Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Sneak Peek

Remember me saying that Tessa REALLY enjoyed studying about ancient cave dwellers? Well, here's a sneak peek of the Halloween costume I sewed up for her to wear tomorrow night. She insisted that her American Girl doll have one too!

All set for Halloween! Tessa and Kanani as ancient cave dwellers.
All set for Halloween! Tessa and Kanani as ancient cave dwellers.

Picture Word Puzzles - Challenge Cards

These cute little Trend Picture Word Puzzles - Challenge Cards were hiding out in one of our homeschool supplies totes. I decided to put them into action before Tessa totally outgrows them. Yeah, they're pretty easy for her now, but she's enjoying them and they serve as a nice little warm-up right before her reading lesson each day.

Trend Picture Word Puzzles - Challenge Cards

Trend Picture Word Puzzles cards are a fun way to warm up right before settling in for a reading lesson. The cards are two-sided and feature phonetic rhyming text.
Trend Picture Word Puzzles cards are a fun way to warm up right before settling in for a reading lesson. The cards are double-sided and feature phonetic rhyming text.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Life Science - Week 5

Bodies Grow & Change

We have officially kicked off our study of the human body. I haven't counted up the weeks, but we'll be hanging out here for a while...at least a couple of months. Should be fun! Tessa started wanting to learn more about the inner workings of the body at the end of summer. I'm so glad we're finally here. I felt guilty constantly putting her off, saying that we would study it very soon.


Wednesday

Tessa created an accordion book that highlights how she has grown and changed over the years.
Tessa created an accordion book that highlights how she has grown and changed over the years.


Friday

Other Books of Interest

Ancient History, Week 5

Sumerian Crafts & Kings

We finished up our survey of the first civilization of Sumer by learning more about Sumerian daily life, their crafts, trade, and King Sargon of Akkad.


Wednesday
  • Looked up and defined HO dictionary word for Lesson 3, Main Lesson Part 2.
  • Read Usborne: Ancient World by Fiona Chandler (pages 8-9).
  • Completed corresponding Blue House School ancient world worksheets.
  • Listened to Tales from the Arabian Nights audiobook (story of Sheherezade) by Andrew Lang/Tavia Gilbert.
The stories of Arabian Nights don't feel as though they fit perfectly here, but some apparently root back to ancient Mesopotamian folklore and literature. The SOTW activity guide makes brief mention of one selection written by Andrew Lang. I flipped through the rest of the guide and found no additional references to Arabian Nights in chapters from other time periods (nor in HO), so we went ahead and listened to three of the most popular tales during lunch this past week. Although Tales from the Arabian Nights is a sanitized version of Arabian Nights, it still contains considerable violence. Then again, what part of ancient history isn't considerably violent?


Thursday

Tessa created Mesopotamian puppets on craft sticks. She also completed an interactive map with model trading ship. By moving the craft stick attached to the back of the ship, she can sail it down the Tigris River to the Persian Gulf.
Tessa created Mesopotamian puppets on craft sticks. She also completed an interactive map with model trading ship. By moving the craft stick attached to the back of the ship, she can sail it down the Tigris River to the Persian Gulf.


Friday
I kind of messed up here. I couldn't figure out why the Gilgamesh myth wasn't mentioned in HO or the SOTW activity guide since it derives from ancient Sumerian poems. Turns out it is...further down the road. That's okay, there are some really cool looking children's books about Gilgamesh that I didn't get a chance to check out from the library. We'll be sure to snatch them next time.

Tessa in our version of a Mesopotamian long robe.
Tessa in our version of a Mesopotamian long robe.

* HO = History OdysseySOTW = The Story of the World

Friday, October 19, 2012

Life Science, Week 4

Plant Cells vs. Animal Cells

We finished up our brief study of cells this week by determining the differences between plant cells and animal cells. Tessa also learned the name and function of select cell parts of each.


