Friday, June 24, 2011

Fourth Week in June ~Alaska State Study

Our second week of "Trekking Across the US" moved us to the state of Alaska.  We used the idea of flying on US Airlines from Alabama to the state of Alaska.  We talked about the things we saw while leaving Alabama (great review) and then some things we saw as we flew into Alaska.

I am in the process of making a laminated state map with velcro states to put onto it.  I will also be making an airplane to fly to the next state.  Hopefully it will be done by Monday.

We started out coloring the state of Alaska on the cover of our Alaska book.  You can download most of the book at the bottom of this post.

We then found Alaska on a map (I found a map with Alaska in the right place as they need to know where it is) and colored it blue, printed or wrote the state name, did a dot-to-dot of the outline of the state, and discussed and colored the state flag.  Below are pictures of what we did.

You can find the dot-to-dot paper here at Making Learning Fun.

 The older children cursive wrote the name of the state.  We talked about how the seven
little stars form the Big Dipper and the large star is the North Star on the flag.

We then talked about the state bird (Willow Ptarmigan) and state flower (Forget-me-not) and how dog sleds were the way of transportation but how and why snowmobiles have replaced the dog sled.  Below are pictures of the pages in our book and the activities we did.

When we talked about the state bird we put together an eight piece paper puzzle of the bird.  Many
of the younger children struggled a bit with the puzzle.  We then sponge painted a willow ptarmigan and
made a forget-me-not (see below).  Dog sleds was the other topic we covered.  We read the book
I made about dog sleds and then completed a color book (they traced the color word that was dashed
in the color the word was and then they glued the same color of dog print).  The older children did
this activity in cursive and rewrote the word on their own.

 Inuits and Inukshuk were the next two pages in our Alaska book.  Below are the activities we did.

 We talked about the Inuits and what is an igloo.  We made our own igloos cutting strips of
white paper into blocks and gluing them onto the igloo.

 We found out what an Inukshuk is and matched shadows of Inukshuks that you can find here and 
then we made our own Inukshuks that you can find here.

And we made our own Inuits.

Our next two pages covered Mt. McKinley and the Northern Lights.  Below are the activities we did.

 We talked about Mt. McKinley, matched some pictures of Mt. McKinley in our book, and
we drew our own Mt. McKinley.

The Northern Lights were a hit.  They loved looking at pictures of the Northern Lights and
then we chalked (wet the tip of the chalk in water and then draw on the paper... the colors
turn out wonderfully) our own Northern Lights.

Our last two pages were about Polar Bears and a review of what we learned.  Below are the activities.

 We talked about Polar Bears and did a tanogram bear (I just cut out paper pieces and had the
children glue them down) from here.

 I made a counting book in which they counted the number of polar bears and then colored the
right number with a yellow marker.

 My children love this activity... so I thought it would make a good review game... so they rolled and
graphed some of the things we learned about while studying Alaska.

Lastly, we drew and wrote (younger children dictated their response) of their favorite part of

I thought it was a fun week learning about Alaska.  They all enjoyed the activities and learned a few things.  Hope you enjoyed our unit too!  You can download most of my unit here.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Third Week in June ~Our Alabama Week

We started our "Trekking Across the USA" this week.  The blog "Musing of Me" got me thinking about doing this and I am very excited to spend the summer visiting some of the 50 states in our country.  Of course, there are a couple more blogs that I viewed that gave me some great ideas... Get Down and Get Your Hands Dirty and Montessori Tidbits.  I also have a copy of Confessions of a Homeschoolers state study to pull ideas from.

I wanted to do a lapbook but changed my mind as I saw the material I found and went more on the approach of my Letter Books that I did with my group throughout the year.  I have a mixed age group... several 4 year olds and 4 school agers graduating from 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade.  I wanted everyone to participate so I had to come up with things that would work for everyone.  That was a tough!  But I think I was successful.

Our first stop was in Alabama.  Here is our book and what we did.  You can download many pages from my unit here.

The cover of our book has an outline of the Alabama.  We colored it.

