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Notebooking

What is Notebooking?

Essentially, notebooking is learning about a topic and then writing about it by means of a journal (notebook) page. It also includes some type of picture that is the focus of what is being studied. This can either be an image that is already on the page, or a space provided that the student can draw their own picture (or words that can be decorated). Download Flower Notebook Page

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What are the benefits to Notebooking?

  • Multi-age level- Every student can make a notebook page. Younger students can draw or color the page and you can write down what they are telling you about the topic. Older students can create pages independently.  You can use notebook pages when your family is learning a subject together such as science or listening to a book read aloud as in the case of a history topic or a novel. Each student has their own page and each writes what they have learned. The notebook pages can be modified to fit younger or older students, depending upon the needs of your children. As a further extension, each child can share what they drew and/or wrote with the family after everyone is finished with their notebook page. These can be saved and placed in a binder for documentation of the school year. 
  • Writing less- Perhaps you have a student who looks at a blank piece of paper and freezes on what to write. Maybe your son struggles with writing or does not have much to put down on paper. A notebook page is a way of helping him focus on the picture and write just about that topic.
  • Narrating- Instead of a worksheet, your daughter can draw a picture and write about what she is learning. This method synthesizes writing and knowledge to show what she has learned.
  • Summarizing- Notebook pages aid your son or daughter in taking information they have learned and condensing it into a few sentences or a paragraph.
  • Creating- For your daughter or son who loves to draw or doodle, this is perfect since s/he has an area to express themselves and their ideas instead of a blank area of a workbook page or a margin of notebook paper. 

What is included in a Notebook Page?

Here is where you can be creative! The page can be anything you choose, such as: 

  • a historical figure or event, a map, a battle, a timeline (social studies)
  • a scientific topic, terms (science)
  • vocabulary, a character from a book, literary elements (language arts)
  • a story problem, a formula, or a concept such as fractions  (math)
  • scriptures, a poem, lyrics, a speech, a quote, or a dictation passage
  • something in nature such as: an animal or a plant
  • an artist or a piece of artwork

Here is an example of a notebook page that has a picture of a flower and its parts. Click to download pageParts of Flower NBP

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What age student can do Notebooking?

That is the wonderful thing about notebooking pages; students of all ages can use them. From younger students who are learning the difference between about living and non-living things, to older students learning about photosynthesis, each pupil can use this format to further their studies. Everyone’s notebooking page will be unique since each student will write and draw what they have learned.

Is there a curriculum that use the notebook idea?

Notebooking Pages also has a free product sampler and if you like what you see, and I am sure you will, you can purchase a subscription. These pages can compliment what you are studying or can stand alone.

Apologia Science has notebooking pages for older and younger students. Click on the image to read more details.

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Two Great Books for Middle Schoolers

Yay! I finally have read some books that I can recommend to you for middle school/ junior high students.

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No wonder this book is a Caldecott winner! Weaving three stories into one wonderful tale, Echo, written by Pam Munoz Ryan captures the reader’s attention from the start. It involves a magical harmonica and some amazing, self-sacrificing young people. It portrays different periods of time and the great injustice that was shown. But, it also has the theme of kindness and hope. Warning: your reader will not want to put this book down once they have begun. I have a confession to make; on many occasions I skip to the back of the book  because the middle of the story drags, but I wasn’t even tempted to do so with this story. 🙂

 

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This book isn’t a Caldecott winner, but it should be! Grandpa’s Great Escape by David Walliams is a fabulous book that had me laughing throughout it. Grandpa was a WWII British Royal Air Force (RAF) Spitfire pilot and is living in his glory days. No longer does he recognize his family, but rather thinks of them as members of the RAF.  Eventually, Grandpa is sent to Twilight Towers, a place for “unwanted old people”  and Grandpa and Jack his grandson, realize that he must escape from the ominous and creepy institution.Themes of compassion, kindness, and self-sacrifice are throughout the book. I also appreciated that at the end of the book there are short descriptions about WWII events that Grandpa talks about so that your reader will have context to the story if s/he so chooses to read about them.

