Posted in Lessons, Science

Dinosaurs!

We started a 2 week unit on dinosaurs right after the July 4th holiday. I’m trying to get us into a 3 day a week schedule, but it’s still pretty loose. Mister really enjoyed these activities from the past couple weeks!

To kick thing off, we visited our local museum. They are currently running a hands-on dinosaur exhibit and do weekly events.

Here he is digging for fossils. πŸ˜‰

We also started out our week with a trip to the library. We borrowed many informational children’s books about dinosaurs. Our library also has Playaway Views and Launchpads to borrow, so we got a Launchpad that was loaded with different educational dinosaur games and a View with dinosaur audio/visual books on it. Mister really enjoyed both of these and was sad when we had to return them.

We also squeezed in an unrelated library trip to see Emily Arrow. I had never heard of her before seeing it advertised at the library. I wish I had discovered her while I was still in my classroom! She’s a wonderful addition to reading time!

We also did some play with baking soda and vinegar! He placed his dinos around and I dyed the vinegar orange (so it would look more like lava and less pink πŸ˜‰). He did this for almost 45 minutes! He even requested to do it again after rest time with blue vinegar.

We also used his word wall! He found the word dinosaur, found all the paper letters and glued them in order. He was so excited that it only took a little nudging for him to write the word below! 

We are moving onto a zoo unit next because our local zoo just opened their new lion exhibit! 

Have a great week!

Links for above activities:

Museum- https://www.kalamazoomuseum.org/

Emily Arrow (also find her on YouTube!)

The paper letters from above are from my classroom. I’ve seen them in Amazon before, but I cannot find a link currently. 

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Posted in Materials

Quiet Bins!

In the classroom, I had a quiet tub filled with different quiet, independent activities. There were reusable stickers, counting/sorting activities, puzzles, matching games…. Just to name a few.

I knew right away that I needed to have some of these at home. With Little Miss still taking 2-3 good naps during the day, I needed to have something quiet to entertain Mister that wasn’t TV or electronic games. Also, he has a rest time everyday that includes a time where he has to lay in his bed and quietly look at books. If he doesn’t fall asleep (which still happens a decent amount of the time), the rest of the time he can do quiet activities. 

I have taken pictures of the bins we currently have and I’ll do my best to remember where everything is from!

1. Number Construction

I ordered this through Scholastic Books. It was in my classroom for awhile and kids love it! They can follow the cards to form numbers, create the numbers solo, or make boats… πŸ˜‰

https://www.learningresources.com/product/number+construction.do

2. ISpy bin

This book has Mister’s beloved ISpy books along with the ISpy matching game I talked about a few blog posts ago. I didn’t leave them out on the book shelf because he goes through phases of wanting to look at them all the time to not at all. I figured a quiet bin was the perfect place for them.

3. Magnets

Mister LOVES magnets! He had a set of black stone ones his grandparents got a few years ago. Then Grandma bought him another set a few months back. I also brought home some from school to add to our collection. I brought home the ball magnets and wands to try painting with them at some point, but for now they live in the quiet bin. He knows things like this have to stay away from Little Miss, so a bin he can only get out when she’s not around is the perfect solution.

4. Wicki Sticks (or whatever you choose to call them)

A retired teacher donated these to my classroom. There were sooooo many that half went to my classroom and half went in the cupboard. (And then home with me.) My class loved using them to make letters, numbers, tiny baskets… I showed them how to do that last one. πŸ™„ Mister really enjoys these and they are a wonderful independent activity!

5. Hot Dots

The Pete the Cat clicker and books came in the big Scholastic order I posted about before. Then, while I was cleaning out my classroom cupboards, I discovered this set of cards and hoped they worked like Hot Dots. I was pleasantly surprised that the 25 year old cards worked with Pete! This activity is a little more difficult for Mister to do alone because he can’t read yet, so this is better suited for Little Miss’ nap times. Of course, he’s determined to do it alone, so he tries!

6. Washi Tape Art

I saw this idea on a Pinterest post. Washi tape can be expensive, but I was able to score these big boxes at Michael’s while they were 60% off. If you can get them with a coupon, do it! The idea is for him to create pictures by ripping off different lengths of tape and sticking them on the paper. Right now I get mostly the same length in rows, but in time I think he’ll become more creative.

http://www.michaels.com/planner-washi-tape-box-by-recollections/10490268.html

7. Counting Bin

I got these counting ants for Mister a couple years ago through Scholastic. I call this the counting bin because I intend to change it occasionally. I also have counting bears and pattern cards to swap in this box.

