Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mayflower Day! (+ printables!)

Going with the onslaught of belated Thanksgiving posts...

Here's a snapshot of our Mayflower Day!  

I saw the idea of making this Mayflower book over here at First Grade Parade (where I get at least 50% of my ideas!).  I loved it so much I decided we had to have our very own Mayflower Day here at Gettin' Skooled.

Here is a a glimpse of the book that Merrick and I made together:

I had cut the pattern out the night before from 3 different brown paper grocery bags.  They were so kind at the local health grocery store, Sprouts, and just handed me a stack of bags for free!  See the video below for more info on how I pasted the pages together.

Here are a few of the pages...

First, Merrick colored a map of the crossing of the Mayflower.  Then, he filled in a couple of fact sentences.  Next, he drew a picture of his favorite pilgrim.  Then, he wrote a sentence about why he chose that particular pilgrim as his favorite.  This is where the fun always comes in for me.  I thought Merrick would choose the two little boys we read about because they caused so much trouble (like almost burning down the Mayflower).  However, Merrick chose Myles Standish because, "he looks cool."  

In case you'd like to make your own Mayflower book, here is a link to the printables we made to go inside the pages.  For the brace map and graph, you can download those at First Grade Parade.  

Click here for the printables:

Fact Book (cover)
Mayflower Border (for drawing your fave pilgrim)

And, of course, like every lesson plan here at Gettin' Skooled, it always goes over best with a nice cup of hot cocoa.  :)

Here are the books we read together about the Mayflower and the pilgrims:

For dinner, we had a Mayflower French Toast Pizza.  The sail is a slice of mozzarella cheese.  Don't be fooled by these pics.  The sail only stayed up for about 3 seconds before toppling over.  I think my pizza wasn't thick enough to hold the dowel in place (and the cheese slice should probably be frozen for a few minutes to harden it up before skewering it).

Though Merrick sweetly smiles for these pics, I don't think he is too impressive when I make him special meals like this.  Unless the special meals are made of sugar cubes or cake.

Here's the video of the Mayflower book to give you a more tangible idea of how it was constructed:

Merrick's last line in this video is soooooooooo typical...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thanksgiving Homeschooling + Freebie

I am soooo behind in posting our Thanksgiving lessons.  Prepare yourself for a barrage of somewhat outdated posts!

Here is a snapshot of what we did together this Thanksgiving.  For our unit study plan, check out the post here

We disguised a turkey so that it wouldn't get eaten (it didn't work...we still ate turkey on the big day).  Merrick decided he wanted to disguise his turkey as Elvis. 

These were great books to read with the Disguise the Turkey craft:

We used the feathers of a turkey to write different words with the -ur sound.

We made a turkey handprint plaque.  

The twins joined in and made turkey handprints as well.  I love that their hands/turkeys are facing one another with a heart between them.

We printed out the Thanksgiving banner from Paging Supermom and colored it together (it took several days to do this).  

We made a paint-drop turkey.  This is similar to what I did as a kid to make butterfly paintings.  We cut out the shape of the feathers, dropped some paint on them, then folded them in half and smooshed them.

We also kept a gratitude journal.  I liked the idea of having a specific question to help Merrick think of things he is grateful for.  Throughout the month, we filled in the question, "What are you grateful for that's ________" with words like square, red, and silly.  

You can download a free copy of the gratitude journal here.  

Here are a few of the other books we read this month:

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

Why I Homeschool - Reason 22

Here's reason number 22 that we are a homeschooling family: I get the joy of watching my 5 year old read to his 2 year old brother and sister.

And, boy, does it bring such crazy joy to my heart.  I love how he points out a specific picture and ask the twins to point to it.  He reads to them just the way I used to read to him when he was a toddler.

We love that our big brother reads to us!

Sweet brothers!

We can even have fun in a box!

A New Improved Santa

Yesterday, I took the kids to the store to get pictures with Santa.  Since they had SUCH a great time (see pic below), I thought I'd make our theme today aaaaaallll about the big, jolly man himself.  

If you're wondering, this Santa theme day was not originally a part of my Christmas Unit Study.

I really wanted to go super-mom on this thing.  So, I started off the day by making pancake batter from scratch (this recipe here will make you go home and kiss yo' grandmama), which I lovingly turned into Santa Claus (using banana slices, raisins, a cinnamon candy, and strawberry jam).  Before you start thinking, "Wow, what an idyllic little homeschool world these people live in," which I am sure you are thinking, let me be honest here: while I was putting this particular Santa together, I may or may not have had a little 5 year old in time out screaming, "Let me out!!! Let me out!!!"  For the record, it was a legit time out.  I didn't lock him in the closet in order to have peace and quiet while I made Santa pancakes.

The night before, as I schemed up the whole Santa pancake breakfast, I imagined handing them to a table full of children chanting, "Mom's the best!  Mom's the best!"  That, clearly, was not the case.  Mr. Kindergardener was just not having a great morning and I think even pancakes in the shape of Baby Jesus would not have cheered him up.  However, at least one kiddo was happy.  Too bad it was the kid that doesn't yet know how to chant.

I've been trying to do a craft here and there in which my 2 year old twins can be included.  Today's craft was a simple one - Handprint Bearded Santa.  I already had the parts of this craft cut out.  I let the kids take turns glueing different parts down.  Then, each kiddo got to smack down one handprint for the beard.  I tried using their thumbs to make a 'stache and sideburns, but that didn't turn out so well.  I don't care.  As long as I have those sweet little handprints on Santa's beard...and not my wall.

Next, (after unsuccessfully trying to complete Jillian's 30 Day Shred together), we sat down to read this adorable book, A New Improved Santa.  I saw it mentioned on one of my favorite blogs, First Grade Parade, and our library just so happened to have it!

