ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: September 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

Skeletons: Lessons About Bones

 Teaching Two has several clever ideas for teaching children the basics about our bones.

My Life and Kids included Martha Stewart's pasta skeleton's in her list of top 5 crafts for October.
There are many interesting suggestions for teaching all about skeletons listed at Little Giraffes.  I especially like their song and poem ideas.
The site, Be a Bone Builder, has a printable worksheet for identifying and labeling the bones in the human body.
Science Center explains a biology lesson that introduces students to the function of the main bones in the human skeletal system and the cells that make up those bones. details a lesson intended for second grade students that teaches them to draw and label bones in the human skeleton.

Fairy Dust Teaching displays their white on black skeleton paintings that reinforce the concepts they are learning in science.

Apartment Therapy featured a birthday party all about the human body.  The skeleton cake would make a tasty treat to follow up a bare bones lesson.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Summer Treasures Repurposed: Flower Blossoms

Use the flowers you have pressed from your summer garden to set up a nature museum in your classroom, practicing labels and classifications.

Add pressed blossoms to sun prints or stationary, like this example from Playful Learning.

Set up a flower dissection experiment using the lesson plan from the Arizona Science Standards or the suggestions from Mariah. suggests making bookmarks out of dried flowers. 
Decorate the holiday tree by cutting apart large blossoms to add to the branches or by filling glass bulbs with your favorite dried blossoms.
Pick a favorite dried flower to display on a canvas

Fasten large blossoms to a wreath base to create a seasonal wreath.

Bundle and hang  leftover garden beauty to decorate your home or classroom.  Making a dried flower bouquet is an appropriate activity to use when teaching about the colonial time in history.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Change for a Change

It is inspiring when you meet someone who dedicates their time, energy, and love to making a change!    Inspired is just how I felt when I met Amy, the heart behind a local non profit diaper bank committed to diapering babies in need.  During the recent Diaper Need Awareness week I was presented with some disheartening facts about the need for a change (literally!).  One in three families in the US struggle to afford diapers for their infants.  Without the resources to provide clean diapers, some parents resort to cleaning and reusing disposable diapers causing sanitary and health issues for their babies. In many cases cloth diapering is not an option because these families in need to not have access to private laundering facilities.

There is a way for all of us to swap our small change into a big change for some little loves.  (With the right deals and coupons, every dime buys a diaper.)

the Change for Change Can Drive  

To participate:
Choose an empty container
Decorate it as you choose, or simply print the Change for Change Can Wrap
Collect coins to fill the container
If you are near Zeeland, MI you can bring your filled containers to Pumpkinfest on October 4, 5, or 6.  If you are participating from afar you can deposit your change in the bank and donate via credit card or PayPal on Nestling's website.

Perhaps you'd like to get creative with your coin collection by sparking a bit of friendly staff lounge/homeroom competition or setting up a contest between the families in your home school community.

What about a team spirit coin rivalry?

Perhaps you may pick a play on words slogan for your collection. (This jar sits in our laundry room where I empty pockets before throwing pants in the wash machine).

What could you do to... 
...Luv on a baby in need?
...Pamper a special someone?
...give a little Huggie? 

To read more about getting involved in Change for a Change, donating diapers to Nestlings, or finding a diaper bank in your own community check out or find them on Facebook.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Movement and Music: Going on a Bear Hunt!

Hi, I'm Jedda from This Little Project.  My daughter is a big fan of the We're Going on a Bear Hunt book right now.  I love it when you can take a book interact with it with movement and music--instead of just reading it.  Today I'll show you what I mean, by using the book, We're Going on a Bear Hunt.

I love using this book with my own kids to teach them listening music skills at the piano.  The words "over" and "under" and all the action words like "splash, splosh" are great for teaching about high and low notes and making different kinds of sounds at the piano.  If you would like to use this book to teach some musical skills, and "play a story" on the piano, I've written more details here.

Here is a movie of the book We're Going on a Bear Hunt that is great, especially if you aren't familiar with the book.

I recently had some preschoolers at my house to explore this book together.  We played a game where we used our EARS and a lot of energy to take turns hunting

and finding a bear, and had a Bear Hunt snack.  I've written more about these ideas here.

When you can put actions to a story it engages even more senses for the children.  Here are some action ideas, given by the author: 
Acting it out is another fun way to engage movement with a book:  
You can also used the bears and some buttons to practice fine-motor skills with the letter B.
To print your own Dot Letters, check out these printables
Interacting with a book using Music and Movement brings a story to life and makes it a whole-body experience.  It's the kind of thing that kids love and it keeps them engaged because it uses more senses and is so much fun!! 
 Stop by and say "H"i at This Little Project for more ideas :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Feature Youself Friday: Meet Hannah

