Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey Day Pop Ups

The other day I asked my 6yo what she wanted to make for her Uncle's birthday. She replied that she would like to make him a Thanksgiving Day Popup Book. Interesting response, I thought.

Ok. So after checking around on the net, we settled on TG popup cards.

We used this terrific website that I think we'll return to in the future when it's time to make other holiday cards.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dikes and Canals

Our history class thus far is more like geography. We've been covering the continents, beginning with Australia and we are currently nearing the end of our Europe Unit. Today we did the Netherlands, which stimulated a discussion of dikes and canals. Here's our model we made today:

It's home made play-doh. Gets pretty icky after sitting for a while. But it was a fun way to experience what a dike is. As a spin off we will read Hans Brinker: Or, The Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland (Illustrated Junior Library Edition, 1945)
That is, we will read it after we finish reading The Borrowers
The Wind in the Willows (Signet Classics)

So many good books! So little time

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Spelling Games and Activities

I am forever looking for new ways to do spelling. The old study-cover-write method sure is boring for all of us.

Here are a few ideas that I have recently gleaned/created and they seem to be working well for us:

1) Use fun foam pre-cut letters to spell your words.
2) Choose a different font for each word and type it out on the computer.
3) Phone spelling: Use a phone keypad to spell out your words in numbers. Example: Hug = 484
4) "Bounce" Spelling: Bounce a ball to each other as you take turns spelling out the words. One letter per bounce (thank you yahoo group for this idea!)
5) spelling bingo: I make up grids and laminate them. Then I can use them for any list. Fill in the grid with current list of words. Then print out a list of the words, cut them out, put them in a can. In another can, put the letters B I N G and O. I like to write them on popsicle sticks. Each player takes a turn pulling out a BINGO letter and a spelling word. The player then calls out (for example) B -Mother. Cover your square if you have it.
6) Use alphabet stamps to stamp out the spelling list.
7)Write the words in a try filled with flour, salt, sand, or cornmeal.
8) Hang Man, of course, is a favorite.

By the time we've done all that, the spelling test is a snap!

Any other ideas? I would love to hear them.

Food Guide Pyramid Activity

Of course, Thanksgiving is a terrific opportunity to discuss pilgrims, indians, turkeys and gratitude. But with all the eating we do this time of year, it's also a really great time to talk about food and nutrition.

We had fun doing a group lesson on the food guide pyramid. I used yarn and pushpins to make the pyramid on the side of a cardboard box. Then after a brief lesson on the food groups, we looked through newspapers to find pictures of food items and then pasted them into their correct food category on the pyramid.

We all had fun hunting for items, deciding where they go, cutting and gluing. Here's what we ended up with:

Believe it or not, we had a hard time finding items for the grains group. So I ended up printing some things out on the computer to stick in there.

I also did some research to find out how much of each food group each member of our family should be eating based on age, gender, and activity level using this site. I wrote that information next to each category on the pyramid. Now when we eat my kids are always commenting on what food group they are eating from.