Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Colours, Colours ! 

Leading into spring we did an all things colourful unit. We spent a good component reading our Easter books but we also touched on spring theme and St.Patrick's Day.

A great experiment with plants and colours !  We did this activity first to give the flowers plenty of time to suck up the colour !

 Time to mix the colours! Make sure you trim the stems so they are freshly cut going into the coloured water.

Voila ! Perfect ! Took about three days

A great fine motor activity.

Cutting straws and lacing them. I have a whole collection
of these precious necklaces

Using reusable dollar store ice cubes for patterning

Everything colourful for this unit -

We tied in a St.Patrick's Day activity that included a rainbow,
and my 5 year old worked on some water paintings.

This activity was lots of fun and easy to put together.

First collect some basics colour paint samples. Your child can then cut along the lines.

I made up some boxes with each colour written on. My child is working on some sight words. You could make it easy and match the marker you use to the colour written on the box, depending on where your child's level is. then I made a slit on the top.

The child then sorts out the colours and uses the slit to put each shade into the corresponding box.

Finally we had a big reveal as I opened each box to find all the same colours !

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Stone Soup


First, my apologies for my slightly inaccurate title. This unit had more to do with soup in general than the classic story of Stone Soup. Using Stone Soup as our initial launch into the unit I was able to include other fantastic stories and tie in a more rounded study for my kindergarden and grade one student.

I found a couple of versions on youtube and we after watching them we created a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast the versions of the same story. It was the first introduction to Venn Diagrams for them and as you likely know, Venn Diagrams are used across many subjects all through school years so even at an early age it's good to get the children familiar with them.
Venn Diagram


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhauzTi9-BU  (This was my favourite !)

The boys also worked on a paper set of ingredients that they coloured and cut out to store in their cauldron. They carefully selected their colours and I was happy to see that one child thought to make a parsnip and they each chose different colours for the peppers !

You can find the printables here

We also did some poetry/chanting during our calendar time - when I typically do most of the unit study work.

I made each of the boys a copy which they cut and pasted onto the background and put into their cauldron with the other ingredients.

The printable is here.

You can actually do a lot more literacy activities using a poem - like circling certain words, or finding particular letter or rhyming words. We didn't do it for this study but we have and I know we will again another time.



potato stamps

Our Second story was Boy Soup , by Loris Lesynski.  

I would recommend it ! It has all the delightful twisted plot line of a typical fairy tale with a heart warming moral tie in at the end.

I chose to do a stamping activity with paint for this day. I kept the colours to white and brown and used potatoes , because they fit into the colour scheme that I was emphasizing. 




 Our final Story was Delicious, by Helen Cooper.This story was all about orange so we did a bit of colour mixing and then used vegetables in the same colour family as our implements. 
vegetable painting

There are lots more expansion activities that could have been done - most obvious perhaps is that we did not actually make any real soup !  But if you are a homeschooling mom in particular, give yourself an extra dose of grace.  I myself am homeschooling five boys , kindergarden through high school this year.  It's not always possible to spend our days in endless crafts and games. I definitely make time for that, I think it's so important. But if you are doing your best and really embracing those things that you can do sometimes it's more than enough to let things go.  




Monday, October 19, 2015

 Under the Sea 

 As we most often do, we set up a discovery area for the unit we are studying. Usually a couple of bookshelves with our calendar with some books and manipulatives that can be explored or act as aids to the daily reading.

Lots of treasures from the sea !

 Thematic puzzle was part of my 4 year old's seat work time and helps with logical reasoning and spacial recognition .

 Art - we used a variety of materials for this 3-D painting

Building fish with playdoh
Exploring Ocean Sounds
This math activity can be adapted to any level
Following instructions for building each sea animal we then built a collage as individual as each child
A small sensory tray

Monday, March 9, 2015

Farmer Boy - Novel Study Gr.3

Farmer Boy - Gr.3 Novel Study

Traditionally ,  in grade 3 my boys have read Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie for their novel study. It's a great book that ties in nicely with Early Settlers/ Pioneers history unit.
This year I decided to switch it up and read Farmer Boy instead. I thought it would be more relatable to my boys.
Little House on the Prairie is a novel written by Laura Ingalls Wilder  of her account growing up in 1869 and their journey to settlement.