Friday
I'm not much of a music buff, so my discovery of the band They Might Be Giants is probably way old news for most people. I came across one of their videos entitled, "Cells" while searching YouTube last night. I played it for Tessa today. She absolutely loved it! We watched it at least ten times. (Remember, if you have cruddy internet access like me, use SaveVid to download YouTube videos to your hard drive, then play them without interruption later.)


Other Resources of Interest

* RSO = R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey


Fruit and Gelatin Cell Models

Cell Lab 2: Plants and Animal Cells Differ is a great little hands-on lab. It requires just a few simple ingredients besides basic household supplies...gelatin, green grapes, an orange (or strawberry) and toothpicks. Since the gelatin is to be softly set, I prepared it and sliced the fruit the morning of the lesson.

Tessa pushed orange slices and grapes into lemon-flavored gelatin. The oranges represented nuclei and the grapes stood in as chloroplasts (for the plant cell).
Tessa pushed orange slices and grapes into lemon-flavored gelatin. The oranges represented nuclei and the grapes stood in as chloroplasts (for the plant cell).


Tessa labeled the parts of her fruit and gelatin cell models.
Tessa labeled the parts of her fruit and gelatin cell models. 

After assembling the cell models, Tessa drew, colored and labeled the cell membranes, nuclei and chloroplasts on her cell lab sheet. She learned that animal cells are round, plant cells are rectangular, and only plant cells have chloroplasts.
After assembling the cell models, Tessa drew, colored and labeled the cell membranes, nuclei and chloroplasts on her cell lab sheet. She learned that animal cells are round, plant cells are rectangular, and only plant cells have chloroplasts.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ancient History, Week 4

First Civilization

History Odyssey Lesson 3 focuses on Mesopotamia, the first civilization of Sumer, cuneiform writing and ancient temples called ziggurats. Since the number of activities for Part 1 and Part 2 seemed a bit lopsided, I decided to divide the workload a little more evenly. What isn't listed below, we will complete next week. I also felt like the recommended ziggurat project was a bit much for us, so we went with a much quicker and simpler one.


Monday

Tuesday
  • Looked up and defined HO dictionary word for Lesson 3, Main Lesson Part 1, word number two.
  • Completed "Ancient Mesopotamia" history pocket (student booklet, words to know, and ziggurat pop-up book).
  • Read A True Book: Mesopotamia by Sunita Apte.

The pop-up ziggurat book was Tessa's favorite part of the "Ancient Mesopotamia" history pocket. This activity required precision folding, cutting and gluing, all of which were challenging for her.
The pop-up ziggurat book was Tessa's favorite part of the "Ancient Mesopotamia" history pocket. This activity required precision folding, cutting and gluing, all of which were challenging for her.

Tessa's completed pop-up ziggurat book! How cool is that?!
Tessa's completed pop-up ziggurat book! How cool is that?!

Wednesday

Other Books of Interest

* HO = 
History Odyssey


Quick and Sweet Ziggurat

History Odyssey lists "Model Ziggurat" from Ancient Egyptians and Their Neighbors: An Activity Guide by Marian Broida as this week's recommended project. While I think it's a worthy project, it requires way too much prep work, skill and drying time for Tessa's age set. Maybe we'll try it during our second cycle of ancients when Tessa is a middle schooler. Instead, we completed "Quick and Sweet Ziggurat", which is listed as an alternative project at the end of "Model Ziggurat". Most supplies for "Quick and Sweet Ziggurat" can easily be found around the house. We only had to buy a $1.50 box of sugar cubes from Wal-Mart.

Tessa began her "Quick and Sweet Ziggurat" by arranging the bottom layer of sugar cubes on a disposable plate, drawing about its perimeter, removing the cubes, then painting with glue within the marked area. We later discovered that it is more efficient to simply dip the sugar cubes into a puddle of glue.
Tessa began her "Quick and Sweet Ziggurat" by arranging the bottom layer of sugar cubes on a disposable plate, drawing about its perimeter, removing the cubes, then painting with glue within the marked area. We later discovered that it is more efficient to simply dip the sugar cubes into a puddle of glue.

