, the four of us will have a chance to journey to Colorado for a family wedding.  One of our planned stops on the way is to eat lunch at a volcano!  Yep, Capulin Volcano National Monument in New Mexico.  It is a fairly young, extinct volcano.  After (or maybe before) lunch, we will walk a couple of the trails and explore lava flows, etc. With this in mind, it has given the perfect opportunity for us to begin a little earth science.

capulin

Capulin Volcano National Monument

There is a wonderful volcano lapbook/unit study at Homeschool Share (click here for volcano lapbook).  We have only just started these activities, but I really like the look and detail of the lapbook.  The templates and lesson plans are free to use.  Truly, I was overwhelmed at first with all of the detail provided, but then I realized we don’t have to be done with our study before we leave.  We can study volcanoes as long as we want!  I still sometimes forget this wonderful fact of homeschooling!  If you are interested in some great lapbook or unit study resources, I encourage you to check out the Homeschool Share website.  I haven’t completely figured out the navigation of the site, but it looks like there are some wonderful resources all around.

Your Turn ~ What is a favorite lapbook/unit study topic you have done?

 

Organization: Cubbies

Organization is a big deal to me.  It seems I am either organized, or extremely not organized.  So, when it came to schooling at home, I started out in my natural state of not organized.  It did not take me long to realize that I needed to remedy this situation.  After thinking on it for a while, and perusing many a homeschooling and organizational blog, I decided upon cubbies.

I have seen people do the larger 4 x 4 unit, but with only the two kiddos and the space we had, I opted for a 3 x 3 set of cubbies and this works well for us.  Here is a breakdown of how we have organized our cubbies.  (Disclaimer: There was no cleaning before I took the snapshot of our cubbies, so you get dust, a bit of clutter, and all in the pics!!!)

Top Row

The top left and top right cubbies are Builder’s and Princess’s cubbies respectively.  This is where they keep their currently used workbooks, textbooks, Bible, and other resources such as lap books we are completing.  The cubby in the middle is for my teacher guides and other curriculum.

Top Row

Middle Row

The middle row is a sort of hodge podge.  The far left cubby has resources: some former units that are still fun to play with, book resources we have used but the kiddos still find interesting.  The middle cubby is used for crayons and markers (which are not present at this time), glue, dot markers, glitter tubes, scissors, rulers, etc.  The far right cubby is a place for tape, pencil sharpener, clipboards (which are placed in the magazine holder I put on its side), and a few of the fun already used resources that didn’t fit in the left-hand cubby.

Middle Row

Bottom Row

The bottom row is also a resource row.  The far left fabric bin holds our construction paper.  I used hanging files and sorted out the colors to make it easier for Builder and Princess to pick out the colors they want.  It has worked well.  The middle cubby holds our sensory bin materials (or most of them).  The far right bin houses our manipulatives.  This has also worked well, because these things tend to be so hard to organize and being able to simply toss them in the bin and then let the kids rummage when they want or need to use them has been great.  And it looks nice to boot.

Bottom Row

Well, these are our wondrous cubbies – the hub of our school day.

Your Turn to Play – Tell me, what is your favorite organizational tip?

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…

 

Curriculum Connections

After deciding on our school calendar, as mentioned in On Our Way, it was time to tackle curriculum.  This is an area in which I can easily get carried away…

or lost

This is also an area in which I had some extensive conversations with the Lord.  My experience in planning curriculum is ten years of 6th grade math.  Within my ten years we changed curriculum only once, so creating curriculum from scratch is not really in my comfort zone.  Also, the thought of planning kindergarten lessons in all the subjects made me quiver a little (maybe more than a little).

In the midst of the anxiety that was threatening to overtake me, I decided to lay it all down, and wait for an answer from the Lord.  After all, he knows us and the best path for our curriculum.  His answer –

make science and social studies the main focus

This made me laugh.  Oh how our Father knows each one of us.  The inside joke is that the two subjects I like the least, you guessed it, are science and social studies!  So, obviously in making these the main focus, I have no opportunity to slack on them or procrastinate.  Also, math and the language arts will easily fold into the science and social studies units.

ID-100191625So, I started with science.  In our school calendar we have six sessions.  Taking the Oklahoma Science Standards into consideration for some topic ideas and sequencing, here are the broad topics for each six week session:

Science Focus Areas:

  • Session 1:  Force and Motion
  • Session 2:  Energy
  • Session 3:  Plants & Animals
  • Session 4:  Weather & Climate
  • Session 5:  Natural Resources/Habitat
  • Session 6:  Learner’s Choice

Each of these large areas of focus will be broken down into grade level appropriate (student appropriate) activities to learn specific topics as well as including many opportunities to incorporate scientific skills, reasoning, and methods.

