Thursday, December 25, 2014

Extension ideas for When the Root Children Wake Up by Audrey Wood

Read Write Think has a document with picture books that have well-developed settings.  You can find that document by clicking here.

I used this as a guideline for my kiddos, 4th and 6th grade, to go through and write about the characters, settings, and giving a short summary. Good practice for them and will help them in their journey in being stronger writers.

We read these books together as a group after the fact to discuss what they wrote down, as they need much practice in writing about books.  After reading, we also did an extension activity.  I found there were not a whole lot of ideas for these books online, like other more common books so I'll share the extension of this particular book with you.

When the Root Children Wake Up

This book was about the four seasons.  There is a character to represent each four seasons and children who had been asleep all winter wake up to enjoy spring, and then move through summer, fall and back to sleep.  

Before reading we brainstormed what we thought about when we see a color.  At first they started out with objects and then after a little talk about how certain seasons would fit into specific colors, they began to move into ideas/feelings colors may represent.  We talked about how illustrators often use a set of colors to portray an idea. 

At Web Design Depot we found this image that added to our conversation.

This image was stated to be at ZoeSoulSpa but is no longer available.  Moods/feelings are something we try to fit in as often as possible for the 4th grader, especially.

Another image that couldn't be found, supposedly at Educational Coloring Pages.  Kids liked this one because it was in a familiar format.

Google images are USUALLY a homeschooling mom's friend.  :-D  We can quickly BUT CAREFULLY search a topic and usually come up with a visual to help extend our conversations and thoughts.  My goal with discussing color is to bring their attention to how authors use color in their writing, especially to set a mood.  
An art project that we did to go along with this book was a Four Seasons Tree.  We got this idea from Arteascuola, a classroom blog. 

They used oil pastels and a toothpick to create the patterns, with exception of kinder who just used watercolor as this project was a bit above him.  We attempted doing watercolor-crayon resist but it really didn't suit for the paper we were using.  Regular construction paper, it probably would have worked.  Kiddos picked 2 or more colors to layer onto each section, per season, then used a toothpick (we did start with a paperclip but toothpick worked better) to create a pattern, if they wished.  

We "doodled" trees in our sketchbooks first.  This video helped us...

She went at a PERFECT speed for us.  :-)  Her calm voice helped diffuse any anxiety.  However, it starts out very light....the kids had a hard time seeing what she was doing at first, when we watched it as a group.  So, recommendation, watch it individually if you can and watch it completely through before starting over and sketching with her.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Exploring the Periodic Table

We've been spending a few minutes each day with the periodic table.  Here are some resources I wanted to share with you.  :-)

We are enjoying this book
Check your local library!  I suggest this book for maybe 3rd grade and up.  My 4th and 6th grader are enjoying it.  It's above my K student, completely.  :-)  He likes the experiments though!

Some quick snapshots of what you'll find.  Very kind of book! :-)

Good intro to what the elements are.

Intro to the periodic table, as well.

You can find youtube clips about the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev in connection to introducing the periodic table. The following clip is a TedEd clip.

The genius of Mendeleev's periodic table - Lou Serico

A simple periodic table and poem to go with it.  

There are so many options out there!  This one is by  I like that it shows solid/liquid/gas/radioactive or artificially made at room temperature.

I especially like the poem.  :-) We are going to use it as copywork. 

At the beginning of each category, they have a "Meet the ...." which gives us a simple history of why they were categorized the way they were.  Then a few of the elements, from that category, are discussed a little more deeply....each one having a little "poem" to help remember it. 

With each element they discuss more, there is a simple experiment and explanations. 

At the end, they have a page like this that "touches" on the elements they didn't go into more deeply.

Making the Periodic Table "fun" to learn.  I don't feel it's necessary to actually memorize it all but if they enjoy it...and learn where the information is...that will serve them well in their "further education".  :-)

And last, but not least,
The kids have really enjoyed these.  Maybe it's just my kids.  Ha!  Short little clips, usually less then 10 minutes about most of the elements on the table.  We went through a few together but it was becoming very time consuming so we do the video clips that go along with the book, for each group I introduce, and then they do the rest of that group on their own time.  :-)  They aren't complaining either.  They want to go through ALL the videos. Ha!

There is a table that shows Relative Abundance in the TedEd clips.  The kids loved it so I went looking for one to print.  :-)
This was created in the kind of old, but we had a good conversation about the difficulty in estimating something like this.  :-)  Cool infographic though!

