Friday, November 30, 2012

Independent Work Time

The boys spend every Wednesday working independently. I am in town all day taking Princess K to her activities. We leave around 8:30 and get back home about 4:00 which means the boys have an entire day without their teacher. My hubby works from home on Wednesday's, so he's here to answer any questions they might have. But, mostly they're on their own.

When I leave Wednesday morning their school table looks like this. One pile of work for Mr. T, a pile for them to work on together & Capt. N's pile. The work varies from week to week, but I try to give them enough stuff to keep them busy for a few hours.

On the white board I write what they are supposed to have completed by the time I get home. I go over it with them before I leave in the morning.

:: Mr. T's (1st Grade) Independent Work ::
Mr. T's pile of independent work.
At the beginning of this school year it was a tad tricky figuring out what Mr. T could & couldn't do on his own. I have figured out what works best is to put most of his core curriculum aside & give him workbooks & activities that he can easily read himself.

These are the math activities I gave him for the Wednesday before Thanksgiving:
• Ordinal Numbers File Folder Activity from Evan Moor
• Math Facts Worksheet from his Saxon 2 curriculum
• Mayflower Math Facts from Enchanted Homeschooling Mom
• Extreme Dot to Dot from MindWare
(I originally bought these Extreme Dot to Dot books for Capt. N to work on his fine motor skills. But, then realized they are a fun way for Mr. T to learn his numbers since these dot to dots typically have over 500 dots)
• Addition Wrap-Ups
• Few pages from his Place Value Workbook from Flash Kids

I usually give Mr. T one super easy short story to read & one a little more challenging.

Language Arts
• Alphabetical Order File Folder Activity from Evan Moor
• Couple pages of handwriting practice from a Kumon workbook
• Couple pages out of the Phonics Vowels workbook from Flash Kids

:: Capt. N's (4th Grade) Independent Work ::
Capt. N's pile of independent work.
It is much easier to give Capt. N independent work. He can do most anything I give him. Although, I guess I had last year to work out the kinks with him.

• Multiplication Wrap-Ups
• Couple pages from a Division Workbook
(This is pretty easy for Capt. N. It was a book he started last year & he's finishing it up on Wednesdays for division review.)
• Two lessons from his Saxon 5/4 Curriculum

Language Arts
• Read 2 stories & answer comprehension questions from Reading A-Z
• Couple pages from a Main Idea workbook from Flash Kids
• Write sentences using spelling words

:: Independent Work for Both ::
For the most part the boys do the same work for Social Studies. So, quite often they will have an activity they can do together on Wednesdays. This time it was finishing up our Plymouth Colony unit.
• Write a Friendly Letter worksheet
• Reviewing Plymouth Colony unit worksheet
• Acrostic Poem
• First Thanksgiving worksheet
• Fill out on feathers 2 things they were thankful for

We're almost half way through our school year & I think we've finally figured out how Wednesday's work best for us. Do you have any independent work tips?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cub Scouts Learn About Hockey

Since the Summer of 2009, my hubby & I have been cub scout leaders in Capt. N's pack. Capt. N has moved his way up to now being a WEBELOS. This year we get to start the whole process over with Mr. T since he is now a first grader.

Requirement 3G (Learn the rules of a game or sport. Then, go watch an amateur or professional game or sporting event.) is a fun one. When Capt. N was a tiger and now with Mr. T we chose to go to an amateur hockey game. Our local team are the Winterhawks & they are always exciting to watch. But, of course, there's more to the requirement than just watching a game. The boys are supposed to learn a little about the game. This year I found some fun ways to teach them about hockey.

I made up booklets for each of the scouts. The cover was a piece of construction paper with a hockey jersey glued on. Inside were a few activity worksheets from I used this word search to go over some hockey terms.

Mr. T's decorated jersey. The template came from Making Learning Fun.

After learning about hockey the boys played a game on a mini ice rink. I absolutely love this idea. I found it at Au Pair in America.

How to Make a Mini Ice Rink:
• Cut a piece of 17" x 22" white paper slightly smaller than the inside of an old cookie sheet.
• Using sharpies, draw a simple layout of a hockey rink on the white paper
• Cut a piece of clear contact paper to fit the inside of the cookie sheet
• Lay the white paper in the cookie sheet & cover it with the contact paper. The white paper should be smaller than the contact paper, leaving an edge completely around the cookie sheet for the contact paper to stick to.
• Fill cookie sheet about half way up the sides with water
• Carefully place the water filled cookie sheet on a flat shelf in the freezer
• After the water has turned to ice, take the cookie sheet out & play hockey!

To be honest, I wasn't sure how well the rink would work. But, it was awesome. And, had I laid the cookie sheet on a flat shelf in the freezer the first time, the boys would have had a perfect rink to play on. Instead, though, when I checked on the ice I realized it wasn't flat at all & had a huge bump of ice at one end which would make it very difficult to play the game. So I took the cookie sheet out of the freezer & noticed the rink looked perfect. The contact paper had done its job in protecting the plain paper... until I ran the hot water over the rink to melt the ice. During that process a bit of water seeped onto the white paper making it wet in a few places. But, I just covered it up with water again & stuck it back in the freezer, this time making sure the shelf was flat. When I took it out of the freezer the second time the rink wasn't perfect anymore. But, it was good enough to play on & the boys didn't care that it wasn't perfect.

The boys played one on one games. My hubby worked on a different requirement with the boys who weren't playing the game.

I used a utility knife to cut two large craft sticks. Once glued together they became our hockey sticks. We used a button as the puck.

A couple years ago, with Capt. N's tiger den, instead of a mini ice rink we made a large rink out of tape stuck to our living room floor. The boys used the large sized craft sticks as hockey sticks & a nickel as the puck.

