Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Frogs and Toads Mini-Unit,%20it%27s%20ridiculous.jpg

My son Troubles is a frog-fanatic. He is fascinated by frogs. We caught one a few weeks ago in our yard. It was only about 2" long and FAST! We tried to hold on to it, but it jumped everywhere, including onto Troubles' cheek. He laughed and laughed about that! We managed to get it into a glass jar and observe it that way. We noted its colors, its smooth skin and especially the pads on its tiny little toes. Well, ever since, he's been talking frogs almost daily. We have learned and learned about frogs. I thought I'd share some of the frog activities we've done.
I made a coloring page out of the picture above. I added "Frog are amphibians. Toads are amphibians" as a copywork activity.

We watched frogs eat different things here.

We read quite a few books: the Frog and Toad series, How Do Frogs Swallow With Their Eyes?, Tadpole and Frog, Eyewitness: Amphibians, Frogs and Toad by Herbert Zim, The Tale of a Tadpole, From Tadpole to Frog, and some others I don't recall.

I printed off this Frog Dot-to-Dot.

Here's a bunch of frog themed math ideas.

There were a few cute links at FrogLand.

We listened to a bullfrog sing here.

Since Troubles loves anatomy so, I let him (and everyone else, of course) play around on this virtual dissection site. I found quite a few dissection sites that had real pictures. I didn't really want them to play there.

This has been a fun little study, and not too intensive since it was spread over a few weeks, along with others interesting studies. I'm pretty sure The Littles interest in frogs and toads will continue. I'll likely be adding links and/or pictures as time goes on.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Way Home

I received this DVD from Thomas Nelson to review.

Dean Cain stars in this Christian film about a family that loses their two year old son. It's a very gripping story that is appropriate for all family members. It may be a little scary for sensitive little ones not old enough to understand the premise. There are lots of scenes of folks crying and one character in a flashback is killed, though nothing graphic is shown.

I disliked the mother's character. The family was supposed to be Christian, and yet she spoke rudely to her husband and had usurped his place as head of the household. She was critical, demeaning, bossy and overbearing. I used that as a teaching tool to explain to my daughters how ugly a selfish spirit is and warned my sons to watch out for a woman like that.

I loved that it is a true story and they showed pictures of the real people during the credits and included interviews with them in the special features. I will be glad to recommend this film to others.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Top 100 Children's Novels

I found this list at Our Little Library. I thought I'd play along. I have marked in bold all the books that I own and have already read and marked in italics the titles I have but have not read. Any in regular font I either do not yet own or have no wish to own. I'll note the ones I think are not worth shelf space.

Top 100 Children's Novels (as voted on by students, teachers and librarians)

100. The Egypt Game - Snyder (1966)
99. The Indian in the Cupboard – Banks (1980)
98. Children of Green Knowe – Boston (1954)
97. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – DiCamillo (2006)
96. The Witches – Dahl (1983)
95. Pippi Longstocking – Lindgren (1950)
94. Swallows and Amazons – Ransome (1930)
93. Caddie Woodlawn – Brink (1935)
92. Ella Enchanted – Levine (1997)
91. Sideways Stories from Wayside School – Sachar (1978)
90. Sarah, Plain and Tall – MacLachlan (1985)

89. Ramona and Her Father – Cleary (1977)
88. The High King – Alexander (1968)

87. The View from Saturday – Konigsburg (1996)
86. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Rowling (1999) (Not in my library!)
85. On the Banks of Plum Creek – Wilder (1937)
84. The Little White Horse – Goudge (1946)
83. The Thief – Turner (1997)
82. The Book of Three – Alexander (1964) (EXCELLENT SERIES!)
81. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon – Lin (2009)
80. The Graveyard Book – Gaiman (2008)
79. All-of-a-Kind-Family – Taylor (1951)
78. Johnny Tremain – Forbes (1943)
77. The City of Ember – DuPrau (2003)
76. Out of the Dust – Hesse (1997)

