Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Unit Study

For November, I plan on teaching about the history of Thanksgiving for the first two weeks.  After Thanksgiving, we will do Five in a Row's The Cranberry Thanksgiving.  I hope to use plenty of games and activities to teach Merrick not only what a joy this season is, but how the traditions of Thanksgiving came to be.

Thanksgiving Facts (What I'd Like My Kindergartener to Know)
- "Pilgrims" left England in search of religious freedom.
- 102 colonist (including one baby born at sea) were aboard the Mayflower, the ship that brought the pilgrims to America.  They were at sea for 2 hard months (66 days).
- Pilgrims - I would like him to learn about the pilgrim culture.
- The Mayflower landed at Plymouth,  Massachusetts.  Massachusetts is a part of New England.  New England consists of 6 states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and, of course, Massachusetts.  I would like him to be able to locate New England on a map.
- The Wampanoag Native Americans were already occupying the land and had been for 12,000 years.  I would like him to learn a little of the Wampanoag culture.
- The pilgrims suffered through a very, very hard winter.
- One Native American in particular, Squanto, helped the pilgrims.  He brought them seeds and taught them how to fish.
- The first Thanksgiving feast probably took place around 1621 (though some believe it was actually 1623).  The settlers and Native Americans both brought food to the feast, enough to feed 53 settlers and 90 Native Americans.
- Some of the foods that may have been served at the first Thanksgiving feast are: fish (cod, eels, bass), fowl, venison, berries, fruit, vegetables, beans, maize, and squash.

Here's how I plan on introducing this information to Merrick:

The Mayflower
 - Map out the route in which the pilgrims may have taken on the Mayflower (Geography)
- Learn about the states in which the pilgrims first lived.  Discuss the location of New England. (Geography)  Use the printable here.
- For the life of me, I can not find the source of this idea, but here you go: make a Mayflower French Bread Pizza.  Get a slice of french bread pizza (or cover a half of a slice of french bread with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni) and bake.  After removing it from the oven, poke two wooden dowels through 2 slices of mozzarella cheese and into the pizza (to make sails).  Adorable!
- Lovin' this Mayflower book (First Grade Parade):

- Do a Venn diagram to compare pilgrim boys and girls OR pilgrim children and children today
- Make a pretzel log cabin.  Here or here.

- Must, must, must make this little pilgrim (once again, as seen at the First Grade Parade):

- Read Nickommoh!  Then, make an Indian headband, make a teepee, play tug of war, and have a "dance party" (as my 2 year old daughter would say) around a fake fire.
- Web site with info about the Wamponoag Indians here.
- Technically, the Wamponoag Indians didn't live in teepees.  But, it would still be fun to make some!

We could either make them out of cardboard like this:

...or go nuts and build a 6 foot tall teepee like this:

- How to build a teepee here,  here,  here, and here.

- Native American napkin holders

- Great info and directions on how to build a construction paper canoe and teepee using Indian symbols:
{image source and printable}

Gratitude / Bible Study
- Memory scripture: Psalm 9:1 I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; 
   I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.- Keep a gratitude journal (Handwriting and Spelling).  One way to do this might be to make this Gratitude mini book here.
- Make a turkey.  On each feather, write something for which you are grateful.

- Read Gus the Pilgrim Turkey (or Run, Turkey, Run), then decorate a turkey in order to disguise him.  Example here.
- Love this!  Make a "Give Thanks" banner.  Just print, color, and hang.  Printable here.

- Make corn out of painted lentils and cardstock

- Would LOVE to do something like this:

- Great time to talk about food groups and the importance of eating a balanced meal.  Great worksheet here (along with many, many other worksheets and activities)
- Popcorn Balls - these may have been served at the first Thanksgiving.

- great Fall ideas from Peterson Kindergarten
- Thanksgiving handwriting sheet here.
- Phonics prompt and printables (First Grade Parade)

- How to catch a turkey from, you guessed it, First Grade Parade:

- Thanksgiving secret message printable here

- Subtraction worksheet here
- Anther beginning subtraction worksheet here and here and here and here.
- Color AB, ABC, and ABB leaf patterns here.

Just Plain Fun
- Gourd games at Family Fun.

Lapbook Ideas
 -  Church matchbook - Front: Why did the pilgrims leave England?  Inside: Child's answer
- Vocabulary book - pilgrim, Indian, Mayflower, gratitude
- Acrostic - write a word that describes thanksgiving for every letter in "Give Thanks"
- Mayflower - write 4 facts about the Mayflower
- Geography - Map of the voyage of the Mayflower, map of New England

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pumpkin Unit Study

In this house, we get ri-ci-dic-u-lously excited about Halloween (yes, I did make up that word...that's just how excited we get around here).  And, thankfully, there are a TON of Halloween printables and ideas online (free!) that we can use to help make homeschool fun.  Here is the majority of our game plan for our Pumpkin Unit Study we'll be tackling next week:

Bible Study

 - Just like last year, we will be doing the Pumpkin Parable with our church small group.  You can find more info on this here on our family blog.

 - We'll also make a "Christian Jack-o-latern" this year.  You can find the printables for this at this awesome blog, 1+1+1=1.  


- Game: Roll the Dice - in this game, you roll dice, add the numbers together, then color the square on the pumpkin, scarecrow, or spider with that number.  Merrick can't wait to play this game!

- Game: Pumpkin Poke - another free game from Teachers Pay Teachers.  


- Fluency Game - I am loving this game!  The kids pick a card and then, depending upon which space they are on, read the card in a different voice (scary, goofy, monster voice).  And, bonus - it's another freebie.  Grab it from Debbie's Dabblings.  

- Pumpkin Pie Rhyming Game - students match pairs of rhyming words, then record their answers (handwriting!).

- Short and Long i Word Sort - This is a simple cut and paste worksheet.  The student cuts out pictures and puts them under either a pumpkin (short i) or pie (long i).

- Pumpkin Compound Match - students practice pairing two words together to make a compound word.  Then, they record their answers on the answer sheet (more handwriting!).  


- Pumpkin Spinner Game - this is a fun game to help with early graphing skills and writing simple pumpkin vocabulary words.

Art & Crafts
For our art projects, Merrick will be painting a pumpkin using a marble as seen here on 1+1+1=1.  If you remember, Merrick loves marbles.  

- We may also make a Halloween spider handprint like this one here.  

- While Merrick is doing his schoolwork, the twins will be enjoying Pumpkin Baggie Games found here at the Me and Marie Learning blog.  

In addition to all this, Merrick and I have checked out 327 pumpkin/Halloween themed books from the library to read together.  We will probably also use our 5 senses to write different descriptive words about the inside AND outside of a pumpkin.  Also, we'll be having a Halloween Homes Cool Day with our homeschool group.  We are very much looking forward to that.  On that day, we will measure a pumpkin, weigh a pumpkin, estimate how many seeds are inside, see if a pumpkin floats or not, and make a pumpkin glyph with our friends.  I'll write a separate post for that.  

Have a Happy Pumpkin Day!