Hello!  I'm Hannah from Making Boys Men and I am delighted to be guest posting on 'Feature Me Friday'.  My blog features all the crafts, outdoor play and fun I get up to with my three young boys.  I think my main objective in being a stay at home Mum is to help turn our little boys into generous hearted, responsible, loving young men - hence the blog name 'making boys men'.  But, of course all the activities we do are for girls and boys alike.
And here are our boys - Bud (4), Champ (2.5) and Little Dude (11mths).  They are a bit younger in this picture, but it's pretty hard to get a nice picture of all three!  Oh and that's me too!
Every day we try and get outside for some outdoor play regardless of the weather and each week I do a post about all the outdoor activities we've done. One of my favourites is this post as it includes a bit of messy play, a bit of art, a bit of water play and some den building - a perfect week outdoors!
I'm also a HUGE fan of busy bags so I've done a few busy bag posts too.  Busy bags are activities in a bag to keep young ones busy - simple really, but a life saver in restaurants and the doctors waiting room!  If you're interested you can check out some ideas for busy bags with craft sticks, pipe cleaners or clothes pegs (pins).
One of my favourite projects that we've done is Splat Painting.  We used fly swats and it was good messy painting fun and very hands on, but what I really enjoyed was that we did it as a whole family - great shared memories!
One thing I like to do for every post is give it a mess rating.  One splat for nice clean activities, two splats require a bit of tidy up and three splats mean the boys are going straight in the bath!  I hope it gives readers an idea of what they're in for if they try out an activity! We do loads of other art, crafts, baby play etc, but hopefully this post has given you a little idea of what we get up to.  If you've liked what you've read and want to know more you can check out Making Boys Men, our Pinterest page or our brand new facebook page.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ten Apples on Top Lessons & Activities

Last weekend was so beautiful here in Michigan!  It was a toss up whether to head to the beach for one last afternoon before it gets too chilly, or to head to the orchard for the first apples of the season. We opted for the beach, but couldn't resist picking up some cider on the way home.  This week we are thinking Ten Apples on Top in prep for all things fall!  This classic Seuss story is full of fun rhyming words.

Mrs. Nelson's Class has a thematic unit about apples.

Kindergarten Lessons shares a Ten Apples on Top unit on their site. They hook the students with some fun movement and balancing activities.

Think Magnet put together a book as a follow up activity to reading this story. 
Toddler Brain designed a counting activity to accompany Ten Apples on Top.
I Can Teach My Child explains a fun learning game to use with Ten Apples on Top.
Hummingbird Educational Resources shares a lengthy collection of centers, crafts, and follow up activities to use with the book Ten Apples on Top.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Summer Treasures Repurposed: Stones

As I mentioned before, our family loves to collect treasures from nature all summer long.  This time of year this momma is anxious to make use of these treasures or make them disappear.  Here are some examples of things we found to do using the kids' colorful stone and pebble collections:

Choose 52 of the stones to use in starting a family traditions.  At the end of each week discuss your favorite moments of the week as a family.  Write a key word or two on the stone to sum up the conversation.  Add the week's stone to a mason jar that you display in your home - "standing stone" collection of all the everyday memories of the year. 

One Pretty Thing put together a sweet heart of beach glass, but it could also be done with stones.

Create pet rocks.  Use the pet rocks as characters in your own creative stories.

Sort the stones by size or color.  Create graphs using the stones as place markers.

Replace the store bought unnaturally neon colored pebbles with lovely fresh water stones.
Using tile grout, a bowling ball, and a beautiful stone collection create a garden art gazing globe.

Cover a wooden bird house with a thin layer of cement decorated gingerbread style with favorite stones.

Paint a pile of stones to use as math manipulatives throughout the school year.
Doodle on your plain stones with a Sharpie marker, like The Art of Being Creative, to make a simple reminder of beach days past.

Put together a holiday gift of Message Stones, like these from MomReady.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Teaching with Ticia: Mentoring Older and Younger kids together

This is one of those unspoken things we all know, but may not have thought of why it's a good idea.

I know when I was teaching (10 years ago) this was all the rage, pairing up an upper elementary classroom with a primary grade level.  In homeschooling, it tends to happen naturally because if you have more than one kid, chances are they are not all the same age.

But how can you best take advantage of it?  And what are the advantages?

Advantages for the Older Kid
1.  Chance to be the teacher.  We all know it's true for us, you learn a subject better if you have to teach it or model it.  The same is true for kids.
2.  Chance to be a role model.  Who do young kids most look up to?  The kids about 3 or 4 years older than them (as long as it's not their brother or sister).  5th graders are immensely cool to a 1st grader.
3.  Chance to be a leader.  Some kids are not naturally gifted at leading and when working in groups with their peers they won't lead.  This is a prime chance for them to step forward and LEAD!

Advantages for the Younger Kid
1.  They get to see what it looks like to be bigger and know more.
2.  Having a mentor who is more approachable than their teacher is.
3.  Learning from multiple people.  The more sources of information and input a child has the more the information will stick in their head.

