Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tennessee: Banjo Granny

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You ever run into one of those books that is just a perfect bedtime book?  This is one of them.  It’s so sweet and soothing, and the kids all loved it.

Banjo Granny is about a grandma who knows her little grandson loves bluegrass music so she gets her banjo and heads off to play him so bluegrass music.

 

This is beyond easy, so I don’t have a step by step.

Supplies: brown cardstock, popsicle stick, glue, markers, square or round punch (optional, I happened to have one which made cutting it out super easy)

 

Here ya go, punch out your square or circle, glue it on the popsicle stick.  When the glue is dry, or if you’re impatient go ahead right away and draw your lines on.

 

Now play with it.

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The photo shoot was going well until Superman’s Snakey (yes that is the toy’s name) attacked the poor Moosey (can you see a naming trend?).  Poor Moosey passed out in terror…

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ha ha ha ha, this cracked me up so much

From the Oklahoma Museum of Science:
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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Science Sunday: the experiment that didn’t happen

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I complained about this on my facebook page, but I was quite ready to give my kids away to the first bidder that day.  I’d carefully laid out the materials, and we discovered we needed particular water.  So, we left it sitting there to go get the water.  We got back and Superman spilled liquids all over the food, and in the midst of cleaning it lost the food.

 

And then I discovered someone had cut the pipette in half.  At that point I sent them all away so I could regroup and not consider putting them up for adoption………..  I exaggerate slightly, but I was frustrated.

 

Why do I tell you all of this, especially since I do have another science activity to share?

 

Because I want you to know it doesn’t always go right here.  There are some days where I’m ready to throw in the towel and ship them off to public school.  But then I see things like this:

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That’s all three of my kids happily playing together with play food and some plastic dishes.  Batman is in a cloak and from there they went on to fight bad guys and rescue people.

 

Now on to some successful science ideas:

 

Educating Layton was willing to explore a dead owl.  A mom after my own heart Smile

 

I’ve been seeing these water beads all over, and Jada Roo Can Do really makes me want to try them out.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

50 state study: Vermont

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Vermont had some really fun books to go with it, and a few that weren’t specifically Vermont, but fit in with things they were known for:

Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream- let me tell you, any book and activity that includes ice cream is quite heartily approved of.

 

John Deere tractors (which looks to be missing from this page)- if you go to the post there are several suggestions for great books.

 

Champy- Vermont’s very own version of the Loch Ness Monster, Christy, who is now blogging over at Snacks and Stories, turned me on to the idea of Champy.  We used Mysterious Tadpole, which is really about the Loch Ness Monster, but it worked just fine.  I also have to add, I LOVE stories like this.

 

Nora’s Ark- super cute true story, and it gave my kids a lot to think about for what they would save if they had to leave their house.

 

Tricking the Tally Man- mwa ha ha, bring in math and history all in one well written and illustrated book, SCORE!

 

I’m gonna link this over to Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns and her reading linkie.

Friday, January 27, 2012

All About Reading tip

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I took some of those fun games they have in the All About Reading workbook and made them into an envelope game.  For the feed the monster, I glued him on, and cut a slit in the envelope so we can feed him.

Afterwards the pieces just store right in the envelope we fed them into.

I did the same thing for the monkey game, and plan to do the same for all upcoming games.  Now it’s easy to play it over and over again. Update: 1. Sorry for the bad photo, I took a quick picture with my phone in a rather dark room. 2. Since first creating this "game" we have done the monster game almost every day, I'm taking it super slow with Princess and taking about a week a lesson for now.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Luck with Potatoes


“Luck With Potatoes” is a fun book about a farmer in Tennessee who has the worst luck until one day it turns around.  You’ll have to read the book to find out how.

Well, after reading the book there was nothing to do, but to draw what was going to be found in our potatoes.
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Apparently there were a lot of animals found in our potatoes.  Not to mention entire worlds.  If we were potato farmers we would have been able to make a mint off the things found in there.

I had originally planned on having the kiddos make something out of potatoes, but it didn’t come to pass, much sadness.  Maybe I’ll save that for the 20th rereading of the book.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tennessee: Casey Jones

One of the local Tennessee heroes is Casey Jones, he was a train engineer in the 1800s who was known for never being late, and who sacrificed himself but saved everyone else on his train from a crash.

He was originally made famous by a song written a few years after his death, and then became famous again when Disney made a cartoon short about him.

For our study we read about Casey Jones with a very well written rhyming book, then we watched the movie.

 

Afterwards we compared the book and the movie.  In this instance we did a simple same and different T-chart, but this is a favorite activity of mine with books that have been made into movies.  What was changed?

Casey Jones Tennessee

In case you can’t read what that says, in both he crashed, but he did not paddle through water in the book.

 

There were a few significant differences between the book and the movie, and if you’re interested I’d highly recommend the wikipedia article about Casey Jones, it gives some interesting facts there.

