Saturday, March 27, 2010

Done and Dusted

Well Term 1 anyway! We are finished for 2 weeks, which also means I am on a blogging break too (trying to take them every holidays). I know I didn't do the last 3 weeks of Weekly Wonders and I had every intention of doing them but I am working on a Term 1 Wrap Up so I will just be doubling up anyway, seems kind of silly.

Term 1 Wrap Ups will be posted sometime over the next fortnight. Homeschool Blog Hop will continue but as for that there probably won't be much (if any posting from me for two weeks at least). I'd actually like to try and visit some of my favourite blogs as I haven't had time to do so for awhile either. I might also try and add some printables to Free Homeschool Printables as I just haven't had the time to look at that poor little blog.

Have a lovely Easter.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Teaching With Picture Books

*Edited* I am now adding all links here to articles and lists about Teaching with Books in general, not just picutre books and not only history.

I am currently gathering lists and links of Picture Books relating to a historical point in time. We've begun this year by teaching history through picture books and I would like to continue on that path where possible. In fact I like to 'teach' as much as I can from books so I will continue to edit this post as I find lists.

This list of links is really just for me but I am sure someone will benefit from them. If you are aware of other History Picture Book Lists or just great lists of picture books relating to a particular topic, please let me know.

US History Through Picture Books

Picture This - this is a 29 page document with picture books broken down into subjects

A Book In Time - history suggestions

Australian Children's Books

All Australian, not only Picture Books

Australian History

Are So Happy's Favourite Picture Books

Toot Toot Beep Beep Paintings

You might remember awhile ago I mentioned this little book that C adores, it is very cute, full of lots of noises that the different cars make. The illustrations are quite clever also and we thought it would be fun to recreate our own Toot Toot Beep Beep Paintings.

Just so you have an idea this is one page inside the book. It appears for this page the illustrator has used a roller for the road and then has cut and glued the car pieces together.

So the first step was to make up plenty of coloured bits and pieces that could used to cut apart and piece together to make our cars.

We used scapers of all sorts to paint and scrape different patterns onto the paper with poster paints in lots of different colours. Whilst waiting for them to dry we read the story again and looked more closely at how the pictures were put together. The kids then decided how they would do their backgrounds.

Then set upon cutting (which B did the majority of) and pasting their cars together and finally gluing them down on their backgrounds.

This is B's, with a simple side view road and a zebra crossing.

K decided to do a roundabout with a garden/grass area in the centre.

This was fun and different. We have heaps of pre painted paper left over to make other pictures (not necessarily cars) sometime down the track.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Self Portraits

Over the last couple of weeks the kids have been working on Self Portraits in the Home School Network Art Classes.

The first week they focused on drawing faces and making sure everyone knew the tricks to getting the face shape right and the positioning of various facial features. The following week they painted and added black pastel highlights where needed.

Here's B's self portrait.

The junior class also had a theme of, What I Want To Be When I Grow Up, K chose a Ballerina.

Plants: Free Printable, Story Writing Cards

I put together these Picture Story Writing Cards for the kids.

These were totally inspired by Montessori For Everyone, they truly have some fabulous stuff. I had to make my own though as I needed them to be as compact as possible.

In an endeavour to have as much on our shelves as possible I need to utilise things that are compact. Where possible I can store items in Index Card Holders and thought that I could include several theme related cards in the one Index Card Holder.

So these cards fit inside a 3 x 5 Index Card Holder perfectly. Since we looking more closely at plants at the moment these are out on display, but once we move on they will have a rubber band around them and will go into the "Story Writing Box" along with any other theme story writing cards I put together along the way. When inspiration strikes the kids can simply go to the Story Writing Box and pull out some theme related cards to help them along.

We've had fun with them this week. We began by writing a 3 way story, each choosing a card and taking turns. We turned the cards over so we didn't know what we were going to get. Having a simple picture to look at helps plant the idea (we just need to work on the fact that it doesn't always have to be so literal) and we can then focus on character building, following the story and listening to what the person prior had added to make sure that the new sentence flows with the storyline, and trying to build in an ending (that part was tricky).