8. Spelling bin

Mister got this for his birthday last year. He hasn’t used it much, but he’s now getting into words and spelling. I expect it will get more use now, especially being more available in a quiet bin. This is a Melissa & Doug set.

9. Upper and Lower Case Bin

I purchased this set for my classroom and it was their favorite letter matching activity. I know Mister enjoys it too! This is another Melissa & Doug set. I love the quality of their products!

10. Shape Bin

I cannot remember the actual name of this bin. It is written on the tub, but Mister is asleep and I’m not about to go in his room to look. πŸ˜‚ I think you can all understand what this is. You make pictures with the shapes and there are patterns you can follow. Mister has times where he loves this activity and will play with it a lot. Then other times we don’t see it for months. Hopefully having it as an option more frequently will convince him to play with it more. This one is another Melissa & Doug set.

11. Rubber Stamp Bin

It’s yet another Melissa & Doug set! I had mini alphabet stamps in my classroom that I purchased from the Target deal bins. They were looking very rough after being in use for the last couple years. Mister was starting to really get into stamping his name, matching lower and upper case, and stamping his friends’ names. I found this set an snagged it! These are quite a bit larger than the ones in my classroom and I think that will help keep them (and his fingers) looking nicer.

12. Unifix Cube Bin

I LOVE Unifix cubes! They have so many great uses and I actually have an entire book of games and lessons using them. I found it at a garage sale a few years ago, so it’s an oldie! I had a set in my Amazon cart to order for my classroom and then plans changed. I decided to order the smaller set for home since I knew they’d be a great asset for homeschool!

https://www.amazon.com/Didax-Educational-Resources-DD-225-Unifix/dp/B0007PC9CK

13. Puzzles!

Just as it says, this one is full of puzzles. Some of these are matching puzzles (opposites and sight words) and some are just for fun cardboard style puzzles. Mister is a fan of all puzzles. He will keep redoing the same one over and over until he can do it super fast! 

And that is the end of the quiet bins! This one shelf has taken forever to finish, but I’m so happy with how it has turned out! I know being organized is going to make planning lessons and finding what we need to complete them just that much easier! Now we can enjoy our holiday weekend and jump into some summer homeschool lessons next week!

Posted in Materials

Organizing the Book Shelf

Being a teacher, I have collected a lot of books. Being a mom, I’ve collected a lot of books. Running the Scholastic Reading Club, I’ve collected a lot of books.

Basically, I’m drowning in books around here and I needed a way to organize them!

The books that we’ll be using for different topics while homeschooling I decided to organize by color. I searched Pinterest for awhile and figured white address labels were the way to go. Below are the categories I created that work for us. I’ve included a few examples of what some of the topics include.

Raspberry-Language (alphabet, rhyming, Spanish)

Plum-History

Violet-Social Skills (manners, sharing, siblings)

Orange-Dinosaurs (stories about as well as informational)

Brown-Science (weather, food, inventions)

Teal-Animals

Black-Transportation

Blue-Fairy Tales (also alternative fairy tales)

Pink-Bible Stories

Green-Math (counting, addition, fractions)

Light Blue-Insects

Yellow-Space

White-Seasonal (Right now this includes summer and Fourth of July)

Red-Buildings

I know. Some of those color choices seem odd. I was limited to the markers that still had caps in Mister’s marker box.

There is also a cube that contains random books, like character and magazines (Ranger Rick Jr. lives here).

Two of the cubes are sorted by author. Mo Willems, Eric Carle, Dr. Suess, Laura Numeroff…. and many other! I couldn’t see splitting up sets to fit them into categories.

The puzzles and Legos had to find a spot on this shelf as well. We have limited space, so we made it work.

There are also two cubes just for Junie B. Jones, The Magic Treehouse, and all those character plush!

This project has been ongoing for a couple months, so I’m glad it’s finally done!

… Of course, after I took photos and celebrated, I found a book I missed… I should probably accepted this is one thing that will never truly be complete.

Posted in Cooking, Lessons, Science

Sea Turtles!

