Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Battle of Hastings idea

Tomorrow we're going to reenact the Battle of Hastings using army men. It may be a stretch considering the difference in weaponry, but something tells me my boys won't mind; and we'll put one side on a playdough hill for a little added, uh, realism.

For reenactment help, the pages and games suggested previously were interesting to us!

Grammar Songs

Below are videos of Kristi singing the grammar songs that our children learn in assembly.


Helping Verbs



Battle of Hastings memory song

To memorize our fact on the Battle of Hastings this week, try the tune of The Wheels on the Bus again:

In 1055 the Battle of Hastings
wa-as fought (thrust out imaginary sword)
over who
would be the next king of Eng-land! (make crowning motion on head)
And was won by William the Conqueror--
(shout) Duke of Normandy!

P.S. I usually assign one child, usually a younger one, the shouting role at the end. It involves them in the fun, and they wait with gleeful anticipation for the end of the song everytime we sing it. Then everyone laughs!

Hopscotch Math

I printed multiples of 8 on card stock (or you could just hand write them on index cards), shuffled them and asked him to put them in order.  Also in his workbox drawer was a piece of chalk.  The instructions were to make a hopscotch grid with multiples of eight.
Good thing about the chalk: the more the child steps on the numbers, the fainter they become - helping to commit multiples to memory.

Watch a video below or click here to see it.

Worksheet maker!

Hats off to Hope Bucher for recommending a very useful site! I'll let her explain it directly from her e-mail:

"I don't know if you've even used theteacherscorner.net website, but if you haven't, I thought I'd share it with you. It has a lot of fun information, but the page I use the most is "printable worksheets" - "create your own". You can make all sorts of worksheets for your kids, and it's really easy. Like this week I wanted to have the kids do a quick matching review of all the greek/latin roots up to this point. I just typed in the info, and it shuffles it, numbers it, and makes it into a great little worksheet. Also, there is a great fill in the blank worksheet that is fun to use too."

So I checked it out myself, and this site has everything from calendar printables to a word search maker to DIY crosswords and Sudoku. How cool is that?! (If you've got a site that would help some of us, feel free to e-mail!) Thanks, Hope!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Battle of Hastings help

Well, folks, no video on this one. But this page may be helpful and kid-friendly as you explore the wonders of William the Conqueror. Here are some images of the man himself.

And here's an interactive game where kids can actually reenact the battle, and see if they'll "alter" history. Boys may particularly get a kick out of this; it has some military strategy involved. This is may help cement the two sides and their leaders in mind, since the names are frequently visible.


Multiples of Eight: Song

Sung to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame":

Do you know the mul-ti-ples of eight?
They're easy to sing, you will see!
8, 16, 24, 32!
4-0, 4-8, 56!
64, then 72, 80
88, 96!
And that's all...the...multiples of eight
if you're in a fix!

Parents' note: ...If you guys get tired of the cheeseball songs, just let me know. :)


Teaching Adjectives

Found some great ideas from veteran teachers on teaching adjectives, like these:

1) Find a bunch of hats around your house, and line them up. What words would your student use to describe each hat?

2) In the side of a small cardboard box, cut a hole large enough for your child's hand. Go in another room and place a "mystery object" inside the box. When you return, have the child place their hand in the box. What adjectives would they use to describe the object? Can they guess the noun in the box?

3) Here's a Grammar Rock video on Adjectives to help out.

Earthquakes: Shakin' it up

I'm slightly amazed that the U.S. government has a whole website for kids on earthquakes! It's got puzzles and games, animations, photos, the science of earthquakes, and even "today in earthquake history."

You'll also find some good resources through its page for students and teachers, sortable by grade level (complete with some pretty cool coloring pages, too)! There are some very creative hands-on ideas like this one regarding faults or even using crayon shavings to illustrate the formation of other rocks from heat and pressure. But I may have to do the one using cookies to demonstrate erosion--who cares if we're not talking about erosion yet...! And that's a small fraction of the ideas on this site; I'm sure there are earth science resources that we can use the rest of the semester. Seriously worth checking out.

Among its hyperlinks, you can create a virtual earthquake of different kinds and magnitudes, and watch its effects.