Eventually I'd like the kids to use these independently to work on their stories but for now it will be with me or each other.

Sorry about the photo's below they are pretty awful. As we chose a card we placed it on the table so we could back and read our story along the way. The below layout is B's.

His story (written with me) is as follows:

M: In the pretty pink flower bed lived a

B: little man watering his flowers.

M: He grew enormous pumpkins in his garden.

B: And he grew some grapes too.

M: The little man spent a lot of his time raking leaves. One day,

B: he saw a little lady beetle.

M: She helped him to mow his lawn. The lady beetle was a very good

B: When the little man had finished raking he planted some flowers.

M: The flower sprouted on the other side of the big stone bridge.

B: Next to the flower was a little girl on a slide.

M: She also loved gardening very much.

B: She had a little friend too, a little bee.

M: The little bee was busy chatting to her cousin the butterfly.

B: All of them decided to go over the big red bridge back home for

The following is K's.

Her story is as follows:

M: Susan was feeling very hot mowing the lawn.

K: Whilst she was mowing the grass she walked past her friend called Bumble Bee.

M: Bumble Bee was busy raking his area of the garden.

K: When Susan was finished mowing the grass she walked to her friend, to say hello, called Matar.

M: Matar was using her favourite watering can to give her flowers a drink.

K: When she finished watering the flowers she went over the bridge and she saw

M: Harry, her dad, pushing his wheelbarrow full of leaves.

K: And then she saw some pumpkins that her dad grew.

M: Matar decided to stay awhile and help her dad trim the pumpkin vines.

K: On her way back from the bridge she saw some beautiful flowers and thought she was

M: very lucky to see a butterfly fluttering near the flowers.

K: On her way home she saw a little girl playing in a slide.

M: Matar thought about stopping and playing awhile but she could hear her mum calling her from the other side of the red bridge.

K: When she was walking over the bridge she saw some grapes growing on a vince.

M: She wished she had time for a swing, but she knew she had to get inside for tea.

I've uploaded these so you can grab a copy for yourself if you like. The file includes two versions, one set of cards with just the pictures and another with a word or simple phrase.

Download them here >>

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Homeschool Hop #7

By Request Theme For The Week: State Requirements

This week's hop theme has been requested by one of our lovely hoppers. She is interested to know and possibly even see some of the things you are all required to do to meet your state requirements.

STOP: Please DO NOT add your link below unless you have a post published about the blog hop and the current theme, and the McLinky code showing in that post. Please ensure you have linked directly to your blog hop post and that the title includes the words 'blog hop' somewhere. All links added are checked via McLinky and those without these details are removed immediately. We are all enjoying this immensely, please play fairly as the majority of blog hoppers do! Thanks for participating, have fun!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Plants: Parts Of, Experiments, Puzzles, Collages & More

We've had a few Plant Presentations this past week and to my surprise both of them have been extremely interested. We went into this already having quite a good knowledge of plant parts, how plants 'feed' and the things plants do for us but I wanted to quickly revisit the topic, more for K's sake ( just to make sure she did know what I thought she knew, plus it never hurts for B to revisit topics) during these last 2 weeks of the term.

We began by inspecting a plant more closely, starting with what we saw above the ground, the stem and the leaves etc. We then talked about how the plant stays upright, what they need to grow, how they obtain 'food' and what we thought was below the soil.

We noticed that really you could barely see any roots at all when you first take the plant out of the pot (thankfully this little specimen was not root bound) but once we started to shake away the dirt from around the roots the whole root system became much more obvious and intricate.

It's really quite strange seeing a plant like this, without any dirt around it all and I know that once we delve deeper and look closer at the root system itself the kids will want to 'attack' this poor plant again. Don't worry we potted him back up and he is here on our shelf doing just fine, until the next time he is uprooted!

We completed the white flower in the coloured water experiment. Neither of the kids had seen this and I did not give anything away. Whilst they both told me that the flowers would 'drink' the water they were both very pleasantly surprised to see coloured flowers after only a couple of hours. (the colour really intensified overnight).