Tessa created a rectangle with rows of six cubes, four cubes deep. She stacked the rest of the cubes pyramid style to the top.
Tessa created a rectangle with rows of six cubes, four cubes deep. She stacked the rest of the cubes pyramid style to the top. 

Sugar cubes cut into halves made perfect stairs.
Sugar cubes cut into halves made perfect stairs.

Although we were not directed to do so in the instructions, we applied a layer of glue all over our assembled ziggurat and then sprinkled it with sand to add a bit of color and realism. Afterward, we carried it outside and blew off the extra sand with a hair dryer set to its coolest setting.
Although we were not directed to do so in the instructions, we applied a layer of glue all over our assembled ziggurat and then sprinkled it with sand to add a bit of color and realism. Afterward, we carried it outside and blew off the extra sand with a hair dryer set to its coolest setting.

Tessa's sugar cube ziggurat. Quick and sweet for sure!
Tessa's sugar cube ziggurat. Quick and sweet for sure!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Teach Them Spanish! - Grade K

Who knew finding good Spanish curriculum for the younger grades would prove to be so difficult? After a lot of digging, I unearthed maybe six-to-nine options. Most felt very homegrown. Several were rather pricey...for no apparent reason. All lacked in some way. I finally decided on Teach Them Spanish!, Grade K by Instructional Fair, an imprint of Carson-Dellosa.

Although I studied Spanish for five years during high school and college, I am far from fluent. With a lot preparation, I could probably teach Tessa using the language immersion approach during Spanish time. However, I highly doubt that would be a pleasant experience for either of us. So, I speak to her in both English and Spanish. I do a lot of code switching. I also supplement with Spanish language immersion videos, audio/video clips of native speakers, picture books...anything I can find that's of decent quality.

Teach Them Spanish!, Grade K is full of potential. It provides lesson plans, worksheets, classroom activities, games, songs and reading lists. However, the curriculum, which consists of one inexpensive 96-page black-and-white reproducible paperback book could be much better designed. Lessons need to be better defined and organized. They require a lot of flipping back-and-forth within the book as it is. On a positive note, the content is age-appropriate, fun and requires little-to-no writing. Tessa is enjoying it.

Teach Them Spanish!, Grade K

The following plans are how I chose to divide and supplement the lessons in Teach Them Spanish!, Grade K. Most books and videos listed are not included in the curriculum. While I am confident Tessa could memorize the Spanish words and their English equivalents in this curriculum in a much shorter amount of time than noted, that isn't my goal. I want her to develop a true familiarity with them. Tessa officially studies Spanish twice a week, but I try to incorporate appropriate Spanish words and phrases into daily life as well.

Note: Teach Them Spanish!, Grade K would be easiest to use with regular access to a copy machine. However, the book could be taken apart (it's staple bound) and be used that way. After Teach Them Spanish!, Grade K, we will likely use newly released School Song Spanish by Classical Academic Press.

---------------

These plans are a work in progress. I will add to them (and delete, when necessary) as Tessa and I progress through the curriculum.

For each lesson, I either use Forvo to download MP3 files of native speakers speaking corresponding words or search Usborne Quicklinks for the same thing. I transfer the files to my Kindle Fire and play them for Tessa several times.

