When do you cite sources? A free tutorial

in-text-citation-high-school-image-200x300Aagh! Your high school student writing on a subject they don’t know much about can be mind-rattling enough, but citing sources can be equally intimidating. This is where some help on the subject is invaluable.

Sharon Watson, author of  a favorite writing curriculum of mine called, Jump In! A Workbook for Reluctant and Eager Writers,  shares her knowledge on the subject in her article about giving written credit where credit is due.

In this tutorial she gives plenty of examples as well as items for your student to practice because things like this can be tricky! You can either have your daughter work on the computer, or there are pdfs that can be downloaded. Mrs. Watson thought of us homeschool moms and provided the answers too. 🙂 To see this invaluable resource, click on In-Text Citation Tutorial for High School Students.

It is never too early to begin learning about citing sources when researching and writing  of topics has begun. Mrs. Watson also has a junior high tutorial with answers to help students begin this important component of academic writing. To learn more, go to her In-Text Citation Tutorial for Middle School Students.

Dental Health Month


February is Dental Health Month and this year’s theme (2017) is about the importance of drinking tap water. At first glance you may not see the connection between water and teeth, but sweet, sugary drinks promote tooth decay. Listed below are activities and some resources to help you teach.

How about starting out with the proper way to brush those pearly whites?

Video The is a 2 minute clip from Colgate about proper brushing.

Nothing quite helps with discussing the effects sugar has on teeth than an experiment!

SCIENCE Experiment

You will need: 1 jar, 1 can of dark soda, and 1 egg (not hard boiled)

Empty the contents of the soda into the jar. Add the egg and cover the jar. Have your daughter predict what is going to happen to the egg. Write down the prediction. Ask her how long she thinks it will take for something to happen to the egg. Record this as well.

Check the egg after one day. What has happened to the egg? Write down observations.(You will notice that the egg is slightly discolored. No change with the shell.)

Check the egg in one week and take the it out of the jar. Write and/or draw what has happened to the egg. (You will notice that it is getting darker, but the shell is not softening yet.)

Check in two weeks and take the it out of the jar. Write and/or draw what has happened to the egg. (Egg continues to darken, but the shell is not soft.)

Check in three weeks and take the it out of the jar. Write and /or draw what has happened to the egg. (Egg continues to darken, and the shell might be showing signs of softening.)


Check in four weeks and take the it out of the jar. Write and/or draw what has happened to the egg. (Egg is very dark and some, if not all, of the enamel should be worn off. (Eww!)


How about a game or art activity to help with dental health?

Eat This! Not That! Game  Cut out pictures of food from magazines or grocery flyers, or images from the internet . Ask your son to find healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables and milk. Then look for unhealthy foods, such as candy and soda. Put all these pictures into a large pile. Take two small brown bags and draw a “happy tooth” on one bag and a “sad tooth” on the other. Together, sort out the pictures and place them in the correct bag. (source: http://www.colgate.com)

Art project: Older students can create a a collage of pictures showing good and bad choices.

Here are some worksheets. 🙂

American Dental Association has some worksheets for elementary students. Just scroll down the page to download them.

Oral Health Made Easy You could use some of these worksheets when you watch the brushing video.

Teeth Printables for preschool and early kindergarten at Mama’s Learning Corner look like fun for younger students. The packet includes a maze, dot-to-dot, writing pages, and the alphabet.

What happens when people see actual teeth that have been soaked in soda?

Video  This is an interesting and funny video about young adult soda drinkers. I am not sure they changed their minds, but hopefully they did!



Writing Boxes

Have you heard this comment before? “I can’t think of anything to write!” I can empathize with our students because sometimes I have the same thing happen to me. Soooo, how do you help your child to come up with ideas?  

I saw the phrase writing box that was advertising stationary and pens inside a decorative box, but those words gave me an idea of what could be done for story writing. My thought was to find two or three items to put into a small box that your son or daughter would open.  Who doesn’t like the idea of lifting the lid on a box and discovering the contents that are held inside? These items provide the prompts to create a story without you having to rack your brain to come up with an interesting sentence writing prompt. Let me give you some ideas of what these boxes could have in them.

Writing Box 1 The items inside the writing box are: a storybook, a toy, and a small unlit candle. A story that is just waiting to be told could be about a child (let’s say Tillie) who is reading a book. While she is doing so, the toy that is sitting on the Tillie’s lap comes alive and jumps into the book! Later it is discovered that the toy has taken the candle along with them to light the way on their journey… 



Writing Box 2  The items inside the writing box are: a favorite pair of socks (clean of course!), a watch, and an advertisement for a restaurant. We get those monthly magazines that have goods and services advertised in them; why not put them to good use? A possible story could be that your son is all ready for the day with his favorite pair of socks and comfy sneakers. He has some allowance money and goes to the restaurant (the one found in the writing box) with some friends. While he is eating, he glances at his watch only to discover that he has been at there for eight hours! How is that possible? Could that watch be a special time vortex watch…?