In case you have been living under a rock and have never seen this, all you need is some food colouring, water and white carnations or even celery will work. You do need plenty of colour, we used red, blue, green and yellow. It took a couple of days but all of our colours worked, the red and the blue were the most intense. We also kept one carnation in plain water to use as the control.

In hindsight I probably should have had them write up an experiment log, oh well, there's always next time.

K was given this Garden Girlz set some time ago and we've had it in the cupboard just waiting for us to do a plant study. I actually think she forgot all about it to be honest, but once I reminded her she was straight to work setting it up. There's been no growth so far though so it isn't looking good. We may have to leave it until spring and try some fresh seeds.

The Montessori puzzles are fabulous aren't they. It really helps to be able to isolate the parts with the puzzle pieces.

Most days I set the kids up with some kind of quiet activity whilst I go and put little C down for his nap. On this particular day I laid out a range of collage materials, along with some bunches of flowers I had picked up at the $2 shop and then pulled apart to make simple individual flowers.

The plan was that they would create their own 3D Flower Gardens. We talked about the layers of the garden beforehand and things we might see in the garden, but apart from that what they did with it was entirely up to them.

K's garden above is featured during a spring shower, with both blue and orange rain.

B on the other hand did this. This came as a complete surprise to me, he had chosen red pipe cleaners for the roots, some glitter for soil, green crepe paper for the grassy layer and then proceeded to build his flower. Although at this stage we had only discussed parts of a plant and not a flower he went ahead and labelled it anyway.

He was so engaged with this and I was so proud of him for taking a few simple lessons from earlier in the day and week and turning what was initially a pretty basic craft activity into an impressive piece of art depicting what he had learned.

Every time I feel like we might be missing something or that I worry if we are doing enough or if the Montessori approach is one that we can really implement he goes and does something like this. Reminding me that really it's ok, everything is ok and we are right where we need/want to be.

We spent some time working with these 3 part (with definitions) cards from here >>> These are great for both ages. B has started working on his own booklet and I am doing my best to not push it. I am just hoping that he will choose to finish the work off himself. If not it's no big deal, just because he hasn't produced something on paper doesn't mean he hasn't learned anything from it.

We also read lots of books too but I just realised I didn't take any pics. I will try and do that over the next couple of days and include them in the next post on our plant study.

Have you seen the Gardening/Plant story prompt cards that I have available for FREE download? Check out how we put them to use at this post. 

Come on over and join me at

Looking for more Plant related activities? Have a look at my Plant Life Pinterest Board.

Follow Kylie @ Our Worldwide Classroom's board Themes - Plant Life on Pinterest.

St Patrick's Day: Learning Fun Part 3, Wrap Up

We had a our small St Patrick's Day Morning Tea this morning. It was green, green and more green.

Green vegies and dips, green drinks, green cakes, green chips, green lollies, green jelly and even green cream for our scones!

The kids smothered biscuits with green icing and green sprinkles.....just for a bit of extra sugar!!

A lovely morning with family, swiming, catching up and having fun.

We also put together the lapbook and notebook that the kids have been working on.

B's St Patrick's Day Notebook

He chose his water colour map of Ireland for the front page.

Inside the Irish Flag and his mini booklets about St Patrick's Day and Saint Patrick himself.

The Leprechaun's Walk and Finding Ireland on a World Map.

Symbols of Ireland Mini Books, B wrote a small piece about each symbol.

A detailed hand drawn map of Ireland and the surrounding area, plus a spot of colouring in.

And yes, another Irish Map, do you kind of get the feeling he likes map work?!

We have left a couple of blank pages to include some photo's of the morning tea.

At this stage the plan is combine all of B's work into one large spiral bound notebook at the end of the year. We may change our mind, it will depend on how much there is, but we won't include all of the mundane maths and language worksheets, maybe just a few tests he completes as part of his math and language programs.

K's St Patrick's Day Lapbook

She chose a colouring page for her cover image.