75. Love That Dog – Creech (2001)
74. The Borrowers – Norton (1953)
73. My Side of the Mountain – George (1959)
72. My Father’s Dragon – Gannett (1948)
71. The Bad Beginning – Snicket (1999)
70. Betsy-Tacy – Lovelace (1940)

69. The Mysterious Benedict Society – Stewart ( 2007)
68. Walk Two Moons – Creech (1994)
67. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher – Coville (1991)
66. Henry Huggins – Cleary (1950)
65. Ballet Shoes – Stratfeild (1936)
64. A Long Way from Chicago – Peck (1998)

63. Gone-Away Lake – Enright (1957)

62. The Secret of the Old Clock – Keene (1959)

61. Stargirl – Spinelli (2000)
60. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle – Avi (1990)
59. Inkheart – Funke (2003) (This is a great book. The second is eh-ok, the third is awful. Stop at the first and forget it has sequels, in my opinion.)
58. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase – Aiken (1962)

57. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 – Cleary (1981)
56. Number the Stars – Lowry (1989)
55. The Great Gilly Hopkins – Paterson (1978)
54. The BFG – Dahl (1982)
53. Wind in the Willows – Grahame (1908)
52. The Invention of Hugo Cabret – Selznik (2007)
51. The Saturdays – Enright (1941)
50. Island of the Blue Dolphins – O’Dell (1960)

49. Frindle – Clements (1996)
48. The Penderwicks – Birdsall (2005)
47. Bud, Not Buddy – Curtis (1999)
46. Where the Red Fern Grows – Rawls (1961)

45. The Golden Compass – Pullman (1995) (I wouldn't read this book if I was paid to read it! I've heard it is totally antichrist.)
44. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing – Blume (1972)
43. Ramona the Pest – Cleary (1968)
42. Little House on the Prairie – Wilder (1935)
41. The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Speare (1958)
40. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – Baum (1900)
39. When You Reach Me – Stead (2009)
38. HP and the Order of the Phoenix – Rowling (2003)
37. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry – Taylor (1976)
36. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret – Blume (1970)
35. HP and the Goblet of Fire – Rowling (2000)
34. The Watson’s Go to Birmingham – Curtis (1995)
33. James and the Giant Peach – Dahl (1961)
32. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – O’Brian (1971)
31. Half Magic – Eager (1954)
30. Winnie-the-Pooh – Milne (1926)
29. The Dark Is Rising – Cooper (1973)
28. A Little Princess – Burnett (1905)
27. Alice I and II – Carroll (1865/72)
(I count these as two separate books!)
26. Hatchet – Paulsen (1989)
25. Little Women – Alcott (1868/9)
24. HP and the Deathly Hallows – Rowling (2007)
23. Little House in the Big Woods – Wilder (1932)
22. The Tale of Despereaux – DiCamillo (2003)

21. The Lightening Thief – Riordan (2005) (I'd like to get this series. I enjoyed the movie very much.)
20. Tuck Everlasting – Babbitt (1975)
19. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Dahl (1964)
18. Matilda – Dahl (1988)
17. Maniac Magee – Spinelli (1990)

16. Harriet the Spy – Fitzhugh (1964)

15. Because of Winn-Dixie – DiCamillo (2000)

14. HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Rowling (1999)
13. Bridge to Terabithia – Paterson (1977)
12. The Hobbit – Tolkien (1938)

11. The Westing Game – Raskin (1978)

10. The Phantom Tollbooth – Juster (1961)
9. Anne of Green Gables – Montgomery (1908)
8. The Secret Garden – Burnett (1911)
7. The Giver -Lowry (1993)

6. Holes – Sachar (1998)
5. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – Koningsburg (1967)
4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – Lewis (1950)
3. Harry Potter #1 – Rowling (1997)
2. A Wrinkle in Time – L’Engle (1962)
1. Charlotte’s Web – White (1952)

Well, I am at 50 of the 100 read. I have to say, I am not that familiar with newer fiction. There were a few titles near the top that I have not heard of. I won't be buying or reading the Rowling books. I've never been fond of most Cleary or Blume. I have the Mouse and the Motorcycle series, but not others. I don't want any of Judy Blume's books. Her characters seem to be mouthy, disrespectful and rude. Am I wrong? Is it just the couple I looked at years ago and the others are great?