Once the twins were down for their nap (or, more accurately put, sneaking out of their cribs and playing not-so-quietly in their room), Merrick and I put together our own little new, improved Santa.  Initially, I thought we would completely redo Santa from head to toe.  I thought Merrick would want to make a karate Santa or a rock-n-roll Santa.  But, he was losing attention quickly, so I just decided to stop at the head and jot down a few thoughts instead.  Here's what we came up with:

I love how closely it resembles the muscle man from the carnivals!  And, I think it's time for a diet intervention: Santa is down to 20 pounds.  :(

Merricky Christmas! 
(Merrick thinks it's so cool that his name is so similar the word Merry...just had to throw that in there...)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Unit Study

It is very hard for me not to go overboard for Christmas.  However, one of my goals for this season is to keep it simple so that stress will not rob me of my joy.  Keeping that in mind, here is our homeschooling plan for December 2011:

Bible Study & Activity
- Read Luke 1 - 2
- Operation Christmas Child - get the children to help fill a shoebox with gifts and donate it to children in need.  A great book to go along with this would be Miracle in a Shoe Box by Franklin Graham.

Most of these ideas I got from Easy Fun School's Christmas Symbol Unit which can be found here.  It is a full unit with 25 days of learning based on Christmas symbols.  I am transferring the ideas we will use here just for the sake of my personal organization.

- Read Matthew 2:10-11 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and  presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 
- Discuss how the wise men worshipped God before giving gifts to him.  We need to make sure the worship comes before the shopping and gifts.  How can we make this happen?
- Read: The Gift of the Magi by O.Henry
- Phonics - Use four parts of a gift to write words with a particular sound (the sound would be written on the bow).  Obviously, as seen in the pic below, this could also be used to write math sentences.

- Craft - Have the student write and draw a picture of the best (non-toy) gift of all:

Christmas Trees
- Christmas trees symbolize that our God is eternal and we have eternal life through his Son when we put our trust in him.
- Read: Luke 2:52, 2 Peter 3:17 - 18
- Discuss: How do we "grow" as Jesus did?
- Sing "O Christmas Tree" (one of our favorite Christmas tunes around here!)
- Craft - Make a popsicle stick Christmas Tree.  Directions here.  

- Phonics - Use a Christmas tree to spell out words.  Use the entire word written on the "stump" of the tree.  

Shepherd's Staff
- The candy cane is a symbol of the shepherd's staff.  The colors symbolize the blood and purity of Christ.
- Read: Psalm 23:1-5
- Discuss: Jesus as our shepherd.
- Discuss: the legend of the candy cane.  
- Do: Hang candy canes on your tree. We do this every year and we never call them 'candy 
canes' anymore. When people come to visit, we ask them to take a shepherd's staff off of our 
tree. Then we tell them why we call it that and what the colors mean. It is a beautiful, non- 
offensive way, to share your faith with others. (from Easy Fun School)
- Craft: Make a soft and scrunch candy cane (do this with the toddlers).  Instructions here.  I'll probably make this cane a little smaller and add the poem found here.  

- Make candy cane playdough and wrap it in mason jars for gifts for Merrick's friends.  How-to here.  

- God proclaimed his truth in creation by lighting up the heavens with a star that announced the 
birth of Christ the King.  
- Bible: Look up scriptures that show other ways God has revealed himself through creation.  
- Do: Study stars. What are they? What are some of the constellations?  
- Craft: Paint with Christmas cookie cutters (toddlers can paint with us!).  Maybe even use these star paintings to make gift tags.  


Nativity Scene
- Read Luke 2:6-7
- Discuss - Where were you born?  What were the surroundings?  How do they compare with those of Jesus?  What would you think about Jesus if he had been born in a palace?  Why was he born in a stable?  
- Make a gingerbread nativity scene.  Here is a web site with a template for the manger and a recipe.  Here is another option that may be a bit more kid friendly.

Baby Jesus
- Read Luke 2:7, 11-12
- Make a bowl of ornaments with 25 different names for Jesus.  Instructions here at I Am Momma Hear Me Roar.  Lots of other Christian Christmas crafts (for Momma!) there as well.

- Use this reindeer handprint craft for a phonics or math activity.  Similar to the gift idea above, we could write number sentences or phonic phrases on the legs

Hot Chocolate
- Writing activity here.  I like winter because...

- Hot chocolate addition idea

- Gingerbread alphabet writing worksheet here at Kindergarten Crayons
- Gingerbread phonics activity and printable here at First Grade Parade
- Great gingerbread activity ideas over here at Babbling Abby including these:

Handwriting Activities
- Make a birthday card for Jesus
- Make a Christmas card for a friend or family member.  Great printable here.  Another idea using thumbprints to make reindeer here.  

- Make handmade ornaments

- Baby Jesus Haystacks - several recipes here.
- Candy Cane Cookies - recipe here.

Preschool Activities
- Worksheets from Confessions of a Homeschooler
- Christmas Tree Shapes here
- Fun way to get out the wiggles here at Oopsey Daisy Blog

- Great ideas here, including the Christmas light pom pom color match

Misc (aka things I couldn't resist including, but not sure if I will EVER get to them)
- Handprint snowman ornament idea here at eighteen25

- I soooo want to make something like this with the children this year:


- Would LOVE to make this plate from First Grade Parade

- Nativity Mural - turn this bulletin board into an art project (possibly on a canvas?)

- Probably the most precious Christmas plate I've ever seen (which could easily be painted on a canvas as well):

In addition to all these ideas and links, I have a folder full of free Christmas downloads from Teachers Pay Teachers.  I won't link to every one I downloaded for the sake of time.  But, if you head over there and do a search for Christmas (then sort by grade level), you will hit the jackpot, I'm sure.

Oh well.  So much for the idea of simplicity, am I right?!?