There are SO MANY resources out there to go with exploring the Periodic Table.  We may pull a few more activities in as time goes on...or we may hold off and come back to it another time, if interest lessens.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A New Year....right around the corner!

Every holiday, every birthday, every year....
I never do what I want to do with them.  I'm always losing track of time and not realizing that I need to get started on planning if I want to do anything "special".  So, nothing gets done.  However, this year I'd like to make a goal to be more "on top of it" and maybe start some family traditions of our own.  :-)  

Created this document quick-like, with hopes it'll get me started on planning some things for the new year for our family....but if not, I'll at least have this done for the kids AND I to fill out.  :-D  You can click the link below to get this document WITHOUT the gray color.  Really, that's suppose to be white.  Normally when I save the .pdf as a .jpeg, it shows true colors.  Ah well, keeps me humble :-D
I chose not to put the year on, in case we want to use this document again.  The larger empty area at the bottom will be "decorated" with our names and 2015. 

I will be encouraging them to choose "small-doable" things and we are going to try to hold each other accountable for what we write down.  :-D  Should be interesting!

What are some traditions you have for your family?  I would love some ideas!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Famous Artists: Mini Study- Michelangelo

My kids LOVE timelines.  So, trying to work a few more into our day.  :-)  We also have a lot of fun doing projects/lessons together so here's a quick run over of what we started.

I came across this freebie at Practical Pages.  This is our guideline to some mini studies.  These are NOT taking a big part of our day.  We just touch on it a little bit most days of the week.

I'll use Michelangelo as our example of how I "touch" on these artists.

First, went to the library and picked up a few books.
Looked on internet for a video like we watched for Leonardo da loved it! But, nope, couldn't find one I liked.  Oh, well. Back to the books.

Day 1) biography and search a word puzzle

These are challenging search a word puzzles because...there are NO words to find.  :-D  What  I mean, is that the children having to find "key words" from the biography and then look for them.  The first one we did, Leonardo da Vinci...was difficult.  Michelangelo...they did MUCH better.  So, 3rd grade and up, probably, younger if you are going to assist.
Day 2) Look through and discuss the artist's famous pieces of work.
We used books, internet art galleries and such.
Start project.

In this case we started the hands of Creation of Adam.
Yes, I had one kiddo that started balking at the nakedness in most of Michelangelo's works.  It surprised me a bit because really, we are pretty "matter of fact" about that type of thing.   Just the age, probably.  Anyway, we focused on the hands, fingers almost touching.
 I placed a large bulletin board across two chairs so they could lay upside down to paint.  Michelangelo spent 4 years standing on a scaffold looking up to paint the Sistine Chapel's ceiling.  I'd never get C. to do that so laying down was the next best.  :-D  With A.  I probably could have given him a ladder and attached his work to the ceiling.  ;-)  Anyway, C. lasted about 5 minutes and then asked if he could flip the board over.  Hey, he made it 5 minutes...that's better then not trying!

Day 3) Finish up the day before's project.
Below, C. is mixing up colors for his background.  It's about the only part of art he really likes...mixing his own colors.  :-D  For skin color I use the little saying, 
"Red, yellow, brown-white, that's how you mix skin tones right."  
Any combination of those colors will make a skin tone.  I always suggest starting with lightest colors first.

End Products:
4th grader who does not like art.  :-D  Didn't make enough of one color paint and then couldn't make the same color but it worked out nicely.  A year or two ago he would have given up or even ripped up his work.  He has made a lot of progress.  He was "bummed" but accepted it, even saying that it kind of looked like it was bringing focus to one of the hands.

6th grader's, more detail on hands.  He also painted the background laying on the ground like his hands.  He really enjoyed that.  :-)

Day 4) Project 2-Soap Sculptures
This was quite enjoyable, especially for 6th grader.  
Ivory soap is quite easy to work with.  Most of the time they used just the steak knife.  We went to the dollar store first and found bars for $1.  Went to Meijer and they had a 3pk for $1.29.  So in this case, check Meijer, or a similar store first.  I'm actually going to go out and get the large pack they had at Meijer to keep available in case the kids want to explore with it again.  :-)  There are little youtube clips about how to do it, but the jist of is to use the point of a knife to draw a simple shape and then cut/shave off until that shape is all that is left.  Use the flat side of knife to curve and smooth.

Day 5)  Artist's Name Acronym 
We actually did acronyms in writing and introduced it as a way to give information.  

