February 26, 2011

Little Wanderers

Between "seeds" and "roots and shoots" we spent a little time with the book called Little Wanderers: how and why plants travel by Margaret Warner Morley.
It is a charming book describing in detail the different ways seeds travel. She covers over 34 varieties of plants and trees with a narrative style that really keeps your attention.
While I read from the book the boys colored pictures of the plants we were reading about.

This is Max's rendition of a geranium. He was so excited about the red rings on the leaves. How amazing!
Most of the coloring pages we used I found at notebooking pages. Others I looked for online.

Sometimes we drew the flowers or trees.

Sometimes we found stickers of the flowers we read about and stuck them to blank 3x5 cards and wrote their name on the card.

Sometimes we did some copy work. But mostly we enjoyed the narrative and got to be friends with some seeds and learn how they travel.

February 25, 2011

Ludwig Van Beethoven

We begin our composer studies of Beethoven with Opal Wheelers Ludwig Van Beethoven and the chiming bell towers. I purchased a set of her books from Vision forum with a discount deal they had last Christmas. And what a deal that was. Eight books, the study guides, the music Cd's and the coloring pages, and sheet music of the selections on the CD's for less than you would pay if you bought the books alone seperately. The boys colored these pictures while I read to them from the book.

There are two pictures for each chapter.

The story is a wonderful introduction to Beethoven as a person and well understood by children. You sense his love for nature, people and of course music. The story leaves out many of the ugly and negative aspects of this composer and allows you to see him in a good light. My boys just loved him once they had heard the this story of his life.

Some days we took time away from the story to listen to the music itself. We used this music appreciation form from Home School in the Woods composer activity pack and drew a picture of what pictures the music painted in our minds as we listened. ALL three boys said, "I see a guy sitting at a pian playing music" :) are they all realists?

Once we finished the Opal Wheeler book I introduced Beethoven as a figure in history with this time line of the composers from the HTTA composer activity pack. This activity pack is going to ba an ongoing project for us for the next 3-4 years. Great stuff in it though. I can't wait to do the orchestra activities with them once Beethoven is finished.

 Next, we began to listen to Beethoven lives upstairs by Classical Kids. This was truely a delight. The story is told by a littel boy named Christoph whose mother has rented their upstairs room to Beethoven soon after his hearing had gone completely away. It does a wondeful job of introducing the negative aspects of Beethovens personality in a way that leads the listener to feel compassion and to understand why Beethoven may have been so unrulely and rude at times. We listened to the story in six scenes. We bought the classical classroom set because it was less expensive than buying each of the clasical kids compser Cd's indiviually. The classroom set came with a scene by scene teachers guide with lesson ideas for all ages. While we listened to a scene we would continue colring the coloring pages from the opal wheeler books. Then we would do an activity from the teachers guide.

For one of the activities, We listened to Christoph telling his uncle in a letter about the things that were on Beethovens desk and around his room. I found images of these things and created this copywork page to paste them onto.

Next we listened to The Story of Beethoven. A great deal at less than $2 for the CD. This version of his life story was filled with music we did not hear so much on the other two stories. The narrator tells the story of Beethoven's life from birth until his death and describes why and for what purposes for the music Beethoven wrote as the story is told. This story we listened to in two sittings while we worked on the Van Gogh starry night murals.

That is the end.

Roots and Shoots

After looking at seeds; learning what they need to grow, what are their parts and how they travel, we used this parts of a plant diagram to see the where the roots and the stems would be on the whole plant. We know from our study of the seed that the radicle turns into the roots and the plumule turnes into the stem and the leaves. We began by setting up some experiment that would give us a good look at some roots and some stems.

Observing Roots Experiment #1:
The idea for this experiment T.J.  found in The First Book of Plants by Alice Dickenson.
To do this experiment you need the following:
two pieces of glass, paper towels, two rubber bands (thick ones), a shallow pan, seeds, and some water.
Now to get started:
Place the glass on a flat surface, add a paper towel (the paper towel must butt up against the bottom edge of the glass to absorb water), palce the seeds in a row and cover it with the second piece of glass. Hold the two pieces of glass together with strong rubber bands like the ones found on broccoli when you buy it. Place the bound glass in a tilted position in a shallow pan, we used a flat sloped rock with a thick paper between it and the glass. Add water to the shallow pan and the seeds will soon begin to grow.

Observing Stems Experiment #2:

We began by soaking some peas overnight. Then we planted them in pots and watched them grow.

Both experiments sort of failed because the lettuce seeds we used in experiment #1 were too small to see much of the parts of the roots and the peas died, but we did get to see the sprouts and the stems and the leaves. This would have been a better experimant to observe both....

To do this experiment place a folded paper towel in jar.Add a little wtaer tot he bottom of the jar, then stuff in bean seeds between the paper towel and the side of the glass jar. Place in a warm place to grow.

