Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Of course, I’ve never joined up with this one so I don’t have the blog button yet……..  But, this was just too cute not to put up.
Batman the cat
The conversation as reported to me from Jeff:

Batman: “Daddy, my mommy and daddy itchies got together and had baby itchies.  The mommy itchies had 16 babies and they want more.”
Then his brother heard this, and thought it was an effective way to get scratches.
Superman: “Well, my mommy and daddy itchies had 100 babies!”


Monday, May 30, 2011

Math monday: Green Eggs and Ham

learning laboratory at mama smiles

Interesting fact I learned as I researched Massachusetts, not only does it have a state children’s book, it also has a state children’s author: Dr. Seuss.

 

I had found an interesting book about Dr. Seuss, but it was way too long to hold everyone’s interest.  When I read it to my kids I, we divided it into two nights reading.  But, for everyone getting together I wanted some kind of activity, and everything I could think of was either too involved or too simple for the entire group.

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After some thinking, I remembered that “Green Eggs and Ham” had been written as a challenge to write a book using only 50 words.  So, I picked 10 random words from the book and we graphed 20 pages of it.

 

 

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What intrigued me was watching the two teams (boys against girls) defend their answers.  There was one instance for each team where someone had the wrong number.  It was great for my kids to see everyone defend and come up with their answers.

 

All in all, a great exercise for everyone.

 

I’ll try and get the printable I made up, it’s just a simple table, but right now Scribd is being annoying.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Science Sunday: Prepare to be grossed out…..

Science Sunday

 

This is the cry I heard as I innocently sat at my computer last week, “Mom!  There’s a dead bird in our back yard and Mac’s chewing on it.”

 

Now, I hadn’t fully woken up yet, and was still blinking at the computer screen.  But, I was galvanized into action, and immediately said, “Put the dog inside, and follow me.”

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Yes, I said that.  I grabbed my camera, and a handful of bamboo skewers because I sure as heck wasn’t going to let them pick up the dead bird or touch it.  But, think of what we could observe!

 

 

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Equipped with our handy dandy bamboo skewers we proceeded to gently examine the bird.  I tried to treat it with as much respect as possible, so we didn’t really poke it, just used the skewers to move feathers and point to things.

 

 

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First we noticed that his toes pointed different ways.  After much discussion we decided this was to help him grab onto branches and balance better.  It’s rather like how our thumb points a different way from the rest of our fingers.

 

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Then we talked about how the bird was missing feathers, and what could have caused that.  I personally think the bird was old, and just couldn’t survive much longer.  The kids of course blamed various different animals for killing the poor bird.

 

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Then we looked at his other side and noticed his feathers were different colors there and talked about how that is a form of camouflage because someone looking up when he was flying would have a harder time seeing him against the bright sky.

 

We also noticed there was a bit of blood around his eyes.  Which really was quite disturbing.  Then I took away the poor bird and disposed of him properly before any other animals tried to eat him more.  Poor guy.

 

And before I could stop them the kids ran around and collected a rather large number of feathers they found all over our yard.  I gathered those up into a bag that “I’m keeping somewhere special” and sent them in to wash their hands 5 times with soap and hot water.

 

Because yes, it was gross.  And yes, there was a definite oogey factor, but I also knew they were going to be talking about it and wondering about it anyways.  Might as well get a science lesson out of it.

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Afterwards I set them to drawing something they observed about the bird.  They were quite sure they wanted to bring in the feathers to the Nature Center so they could trade those in and get “an animal skull.”  Yeah…….  We’ll see.

 

We did not however get a science lesson from the partially pulverized dead snake we found in the yard.  That went straight into the trash.  I was more weirded out by that one because I had started off thinking it was a discarded skin, only to discover it wasn’t.  EWWWWW!

Oh and, if you only check the linky on Sunday, I highly recommend going back later in the week and seeing the posts added in later on.  There’s always some fun ones added in as the week goes on.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Picks of the week

 

Sigh, it feels like I rarely link up here anymore, and it’s not for lack of reading, it just feels like all of our books end up being part of geography units.  Sigh, and double sigh………

 

My favorites:

 

The Very Ugly Dinosaur- I had planned on doing an activity with this book, but someone, say about 4 feet high, has absconded with my book.  That’s my best theory.  Either way it’s a cute retelling of the Ugly Duckling.

Pennies for Elephants- super cute true story about the children of Boston working to get 3 elephants for the zoo

 

Non favorite:

Shivers in the Fridge- it was just weird.   It might work for someone else, but it was odd for me.

 

My brain is not working right now, so maybe it’ll suddenly kick start on and I’ll have a memory of the other books we read.  We’ll see……..  I’d ask where my brain cells went, but I know where they went.  They’re between 3 and 4 feet high, and they suck brain cells.  That’s how they get smarter.

Friday, May 27, 2011

School was canceled yesterday

on account of SLIP AND SLIDE!

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Make Way for Ducklings

I was trying to come up with a great activity to do with “Make Way for Ducklings,” it’s the ‘Official State Picture book’ of Massachusetts, thanks to a third grade class lobbying for its inclusion.  I was really struggling with what to do that was age appropriate for little kids and older kids.  Then I found this idea. 

 

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I don’t have a lot of pictures of this activity because they did it while I was reading the story.  Okay, I have one, taken afterwards.  I went to this page and printed off one of their map pages.  As I named the places in the story they found it and drew how they got there.

 

This was great because it was a struggle for my kids to figure it out, and a great review for the older kids.  My kids really loved it!