(I've been taking pics with phone and every time I crop, I can't get the cropped image to upload...some day I'll get it figured out!)

This is the one from Leonardo da Vinci, from last week.  :-)  They wanted to do the same "picture as background" but we had to go legal sized paper for Michelangelo.  :-)

This has been awesome for the children...a way to learn about character traits but also organize information in an appealing way.  They love that we work together to make a final one in print shop, with pictures.  Soon, they'll be able to do that on their own!

Here's a site I found interesting.  POSITIVE adjectives in alphabetical order.  This is a great vocab builder for my kiddos!

I see there are others, I'll have to check them out.  :-)  I like the idea of keeping it "positive" though!

Friday, December 12, 2014

An Amazing Thing! Literature and Writing

It happens that we are making use of a writing program  called Write-On, that I have had for a couple years, to bring back the fun into writing and break it back down into very small pieces.  Instead of just working once a month to finish a "big" assignment.  We are working every day on "fun" writing and slip in more extensive writing projects as we go along.  It just seems like writing is a struggle for all my kids..probably because it was a struggle for me also.  It is FAR from my favorite subject to teach.  

At Learn For Your Life, you can learn a bit more about this writing program.  It has been designed to work for multi-age, homeschooling families.  Even if you school at home with an online school, these are usually fast activities that can supplement composition.

Anyway, it just happened that we are beginning to explore the ideas of "conflict" in writing.

Wikipedia states:  In literature, the literary element conflict is an inherent incompatibility between the objectives of two or more characters or forces. 

Two words right away that the children will need to consider are "inherent incompatibility".  I'm all about introducing all sorts of vocabulary.   I have found that my children love to be "just told" what words mean but I on the same side....they very seldom remember it later so...dictionary it is.  Takes time but they surely do remember the words and their meanings better!

I often google images, for our own personal use, save and print to put in a binder to help refresh our memory.  I like to give the exact location credit in the blog here but it's not always the easiest task, I have found!

Anyway, we really only discuss the first 4...but it doesn't hurt for them to be aware of the 5th, character vs. fate also.   For the 4th grader's sake, we had to give quite a few examples of INTERNAL conflict (against self) and EXTERNAL conflict.  :-)  

I was pleasantly surprised that the kids had already gleaned this information from their studies.  :-)  Sometimes I had "wondered" how much they really got!  So, it ended up being more of a review anyway.  I was sure I'd have to spend more time on it!

At the last library trip, I picked up all sorts of picture books.  I came across a neat website called READ WRITE THINK and they have a document that I am putting to use.  Picture books that illustrate strong plot development and conflict resolution  No PERSON is too old for picture books!!!  So, now they get to read some for "school" not just for free reading.  You can access the document here.

It worked out that when all said and done I had 4 books for each conflict type without digging through our own book selection.  :-)  Yippee!  

Character vs. Character

Character vs. Nature

Character vs. Self

Character vs. Society
Many of them were "new" to my kids...they never read them that's awesome! get to the point...I was reviewing the lesson plans for Cricket in Times Square
 and what do you know....they are touching on CONFLICT!  Who knew...I didn't go ahead in the literature guide after the first few chapters because they were all very easy to this was a surprise for me.  I love those kinds of surprises.  Perfect!  Introduce conflict types with Cricket in Times Square and move onto using the same concept in Writing.  YIPPPEEE!  How often does that just work on it's own?  Not very....let me tell you...normally I have to tweak it all to make us touch on the same things at the same time.  Lucky Schooling at Home Mommy!  :-D

On the same note:  it just happened that my K student's literature and science went hand in hand also this week!  We were doing Seasons in Science and read the book, Animals in Winter.
A nice little book by the way!  In Literature, we were reading one of the AWESOME
K12 World Magazines and the article was called "Migrating Monarchs".   Both books for science and literature touched on the same topics.  How cool is that?!  Normally I have to plan it all out if I want something to happen that way.  :-D
By the way, I absolutely LOVE K12's World Reader magazines.  
We've had them up to 6th grade...I'm not sure when they stop using them in their literature curriculum.

On top of that, in the NEXT chapter of Cricket in Times Square  is about seasons and the picture book When the Root Children Wake Up, a book I'm reading to focus on settings, is about seasons also.  

I'll have to say that I don't expect this to happen so easily again but woohoo!  I'll take it when it does!

Thanks for joining this Schooling at Home Mom in her MOST exciting adventures.  LOL