Mister has been asking almost nonstop when we are going to start doing school at home! Since it is Shark Week and science day at the library this week is about the coral reef, we decided to do a mini lesson about sea turtles.

He asked me a few weeks ago about making these cookies and I told him we’d have to do that once we started staying at home. He loves helping in the kitchen and this project was perfect for tiny, helping hands! Mister dumped in most of the ingredients, helped me turn the mixer on, and even got to assist in the egg cracking! (That’s the part he asked about the most.)

He helped roll the “shell” balls and used a fork to make a shell pattern. I rolled the tiny balls, but he placed them on for the legs and head.

Note how some of the turtles seem to be break dancing… πŸ˜‰

We found the recipe, along with a story and coral reef activities, in this month’s Ranger Rick Jr. magazine. Grandma subscribes and Mister is always so excited when it comes!

Now we can’t wait to learn more at the library this week!

Posted in Materials

Calendar and More!

Even though this was our first week at home, I have decided to wait until after the holiday to start our new routine. I’m still sifting through allllll the supplies/books/papers I brought home from my classroom, so we’re slowly getting things together and organized.

Tonight I finished setting up Mister’s calendar wall. It’s similar to what we had at school, but with a couple additions. 

Obviously, the calendar. I have a couple of handmade number sets that I make patterns with, but for now I’m going to use the ones that came with the calendar. I purchased this one from Dollar Tree. 

The other part that was on my wall at school is the weather wheel and chart. There are small pieces that match the weather options from the wheel that I place on the chart.

Here is the link for the weather wheel and chart:

https://teachingmama.org/diy-preschool-weather-board-with-free-printables/
I changed the storm cloud to snow since we get more of that here in Michigan. 

I had a word wall at school that was organized by beginning letter. However, we don’t have the wall space for that here. I had Mister choose a few words from the premade cards I have and then I added in a few. (Library, dinosaur, and carrots since I plan on talking about those things when we first start homeschool.)

I also hung up his reading chart from the local library. We visited the library this week (actually, twice) and enrolled him in the summer reading program. He’s really excited about it! (I signed up for the adult one, too!)

The more I set things up, the more excited I get about jumping back into the school routine. I’m looking forward to sharing more in the coming weeks. πŸ™‚

Posted in Materials

My Last Book Order!

Today, my last book order from school came! I made sure to get a bunch of materials that should *hopefully* be helpful while homeschooling Mister during his final year before Kindergarten. I thought it would be fun to share! πŸ™‚

IMG_20170522_191852

I ordered Set 1, Set 2, and Set 3 of the BOB Books. I also snagged the Kindergarten Sight Words set since Mister has been very interested in sight words since some of the kids in his class have talked about them. It’s not a top priority for me to teach him how to read before starting school, but it’s something that interests him and I wanted to be prepared!

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I found the Chicka Chicka 123 game in the Scholastic flyer and he LOVES the Chicka Chicka books! (But really, I have never met a kid who DIDN’T love Chicka Chicka!) This game seems to be more like Bingo, but it also has a way to play with addition facts.

ISPY I found on the teacher portion of the website. Mister loves the ISPY series and we have tons of the books. There are many different ways to play this one and I thought it would be great for a quiet activity tub. (I’ll post about those once I get more of them finished!)

IMG_20170522_191949

The rest of the books him and I picked out were just to round out our personal library. We got some Pigeon books, alternate fairy tales, Lego Planets (which, if you know him, you’d know that purchase was a given), and a book for him to practice cutting and pasting. He has excellent scissor skills, so hopefully some of that can be done independently.

IMG_20170522_191958

Of course, Little Miss had to get a few. One was about colors and color mixing… but she’s already started *reading that one.

*eating

Mister wanted to read this one to her since he loves Bear Hunt, so I had to oblige.

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…And then I had to make a purchase just for me. πŸ™‚ As an early childhood/elementary educator, I love children’s books! Pout Pout Fish is a character I fell in love with in college… maybe I identify with him on some level? Anyways, he had to come live with us!

Posted in Materials

Welcome!

We won’t be officially starting our homeschool journey for another 4 weeks. We’ve already started getting things ready around here! Little Miss LOVES the sandbox at school, so I had to make sure we had one. Plus, sand (and water) play is great for preschoolers, too! At least Mister doesn’t try to eat it! πŸ˜‰