Day 1

Say Hola to Spanish - Susan Middleton Elya
Introductions and Greetings - Teach (7)
"Hola Means Hello" - Song (48)
Usborne: First Picture Spanish Interactive - Play appropriate phrases from "En La Escuela" and "En La Fiesta" segments.
Pictures of Greetings - Worksheet (8)
Global Wonders: Mexico DVD - Global Wonders

Day 2

Say Hola to Spanish, Otra Vez - Susan Middleton Elya
Introductions and Greetings Poster - Review (79-80)
"Adios Means Goodbye" - Song (48)
Usborne: First Picture Spanish Interactive - Play appropriate phrases from "En la Escuela" and "En la Fiesta" segments.
Greetings Paste-Up - Worksheet (9)

Day 3

Numbers Introduction 1-5 - Teach (10)
Usborne: First Sticker Book: Easy Spanish Words - Play Quicklinks sound files for numbers 1-5.
"Cinco Amigos" - Song (48)
Classroom Counting - Activity (54)
Numbers Review - Worksheet (11)
Little Pim: I Can Count DVD (Episodes 1-2) - Little Pim Co.

Day 4

Numbers Poster - Review 1-5 (81-82)
Usborne: First Sticker Book: Easy Spanish Words - Play Quicklinks sound files for numbers 1-5.
Roll 'Em - Activity (54)
Matching Numbers - Worksheet (12)
Little Pim: I Can Count DVD (Episodes 3-4) - Little Pim Co.

Day 5

Numbers Poster - Review 1-5 (81-82)
Usborne: First Sticker Book: Easy Spanish Words - Play Quicklinks sound files for numbers 1-5.
Dominoes - Activity (54)
Number the Shoes - Worksheet (13)

Day 6

Colors Introduction - Teach (14)
Colores de la Vida - Cynthia Weill
Find Classroom Colors - Activity (55)
Find the Crayons - Activity (55)
Pictures to Color - Worksheet (15)
Little Pim: Playtime DVD (Episode 1) - Little Pim Co.

Day 7

Colors Poster - Review (83-84)
My First Book of Spanish Words - Katy R. Kudela - Find the named colors. (24-25)
McGraw-Hill's Spanish Picture Dictionary - Find who's wearing the named colors. (74-75)
Rainbow Colors - Worksheet (55)

Day 8

Colors Poster - Review (83-84)
El Artista Que Pinto Un Caballo Azul - Eric Carle - Read by native speaker via YouTube.
I Spy - Activity (55)
Color the Cars - Worksheet (17)

Day 9

Numbers Poster - Review 1-5, Teach 6-10 (81-82)
"Diez Amigos" - Song (49)
Classroom Counting - Activity (56), or use McGraw-Hill's Spanish Picture Dictionary (28-29).
1-10 Matching - Worksheet (18)
Little Pim: I Can Count DVD (Episodes 5-7) - Little Pim Co.

Day 10

Numbers Poster - Review 1-10 (81-82)
Counting Ovejas - Sarah Weeks
Beanbag Counting - Activity (56), or count toys, beans, counters, etc.
Count the Cookies - Worksheet (19)

Day 11

Numbers Poster - Review 1-10 (81-82)
Roll 'Em - Activity (56)
Critters 1-10 - Worksheet (20)

Day 12

Numbers Poster - Review 1-10 (81-82)
My Favorite Number - Worksheet (21)
Numbers Paper Chain - Activity (56, 69)

Day 13

Colors Poster - Review, Teach (83-84)
Colores de la Vida - Cynthia Weill
"Colors Song" - Song (49)
Find It! - Activity (57)
Birds of Color - Worksheet (22)

Day 14

Colors Poster - Review (83-84)
Find the Crayons - Activity from Colors, Part 1 (55)
Casa de Colores - Worksheet (23)

Day 15

Colors Poster - Review (83-84)
Colors Bingo - Activity (57), or use cards from a store-bought Spanish bingo game.
Flores y Colores - Worksheet (42)

Day 16

Colors Poster - Review (83-84)
I Spy - Activity (57), or use McGraw-Hill's Spanish Picture Dictionary (54-55).
De Colores - Worksheet (25)

Day 17

Read Books of Choice

My Name is Celia - Monica Brown
My Name is Gabito - Monica Brown
My Name is Gabriela - Monica Brown
Elena's Serenade - Campbell Geeslin
Off We Go to Mexico - Laurie Krebs
Diego - Jonah Winter
Frida - Jonah Winter