Of course, those are only my ideas and examples of what kind of stories can be created. Discuss story ideas with the items before beginning writing if your son or daughter has a difficult time. You could start out with a comment such as, “What do these items have in common?” Can you think of a way that these items can be used together?  Jump in on the conversation to help create story ideas, be the scribe by writing down the ideas, and review all the possibilities so that your budding writer has success.

If you would like to have some more fun on a different day, you can have your daughter help with creating a writing box. Have her pick three items and she can tell her story with the ones she has selected.

I hope this helps to get the creative juices flowing. Why not choose three items for yourself and model the writing activity by creating your own story? Be sure to have everyone share when you finish. 

Happy writing!


Portfolio Review Giveaway

THE GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. Thank you to all who participated. 🙂

Congratulations to Lori Laba and Lisa Wall!  Please let me know you won when you schedule your portfolio review with me. 

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Hurray! It’s 2017 and that time of year for my annual portfolio review giveaway!   🙂

Two portfolios (each a $40.00 value) will be awarded and may redeemed for the 2016-2017 school year. There are several ways to win for both my current blog subscribers and for people who wish to subscribe. See below for chances to win.

I will use a random number generator (random.org) for each entry that you meet the criteria and submit your name. The contest ends on February 3, 2017. I will verify the winners and post the winner’s names on my blog. If your name happens to have been chosen twice, you will only be able to receive one free portfolio and I will have the number generator pick a new number to be the winner.

You may schedule your appointment  between March 1 and July 31. Best wishes!

Ways to enter the contest:

  • Subscribe to my blog. Please comment below and let me know you are new. (worth two entries)
  • Follow my SchoolMarmOhio facebook page (worth two entries)
  • Current subcribers- Leave a comment below about one thing you have enjoyed teaching this year. (worth one entry)
  • Pin one of my articles on Pinterest and let me know. (worth two entries)


American Art History

As you begin to plan for next year’s curricula I wanted to share with you a series that I love! I think you will want to add this to your list of books to purchase.

American Art History by Kristin Draeger is a unique curriculum since it is written from a perspective of  fictional newspaper reporters.  Some lessons are presented as though the artists are interviewed, others, as if the reporters discovered details of the artist’s works and life through historical documents and careful study of their work.

Each volume has sixteen artists and is designed to be used once a week for students in grades 3-8, but you could adapt it for  younger and older students too. Because of the wealth of information and fun activities that are given for each lesson, I believe one lesson could be studied for two weeks. The lessons are suggested to supplement your American history curriculum and considered to take two hours, but you could do a little each day if you don’t have that much time. This curriculum would also be a fantastic co-op class. There are three books that are part of the American Art History volumes.

American Art History Volume II begins with Federal architecture and finishes with Georgia O’Keefe. Lesson one features the White House and its architect, James Hoban. This particular study interviews Mr. Hoban and has a treasure trove of information that I never knew before! The lesson has facts, photographs, and entertaining cartoons as well as a Spot the Forgery activity. Here your child looks at the forgery and compares it to the original. The purpose is for him to become familiar with the works of art and study them in greater detail in a fun and engaging manner. Here are pictures from the study of  Winslow Homer:

American History Art Bingo is a review game for the artwork you study throughout the year. Each student is given a unique bingo card with individual works as the bingo mat. You hold up the larger image of the artwork and call out the artist’s name, location, and date of the piece. The cool thing is that students memorize these facts without even realizing it! 🙂 You know what is remarkable? Once you have studied these pieces,  she will start seeing them all over,  in advertisements, movies, museums…


Drawing American Art Your child by this time will be itching to reproduce the artwork that you have been studying. He can interact with the artwork and can repeatedly practice if he enjoys a particular style. This book gives step-by-step instructions for a drawing project that corresponds to each chapter. You begin with a template that can be located on the website: artk12.com/downloads or photocopy the templates that are in the book. After the drawing  is completed, place the artwork in a plastic sheet protector and file them in a three-ring binder. Label your binder along with the year. This is a great keepsake and if you repeat the course in a few years you can look at the previous year’s binder to see the improvement that has occurred.

* All pictures are from the ARTK12 website.

I have received a free copy of these books from ArtK12 in order to review them and did not need to write a favorable review. Please go to their site to see more fantastic products! ARTK12 You can save as much as $54.00 if you order the book sets directly from their website.