Farmer Boy is her telling of her husband, Almanzo's, childhood growing up in New York.

As an aside if you are reading this series with your children it would be well worth your effort to read through The Little House Cookbook by Barbara M. Walker. Not only is it a lovely cookbook in itself but it will provide you with very interesting information about the book series. I don't want to make my entry too long as I know you are likely visiting for the hands on activities but I can't stress enough how much I gained from reading it.

One of the reasons I so love this series is because it provides my boys with the opportunity to understand the value of hard work, obedience and strength of character. I find a vast majority of more modern books to be mostly focused on entertaining the young readers.

In our home I really enjoy the time spent reading aloud with my children. We lounge and take turns reading to each other. Sometimes this is simply followed by some discussion. Other times we do more hands on activities with focuses on different subjects that tie into the topic.

I'll break this down by chapters -

Chapter 1  School Days 

Chapter 2 Winter Evening 

Chapter 3 Winter Night 

"The Indians had popped it, but probably it wasn't very good. Probably they didn't butter or salt it, and it would be cold and tough after they had carried it around in a bag of skins."

"Almonzo looked at every kernel before he ate it. They were all different shapes. He had eaten thousands of handfuls of popcorn, and never found two kernels alike. "

"You can fill a glass full to the brim with milk, and fill another glass of the same size brim full of popcorn, and then you can put all the popcorn kernel by kernel into the milk, and the milk will not run over. You cannot do this with bread. Popcorn and milk are the only two things that will go into the same place." 

Almonzo's father mentions it was 40 below zero that chapter. Here in Canada we suffered through the coldest winter in recent history with weather hitting below even that ! In fact, the monthly report from Environment Canada stated:

"As of February 25, the February 2015 temperature anomaly over eastern Ontario and south-western Qu├ębec was never observed before since 1900 making it a 115-year return period event (1 case out of 115 years)."

Chapter 4 - Surprise 

Chapter 5 - Birthday 

Chapter 6 - Filling the Ice House 

Chapter 7 -Saturday Night  

Almonzo said his mother always braided the donut dough because it was faster. It would "flip" itself over in the hot fat, whereas the round ones would not.... of course we HAD to see if that was true....

Chapter 8 - Sunday

Chapter 9 - Breaking the Calves

Chapter 10 - The Turn of the Year  (Maple syrup, spring cleaning)

This chapter was so full of potential fun activities! We will check out the maple syrup festival in March and add it to our album.
Almonzo's mother used whiskey for her extracts. We only had vodka... strictly for cooking purposes, of course.
Here we have vanilla extract and orange extract.

Almonzo's father sold their potatoes to the man from New York. We thought this would be a fun way to use up some aging potatoes from our stockpile.
If you use only primary colours your younger kids will enjoy finding ways to make new colours !

Chapter 11 - Springtime  (planting) 

Chapter 12 - Tin-Peddler 

Chapter 13 - The Strange Dog 

Chapter 14 - Sheep Shearing
Chapter 15 - Cold- Snap 

 Another great thing about Farmer Boy is that it takes place over two years. If planting didn't fit into the springtime chapter there were other places to squeeze it in!
In chapter 15 the Wilder family works together to save the corn crop. We started our seeds and covered a science unit on learning to care for plants. 

Chapter 16 - Independence Day 

 "That's the noise that made the Redcoats run!" Mr.Paddock said to Father.

Pulling up memories from summertime in the Pioneer Village we visited.
 Their celebration talks about the town coming together to watch the parade. The anthem being sung, prayers said publicly.
We pulled up our memories of oldest brother , who is in the army cadets, taking part in the Remembrance Day parade to get a sense of that gathering.

Chapter 17 - Summertime

Chapter 18 - Keeping House

Chapter 19 - Early Harvest

Chapter 20 - Late Harvest

Chapter 21 - County Fair

Chapter 22 - Fall of the Year

Chapter 23 - Cobbler

Chapter 24 - The Little Bobsled

Chapter 25 - Threshing

Chapter 26 - Christmas

Chapter 27 - Wood-Hauling

Chapter 28 - Mr.Thompson's Pocketbook

Chapter 29 - Farmer Boy