In this sprout you can more easily see the roots and stems.

While the experiemnts were growing, we worked on learning the parts of the roots and the parts of the stems. I used the three step lesson idea. First I showed them the cards I had made, telling them what each cards represented. Secondly I asked them to point to the cards as I named their parts. next, I gave them cards with the names cut off and they put them together. The third step they colored and labled cards of their own.

We aslo added these two mini books to our lap books about woody and herbaceous stems.

The minibook came from Exploring Creation with Botany Lapbook created by Knowledge box central.

February 22, 2011

Time is tickin' tickin'

This is a chronical of our mini unit on time. It is part of our journey into living math. For a few weeks at a time we play math games to learn and reinforce addition and subtraction facts. Then we enter into a project for another few weeks on a particular theme. This mini unit  is based upon this lapbook I found at Currclick called 000 Clocks and Time Management by Dori Oakes. I highly recommend her creations. They are wonderfully put together and the price is very affordable. (.50 cents for this one)

We collected all our mini books, projects and worksheets into this fun lapbook. The cover clock can be found in the lapbook mentioned above. The boys are able to do more of the writing so I am no longer printing out the words for them so they can paste them on. I think their handwritng adds a wonderful child-like look to the finished book which I love.
These words were a fun way to get started on all the various ways we measure time. We played concetration with them and go fish. Then we dove into the different aspects of time measurement one by one. They are part of the Clocks and Time Management lapbook.

We used these cards periodically to learn the relationships between different ways to mark or measure time.

This is a timeline of T.J's life thus far. I made it by cutting some printer paper to the right size for the space they had. Then I taped them together and marked off the years with a sharpie. Max's is two years longer (one extra page) because he is 1 1/2 years older than his brothers.

They drew little pictures of how they were as they grew. They began with a baby, then a child crawling, then a child walking and with no diapers. Yeah, they are potty trained! Then they drew a truck to show when we moved house and a book to show when they started school. Max added that during his sixth year he lost 3 teeth.

1. copywork of this poem: (I used startwrite to create it.)

Days of the Month
Thirty days hath September, April, June and November; February has twenty eight alone all the rest have thirty one. Except in leap year thats the time when February's days are twenty nine.
2. Copy work of the Months of the year found FREE at copycat books.com
3. Took apart a calendar and put the months in order.
4. Used these months of the year cards FREE at Motesorriforeveryone.com to learn the months by heart.
5.  Made this interactive calendar FREE at Montessoriforeveryone.com to use the claendar through out this year marking special days etc.
6. and this little desk calendar.


This mini book is part of the OHC Time lapbook mentioned above.
We also did some copy work of the days of the week found at copy cat.


This is T.J.'s worksheet.
I used Math Mammouth worksheets because the step by step instructions are superb!
I also used the worksheets included in the OHC-Clocks and Time Management lapbook for more practice of the lessons learned in Math Mammouth. We did some fun things with them below.

From the worksheets in the OHC lapbook I cut out the clocks and made these "What time is it when I..." cards and the clock bingo game below. The bingo we used quite a bit so I spent them money to laminate them. We put the "What time is it when I..." cards in order of the day starting with waking up. It was too funny...I forgot to add a card for dinner. :) OOOOPs!

We used this game ALOT! Once the boys had the concepts of telling time down, this little game reinforced the ideas again and again. I gave out raisins, nuts, rice crackers, ritz crackers etc. for bingo prizes.

February 19, 2011

Van Gogh Montessori Cards

We are learning 12 paintings of Van Gogh in our mini study of this wonderful artist. I looked all over for some art cards that would do the trick and found not-a-thing. So I discovered in the void that I can make them myself. Neccessity is after all the mother of invention.

Thanks Jimmie for the great advice on how to share these!

Van Gogh Self-Portraits

Van Gogh painted several protarits of himself through out his life. I counted over 20 different ones.

"Since the invention of photography in the arly 1800's, portraits painted by artists were no longer needed to show what a person looked like. Van Gogh wanted his portraits to reveal what was on the inside - the psychological or spiritual aspect of a person." excerpt from Van Gogh and Friends.

We decided to try our hand at self-portraits too! The idea for this lesson came from Deep Space Sparkle. We didn't follow all her directions because we didn't have all the supplies she recommened. However, they still turned out great!

Step1: Trace with flesh colored pen around a template shape (and oval with a neck which I made ahead of time on card stock) and paint the inside of the shape with flesh colored water color.
Then we read a few books while the paper dried out.

Step 2: cut out the shape and glued it to a colored background.

Step 3: cut eyes out of wite paper and draw on the pupils, eyelashes, eye brows, nose, ears, and mouth.
Step 4: cut small lengths of yarn or embroidary floss for hair and glue it onto the head.
Step 5: add clothes under the neck.

Max's Self Portrait.

Zak's self-portrait.

T.J.'s self portrait.