And even though yes, I know that "video" doesn't equal "creative," it does make our job a little more visual and interesting! Here's a video on Earthquakes 101--see the video after it, too, entitled "Inside Earthquakes". And here's few more helpful earthquake videos from National Geographic that cover the "above ground" effects. Howstuffworks also has a worthwhile earthquake video.

Check out these photos that convey some of God's power displayed in earthquakes; these verses also detail the earthquakes mentioned in the Bible.

Fortunately, there are enough resources out there to make earthquakes come alive for nearly any learning style!

And P.S.--surprise, surprise--the memory work can be sung to (drumroll, please) ...The Farmer in the Dell.


Psalm 34:10 Song

You can purchase this week's verse in a jazzy song that you won't have to play only in the back of your minivan (sample available on the hyperlink).

Those of you who already have the Seeds of Courage CD from your K4 or K5 student already have this one! If you haven't investigated the Seeds Family Worship series, I would highly recommend it--we (and by that, I mean the whole family!) love them, and whoever I recommend them to tends to recommend them to their friends, too.

All of the songs are directly taken from NIV Scripture, and if they get in my head, I don't feel like I need to immediately get them out! We've purchased every one, which means thanks to them, my kids have about sixty-five new Scripture songs to sing around the house. We'll get the new Seeds of Character album for a stocking stuffer for one of my kids when it releases.

Note: If you attempt to order these CD's, keep in mind that the new packaging contains two identical CD's: one to keep, and one to give to a friend. How cool is that?!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

DIY Reading

An elementary school teacher-turned-homeschooler once gave me the great idea to garner my son's reading list from the well-chosen homeschooling curriculum from Sonlight, and simply check them out from the library. A brilliant idea, it turned out: every book we've read has been fantastic, and exchanges the cheesy, never-hearda-that stories from the reading textbooks of my childhood for classic children's literature like Henry Huggins, Charlotte's Web, and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle--and some that cover other times and cultures with interest and gusto.

As another alternative, we check out audio books for some of the titles intended for parents to read, so my kids can listen to them again and again...and my hands can turn to something else for awhile. The audio books have been wonderful for increasing vocabulary as they hear words repeatedly used in context. (One I'd recommend for reading terms is the Gooney Bird Green series--recommended by Sonlight and available through interlibrary loan.)

For comprehension practice, you might enjoy graphic organizers like these--think word webs, venn diagrams, and other visual tools--that especially help visual learners. For more tactile learners, consider cutting out graphic elements of your own: arrows, circles, boxes (or use sticky notes), thought bubbles, etc; or using string and sticky notes to make Venn diagrams, for example.

It's easier than I thought it would be...!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How Mountains are Made

Check out this idea of using a hard-boiled egg to demonstrate plate tectonics--and an interactive program that lets you move tectonic plates and make mountains!

Here's another link that may help you explain the making of mountains. Note: It does mention "millions of years".

You may consider having your student make flashcards of the different types of mountain formation.


Mountains: Online article for kids

This is probably more of a late-elementary, early middle school article, but it does link to some diagrams.

Note: It does use some different terms than those discussed in our science fact this week (as did most of the articles I found).

Monday, September 20, 2010

Verb video: Grammar Rock

Here's a quick song on video from the old Schoolhouse Rock series on verbs.


Multiples of seven: Song

As usual, it takes a little finessing, but I think we'll memorize this week's multiples of seven to the tune of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean":

7, 14, 21,
2-8, 35, 42!

4-9, 56, 63,
se-ven-ty, seventy-seven!

(shout) 84!

Leif Ericsson (Eriksson)

The History Channel has a lot of videos and photos for this week's topic and the surrounding topic of the Viking invasions.
And here's a craft to make a Viking longboat, though you may need to alter it slightly for the supplies you have on hand.
If you have a serious crafter, they might enjoy this downloadable papercraft longboat, or this one made out of a juice carton, complete with Youtube instructions.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

World Fest 2010: Don't miss!

This Friday, September 24th, from 9-3 is World Fest at the Clinton Presidential Center and Park downtown. It's a student-focused cultural festival that seems to get bigger every year! Check out this link, particularly the FAQ's and the photo gallery to get a good feel for this FREE event.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Giotto images

I won't claim this as "creative", but here's a link to a bunch of Giotto images. To make it a little more interesting, consider having your kids see if they can identify the Bible story from the picture without reading the caption first.