What can you do together?
1.  The most obvious one: read together.  Let the younger kid get a chance to practice one on one, and let the older kid get a chance to practice reading a harder book out loud or reading with style.
2.  Science experiments.  There are many wonderful science experiments that you can do, that you may not want to do with a bunch of 5 year olds.  But, if you add in a more experience 9 or 10 year old suddenly that experiment looks much more doable.  Also this gives the older kid a chance to strut their stuff and build up excitement.
3.  Group projects.  Let the younger kids provide illustrations and help with presenting while the older kid does the writing and helps with research.  We did this for a homeschool co-op and both sides learned more than they would have on their own.

Have you ever had a multi-age group together?  What were your favorite activities?  What benefits do you see?

Show & Tell #108

It feels good to kick off Show and Tell for the 2012-2013 school year today...finally!  Typically, we will look forward to featuring three popular links from the previous weeks' party.  Since it has been awhile, hopefully you will humor me as I Show and Tell a few of the activities and Pinterest projects our family tried this summer.  

cloud dough {aka HUGE mess}

How about you?  What have you been up to? What projects will you share from your busy summer?  How did you set up your classroom?  What are your favorite lessons to teach? Have you read any great books lately?

It's your turn!

  abc button

If you are new to Show & Tell or need a quick recap, here are the rules:

~Post your favorite lessons, crafts, traditions, kid friendly recipes, field trip recap, learning games, experiments, DIY organizational projects, holiday related activities, or Ah-Ha moments.

~Direct link to your post, not your home page.

~Include a link back to us or include our link button in your post or sidebar.

~Please try to visit and comment on at least three links. This adds to the positive collaboration that makes our learning cooperative a success!

~Each week we will feature three links from the previous week's party.  Some weeks these are chosen at random, sometimes by theme, and other times according to linky tools stats.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Summer Treasures Repurposed: Driftwood

All summer long we collect treasures - bits and pieces of beauty, nature, memories - all of supreme value in the eye of the collector.  Throughout June, July and August I gladly display the flowers, stones, shells, sticks, and grasses in vases, on trays, and piled on shelves.  By mid September I am more than ready to put them away to make room for apples, pumpkins, and cinnamon sticks.  Yet, it seems these treasures deserve more than just a ride back outside to the compost pile.  Instead, we use these pieces as art materials to create new beauty.

Here are some examples of things we found to create using our driftwood collection:

{Beach Wreath}

Scribd has an Art Creation Lesson Plan right up for creating with driftwood.
Driftwood Art Lesson
Wise Craft used driftwood to create a mobile.
Driftwood can be arranged into sculptures and onto canvases in letters,  shapes, abstract designs.
Completely Coastal put together a lovely heart of driftwood.

If you have a preteen reader in your home, perhaps you may like to check out the book Driftwood by Cathy Cassidy.  It's a story of a rescued friendship.

Have you and your children made any driftwood creations?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fun for Friday: Apple-onia

Michelle, from The Nature of Grace, put together a fun, fall series about a special little apple.  The adventures of this personified apple lend themselves nicely to inquiry and creative writing.  Even without the basic lessons included in this activity this would be a fun fall tradition for families with young children.  Here are a few preview pictures of this clever idea.  You will want to click over to check out the details!

 {Meet Apple-onia}
 {A special puzzle to figure out}
 {Apple-onia with a Nutella mask on}

{A magical ending}

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Letter awareness in Spanish

Literacy begins at birth. The early reading and writing experiences children have help prepare them for later success in school. That's why rich and varied language and literacy experiences at home and in the kindergarten are so important. Children's language learning is rooted in the caring environment of their homes and school. By engaging children in conversations, exposing them to new words, singing songs, discussing symbols and their meaning; and encouraging expression of thoughts, feelings, and opinions through words, you lay the foundation for later language skills success. When it comes to learning to listen, speak, read and write, children must be familiar with language and use it to communicate ideas, desires, and feelings with other people.
During the first years, children are able to recognize the shape and sound of each letter as well as words that commonly begin with that letter.

Some difinitions
How to teach Letter awareness in a foreign language?

Introduce the letters of the alphabet by finding a word or a name that is meaningful for your children. For example B is for Bags (school bags), books, blocks, etc. It is important to learn the name, the shape, and the sound of each letter of the alphabet.

Children learn by using their senses. They need not only to hear and look at letters but also smell, touch and taste letters.

Letter shape is important. Show the correct formation of the letter while presenting it.  Children can practice tracing letters in sand, shaving cream, pudding, or fingerpaint.
If you are working with older children remember to introduce the upper and lower case too.

Here are some fun ideas to use with your children
  • Paint letters with water on the sidewalk or driveway
  • Draw letters with different colours
  • Draw letters in whipped cream or dulce de leche
  • Use body to make letters
  • Make an ABC book of animals, plants, favourites, names
  • Build letters with straws, toothpicks, popsicles sticks
  • Make a poster for each letter
  • Look for letters in magazines or newspapers
  • Write letters in sand, dirt, flour, beans
  • Build words with clay, playdough
  • Go on a letter hunt in the classroom or home