Saturday, February 28, 2009

A fun place to put all the art

I love this idea for a rotating art display. My sister-in-law made this for their hallway to display her preschooler's work. These aren't great pictures because I couldn't get directly in front of it, but I think you will get the idea.

She painted the boards and nailed them to the wall, then attached the large clips. Or maybe she attached the clips then nailed them to the wall. Pictures can easily be changed out whenever they like.

I think it is wonderful. I plan on copying her and putting a much smaller version on Riley and Cole's walls so we can ditch the masking tape mess we have going on in there now.

Monday, February 23, 2009

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World

We just finished the Five in a Row unit, How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman. What a fun book! It's about a little girl who wants to make an apple pie, but her market is closed, so she goes all around the world collecting the ingredients where they are grown.
We learned SO much geography this week. We also spent a lot of time learning directions on the map.

We filled our notebooks with information about 6 different countries, vocabulary words, and French street art.

In the story the little girl goes to France for an egg, but decides to take a chicken instead because of the risk of breaking the egg. We did an experiment to see how long we could keep an egg whole. Riley and Cole had to carry an egg (in a ziploc) with them everywhere they went, trying to keep it from breaking. They even had to take it when they went outside to play. The first night, David layed on Cole's egg on his bed, so I gave him a new one because he was so heartbroken.

On the last day, I hid ingredients around the house in all six "countries" and gave Riley and Cole directions (North, South, East, West) to find them.

After they collected the ingredients, we made the apple pie from the recipe in the book.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ice Worlds

We have finished up Ice Worlds from our Planet Earth DVDs. Garrett and Tyler ended up trailing off into an iceberg and shipwreck study. We went to the shipwreck exhibit at the Science museum.

We saw some great artifacts recovered from shipwreck sights.We got to play with the mechanical arm they use to retrieve items when they explore shipwrecks at the bottom of the ocean.And we got to get inside the "hurricane tunnel." It simulated hurricane winds. It blew all of my kids' curly hair STRAIGHT!

We also learned a lot about different arctic animals and did some activities and crafts.

You can find the directions for these cute little guys here.

We even got a little ice and snow during our unit so we were able to look at some snowflakes through our tiny portable microscopes (these things are so great for nature walks) . Have you ever done that? Snowflakes are amazing! What a fun unit.

Monday, February 9, 2009

I smell spring

It has been so warm here and the spring-like weather is supposed to continue through the week. This is making me crave some nature studies. We have done some nature stuff this winter, but it's just not quite as much fun.
I came across these photos when I was doing some picture organizing last night. I took these last fall from Cole's bedroom window as he sat on the deck and sketched the autumn all around him. They inspired me to get out this week and enjoy our surroundings. Even if it rains.

Anyone else planning on some outside school this week?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Just go with it

I like themes. I just do. It makes me feel happy when things go together.

I love unit studies and honestly think kids learn better with them. It just seems natural to learn about things that are related to one another. The downfall is I am certain that sometimes I am a little too focused and this probably causes me to miss out on learning opportunities because "we aren't studying that right this very minute." What? The president of the United States is next door? Awww...too bad we are in the middle of a volcano unit...I guess we'll pass.

Alright, I'm not that bad, but I do admit that I could use some work in the area. Following my kids' lead even if it does take us off topic, usually results in some amazing learning experiences.

Since I have been more conscious of this lately, I seized the moment when Cole excitedly brought me a magazine with a picture of a walking stick bug. I admit, there was a part of me deep down that had a little anxiety attack because BUGS? That's for spring! It's winter! Stop the anarchy! But I kept it inside and dug into the topic with him.

We read everything we could find about them. We learned that they moult and eat their skin for the protein. We learned that if they lose a leg, no worries, they grow another one. We learned that they sway like the wind when they move so they are not only looking like sticks, but acting like them. Then we spent forever online looking at different camouflaged insects. By now we had several other participants looking with us. We marveled at how amazing God is that he could be so creative and care so much for something so small.

Then we headed out for a nature hunt to find the perfect sized sticks to make our own walking stick bugs.

It was an incredible learning experience. One that would have been missed if I would have stuck to my agenda or if I only did things that I planned.
Bugs have nothing to do with Antarctica. And I'm okay with that.

My name is Deleise. I'm a recovering themoholic.