 

What is your favorite book to movie transition?  Do you like any picture books that have been made into movies.  I have very mixed feelings on those movies.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bible Alive: Israel Complains


This past week with the kids and then again with my Sunday school class we learned about Moses and the Red Sea and a few other things.

I’m going to spotlight how I taught this with my Sunday school class, I taught the story on a walk with the kids taking turns acting the part of Moses and other people, since I didn’t take pictures in that version I’ll show the pictures from the peg doll version I did with my kids.
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Moses and all of the Israelites set out following God, but they looked behind them and saw Pharaoh was following them and the Red Sea was in front of them.  At this point I had the entire class say, “Why did you lead us out here to die!” as dramatically as possible.
Then Moses held his staff out over the “water” (or the street) and all of the Israelites crossed on dry land.

The Israelites traveled some more and they started to realize they were thirsty but the water they found tasted bad (I gave them each a few drops of watered down vinegar to taste, boy were they unhappy).  Again the Israelites said “Why did you lead us out here to die!”
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Moses prayed to God, and God told him to throw his stick in the water (the kid playing Moses threw his staff on the ground and then they got to drink from the water fountains).

They traveled some more and at this point they’ve been traveling for 3 months.  They’ve started to run out of food and they’re hungry.  They came to Moses again and said, “Why did you lead us out here to die!”

Moses went to God, and God said He would send mana for the Israelites to eat.
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The Israelites gathered mana just like God said (they walked to another corner of the building and found cups of honey teddy grahams). 

They traveled some more and were out of water again.  They complained to Moses again and said, “Why did you lead us out here to die!”

Moses went to God and said, “What should I do?”  God told him to hit the rock with his staff and water would burst forth.
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Moses did as God said and just as God said water burst forth.  The Israelites drank the water and were happy.

We talked about two things with this:

1.  Do you thank God for what He gives you?  The Israelites didn’t always thank God when He gave them what they needed.
2.  Do you obey without complaining?  The Israelites spent most of their time complaining.

The full story can be found at Peg Doll Bible Stories (where I’m occasionally putting up the stories I tell my kids) and this is the Israel Complains story cards.

Monday, January 23, 2012

History: Fountain of Youth

learning laboratory at mama smiles
How many of you saw the most recent Pirates of the Caribbean film with the Fountain of Youth?
I did, and found the lore included in it very interesting and amusing.  Not to mention that I loved the ending with the Spaniards coming in and destroying it declaring, “Only God can grant eternity.”  AWESOME!
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Well this past week we read about Ponce de Leon, and of course I associate him with the Fountain of Youth.  That was one of the big things he did as an explorer, he looked for the Fountain of Youth in Florida.

As a matter of fact there is an archeological park in Saint Augustine, Florida that claims to be the ACTUAL Fountain of Youth.  When Jeff and I visited there, pre-kids our hotel was right next to it, but for various reasons we didn’t make it to that park (too busy exploring the fort, one of the few forts to of never been taken in battle, or any of the other sites there).

After reading about Ponce de Leon, I challenged the kids to design what the Fountain looked like out of Legos.
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Up at the top is Batman’s which looks more fountainy, here on the left is Superman’s.  He said the fountain was near a battle, so it needed soldiers to protect it.  Princess’ fountain was more on the theoretical side.  I’m sure there’s a fountain in there somewhere amongst all of those bricks.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Science Sunday: Hermit Crabs

Science Sunday

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I’ve had this pinned to my Swimming Creatures pinterest board for a very long time and have been rather eager to give it a try for a while.  We finally reached crustaceans, so it was time to get started!

 

Supplies: red paint, construction paper and scrapbook paper, glue, scissors

 

First we read our science book about hermit crabs and talked about what made them unique and different.  We also watched the Dinosaur Train episode and Cat in the Hat episodes with hermit crabs (which my kids reminded me of after reading it).

 

Then we read “A House for A Hermit Crab” by Eric Carle, and compared the hermit crab in the story to what real hermit crabs do.  Real hermit crabs do actually get sea anemones to help protect them from predators and will move the sea anemone from their old shell to their new one.

 

After reading both of these I painted their hands, and made a handprint for the body of the crab, and then we cut a roughly shell shape from a piece of white construction paper.  They drew a swirly shape onto their paper for the shape of the shell.

 

Here was their assignment:  Glue on things that live in the ocean that a hermit crab might have on their sea shell, or be in the sea near them.

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Princess had lots of barnacles and such added to hers.  Superman had a sea anemone, a shark swimming by, and another fish.  There was also some coral nearby.  Batman had a sea anemone (with a very accurate description of the symbiotic relationship), a manta ray, and some rocks because the hermit crab in the book had rocks.

 

All in all, I’d say they both absorbed the book, and the scientific knowledge.  Now, I seriously considering a whole mini-unit about the book……..  It’s just so much fun.

 

There were several weather themed posts linked up this week, so I had to highlight such a nice little theme already built in.