Coloring for a Purpose

Some children just love to color! If you have a child like that, chances are you can’t possibly showcase all of the coloring pages that your artist has colored. I bet you even wonder how you could share those works with others. I would like to introduce to you a website called Follow The Good King. You sign up for a subscription and every week you will receive a coloring sheet through your email. The cool thing is that there is a purpose for these coloring pages.

After your daughter or son colors them, you mail them back to a P.O. box and they are then sent on to a featured individual that has been selected by The Good King to receive these colorful masterpieces as encouragement. You see, when you receive your coloring sheet, you also receive a short bio on the person who needs a bit of cheering up. You can also nominate an individual to receive other children’s coloring pages.  This is also a terrific way of incorporating language arts because each mission has you write a short note to the recipient. 🙂

Here is an excerpt of the first mission and the coloring page. Do not color this one, but rather go to the website listed below for the current mission. Each mission is a week in length, so if you are not able to complete it, that is fine, just go on to the next one. The important thing to remember is that each mission is only for that current week and you cannot go back to a different mission and choose to send it to that person at a later date.

Mission 1:

Ryan is pretty much a rockstar. He mentors young guys, recently finished his college degree, just married the woman of his dreams, and encourages people all over the world through his blog…all this while unable to move his arms and legs. I won’t sugarcoat it…life is TOUGH for Ryan. But he is strong. VERY strong.

Ryan is teaching us about perseverance. He’s teaching us about hope. He’s teaching us that, no matter what our circumstances are, we can do GREAT good because we follow The Good King. So let’s thank Ryan for his example and encourage him to keep on keeping on.

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If you are interested in this amazing idea, go to Follow the Good King

April Copywork

April is here and I have a complied a collection of a few poems for your student to copy for handwriting, copywork and/or dictation. I chose a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson who was an Scottish author most known for his books of Treasure Island, The Black Arrow, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

While I have read Treasure Island, I also read the book of poetry called A Child’s Garden of Verses (first published in 1885) that I thoroughly enjoyed as a child. It’s interesting that books stay with you for years. So, please be encouraged if you are having your children read poetry and you wonder if it is worth it when you hear protests. I am proof to have your child read and study poetry. 🙂 Happy April!

Here is the document to print:  April Copywork

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Fun Outdoor Activities for Children

imgresSpring is here! I can feel it in the air and I am sure your children can as well! Here are some outdoor activity ideas for them to enjoy.

What about the old-fashioned outdoor games of hopscotch; jumping rope and Hide and Seek?

Red Light, Green Light; Simon Says; Follow the Leader, and Mother May I (see how to play below) are games that require no supplies and provide your children with the opportunity to follow directions. Which, by the way, are essential to school. 🙂

Does your daughter like to draw? Sidewalk chalk is all kinds of fun. Be sure and take a picture of the creations afterwards.

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Sidewalk Chalk (homeschooling ideas.com)

  • Plaster of Paris or egg shells
  • Tempera Paint- liquid or powder
  • Old bowls or pots for mixing
  • Molds –
      Have fun choosing! You could make small chalks with ice cube trays, big fat toilet roll or kitchen roll chalks. Or use popsicle or play-doh molds for something different. Shaped silicone baking trays can also be used.
  • Water
  • Spatula or old spoon
  • Possibly needed – Wax paper and/or petroleum jelly; duct tape; tin foil or plastic wrap.

Next you need to prepare your molds. Paper towel rolls or toilet rolls should be cut to size if they are too long for you. Tape over one end to stop the chalk mixture running out when you fill them (you can use duct tape). They also will need lining with wax paper or freezer paper to make them waterproof. Disposable molds won’t need any preparation – you can always cut them away from the chalk if they get stuck. Coat any other molds (such as your baking trays or ice cube trays) with petroleum jelly so the chalk will slip out easily when dry. Or alternatively, you could line them with tin foil or film wrap.