Day 18

Watch Video of Choice

Families of Mexico DVD - Master Communications Inc.
More Families of Mexico DVD - Master Communications Inc.
One Wee World Celebrate Mexico DVD - One Wee World LLC
The Three Caballeros DVD - Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Travel With Kids: Mexico DVD - Equator Creative Media/Travel With Kids

Day 19

Classroom Things - Teach (26)
"Classroom Objects Song" - Song (49)
Label the Classroom - Activity (58)
Matching Objects - Worksheet (27)

Day 20

Classroom Objects Poster - Review (85-86)
Scavenger Hunt - Activity (58), modified for home-school environment.
Draw and Color Your Classroom - Worksheet (28)

Day 21

Classroom Objects Poster - Review (85-86)
McGraw-Hill's Spanish Picture Dictionary - Find the named classroom object. (28-29)
Match Pictures and Words - Worksheet (29)

Day 22

Family Words - Teach (30)
"Family Song" - Song (50)
Draw Your Family - Worksheet (31)

Day 23

The Family Poster - Review (87-88) 
My First Book of Spanish Words - Katy R. Kudela - Find the named family members. (4-5)
McGraw-Hill's Spanish Picture Dictionary - Find the named family member. Then, count how many girls and boys. (7-8)
Family Word Meanings - Worksheet (32)

Day 24

The Family Poster - Review (87-88)
Guess Who? - Activity (59)
Matching Family - Worksheet (33)

Day 25

Food and Drink - Teach (34)
"Food Song" - Song (51)
My Meal - Worksheet (35)
Little Pim: Eating and Drinking DVD (Episodes 1-4) - Little Pim Co.

Day 26

Food Poster - Review (90)
Food Practice - Activity (60)
Food Meanings - Worksheet (36)

Day 27

Food Poster - Review (90)
Mixed-Up Food - Worksheet (37)

Day 28

Clothing - Teach (38)
"Clothing Song" - Song (50)
My First Book of Spanish Words - Katy R. Kudela - Find the named clothing item. (8-9)
Clothing Match-Ups - Worksheet (39)

Day 29

Clothing Poster - Review (91-92)
Who's Wearing...?/What Color...? - Activity (61), or use McGraw-Hill's Spanish Picture Dictionary (34-35).
How Are You? - Worksheet (40)

Day 30

Clothing Poster - Review (91-92)
Find the Clothing - Activity (61), modified for home-school environment.
Clothes to Color - Worksheet (41)

Day 31

Places to Go - Teach (42)
"Community Song" - Song (51)
Picture This! - Worksheet (43)

Day 32

Community Poster - Review (93-94)
Book Scavenger Hunt - Activity (62), modified for home-school environment.
My Neighborhood - Worksheet (44)

Day 33

Community Poster - Review (93-94)
Guess What? - Activity (62)
Places, Please - Worksheet (45)

Day 34

Dot-to-Dot - Worksheet (46)

Read Books of Choice

My Name is Celia - Monica Brown
My Name is Gabito - Monica Brown
My Name is Gabriela - Monica Brown
Elena's Serenade - Campbell Geeslin
Off We Go to Mexico - Laurie Krebs
Diego - Jonah Winter
Frida - Jonah Winter

Day 35

Watch Video of Choice

Families of Mexico DVD - Master Communications Inc.
More Families of Mexico DVD - Master Communications Inc.
One Wee World Celebrate Mexico DVD - One Wee World LLC
The Three Caballeros DVD - Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Travel With Kids: Mexico DVD - Equator Creative Media/Travel With Kids

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Life Science, Week 3

Cells

We're gearing up for a lengthy study of the human body. This week, Tessa learned about cells by taking a look at a rather large example that can be seen without a microscope!