 

 

Here’s some additional links I found:

Homeschool Share unit on Make Way for Ducklings

pictures of the statues

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Boston and the early Revolution

Photobucket 

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We’ve started into Massachusetts.  I thought for a state with so much history and that was such a center for the start of the American Revolution it’d be great to start off with some history.

 

We talked through some of the events that happened there and why they were so upset, and while we talked about it they put together this map (from Time Travelers American Revolution).  It helped the kids get a bit of an idea what was happening and where.

 

 

We ran out of time that first week, so we continued the next week.  I talked about the Boston Massacre and how Paul Revere made a  Boston Massacre wood engraving that enraged many people.  I talked about how in some ways it was propaganda because he changed some of the details to make it look more one-sided than it really was (see link below). 

Description of details and finer points about Paul Revere’s engraving.

 

Afterwards they each got to make their own “wood carving”

 

Supplies: foam from a take out container or a clean meat tray  (HEB was kind enough to give me 6 clean unused trays to cut up); a bamboo skewer or toothpick (something sharp, you could use a pencil), tempera paint, paintbrush (preferably foam)

 

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Draw your design into the foam.  It takes a bit of work to find just the right way.  My kids mainly poked holes to make a pattern, but the older kids mastered actually drawing with it.

When you’re satisfied with your design paint a THIN layer of paint over it.  Emphasis on thin.

 

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So, they got to make an attempt at woodcarving and discovered it’s harder than it looks.

While the paint dried we read “Paul Revere’s Ride,” a poem that I love for it’s cadence.  I remember at one point seeing a copy with the illustrations done in the style of woodcarving (it may have been woodcarvings), but I couldn’t find that one.

 

And just for fun here’s some fun videos I found on You Tube.  After seeing the first one my kids want me to make a Lego movie of their stories……..

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Massachusetts: Sisters of Scituate Light

I got lucky when looking for books for Massachusetts and found this delightful little tale about 2 sisters who live at the lighthouse outside of Boston during the War of 1812.  Their family had gone on a trip and left them in charge of the lighthouse.  While everyone is gone they see soldiers from a British warship coming in to raid the town.  They hurry out and trick the soldiers.

 

I’ll leave it to you to read the story and see how they tricked them and what the end result was.  To me this was a great example of how the smallest thing can turn the tide of a battle.

 

supplies: empty water bottle, blue tape, acrylic paint (white, yellow, and another bright color), paint brush

 

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1.  Paint most of your water bottle white.  I did this as prep work for all of the kids, but if you’re just doing this with your family you could do this step, and paint the top yellow, then read the book and it should be pretty much dry at that point……

 

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2.  Tape your pattern onto the water bottle.  Lighthouses had different patterns on them so the sailors could know where they were on the coast line.  Because I had rather wide tape I carefully cut it in half using an exacto knife and then taped it on.

 

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3.  Paint the top yellow.  Now go read the book and wait for the paint to dry.

 

No really, go read it.  It’s a cute story.

 

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4.  Paint the bottom with your chosen color.  While you wait for it to dry go out and have fun playing!

 

Maybe swing a few times or chase the dog.

 

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5.  When it’s dry peel the tape off.  If you’re so inclined cut a door at the bottom for your toys to go in and out of.

 

And of course it can always act as a rocket……..

Sunday, May 22, 2011

For all you aquarium lovers out there…….

This will be a picture heavy post.  Maybe I’ll do some of them as slide shows……

 

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Here’s one of Princess’ favorite finds that day: Unicorn fish.

unicorn fish

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I look at things like this and marvel at the complexity of God’s creation.  Look at the fish on the top right there.  It’s amazing.  If you were to see that on the ocean floor you wouldn’t be able to find it for all of the other life there.  It’s so wonderfully made for it’s location.

 

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And now for the shark and manta ray slide show……..

But, my personal favorite, not counting the wildlife, is…….

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Princess attempting to convince us that we needed to buy her all of the toys she could hold.

 

Computers, so picky wanting you to hit publish………

Science Sunday: What we learned at Moody Gardens

Science Sunday

 

142When we were down in Galveston we went by Moody Gardens, which I LOVE with a passion.  I think I could happily sit there and watch the fish swim by for hours.

 

I mean look at that picture, isn’t it peaceful?  Makes me wish there was one in Austin, and not somewhere four hours away……..

 

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We all got to see our favorites.  Batman got to see manta rays.  I got my turtles.  Princes got to see penguins, and Superman got his sharks (do you know how hard it was to get a decent picture of a shark?).

 

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There is so much to learn there.  Especially since we’re starting on our study of swimming creatures.  We’d already read large portions of the chapter about rays and sharks.  So, it was fun to apply some of what we knew, and then afterwards as we’re finishing up our chapter on sharks it’s been a great help to be able to go back and look at the pictures to help us remember things.

 

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This was one of the most helpful pictures.  See most sharks don’t attack people because they want to eat people.  Mostly it’s because we look like their prey.  Look at the images there.  After observing it for awhile the kids decided that we looked like a sea lion, and that’s why sharks attack.

 

 

 

 

Oh, and because I’m crazy like that I decided to make some fun seek and finds, which I’m going to share with ya’ll.  Hopefully you guys enjoy it (click on picture to go to the download), I know my kids like hidden picture puzzles and the like, so we’ll see if it’s as big a hit as I’m hoping……..

ocean find it

 

 

And as a bit of amusement notice how much the kids have grown since we were there almost two years ago.

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