Bubbles

Who doesn’t like to blow bubbles and pop them? Bubble recipes follow for your son to enjoy. Bubble wands can be made out of pipe cleaners (craft stems) that are twisted together for durability.

Exploratorium Bubble Formula
from the Exploratorium web site

2/3 cup Joy dishwashing soap
1 gallon water
2 to 3 tablespoons of glycerin
(available in pharmacies or chemical supply houses)

Cyndi’s Bubble Recipes
from the Nathan’s Wish web site

1/2 cup of dishwashing liquid (Dawn or Joy)
2 cups of water
2 teaspoons of sugar

Cyndi suggests adding a dab of food coloring for colorful bubbles. Mix the solution and place in a shallow pan (or refill your old bubble containers). NOTE: More recipes and fun with bubbles are available at the website link above.

Homemade Bubbles
from Kids Domain Craft Exchange

1/2 (500 ml) cup dishwashing detergent
4-1/2 (4.5 liter) cup water
4 tablespoons (60 ml) glycerin
(available in pharmacies or chemical supply houses)
Measure out the water, detergent, and glycerin into container with a cover and stir gently. Note: The longer you let the mixture set, the larger the bubbles are and the longer they seem to last.
  • Red Light, Green LightUsing  a large yard have all the kids line up on one side. the person who is “it” stays in the middle of the yard.  When “it” says green light, all the kids run as fast as they can.  When “it” says red light, everyone stops. whoever doesn’t stop is out. “It” keeps saying red light or green light until all the kids are out or has gone from one end of the yard and back to where they started from.The last person to make it back to the starting line is “it”.  There is a  rule that you have two seconds to come to a complete stop or hit the ground.
  • Simon Says

One person is designated Simon, the others are the players. Standing in front of the group, Simon tells players what they must do. However, the players must only obey commands that begin with the words “Simon Says.” If Simon says, “Simon says touch your nose,” then players must touch their nose. But, if Simon simply says, “jump,” without first saying “Simon says,” players must not jump. Those that do jump are out.
Objective
Follow directions and stay in the game for as long as possible! The last player standing wins and becomes the next Simon. If you’re Simon, the object is to try to trick the players to follow your commands when they shouldn’t.

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  • Follow the Leader

One player, the Leader, begins moving around with actions that the rest of the players must mimic. Anything — including wildly flailing his hands or furiously scratching his head — what the leader does, the others must follow. Those players who disobey, or lag behind the leader’s motions are out of the game. The last person standing becomes the new Leader. It is best to play with three or more. 

  • Mother May I? 

This game is a simple childhood action game that might be good for reinforcing the use of manners. One person is chosen as the “mother” (or “captain” if it is a male).  She or he stands facing away from a line of kids and selects a child at random, or in order.  The mother/captain calls out a direction, step type, and number of steps.  For example, the mother/captain can say: “Scott, you may take seven (or any other number)’ baby/normal/giant steps forward/backward.”The child then responds with “Mother may I?” (or “Captain may I?” if it is a male player in charge).  The mother/captain states “Yes” or “No”, depending on her whim, and the child obeys and takes the steps.  If the child forgets to ask “Mother may I?” then he/she goes back to the beginning of the line.  The first one to touch the Mother/Captain wins and becomes the new Mother/Captain.

An alternate version of the game is similar: each child takes turns asking, “Mother/Captain may I take [x kind of] steps?” The child who is mother (or captain) replies yes or no.

There are other kinds of steps possible for this game – be creative and come up with your own.  For example, there are:

  • Bunny hops: hopping like a bunny.
  • Frog hops: going down on all fours and hopping up like a frog.
  • Scissors steps: jump while crossing your feet, then jump while uncrossing them was one step.
  • Skip steps: steps as though one is skipping.