Saturday, January 30, 2010

Eric Herman

My children have developed a deep and abiding love for all things Eric Herman.  We were introduced to Eric Herman by a family, whose young daughter did the animation in "The Elephant Song."

My kids' favorite song is "My Lucky Day."

They are also particularly fond of "Blackbeard, Bluebeard & Redbeard"

and "Ants in Your Pants." Hopefully, your family can find something to enjoy, as well.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Planet Earth Part 2

These are the worksheets for pages 18-23.  Enjoy.

Planet Earth Crossword 2
Planet Earth Crossword 2 Answer Key
Planet Earth Quiz 2
Planet Earth Quiz 2 Answer Key

I decided to go with Google Documents, because Scribd was messing up the image of the crosswords.  These should be viewable/printable by everyone.  If you have any problems, please let me know.
For the first part, please visit part 1.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Clementine Review

by Sara Pennypacker

Clementine is a funny little girl who is new to third grade. She loves art and has a unique perspective on life – one adults don’t always understand. Clementine is smart and has good intentions, she just has a tendency to accidentally get in trouble. She is having a very bad week. She is having a hard time with hair, her birthday party goes miserably, she has to go to the principal’s office – again – and even her mom is mad at her. To help distract her, her dad requests her help with the war he has waged against the pigeons that mess up the steps to their apartment building. For once Clementine’s ingenuity helps a situation instead of hindering, and reader’s get a special delight discovering all of Clementine’s fun way of life.

Clementine is a great book for elementary school children. Even those reluctant fourth grade boys love it. It is fast paced and written in an easy, fun style for kids to read. Adults will enjoy it as a fresh new take on the Ramona Quimby style books. This book is absolutely a funny, great read. You will fall in love with Clementine!

guest post by Sally at Manor Books

Monday, January 25, 2010

February holidays

Ground Hog's Day, Lincoln's Birthday, President's Day, Washington's Birthday, Valentine's Day, Rosa Park's Birthday, the halfway point of winter, National Weather Persons' Day (of particular not in our family, since hubby is a weather man), Massachusetts' Birthday, Ronal Reagan's Birthday, Thomas Edison's birthday, Charles Darwin's birthday, Bicycle Safety Day, the Chinese New Year, Oregon's birthday, Arizona's birthday, Galileo Galilei's birthday, Mardi Gras, Random Acts of Kindness Day, Nicolaus Copernicus' birthday, and John Glenn orbiting the Earth anniversary, are all in February!

If you can't find something to do from that list, there's more.

Celebrating holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays is a great way to learn about things.  A few of the things we will be hitting in February: Ground Hogs, Rosa Parks, President's Day, winter, weather, Massachusetts, Thomas Edison, Charles Darwin, the Chinese New Year, Oregon, Arizona, Galileo, Copernicus, and John Glenn.  I can't wait to share some of the activities we have planned.

In the meantime, what are some of your favorite holidays to celebrate?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Finger Knitting

YouTube Saturday.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Picturing America: President George Washington is the general rhythm we have fallen into:  We briefly talk about the painting, and the painter.  We talk about what was going on in the world at the time of the painting.  We very briefly discuss the style of the painting (I am not an artist or knowledgeable about art, so I have to go with what I read in the handbook).  Then, we read a book about the event, or person, featured in the painting.  Depending on what art project we have scheduled for that day, we will do art throughout the class, so that the pieces have time to dry between layers.

This week, we studied two paintings: Washington Crossing the Delaware and George Washington (Landsdowne Portrait), 1796.
George Washington (Lansdowne Portrait), 1796:  There are so many ways you can go when studying George Washington.  Our goal was not to study George Washington in general, rather to study him as a general, as pertained to the crossing of the Delaware.  However, I do have some resources for you:
George Washington by Cheryl Harness is a wonderful book, with wonderful pictures.  If you visit Amazon, you can see a few of the illustrations in the book.

This link has an interactive copy of the Lansdowne Portrait.  You can give your students access to it, if you desire.

This link has a lot of other links.  It would be a great place to start a search for information on George Washington.

Washington Crossing the Delaware:  I read bits and pieces of Crossing The Delaware: A History In Many Voices by Louise Peacock.  I did not read the entire thing only because we are short on time.  This, too is a great book and I highly recommend it.  