Our second and third pages focused on the state and where it is in the USA, what the capital is, what the flag looks like, printing/writing the state name, spelling the state name, and putting together a puzzle of the flag.  I have pictures of both the younger book and the older book because it shows the difference in order to create a challenge for the schoolagers.

This is what the first two pages looked like together.

They had to find Alabama on a state map and color it red.  The older children
had a compass rose in their books and we talked about where the state is located in
our country.

We talked about the capital of Alabama and looked at pictures of the capital building. 
We discussed the state flag and colored a state flag.

We either printed or used cursive to write the state name.

We used cut letters to spell the state name and put together the state flag using a
numbered puzzle for the younger children... the older children had more of a challenge because
I left the numbers off and they had to figure it out.

The third and fourth pages looked like this.

We talked about the state bird and I made a book using  "Musing of Me" fact sheet in her
Alabama pack.  We colored the yellowhammer yellow.

The younger children practiced recognizing numbers and counting egg sets for that number.  The older children did a book of math problems appropriate for their age.

We counted syllables using picture cards.

We talked about the state flower and colored it pink.

We fingerpainted a yellowhammer from "Musing of Me" state pack and later added
yellow feathers.

And we made a Camellia using "Musing of Me" state pack.  We used pink
construction paper for the base, dark pink/burgandy tissue paper for the top, and glitter glue
for the dots.

The fifth and sixth pages looked like this.  The older children's looked a little different but I will explain what was different below.

We talked about how the first rocket... the Saturn V... was built in Alabama and did a lot
for space exploration.  We did a spin and graph activity which I got from Holly (sorry I don't have
her blog link on hand but would love to add it if anyone knows it) and a size ordering activity
 from Musing of Me space unit.

The older children did the spin activity by making predictions, collecting data, and analyzing
data.  This I got from Holly's space unit as well.

I made a space tic tac toe game to play.  Even my young ones enjoyed this.  The older
children all had to try to win against me.

Lastly, we did some language arts.  The young children had to find the missing letter and
glue the rocket with the right letter to fill in the blank space.  The older children were given a
secret word game (they got the letters r-o-c-k-e-t-s) in which they had to make
ten words from the letters.  One word had to use all the letters.  The secret word game I also
got from Holly's space unit.

The highlight was making paper towel tube rockets!!!  We even decked them out with some
stickers.  Even my 16 year old joined in and painted one (don't you love seeing real old ones
come back and do things they so enjoyed when they were older?  He said... "I haven't done
this since I can't remember".)

The seventh and eighth pages looked like this.

We talked about one of the major crops of Alabama... cotten and completed Musing of Me activity
sheet in her state pack.

We then talked about Rosa Parks.  We colored a bus and talked about what she did and how
she started the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

We opened up the bus we colored and we talked about how the bus worked back in
Rosa Parks day.  They were fascinated with this (the older ones) that people were treated
so unfairly and that African Americans had to enter the front to pay, get off the bus and re-enter the
bus in the rear entrance.  They were amazed that they also had to give up their seats to white
Americans.  My younger ones didn't really understand the whole concept but followed the
coloring directons very well.

The last two pages looked like this.

We talked about Helen Keller and what it would be like to be deaf and blind.  We talked about
how you might teach someone who is both deaf and blind.  We struggled to draw a picture of a
tree being blindfolded (forgot to take pictures).

The older children were introduced to Braille and did this activity sheet.

Lastly, we reviewed the things we learned in our Alabama study.  As we circled an item we talked
about it.

Hope you enjoyed our study of Alabama!

Of course, with it being Father's Day on Sunday we had to complete our gifts.  We made cards in which I got the idea from a provider on Providers Playground (a provider list I'm on) and we made fancy mirrors.  My husband came up with the idea and wanted them to be like my Mother's Day projects (obviously he really liked them) and well things didn't go very well at all.  This is the best I could come up with in 2 days.  Hope they like them.

It is a mirror with the children's picture, a bunch of words describing Dad, and a Happy Father's Day
at the end.  I did it with clear sticker paper that I ran through my printer.  It has a stand to set the mirror on.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  Please tell me what you think of the state unit.