Then, there was the fun part of actually seeing a hockey game.

The Winterhawks mascot, Tom-a-Hawk


Watching the game

Not all cub scout events turn out as I envision them. But, this hockey experience went well & I'm so lucky to have such a good group of boys.

This post is linked to Enchanted Thursday's Blog Hop

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

DIY Juice Pouch Coin Purse

These coin purses are quick & simple to make - which is probably why I enjoy making them. They aren't fancy. But, they are fun & the kids love them. They are even the perfect size to hold your driver's license & debit card if you want to keep one for yourself.

• 3 empty juice pouches (I like to use 3 of the same design, but that isn't necessary)
• 1 set of velcro dots
• button, ribbon or other accessories
• thread
• sewing machine

1. Before sewing you need to clean the juice pouches. Cut a slit in its bottom, then use soap & water to clean out any excess juice. Let dry. I use Goo Gone to remove the sticky spot where the straw used to be.

Pouch A
2. Cut along the curved border near the bottom edge.

3. Sew along the curved edge.

Pouch B
This will be the front of your coin purse.
4. Fold over the top edge just above the straw hole. Sew along the edge.

5. Sew on one velcro dot just below the straw hole, centered with the width of the juice pouch.

Pouch B
6. Flip Pouch B over and fold up the bottom. It wants to fold naturally near the top of the curved section. That's where I fold it. Trim off a bit of the excess. It doesn't want to stay, so I use tape to hold it in place. We will be sewing it in place in step 11.

Pouches A & C
Pouch C is the back of your coin purse.

7. Pouch A is the flap the folds over the top of your coin purse. It is sewn to the back, but will velcro in the front of the coin purse. Fold under Pouch A near the bottom. There is no right or wrong place - just whatever looks good to you. But, keep in mind you need a little extra to sew to the back.

8. Lay Pouch C in front of you. Place the folded edge of Pouch A right above the straw hole on pouch C. Pouch C will be right side up. Pouch A will be upside down.

9. Sew the two pouches together along Pouch A's folded edge.

10. Flip your newly sewn piece over and trim the excess "fabric" from the top of Pouch C.

Pouches A, B & C
Now is where it gets a teensy bit tricky with getting everything lined up.

11. The Pouches A & C piece now needs to match up with Pouch B. Fold Pouch A over the front of Pouch B. You can now see how far you need to fold up Pouch C at the bottom. Fold it so the bottom of Pouch C lines up with the bottom of Pouch B. Sew the two pieces together.

12. Sew the sides.

13. Sew on your second velcro dot to the underside of the flap (Pouch A).

The back will look something like this.

14. Sew on any embellishments. I always sew or glue on a button or gem on the flap to cover up the stitches from sewing on the velcro dot.

Try making one. They really are easy. I can whip one out in less than a half an hour.
Here are a few other goodies I've tried making:

The deluxe coin purse. This one can hold dollar bills.


Gift Bag
This is my favorite item to make - a one of a kind gift bag. I make it using 8 juice pouches. They take longer to make, so I typically only have the patience to make the coin purses. But, I do love these.

I especially like this gift bag with the feather boa sewn around the top.

Have fun with this project. There's no right or wrong & it isn't expected to be perfect, so it's a fairly stress free craft.

I'd love to see what you create.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Moving West History Pockets

As part of our Westward Movement Unit, we worked on Evan-Moor's Moving West History Pockets. I was impressed with the variety explored in this book.

I created the books using paper grocery bags & yarn. The front cover is about 12" x 12". The inside pockets were cut to about 12" x 16". The 16" side is folded up from the bottom 4" and stapled to create the pocket. After each pocket was made, I hole punched them & tied them together with yarn we dyed.

There were a number of maps from this Scholastic book that we added to our pockets.

• Moving West Intro Pocket •
Each pocket came with great historical information, a writing project & a craft.

• Exploring the Wilderness Pocket •
We spent quite a bit of time on this pocket - mostly because it included Lewis & Clark. We went on two field trips to learn more about these famous fellows and the Corps of Discovery. We went to the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Washington and to Fort Clatsop in Oregon.

The boys each made a map from Scholastic's 3-D map book.

We learned about the Westward Journey Nickel series from the US mint. We made rubbings of the front & back of each nickel... although, they didn't turn out quite as well as I hoped.

We also rubbed a golden Sacajawea dollar. Years ago I worked in downtown Portland & would take the MAX to work, which is our light rail system. If you were due change after paying for your ticket, dollars were issued to you in the Sacajawea coin. I always thought that was cool.

I bought this coloring book at a trinket shop at the beach. The kids each colored a few pages and added them to their pocket.

Our favorite books to go along with this unit were Seaman's Journal, the expedition told through the dog's eyes, and American Slave, American Hero, the story of William Clark's slave York.

Other books we read.

• The Gold Rush Pocket •
On our road trip, we stopped at Columbia State Historic Park and explored a "real" mining town. It is in California, right off Highway 49. It was a great field trip to go with this pocket.

• Oregon Trail Pocket •
The Oregon Trail pocket got a little extra attention. It is kind of a big deal around here, since we are near the end. We even visited the End of the Oregon Trail historical site.

I remember enjoying the Oregon Trail game on the computer in the 4th grade. So I bought it so my kids could enjoy it, too. It was a little difficult for my 1st grader, though.

• Native American Struggles Pocket •
We learned about how the Native Americans used the land and how white man basically took it all away from them.

We added a Trail of Tears map from the Scholastic book.

• And, 5 More Pockets •
We worked on 5 other pockets, as well, including Homesteading the Great Plains (which I loved mainly due to Laura Ingalls Wilder) & Building the Railroads.

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