There are some that I thought would be on the list, but are not. I'm glad to see Gone-Away Lake and The Little White Horse, but where were Peter Pan and Heidi? Where were Treasure Island and Robin Hood? Where were Swiss Family Robinson and anything by Lois Lenski? I'd have to disagree with some of the titles they chose for this list. I think I'd place #4 in the #1 spot, too. Want to play along (Veronica and Kelly)? Leave me a link so I can read your list!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Author-Illustrator Lois Lenski

I have been asked to expound on why I collect Lois Lenski's books. How to express why I like her work? Well, who could resist art like this?

Her "Small Family" series is cute and the stories are short. They are just right to read to toddlers. Her illustrations capture a folksy simplicity that I adore.

I think her historical books are a great way to teach. I can set a child down with one of her books and not have to worry about anything inappropriate. They are very accurate in their details. "Puritan Adventure" was one of, if not the very first Lois Lenski books I purchased. I have read it to every one of my children when they were studying that time period. "Indian Captive" is another one that I have read several times. It also enthralled one of my daughters. She read it, then almost every other 'child-taken-captive-by-Indians" book I had on the shelves.

I so appreciate that for her American Regional and the Roundabout America series she traveled to the places she wrote about and actually lived with local families. Their real-life experiences, as a whole, are the books, with names changed. I had only a few until recently and had read only a couple. I am looking forward to becoming more familiar with this series during the upcoming winter. Here's a list of all of Lenski's books by series.

You can learn much more about Lois in her autobiography: "Journey Into Childhood". She wrote it at the request of librarians and teachers.

As an aside, I came across this neat story while reading up about Ms. Lenski: "Sometimes It Pays To Ask The Right Questions."

Here's another list of all the books she wrote and/or illustrated, with some cover images included: Lois Lenski's Books and another, easier to print version, is here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Lois Lenski Bonanza!

I have been collecting Lois Lenski's books for a long time now. They are usually hard to find and all but a few are fairly expensive to buy. Our library began shedding Lenski books last year and I grabbed up as many as I could. I did pretty good, collecting seventeen of them. I managed to get two more from Paperback Swap. Here's a pic of all of the Lenski on my shelf.....

...until today! A couple of weeks ago, I saw "Cotton in my Sack" listed on Paperback Swap. I was surprised to see it there and quickly ordered it. Then I bragged to a friend of my find. I was saddened to hear that the book had been on HER wishlist for a long time. I had snatched it away somehow! Oops! That should teach me to brag. Sorry, Veee.!

I received the book and was very happy with it. I thought I might go on PBS and see again if there was anything else wonderful listed. Among other things I ordered that night, there were TWO of Lois Lenski's regional books posted! I ordered them as fast as I could! I PM'ed the person who was offering them and discovered it was the same lady who had just sent me "Cotton in my Sack". I asked her if she might have more Lenski's to post. She did! We made a deal and she sent me a box. It arrived today, bearing all these Lenski's:

Oops! I noticed that Cotton in my Sack is in this pile. I received it a couple of weeks ago, not today.

What a blessing! I am so excited to snuggle down and read these with my Lambies I never expected to be able to enjoy all of these wonderful titles. We are Lois Lenski RICH now!

OOPS AGAIN! I realized I had three more Lois Lenski's on other shelves (Strawberry Girl, Puritan Adventure, Indian Captive). The historical ones I have were all shelved in their appropriate places according to their story. Now they are with all the others.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Marvelous McBroom!
We enjoy the McBroom series by Sid Fleischman a great deal. I never read these gems as a child, and didn't even discover them for my children until a few years ago. I happened upon one or two at our monthly library book sale. Why the library is shedding these books, I'll never understand. Of the ten in the series, we have eight. The other two are on my Paperback Swap wishlist. There are some of them available right now. 

