Monday, February 28, 2011

Solar system coloring/information pages an intermediate level, with a link to the beginning level as well.

Martin Luther

The History Channel has a video on Martin Luther and his acts that sparked the Protestant Reformation, and here's an hour-long one by PBS entitled "The Reluctant Revolutionary" (translation: I have not watched this, but PBS is typically pretty tame). I believe this ten-minute video is an excerpt. Here's also a trailer to the movie, Luther; it does show some tense scenes.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Full-scale wilderness temple replica

I can't vouch for experiencing this personally, but I've seen an advertisement for an event at Hot Springs' Crossgate Church (Hwy 70) that offers a full-scale replica of the wilderness temple in the Bible. A $5 contribution is requested, and groups of 10 or more are asked to make reservations. You can check out a video and further information, including hours, here.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Here are a few Michelangelo videos for our artist this week:

Discovery Channel: the David's face vs. Michelangelo's face (reminder about most of these: David is naked)

A short, entertaining animated video for kids

A brief travel video surveying his art, with a little history

A short, adult-oriented documentary from the BBC (note: One woman mentions his drawings looking "sexy")

And for fun, some cool art projects to learn about him.

Tides and the moon

Here's a fun two-minute video that explains the moon's power over the tides.

This one may be helpful for older students, but combined with the English accent, it may be too hard to understand--so I recommend following it with this soundless 20-second blip from NASA. What you might do instead is use your own cookie and rubber band and orange at home to demonstrate! Much more fun. If you need help, this video is a clear explanation, but quite frankly pretty boring for kids.

Here's related project that you might elect to complete in your home this week, though it involves drilling two holes in a plastic bowl.


Here's a video from the History Channel on Copernicus (when it pulls up, don't let the "Beyond the Big Bang" title worry you; it's the name of the series--sigh--and doesn't come up in the video). also has a related science project to make a geocentric model of the universe. Here's one simple model, as well, to show how Copernicus explained the looped paths of the outer planets.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Free Spanish resources

This page has free Spanish Bingo and more. This page from Scholastic, too, has online Spanish Concentration that's great for early elementary, as is this page. Bookflix, accessed through the Central Arkansas Library System, also has some of their books available to be read in Spanish--maybe one of your child's favorite stories!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Columbus' ships

Anne Coletti sent this intriguing link about Columbus' sailing ships--diagrams and all. Thanks, Anne!

Money Math Game

The Penny Pot (MathStart 3)This game was borrowed from Sherry at Living and Learning.  She got it from the book The Penny Pot.

John Isaac (first grade) loved playing the game.  We played multiple rounds at his request.

Sherry wrote on her blog:

 ...a game listed in the back of the book:

"Construct a mat for each player. Collect one die and a pile of coins with lots of pennies.  Each player rolls the die and then receives that number of pennies. Trade 5 pennies for a nickel.  Keep playing and trading up for nickels and dimes. The first player to get a quarter wins."

We happened to have a fancy die that was eight sided and allowed us to reach a quarter quickly.  Eventually we upped the stakes and went to fifty cents.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ephesians 6:14

I will sheepishly display my lack of creativity in that yes, I have another song you can use for memory this week...and yes, it's a tune we already use. Eph. 6:14 can be loosely applied to the tune of "Found a Peanut"/"Clementine":
Stand firm, then
with the belt of
tru-uth BUCK-LED around your WAIST!
with the breastplate
of righteous-n-e-ess
in pla-a-ace!

If your child starts thinking this verse is full of prepositions, I do apologize.

As for the art project, it has so far been a success. Here's a picture of my son being outlined, then drawing and labeling the armor of God on his body shape. We looked at the online pictures of Roman armor first.

CALS for kids: How to explode your library card

If you're a member of the Central Arkansas Library System (do you know a Little Rock homeschooler who isn't?!), you might find some of their online references helpful. I'll highlight just a couple that we use. To access these, go to their Millenium Web Catalog and select "Reference Databases A-Z". Have your library card number handy; you can store it in your e-mail inbox, for example, or on your computer's desktop so that you can just copy and paste.

Britannica for Kids (Encyclopaedia Britannica) — An online encyclopedia designed especially for younger students. Includes Compton's Encyclopedia and other resources. We use this for research projects, and it even has an audio option that will read the text aloud.

Bookflix — An online literacy resource that pairs classic video storybooks from Weston Woods with related nonfiction eBooks from Scholastic to build a love of reading and learning. Intended for use by PreK to 3rd grade students. All three of my little students like this! Includes classics --like Chrysanthemum, Bear Snores On, I'm Dirty, Chicka-Chicka Boom-Boom, Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel (some of them read by stars like Meryl Streep or Steve Busconi)--and some less known stories. The pairs of fiction and nonfiction also have online activities and questions for each book!

References we haven't used yet that I've just discovered:

Kids Search (Ebscohost) — Articles and other reference materials for students in grades K-5.

Middle Search Plus (Ebscohost) — A database of fulltext magazines, biographies, primary source documents and images, all intended for middle school and junior high students.

Novelist K-8 — (Ebscohost) — Includes information on many titles popular with students in grades K-8, arranged by instructional unit, theme or topic. Teachers can find appropriate fiction to complement classroom instruction.

World Atlas (Facts on File) — Provides printable maps and flags as well as statistical information for states, countries and regions around the world.