Thursday


Friday

  • Read Greg's Microscope by Millicent E. Selsam.
  • Completed RSO Cell Lab #1: An Egg is a Cell.
This was a great quick and easy lab that provided some basic hands-on knowledge of one special type of cell. Next week, we'll dip our toes a little deeper.

Tessa inspected the tiny holes of an egg shell. These holes allow air and water in and out of the cell.
Tessa inspected the tiny holes of an egg shell. These holes allow air and water in and out of the cell.

After comparing her lab diagram to a real egg, Tessa labeled and colored its parts.
After comparing her lab diagram to a real egg, Tessa labeled and colored its parts. 

My sister provided home-raised eggs for this lab. As a bonus, we cracked open an immature egg that one of her chickens laid a wee bit too soon (on left). Tessa correctly deduced that no chick could have hatched from this egg because it lacked its cell parts (yolk and blastodisc).
My sister provided home-raised eggs for this lab. As a bonus, we cracked open an immature egg that one of her chickens laid a wee bit too soon (on left). Tessa correctly deduced that no chick could have hatched from this egg because it lacked its cell parts (yolk and blastodisc).

* RSO = R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ancient History, Week 3

First Farmers, First Towns

This week was a continuation of last week's study of stone age cave dwellers. Since Tessa didn't do anything particularly picture-worthy, I decided to use this space to show and explain how we define the dictionary words from History Odyssey.

Even though Tessa is working at the first grade level in most subjects, her coordination and hand muscle strength is closer to that of a typical kindergartner. I knew that having her copy entire dictionary definitions at her age would suck the life out of history for both of us, so I use the free version of ZB FontsOnlinePlus to create fill-in-the-blank copywork sheets. I also make enlargements of corresponding dictionary pages at 200 percent on a copy machine.

First, I have Tessa copy the dictionary word, which I already have printed on her copywork sheet. Then, we look up the word together in a children's dictionary and read its definition. (We use Merriam-Webster Children's Dictionary, which we like, but I wish the definitions were a little shorter and simpler. Dictionaries with shorter and simpler definitions do not seem to have the majority of the words used in History Odyssey.) Next, I pull out the copy of the dictionary page that I enlarged to 200 percent. We read the definition again on this sheet and compare it to the copywork sheet. Tessa underlines the missing words on the enlargement of the dictionary page. Finally, she fills in the blanks on her copywork sheet using the underlined words.

This week's dictionary word was "town." Defining the word also served as Tessa's handwriting lesson for the day.
This week's dictionary word was "town." Defining the word also served as Tessa's handwriting lesson for the day.


Monday
  • Read Usborne: Ancient World by Fiona Chandler (pages 4-5).
  • Completed corresponding Blue House School ancient world worksheets. 
  • Completed HO map work for Lesson 2, Main Lesson Part 1 and Part 2.

Tuesday
Stories from the Stone Age: Daily Bread is a nice documentary created by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It may be viewed for free via YouTube. I downloaded it from YouTube user AllHistories who uploaded it in fifteen ten-minute segments. The first four segments show how the Natufian people evolved from nomads at the end of the last Ice Age to the world's first farmers. Although this series is child-friendly (at least the parts we viewed), I did edit out the first five minutes of part three. It shows a burial scene. It's not particularly gruesome, but Tessa doesn't always deal well with human actors playing dead. Had the deceased not had blood on his head, I probably would have left it in. There is also a human skeleton in part one, but she didn't have a problem with that.

If you're like me and have major problems streaming videos from the internet, check out SaveVid.com. It can be used to save videos to your hard drive where they can later be played without interruption. After doing this, I transferred and then played them on our Kindle Fire.

Thursday
  • Looked up and defined HO dictionary word for Lesson 2, Main Lesson Part 2.
  • Read Usborne: Ancient World by Fiona Chandler (pages 16-17).
  • Completed corresponding Blue House School ancient world worksheets.

* HO = History Odyssey