Here's a list of all the McBroom Family Adventures for all you collectors:

You can thank me later. I hope you enjoy Mr. McBroom and his family as much as we do!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wee Gillis: A Mini Unit

We began this study after reading "Wee Gillis". I am so fond of Robert Lawson's illustrations! The Little Lambies: Troubles, Missy and Jack all listened and learned quite a bit about Scotland just from one reading.

We looked up the location of Scotland compared to our location in California and Israel. We always address geographical locations from these two points. We named the seven continents and they deduced which continents Scotland is located on. We spoke of what countries are to the north, south, east and west of Scotland.

We Google-traveled a road or two and looked around on street view. How green it is! Of course it's because it rains so much.

We looked at Loch Ness and discussed the Monster. I read to them a few appropriate pages of Jaws, Claws and Dinosaurs by William Gibbons and Kent Hovind.

We listened to bagpipe music. We listened to other traditional Scottish songs, too.

We learned about haggis. The children decided they did not want a sample of that!

We looked at pictures of long-haired cows and Scottish stags.

The Flag of Scotland was built out of Legos (thanks to Renee for the idea!).

We spoke about kilts and why men wear them. We discussed plaid and tartans and their meaning. This craft seemed appropriate.

I made a coloring page out of this image of Wee Gillis.

We practiced blowing balloons up in one breath to show how very strong Gillis' lungs must have been!

This was a fun little study. I think the Little Lambies learned a lot!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Book Review: "What In the World Is Going On?" by Dr. David Jeremiah

I received this book from Thomas Nelson for review. Dr. David Jeremiah lays out the prophetic Biblical passages in a clear to understand manner, engaging the reader with stories and accounts that hold the attention. It's a basic explanation of pre-trib rapture with current events discussed in the appropriate places.

It, like any book that deals with current events, is dated in places, but I was mentally able to add newer events that have occurred since it was published. That made it even more exciting! I think it would be challenging for my 9th grader, but understandable. I like that the author emphasizes the need for America to support Israel. Also, Scriptures are quoted in whole and not piecemeal. I think anyone who loves the Bible and longs for the Lord's return would enjoy and benefit from this book.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

September Story Books

The first few days of September were school days. We finished reading Jack the Giant Killer and Daniel Boone from the Book House books. We also have been continuing Winnie the Pooh, 100 EZ Lessons and other school books. Here begins the list of other stories that we have read this month.

Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne (began several weeks ago. We read 1-2 chapters a week.)
Rolling Rose by James Stevenson
The Spooky Tail of Prewitt Peacock by Bill Peet
Davy Crockett Saves the World by Rosalyn Schanzer
The Soldier and the Tsar by Uri Shulevitz
Yonie Wondernose by Marguarite de Angeli
The Story of Noah's Ark by Tony Palazzo
The Cat on the Dovrefell: A Christmas Tale illustrated by Tomie de Paola
Wee Gillis by Munro Leaf (two times!)
Tim Tadpole and the Great Bullfrog by Marjorie Flack (two times!)
Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett
McBroom's Ghost by Sid Fleischman
Marguerite De Angeli's Nursery and Mother Goose Rhymes
The Story of Babar the Little Elephant by Jean de Brunhoff
The Animal by Lorna Balian
Sheep on a Ship by Nancy Shaw
Tadpole and Frog by Christine Back and Barrie Watts
Pish, Posh said Hieronymus Bosch by Nancy Willard
Now It's Fall by Lois Lenski
The King Who Rained by Fred Gwynne
Three Blind Mice by John W. Ivimey, illustrated by Paul Galdone
The Mysterious Tadpole by Steven Kellogg
The Mother Goose Book illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen
The Wuggie Norple Story by Daniel M. Pinkwater illustrated by Tomie de Paola
Shrek by William Steig
Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss
Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel
The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss
Harry and the Terrible Whatzit by Dick Gackenbach