Mount Vernon's Lesson Plans for all things Washington.
This site has lesson plans, as well as background information, and a copy of the painting.
Elementary activity sheets
Includes a coloring sheet

For our artwork, we colored pictures, then decoupaged them to wood.  Basically, I had a hard time finding an activity that would work in the time frame we had.  We also made oceans in bottles.  You could then glue or tape the picture to the bottle.  If we had had more time, I might have done a seascape, you might use the coloring page to do a watercolor, or you might try your hand at making an etching (this painting was very popular as an etching, as was the portrait).  You might also use some of the pictures of George Washington from this site to do this style art project.  (By the way, I have found Art Projects for Kids to be a great resource.)

One of our younger students completely covered his picture, because it was nighttime.

Free Resource: Reader Apps for Your iPod/iPhone and PC

In November, I was pointed toward a wonderful free resource.  We already own two iPod touches, due to the fact that they came free with our computers.  A friend was raving about her Kindle, and really, I didn't want to spend the money on one.  Then, someone mentioned the Kindle App for iPhone.  There are three reader apps that I currently have on my iPod Touch.  They are all three free downloads, and they all three allow me to download books for free.

The Kindle app is for Amazon.  If you go to Amazon's Kindle store, you will find many free books on their Bestsellers list.  I search for any book I want in the Kindle store (especially if it is a classic) before I buy it.  Many times, it is free, or very inexpensive (less than a dollar).

The Stanza app is for many different sources.  These are the free sources they offer: Feedbooks, Random House, Harlequin, Project Gutenberg (a great online resource for books in the public domain), Books from Munseys, and Books from BookGlutton.  Project Gutenberg is one of my favorite online sources for classic children's books.  In the past, we have been hampered by our dislike of reading on a computer screen.  Now, we are able to thoroughly enjoy many of our books for free.

Finally, I have eReader.  This is for Barnes & Noble.  I admit that I have not downloaded any books to this, as of yet.  As a result I cannot fully recommend it.  But, as it is free, it is worth taking a look at.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of World Geography

I really like this book. It has amazing pictures, and is an easy read. That means that it interests almost everyone that picks it up. A couple days ago, I was leafing through it, thinking that I would love for my children to use it even more than they already do.

I subscribe to the 'scatter method' of teaching. I scatter books around my house in the hopes that my children will want to read them. Nine times out of ten, they do. This book, as well as the Science Encyclopedia that we have are two favorites. They serve as jumping off points. Many times, my boys want to investigate things further. However, I thought it would be a good idea to make them some quizzes to see how deeply they are reading. Then, I thought I would share them with you. So far, I have a quiz for the first eight pages from the chapter "Planet Earth." I also made a crossword puzzle.

Tell me if this is useful. Any feedback is appreciated. I will try to post another quiz and crossword puzzle each week.

These are hosted on Google Documents.  They should be viewable/printable by everyone.  If you have any trouble, please let me know.

Planet Earth Quiz 1
Planet Earth Quiz 1 Answer Key
Planet Earth Crossword 1
Planet Earth Crossword 1 Answer Key

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Book Review: So Far From the Bamboo Grove

So Far From the Bamboo Grove
by Yoko Kawashima Watkins

This book is grimly realistic; it depicts quite vividly some of the horrors of war. For this reason I would only recommend this book to middle school children or older. If you have any doubts, you can read the book to ascertain whether your child would benefit from reading it.

Yoko is a young Japanese girl living in Korea during World War II. The war has only had a minor impact on her life – her father is away, and sometimes they must visit wounded soldiers in the hospital to show charity. But everything changes very quickly, and Yoko is caught up in a world of violence and desperation. Her family is forced to flee their home in hope of reaching Seoul and traveling to the safety of her grandparents in Japan. Along the way they face injury, sickness, deprivation, conflict and heartache, but Yoko and her family persevere and show great courage and ingenuity.

This book is written as fiction, but it is the true story of the author’s refugee flight. It is an excellent book for pleasure reading – prepare to have your emotions tugged! – or as part of a unit on World War II. Many books for young people are written from an American or European standpoint, so reading a book set in Korea and Japan puts a fresh perspective on the war. It might also help students who view war as distant, bringing home the thought of both sides having victims.

Guest post by: Sally