Each six week session will be planned in progression, so I will not have the whole year of curriculum on my shoulders all at once.  Posts containing more specific information about lessons, activities, and resources will come as they are developed.

And now for specifics…

 

Image courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Learn without Limits

As I spend time pondering each “next step” of my children’s learning, their next activity or concept, I many times find myself out on the web looking for that just right activity.  I find myself searching for an activity I already have a vision for in my mind.  If I find what I’m looking for relatively quickly, great.  

If not, I’ll create it.

However, there have been some times in which I know what I want to cover and not had any idea of how to approach it.  This is where I am finding it incredibly useful to have my list of websites offering educational resources that I enjoy and are a good fit for our family.  Sometimes, it is nice to have three or four websites to check rather than the entire web!  Whether a child attends public schools, charter or magnet schools, private schools, or home school, it is wonderful to have a “go-to” list of resources to fill in gaps, maintain, or advance your child’s learning.

That is why I want to share with you an up-and-coming website that is sure to be filled with valuable resources that will be on my “go-to” list of curriculum needs.  The website is Learn Without Limits.

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www.learn-without-limits.com

The vision of this website is to provide students and parents with access to a variety of independent professional educators, classes, and resources to help students gain skills needed to advance into their future.  Currently Spanish and music/sound resources are available, with a broader spectrum of subject areas and resources to come.

It is the mission of “Learn without Limits” to provide students with learning opportunities outside of the traditional classroom and to provide parents with access to professional education for their children outside of the public school classroom in order to meet requirements for higher education.

This is definitely a website to add to your bookmarks and to check back periodically to peruse the resources that will be available.  We all desire for our children to succeed and advance into new realms of understanding as well as walking alongside them to help usher them into the unique individual they were designed to be.  This is a website that offers connections with those whose heart is to not simply offer education, but to take the limits off learning.

Week-in-Review

Math:

Practice Basic Addition

  • We played Addition Bingo.  This is the game described in the post Just Do It.  The Bingo cards have the BINGO columns containing the sums of the BINGO question cards (B 1+3).  Each time we play, I am still amazed at how many addition problems are completed.  This time Mason did 15 problems without realizing it was a lesson.  Love it!

bingo copy

Practice Saying 3 and 4 digit numbers

  • Mason has mastered counting to one hundred and has been naturally going beyond.  I have also noticed as we are playing games and simply in every day life that he is noticing 3 digit numbers and working to say them.
  • To practice the correct way of saying 3 digit numbers, I drew three lines on a sheet of paper, slipped it into a page protector and used a dry erase marker to fill in the blanks with random numbers.
  • Once he was doing well at the 3-digit numbers, we moved onto a few 4-digit to stretch him to the next level.

Naming 3-dimensional Objects

  • I found some clean, simple flashcards showing and naming 3-dimensional objects.  I printed them onto cardstock and went through them with Mason.  We then layed them out on the floor and Mason went around the house in search of objects that he could bring to the appropriate card.  This actually turned into a fun challenge for the whole family.

Candy Corn Math – more addition practice

  • Mason has found a new favorite this Fall season – candy corn!  With that in mind, I could not pass on this incredibly cute Candy Corn Math Pack from RoyalBaloo.
  • There are several pages available in the pack.  We started this week with an activity that has three bowls with a sum (14, 15, and 17).  There are candy corn shapes with an addition problem on each that must be placed in the correct bowl.
  • Mason was really into this activity once we started using real candy corn as our manipulatives.  He was really into it when he realized he could eat the manipulatives when we were done!

Candy Corn Mason

  • When the candy corn was brought out, Madison also wanted to be involved.  We have been working on number quantity, so using the numbers 1-5, I drew a number on each piece of paper and then spaces to place the appropriate amount of candy corn.

Candy Corn Madison

Reading: 

Sight Word Practice

  • Taking a piece of 12″ x 12″ cardstock, I drew lines and made a “parking lot”.  I wrote one of our sight words in each parking place.  Then using the lists of sight words we have been working on, I called out a word and he was to drive a car into the correct spot.
  • I started saying a sentence for each word.  Mason caught onto this and started saying sentences himself.

Sight Word parking

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