Student Research Center (Ebscohost) — Articles, primary source documents and other reference materials for researchers in grades 6-12.

Science Online (Facts on File) — Provides printable diagrams and illustrations, as well as more than 1,100 science experiments, thousands of biographies, definitions and essays on major topics and issues in science and technology.

Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages

Primary Search (Ebscohost) — A database of fulltext magazines intended for elementary school students.

How exciting is that?!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ephesians 6: Roman armor--and art project idea

This blog had an illustration of Roman armor that may be helpful as we memorize the armor of God in the upcoming weeks, and here's a picture of the real thing (uh, but not the scriptural version) from the University of Pennsylvania.

I think I'll outline my son on a life-sized piece of paper--we have a roll of art paper that should work--and then have him draw the armor on the outline of himself and write the verse. If I can get a picture, I will!

Ferdinand and Isabella

PBS has a quality six-minute video on Ferdinand and Isabella, explaining a lot of the events that happened around Columbus' voyage and the effects of those events on how things were handled in the New World. Warning: There's one illustration of a man bleeding and tied up around the end of the fourth minute/beginning of the fifth, because the Spanish Inquisition is explained. Watch it to see if it's appropriate for your child.

There's also a three-part, half-hour series that begins here entitled Isabel of Castille: The Royal Diaries that are based on children's books from Scholastic. I have not watched them, but at first glance, they seem appropriate for kids.

This is a good opportunity to start some interesting dialogue with our kids about some of the issues of Ferdinand and Isabella's reign. We don't know Ferdinand and Isabella's hearts or how the Holy Spirit was leading them. Was there a difference between them driving the Muslims out of Grenada and the Jews out of Spain? What was wrong about the Inquisition? How do we compare this to, say, what God asked Joshua and the Israelites to do to the Canaanites?

For you as teachers, thinking through questions like this...I found this article from to be extremely helpful: See particularly points 11 and 12, one of which mentions that we rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to convert people rather than brute force.

John Piper's answer to Joshua's command to kill the Canaanites helpful (Leviticus 18:24-30 was also food for thought, though not relevant to the Inquisition, in my understanding). My husband has wisely pointed out to me that the difference between Old Testament responses to other religions (I've been troubled by 1 Sam. 15:33, contemplating God's zeal) and New Testament responses were that in the OT, God was creating a pure nation--a pure people--holy to Himself. Now, He's still concerned about a pure people, but those people are His Church: us. Burning Qurans...or people...doesn't necessarily fall in the category of 1 Peter 3:15-16's gentleness or respect toward outsiders. Jesus' response during his own arrest to one of his disciples' hacking off an ear also demonstrates a wise word of caution.

May God give you grace if/when you talk with your kids this week.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More on ocean currents

Here's a Bill Nye video on Oceanography and kind of a corny one on ocean currents--and the short video I promised in the last post and flubbed. (Oops.) We're doing the science experiment from the last post right now!

Valentine's Day crafts to do together

Here are some Valentine's Day crafts designed for you to adjust to your child's capabilities...and maybe just perfect for a snowy day.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Phonics "Mystery Cards"

Vamping off an idea I saw at a learning store, I made these simple cards for my son out of cardstock and tape in an effort to build his phonics--and excitement about reading.

To make your own Mystery Cards:

1. Fold a piece of cardstock in half width-wise.

2. On one side only, cut a 3-1/8x 1/4" slot in the lower half.

3. Tape the edges of the cardstock closed.

4. Cut 3 x 8-1/2" cards out of another sheet of cardstock.

5. On the cards, write simple, phonetically-correct words, letters widely spaced apart. You might add a small illustration at the end to solve the "mystery."
To use, insert the cards into the slot and pull the edge out. Your child can read one letter at a time, guessing at the full word as he or she reads more.

Ivan the Great

Our history fact this week, as often is the case, can be put to "The Wheels on the Bus" if your kids would like the help.

Here are some beautiful photos of the Kremlin he rebuilt and a photo tour.

Last but not least--a lesson plan with comprehension worksheet for older students.

Ocean currents

Here's a video of an easy experiment you can try at home to simulate ocean currents. You only need a 9 x 13, some food coloring, ice in a zip-top bag, water, and a lamp.

This short video doesn't mention our content this week, but it does give some insight on ocean currents.

Question #4 on this page gives a great visual diagram for inquisitive kids.

And here's a very comprehensive site on ocean currents for older students.

Hamlet puzzle: Time to make it a little harder

If you used the Hamlet puzzle last week, try cutting up the first few lines into phrases--they should know them well enough by now!

Don't forget to add this week's lines to the puzzle.

Mad Libs: Fun parts of speech practice

...That pretty much sums it up. Here are some online Mad Libs for a little language arts craziness, and some more specifically for students.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ending Sounds

Montessori for Everyone posted a cute ending sounds sorting "game."  Perfect for the beginning reader: ages K4 - 1st grade.

I printed it for my first grade son, who's reading well - but it will be good practice for him.

Make sure to check out the other freebies, too.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hamlet puzzle

I listed the lines of Hamlet's soliloquy on different-colored strips of construction paper, along with some pictures to make the words more memory-grabbing. I then asked my son to put them in the right order as a puzzle. I'm hoping the repeated reading will help cement the poem in his mind--and it's great for visual learners!