Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Mini Unit

It's nearing Thanksgiving! Time for the little ones to learn all about pilgrims, Native Americans and turkeys, right?

Books we read:

We read portions of Turkey, Pilgrims and Indian Corn.

We listened to real Turkey Calls and watched some videos of wild turkeys. We compared their lives to that of factory turkeys.

We made the Cranberry Bread recipe from Cranberry Thanksgiving. That was a lot of fun! I also made a Gluten-Free version so I could enjoy it, too. I also want to try the grain-free version. I'll blog pictures of the baking later on in their own post.

I printed off a few coloring pages:

There are, of course, many crafts ideas for Thanksgiving/turkeys. I am NOT fond of arts-and-crafts. When we actually do a crafty thing, the Little really enjoy it, though. Now that the Bigs are big, they can run crafts, and they enjoy it! Hooray!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Duel Reading

Troubles and Polly have been working together, reading Days With Frog and Toad. Polly is reading aloud and Troubles is following along...but did you see his book?

Look closely...

Nope, he didn't want the same one as she was reading. He chose this one instead.

Think he'll be conversing en Espanol soon? He just might the way his crazy little brain works!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hen Mini-Unit

Today's letter is "H". We chose to study Hens. What a great spring activity. Besides, May is National Egg Month and what better way to celebrate eggs, than to learn about hens?

We read a few good books:

The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone
Henny Penny by Paul Galdone
Hattie and the Fox by Mem Fox

We enjoyed a few fun activities:

Hen online puzzle

Online Farm and HenHouse game

Hen and chicks coloring page

"H" Tracing Page

Of course, we ate a good snack...

Chicken salad sandwiches

I also had a few dry wishbones that the children were able to snap.

For math, we learned that an egg is oval and why an oval isn't the same as a circle.

We also played a variation of Scrambled Egg Math. I took an egg carton and wrote numbers 0-9 inside each indention, along with an few extra 1's. I added two marbles. Each child got to shake the carton, then open it to see what numbers the marbles landed in. Then they counted out that many markers that were set nearby.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cross Lateral Movements

I've been researching cross lateral movements to assist Missy, age 9.5, with her reading. She has learning challenges and I am hoping that these will help her recall the phonic sounds and how they blend into words. We've been using 100 Easy Lessons for a couple of years and it just isn't clicking with her.

When I first introduced Cross Lateral Clapping (think of "Miss Mary Mack"), she couldn't do it, even slowly. She had fun trying, though! After a few days of practice, it was if she'd been playing this game for years! I call her a few times a day now and just clap with her for a minute.

I looked up some more exercises to add to our play time. I found one idea on one site, another couple on another. Finally I found one blog that had lots of ideas in one place. What a resource! This week we will begin doing windmills and elbows-to-knees in the mornings.

I have also dropped 100 Easy Lessons for now and began using Progressive Phonics. We're doing the alphabet portion first, beginning with Alphabetti Book 1-1. It's enough challenge for her and she's enjoying it. She's mastered the first book, "Dod the Dog" and has moved on to "Dod and Bob". It's a nice blend of phonics and sight work and has accompanying copywork, coloring pages and other busywork to print off if you want.

She may not ever read "War and Peace" but I do want her to have basic reading skills. If sight reading is something that will help her, I am going to give it a try.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Elementary Boy Books

It's always a little easier to find books for girls than for boys. My friend Crystal asked for ideas for her handsome readers, so here goes! I tried to choose books that might not be on the lists of great books that are easily found on the Internet.

Any and all Clyde Robert Bulla books. There are way too many to list, but every single one is good. The one I linked to is one I use with each of my first graders as we study the discovery of North America.

Homer Price and others by Robert McCloskey

The Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth

The Bones on Black Spruce Mountain by David Budbill You'll not find this book on any list of great literature, but it captured my imagination as a child, and all of my children have enjoyed it as well. I forgot the name of the book, but gave the librarian at every library of every school that I worked the details I remembered. I searched in vain. Not one knew the story. When I was around 25 years old, I finally found a copy at a used book store. I was ecstatic!

My Side of the Mountain and its sequels by Jean Craighead George. These are fantastic.

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks Read all of the series.

The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden Another excellent series.

Any and all books by Gary Paulsen.  We love them.