Inside on the left hand flap is the Paddy's ABC's booklet, we've been going over these daily to help with initial sounds. Plus her Leprechaun's Walk, she really enjoyed this activity. The yellow piece on the right is a flap that lifts up, she has glued her Irish Flag to this side.

Underneath the yellow flap (right side of the file folder) is her symbols booklets. We discussed each symbol and K wrote the name of each symbol inside the little booklet.

On the under side of the yellow flap she glude her rainbow and shamrock suncatchers.

On the back cover is her 'Where Is Ireland?" Map.

We just need to find a spot to include a couple of the morning tea photo's from today.

We had fun with this and learned quite a bit along the way, both me and the kids.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hopping Number 6

1. What time is it right now?


2. What are you wearing?

Jammies, just got out of the shower.

3. What is your mood?

Calm, but tired.

4. What is one thing your children learned today?

The Parts of a Plant and a Flower.

5. What did you (or are having) for dinner?

Fried Rice

6. What's one book you are currently reading?

David Gettman's Montessori.

7. What behaviour (in people) is the most common but also the rudest?


8. What can you see out of your nearest window right now?

It's pretty dark, can just make out some trees and a house or two over yonder.

9. What are you currently praying for?

That the cyclone off the north coast of Queensland doesn't pass over the coast

10. What is your favourite hot beverage?

Chai Vanilla Latte Yum Yum Yum

MckLinky Blog Hop

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Home School Hop #6

Theme For The Week: 10 Random Questions

Time for a bit of fun this week. Just copy the 10 questions below and enter your answers after each one of them for this week's blog hop.

I can't wait to see all of your answers.

1. What time is it right now?

2. What are you wearing?

3. What is your mood?

4. What is one thing your children learned today?

5. What did you (or are having) for dinner?

6. What's one book you are currently reading?

7. What behaviour (in people) is the most common but also the rudest?

8. What can you see out of your nearest window right now?

9. What are you currently praying for?

10. What is your favourite hot beverage?

STOP: Please DO NOT add your link below unless you have a post published about the blog hop and the current theme, and the McLinky code showing in that post. All links added that do not play fairly are removed.

Blog Hop Details: Find more details about the Blog Hop here.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Sunday, March 14, 2010

St Patrick's Day Printable: Little Symbols Booklets

These are simple little fold over mini booklets depicting the symbols of St Patrick's Day.

There is enough room inside for a slightly older child to write some about each of the symbols or for a younger child to draw a picture.

Two seperate downloads for these, the Pot Of Gold one is here 

The Shamrock, Harp and Celtic Cross download
is available here

Some of the booklets fold up or down just to add a
bit of interest.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

St Patrick's Day: Learning Fun Part 2

This week we've been working through our little booklets for our Lapbook and Notebooking work on St Patrick's Day. I put together these simple little "Symbols of St Patrick's Day" booklets for K. (download coming soon) We discussed each one, what it was and why it is a symbol of St Patrick's Day. K then wrote the name of each item inside the little booklet. B provided a few more details on the symbols for his.

B also had a couple of more in depth booklets to complete, What Is St Patrick's Day and Who Was St Patrick.

The kids also worked on their Morning Tea Invitations.

St Patrick's Day Spelling, with Milk Bottle Top Letters and The Moveable Alphabet.

I'm fairly certain that K now has even numbers down pat after working with her Clip The Evens 1 and Clip The Evens 2 Activities.

I downloaded The Leprechaun's Walk from here. Both kids enjoyed completing this simple story writing exercise. I definitely need to find or make more of these, especially for B to extend on.

But oh my gosh, little K....I have never seen her complete so much writing. Allin all, this week she completed the Leprechaun's Walk Book, her name on the Morning Tea Invites and most of her little lapbook booklets. That is definitely the most handwriting she has done, can't you tell I am one happy mamma!!

Oh and we also made Rainbow (with clouds) and Shamrock Suncatchers during the week.

We've just got a couple of little things to complete (plus the morning tea) and we are all done with St Patrick's Day.

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