The Great Outdoors: The Best Classroom Setting

“If a child is to keep his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we love in.” Rachel Carson

Did you know that the more senses you can involve when you are learning something the more likely you are to remember it? For instance: you see a recipe for a meal, yet you have never tried to make it. You can read through the list of ingredients, but it will not help you to know what it tastes like or if it was difficult to make until you actually go through the process yourself. I find that it is much more pleasant and interesting if I can experience things firsthand. The same thing happens to your student.

So, why not apply this concept to learning science, especially life science? There is a certain textbook publisher that studies insects in the winter if you follow their course chapter by chapter. Well, that works well in warmer climates, but not here is the heartland of the United States! The only kinds of bugs that I find moving are either at the zoo or those creepy thousand leggers that I never want to see!

download Yes, this critter! They are actually called house centipede and only have 15 pairs of legs, but they still startle me every time I see one of them. I digress!

Instead of “sticking to the text”, study insects when they are active and your son has the opportunity to observe them in their natural habitat? You can observe ants by taking a piece of banana outside and watch them cart it away to their home. There will be a scout ant (or two) that you can see scurry off to their anthill to announce to the rest of the workers that a treasure has been found and to come and help take it back for all to enjoy. If you have the time, you can watch the process from start to finish, or come back throughout the day. Your daughter can sketch the ants, the anthill, the banana being devoured. She can research the type of ant it is, what each ant’s job is in the hill, etc.  Magic School Bus Gets Ants in Its Pants video that is all about ants. You can either purchase the video or watch it HERE. You can also have your son read the book as a follow up to what you have observed.

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Fall foliage is a fabulous way of seeing the process of seasonal change. How about going for a walk and collecting different leaves? You can take a leaf identification book with you or bring them home and press the leaves between two pieces of wax paper and a stack of books. imom.com has a FREE leaf identification game to take with you.

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Have a great time enjoying and learning!  ~Lisa~

 

 

I’m Bored! 25 Activities for Kids

My mom would never let us utter the words, “I am bored!” If we did, we knew there was a chore waiting for us. Because it was so ingrained in me not to use those words, I did not like my children saying them either. lol

I had a list of things they could do if they could not think of an activity to occupy their time. When they were younger the electronics choice was limited to 30 minutes and only once per day. Between the ages of 13-15 they were allowed to be on the computer for 60 minutes and then for two hours when they were 16 and older. Internet parental control software was worth every penny as I did not have to police the time they spent on it. Here is the download, I’m Bored Activities.

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Apples! Activities for Your School Day

Did you know there are 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States? 7,500 varieties of apples are grown throughout the world? 100 varieties of apples are grown commercially in the United States?* I didn’t either, but that explains why when I go to the store there is another type of apple I haven’t heard of that is available for me to try. Since September will be scurrying away so quickly and apples will soon be past picking, why not take advantage of the varieties that are available and teach an Interest Unit? If you live in Ohio, you can count this for your study of Ohio history. 🙂

Make Applesauce 

Most children love applesauce and it’s such an easy project that your children can help you make it. Start it in your crockpot in the morning and enjoy in the afternoon as a snack.

Materials needed:

8-10 apples- peeled, cored, and cubed

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup brown sugar (If you buy a sweet variety, you don’t even need this!)

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional- add to the apples or wait until after it has cooked)

One large crockpot

Place all ingredients in the crockpot and turn on high. Allow apples to cook for 4-5 hours. Depending upon how chunky you want your applesauce to be, you can either take a wooden spoon or potato masher and break up the cooked apples into smaller pieces, or place in a blender and process until you have the desired consistency. Doesn’t this look good?

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As the delicious smell of applesauce fills your house you can do some apple inspired school activities.

Free Apple Math Pack has a variety of preschool activities in a sampler. If you like, you can purchase the entire packet.

Thanks to John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, apple orchards were begun across the midwest and were valuable to families who were traveling west during the westward expansion.

Here are some stories of his life to read. With older students, you can pick out the information that is true and that which is fabricated. Create tall tales about Johnny Appleseed.

Johnny Appleseed

Here are some comprehension questions for the story.

What was Johnny Appleseed’s name?

When did he live?

What was his purpose in growing apple trees?  Do you think this was a good idea? Explain why you think it was or was not a good idea.

Write one detail from your reading that is not true.

Why did people make up details about him that were not true?

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A documentary for children to watch about the life of Johnny Appleseed would be great for children to take notes. The Story of Liberty

Watch the Disney version of Johnny Appleseed

Compare and contrast the two videos. You could use a T-Chart or a Venn Diagram (Boy! it was hard to find a printable of this, but I found one. yay!)

Have a great day!  ~Lisa~

* (urbanext.illinois.edu/apples/facts.cfm)

5 Tips on Beginning School

apples-3616102__480It seems like summer has flown by (again!) and I like to start out the year with a few tips that I liked to do with my children.

  1. Begin the day with something fun. How about a fun read-aloud or a favorite breakfast? Not sure what books would be good? Here are some titles to consider: Swiss Family Robinson; The Great Brain; The Secret Garden; Caddie Woodlawn; Little House in the Big Woods; Miracles on Maple Hill are all books that the family will enjoy.
  2. Let your children know what you expect of them. I thought it was important to come to class dressed (no pajamas). This may not be the case in your house, so do not mention it if does not apply. We also discussed the importance of a good attitude and completing assignments cheerfully and on time.
  3. Get out the school supplies and let your son/ daughter label and organize their things. Let them choose what color notebooks they want for math, science, history, reading, etc. They can decorate their binders or notebooks too.
  4. Start out with a few subjects and gradually add more as the week progresses. We always had reading and math each day and started the year off with these. I would include a fun outdoor activity that was science related (a nature hunt or examining something such as a plant) and would try to end the day with a game of some sort for PE such as bike riding or swimming.
  5. Celebrate the first week of completing school with a favorite movie and some popcorn or go out for a treat.

Have a great year!  ~Lisa~

 

 

 

Teachers Pay Teachers

Sometimes I am just fresh out of ideas for teaching. You too? If you haven’t heard of Teachers Pay Teachers then may I suggest that you check out this amazing website? There are so many activities, PowerPoints, ideas, and worksheets that you could spend hours looking at all of the great items that are there. Tomorrow they are having a back to school sale for the things you want for your class. Use this promo code BTSBONUS18 to save up to 25% sitewide on A+ back-to-school resources.

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