Song for multiples of six

You may consider singing this week's multiples of six to the tune of "Skip to my Lou":

6, 12, 18, 24;
30, 36, 42;
48, 54, 60;
66, 72!


Alfred the Great video

The History Channel comes through again with a video on Alfred the Great.

Please note: There is what I've come to identify as "History Channel violence" in this: not gory--you don't actually see someone shot, stabbed, etc.--but there is some blood. The worst is around the 43 second mark, so do check this out before showing to your children at your own discretion, and you may want to prepare them before viewing.


Rockin' minerals--and rock candy

To elaborate on our science fact this week, you may to try to grow your own crystals with household items. Note: This takes a few days, so you may want to start early in the week. Consider using this site's description to make a clear tie into our science fact; scroll to the bottom, click on "Fun Activities", and then "Growing Crystals Activity".

(Note: To tie the crystals discussion into math, you may consider discussing geometry this week, namely three-dimensional figures [corners, faces, prisms, cubes, etc.]--a discussion made a little more hands on by swiping rectangular prisms of cereal boxes, cylinders of tin cans or marshmallows, or construction-paper cones from around the house [with boys, my clan will probably go on an imaginary archery hunt around the house and shoot cubes, pyramids, spheres, etc.]. The latter site mentioned above mentions these three-dimensional figures and how they affect the formations of crystals. This could even be turned into a drawing lesson of 3D shapes...but I digress.)

But as an alternative, I think we're going to attempt making rock candy! You may just have to check out this cool photo tutorial. My kids are going to love this, and edible experiments definitely grease the homeschool wheels over here.

Without telling them, see if your kids can identify why the crystals you make wouldn't qualify as minerals. Our man-made rock candy won't qualify as minerals like halite (i.e. table salt) crystals would, because cane sugar is organic as opposed to inorganic, and even in the first (salt) experiment, our homegrown crystals are man-made, not naturally occurring. Yes, I had to look that up.

This Learning Zone site is a great intro to minerals including the Moh scale, and I love how this site compares minerals to, of all things, a cake.

And as much as I've tried to change it up, our science work still often goes best to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell", which I'd recommend this week.

You might consider making or having your student make five flashcards of minerals' characteristics, possibly in five different colors and/or fonts (maybe even pictures!) for all those visual learners out there. From the Learning Zone site hyperlinked above:

•Minerals are naturally occurring
They are not made by humans

•Minerals are inorganic
They have never been alive and are not made up from plants or animals

•Minerals are solids
They are not liquids (like water), or gases (like the air around you)

•Minerals have a definite chemical composition
Each one is made of a particular mix of chemical elements

•Minerals have an ordered atomic arrangement
The chemical elements that make up each mineral are arranged in a particular way - this is why minerals 'grow' as crystals


Songs for Comm. Central

In assembly, the K4-4th graders (?) have learned the first song and are now working on the second, below.  If you're reading this in an email, click on the titles and it will take you to YouTube.

Code of Justinian through Queen Elizabeth to the tune of Addams Family:

From the establishment of Jamestown through the Mexican-American War, to the tune of The Ants Go Marching One by One.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Photos = coloring pages, drawing lessons

For a fun twist on coloring pages, you can turn your photos into coloring pages at www.crayola.com/colorme!

In order to use their program, you'll need an access code after you register on the site. This one should work: PRVP3ZPH

Bonus: This is also great for older students learning to draw, because the program "drains" the color from the photo you select, so that you only see the photograph's lines--a difficult skill when you're learning to draw. In high school, I learned a lot about drawing from using the grid system (which this lesson recommends for ages 10-14 or grades 6-8). For a simpler version of grid drawing for younger children, scroll down on this page.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Museum of Discovery

Most people probably know this, but just in case you don't -

Every second Sunday of the month is "Pay What You Can 2nd Sunday." For a donation of any amount, you may enjoy the Arkansas Museum of Discovery.

This Sunday, September 12, is the second Sunday of the month.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010