Gone Batty!

My youngest and I just finished up our bat unit just in time for Halloween.  It was one of my favorite units to teach.  I have a strange fascination with bats and love teaching my girls about them.  We started off our week with this adorable poem.

I chose it because it reinforced number words as well as taught a little subtraction.  I made 5 tiny bats for Molly to act out the poem with in her pocket chart.  Then I printed a copy of it for her poetry notebook.  We highlighted the number words in yellow and all the sight words she knew in pink.

Before reading any books I wanted to see what she knew about bats already.  I made this graphic organizer and used post it notes to write what she said.  I love using can – have – are organizers because it includes, in a simple way, so much information.

As we read books throughout the week, Molly added post it notes to her chart.  Her three favorite bat books that we read this week included; Bats by Gail Gibbons, Stellaluna, and Hello, Bumblebee Bat.

After reading Stellaluna, we compared bats and birds.  I found this great activity here.  She loved cutting out the different facts and sorting them in the right circle.  It was a great introduction to Venn Diagrams as well.  Then she had to write one fact about a bat and one about a bird.  I was surprised with some of the vocabulary that she already knew.

We watched the cutest video that explained echolocation over and over.  I’ve been singing it all week!!  Molly loved the book Stellaluna so much that she wanted to read it again.  I found an audio version online that she listened to and then we completed a story map together.  Again, I used post it notes so I could reuse the chart paper.

While I was teaching the other two girls, I found a Wild Kratts episode on bats for her to watch.   If you aren’t familiar with Wild Kratts, it’s an amazing show that teaches kids all about different kinds of animals.  All three of my girls love it!

For art, we sponge painted bats flying into the sunset.  She taped two bat patterns on her paper and then sponge painted all around them.  She loved when I took the patterns off and she saw the black bats.

Some of Molly’s centers this week included, labeling a bat, drawing a bat following step by step directions, and measuring different sized wingspans.  Although her favorite was a making words activity that I made.  I had some laminated bat patterns that a friend had given me that I wrote a beginning letter on one wing and an ending letter on the other wing.  The bat face I wrote different vowels on.  We reviewed what vowels were and their sounds.  Then she had to put the vowels on the bats to make different words.  She loved it and did a great job sounding them out.


Ancient Egypt

We have had so much fun studying Ancient Egypt the last two weeks.  We did an Egyptian unit at the end of last year but my girls wanted to learn more so we decided to do another mini unit this year. there is so much you can do with this unit.  Here are a few of the activities we did that were a hit with the girls.

I found this awesome website where we could travel to many of the famous landmarks without leaving our couch.  The girls loved seeing inside many pyramids and walking around the Sphinx. I had them write notes as they explored.

The next few days we talked a lot about the Ancient Egyptian culture.  We learned about their dress, gods, customs, and what they did for entertainment.  We made beautiful necklaces out of paper plates.  I was pretty impressed with how well they turned out.

Last year we learned a lot about  pyramids, mummies, and their beliefs about the after life.  We even mummified a few Barbie dolls.  :)  This year, we made our own sarcophagus and Pharaohs.

While the girls were busy decorating these, I introduced them to the good ole’ song  “Walk Like an Egyptian” by the Bangles.  They thought the video was hilarious and kept asking why they were all wearing huge wigs.  Gosh, I miss the 80″s!

We are still in the process of making our own papyrus.  It’s a long process and am very glad I can just go to the store when I want more paper.  Ours should be finished at the end of this week.  The girls can’t wait to see how they turn out.

For writing, I had the girls write a letter to a friend in hieroglyphics.  They included a key and asked their friends to write them back.  They loved this because let’s be honest, who doesn’t like getting mail.  Especially if it’s in code.

Our last day of our unit we pretended to be archaeologists going on a dig in Egypt.  I found about 15 items in our house that I thought were interesting and hid them in our sand box.  I gave each one a basket, journal, and a few ‘tools” to use on the dig.  They have to find at least 5 items each, draw a detailed picture of it, describe it, and guess what they thought it was used for.  They loved this!!

I’m kind of sad to be done with Ancient Egypt.  Next up… Ancient China!

Fun on the Farm!

Mondays are so fun having all three girls home.  Molly goes to school Tuesdays through Fridays so Mondays are her home school days.  The girls love helping me think of ideas to for along with the theme of the week.  Last week she did many fun, farm activities so I decided to continue with the farm theme for today.  Here are a few she enjoyed exploring:

Here was something new we tried.  I printed out a picture of a sheep and then traced it onto a piece of contact paper.  I hung it on the wall sticky side out and game Molly some cotton balls.  She loved covering her sheep with “wool”.

I gathered all our farm books for her to look through.  She has so many books and seems to forget some when they just stay in her bookshelf.  I like to pull some out for her each week so she remembers some of her long lost favorites.

Her weekly Discovery box is always a favorite.   I usually put her 8 year old sister Emily in charge of putting these together.  She loves creating these and plays with them almost as much as Molly does.

I found these word puzzles at Target for $3.00 and they have been great.  I pulled out about 5 that had to do with farms for her.  I love hearing her stretching these words out to spell.

For her pocket chart activity I wrote out 4 farm animal names along with a picture of each animal.  First, she had to match the correct word with each picture.  Then I rewrote the name of each animal and cut it between each letter to make a puzzle.  I mixed up the letters and had her put them back in the right order next to the name that I had written.

Molly loves to cut and glue things so I always try to give her some sort of worksheet for her to do that with.  This week I found this beginning sound match paper.  She decided to join her sister on the trampoline to finish her work.

Fall Learning!

We have been so busy these last few weeks but I managed to plan a few Fall themed learning activities.   Here are a few my youngest has enjoyed.

She loves a good discovery box so I usually do a new one every two weeks.  Last week my 8 year old planned one for her.  She kept the popcorn and apples in but  hid small trinkets that began with the letter H (her letter of the week) as well as a few non H toys.  My little one had to search for the ones that began with an H and take them out.

We did a little pumpkin painting, because let’s be honest, it’s so much easier than pumpkin carving.  With the leftover paints I had her create a Fall colored tree.  I printed out a tree pattern and then cut a toilet paper roll in half length wise.  I taped it and formed it to look like a leaf shape.  Then she used that to stamp her tree.  She used a small paintbrush to fill in the leaves to complete her tree.

One of her favorite activities last week was a color word matching game.  She is dying to learn how to read and to be honest I’ve been kind of lazy about teaching her.  She is so close and wants to learn to be like her older sisters.  So I thought she would like this one and I was right!  I cut out pumpkins in different colors.  Then I cut the bottoms of them to make them into a puzzle.  On white paper I wrote the color words and cut the tops of the words to match the correct pumpkin puzzle.  She loved reading the words and matching them!

Creating an Atmosphere for Learning

My youngest is obsessed with letters and trying to write anything she sees lately.  It’s been so much fun watching her write the names of our family, our pets, and anything else she can think of.  She has a journal in the house and in the car with different colored pens and pencils.  We have a chalkboard table with chalk readily available as well.  I keep our family names hung up on the door so she can always see how to spell them. I feel that having these materials available to her is important to create an atmosphere where learning can take place.

I wrote our family names on two separate sentence strips, and cut one set in order to make a name puzzle.  She loved putting the letters in order to spell the names.

Here is some of the names she wrote yesterday.

Another activity she has enjoyed is using the Lite Brite.  I write whatever her letter of the week is with a sharpie on a white piece of paper.  She has to trace it with the Lite Brite pegs.