Next Generation Homeschooler has a great week long unit on weather for preschoolers.

Little Wonder Days continued the weather theme with a Simple Anemometer.

Learning Ideas k-8 has a cute wind sock to make.  Does anyone else remember making these as a kid?  She also has a whole bunch of weather posts on her site, but I didn’t want to show you every single one.

 

It’s fun when we can do an art project (which they’d been begging me to do, because you know we never do those) and have it work well with science.

 

Hopefully I have not messed up my linky thing and put in the wrong date or start time again (fingers crossed).

Friday, January 20, 2012

The hot glue gun……

Since several were worried about the whole hot glue gun thing I figured I’d show you how they did.

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Here are the ground rules:

1.  No silliness, that’s an important one for safety.

2.  You have to ask before getting it out.  Many of our craft supplies they have free rein with, but these like paints and sharpies need permission first.

3.  Unplug it when you are done, this is also a safety issue.

4.  New one added in after last experience: put away all of what you used.  Last time they did not properly put away their craft supplies.

 

Why did I do this?  They’ve shown the maturity and readiness to use it.  They know how to act with various craft materials because I’ve let them have lots of access to them.  I did not give them a high temp one that would definitely burn them, but this one cools down within 5 seconds to a touchable level.  We talked through a lot of safety issues, and now they know how to use it properly.

 

Would I trust every 6 year old or 5 year old with a hot glue gun?  That’s a big NO, but my kids were ready.

 

And as a side note, I will be buying a large number of popsicle sticks very soon.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tennessee: Davy Crockett

Okay, be honest, how many of you as soon as you read that got “Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier” stuck in your head?

Now, who has it stuck in their head?

 

I found about 6 books at our library about him, and this was my favorite.  All of the others were more factual, but this one had humor, and Davy Crockett has humor in him I think.  And it’s a tall tale.  Who doesn’t like a tall tale?

 

I certainly do, they’re like American mythology.  Of course our modern mythology is comic books, but that’s a different subject.

After reading it we grabbed a peg doll, some pipe cleaners and made us our own Davy Crockett doll.

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Or that’s what it is in theory.  In reality……  The hats never quite fit right, and kept covering their heads.  Princess objected she wanted to make a girl, so she made Swamp Angel.  Then the boys decided they were making Captain America and proceeded to make pipe cleaner shields and add arms……….

 

Yeah………  So this did not go as planned.  I really want to make some coon skin hats, but it wasn’t going to happen on that day.  Concentration was NIL.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Moments to Remember

There are times it’s helpful to have a husband who says come out and have some fun, rather than holing myself up and trying to do “one last thing.”


So, I watched this, rather than write about 10 different things I had to work on.

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And then I went inside and let Princess paint my fingernails.

 

purple with a pink stripe and a green dot.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tennessee: Sequoyah

Hey!  I spelled it right!  I was so sure I was going to spell that wrong.


Every now and then you find a book that just works completely.  It presents the information well, the pictures are interesting, and it’s something you didn’t know before.

This was one of those books.

I’ve heard of Sequoyah trees, and now I know I’m spelling something wrong because his name is spelled differently than the trees.  I knew the name of the person, but not much beyond that.

I learned Sequoyah created the Cherokee alphabet and persevered through people burning his house down to stop him and other hardships.  Isn’t that cool.

I’ll be back.  I promised to teach the kids how to use the “hot glue gun.”  Can it really be called that if it’s a low temp one?

I’m back.  The kids are now happily gluing away.  I foresee another trip to buy lots of wooden supplies.
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This is what really intrigued me about this book.  It includes the story written in Cherokee.

After reading it I challenged the kids to create their own version of the alphabet.
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Which they happily set to.

My boys created various blobs.  Older friend made a rather ingenious alphabet based off of musical symbols and other symbols he knew.

Princess just recopied the alphabet.  She was not getting it.  Younger friend again happily scribbled.
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Okay, so they’re not going to invent alphabets, but they did learn about a cool man who stood up for what he believed in.

Linking this up over at All Things Beautiful.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tennessee: Swamp Angel

learning laboratory at mama smiles


Little did I know, but Tennessee has almost as many tall tales and what not as Texas does.  I’ve been having a blast previewing the books we’re going to use, and I’m thinking of having my kids take a stab at writing their own tall tale.

Maybe, I’m sure there would be an uproar if I did.

Swamp Angel is the story of a girl who grew up in Tennessee and saved it from the biggest bear ever to plague the state.

At one point while she and that bear wrestled she threw him up into the sky and he hit the stars (thus creating Ursa Major).  Well, we had to make our own versions.  I had grand dreams of much more complicated versions, but I knew for the sake of the kids I needed to “Keep It Simple Stupid.”  So, I did.
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As always they took it and ran.  Little friend happily scribbled away.  Big friend, drew a picture of a bear with a very small earth below.  My boys drew the entire fight with both sides growing appendages all over.  Princess happily drew a smushed bear up in the sky.
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