Letters R and T – Recycling and Trash

We recycle a ton in this household and had just celebrated Earth Day this past Spring so I wanted to spend more time on the process of recycling rather than, for example, the items.

After morning circle, we read through some of these great Usborne books.

We are particularly fond of Usborne’s See Inside series and this one was no disappointment. It does a wonderful job explaining the process of recycling items once at the distribution centers.

We moved onto book work next

and then it was a pick-your-own-snack-kind-of day so that I could continue working on the prep work for our first craft.

I had decided there was no better way to demonstrate how old paper can be turned into new paper than by doing it ourselves! I googled the process and found TONS of blogs with directions on how to do it. Basically, they all said to take a large mixing bowl and fill it up with paper ripped into 1″squares (use colored paper as well to add a punch to your new paper). Soak the squares in warm water so that they are completely covered. Note: the ink will wash off and is HARD to clean off of whatever bowl you use so don’t use something that you will eat out of again or that you value. Soak the paper for about two hours and then place a handful at a time into a blender and pulse it until it has an oatmeal consistency. Grab a cookie drying rack and some paper towels and start pressing your paper! You can dig right into the bowl with your hands to press the pulp as all the ink has washed off. Make sure to get as much water out as possible by pressing hard on it-it will help it dry much faster! Use cookie cutters to create shapes as well.

Boys working together making some shapes!

And once our first piece was dry, I was thrilled with how beautiful it came out!

I worked with two children at a time making the shapes and pressing the water out, so while we were busy, I had the other kiddos make promise hands using their own hand shape and this printable I found. They picked which promise they wanted, cut it out, traced their hand and glued on the promise. It was a very simple craft, but it came out SO cute!

After we were done paper pressing and hand making, we played a quick sort game that I found at Oriental Trading. It is really cute and the kiddos loved sorting all the items!

We had a great day and although creating paper was a lot of work, I think it left a quite the impression on the kiddos giving them a stronger understanding of how we can reprocess something that was once trash into something new and beautiful! Success!!

Letter O – Olympics

I was looking forward to this day so the kids could participate in some fun outdoor activities but it was SO HOT! We ended up doing some quick outside activities and spending a ton of time swimming instead!

We of course started with some fun book work

We then snacked on crackers and cheese 🙂 The kiddos found these surprisingly very entertaining even thought they were zero effort!

Next it was time to create some medals! I found these great FREE printables for medals at abcteach.com. We printed them out, laminated them, and attached them to USA ribbon from Michael’s.

We also created some torches from cardboard tubes, tissue paper, and aluminum foil to carry around as well!

We did a quick 50 yard dash outside, shot put and discus throw and then did some 25 yd laps when we got to the pool. All in all, we had a great day and the boys are SO excited for the Summer Olympics to begin!

Letters M, Q, V – Manners, Quality and Values

Today’s lesson was more conversation related than full of lots of activities. I originally intended for there to be a volunteer-related field trip for the afternoon but was coming up short on a lot of options that allowed a 4-year-old in tow. I was going to simply bake something with them and deliver it to a retirement community but wasn’t able to schedule something in a short period of time. This part of the lesson is to be continued! Truth be told, it was nice to have a simple 1 1/2 hour lesson today; being Friday after a busy week of school and swimming, we all were in need of some down time!

We started the day with morning circle and a bunch of books to help guide some great conversation!

Then onto some book work!

I had difficulty finding a great manner match up worksheet so I created one! You are more than welcome to it. If you use it, please leave a comment and use for personal use only!

After an easy pick your own snack, we moved onto our craft! This was a super easy but fun Cover Your Cough craft. All you need is a paper plate and some colored card stock. The boys drew themselves and then I traced their hands to use!

Ben was SO delighted when we put it all together and he realized the hand moved when you made the plate pretend to cough (think of it as being on a hinge moving up over the face and down below the plate).

The kiddos did great today and I think we all enjoyed having a nice short lesson that was full of meaning and fun!

Letter L – Lifecycle

We ordered painted butterflies caterpillars to arrive right at the beginning of summer school so we could watch the process knowing we would go over it when we hit Letter L for Lifecycle! Daily, the boys have been journaling the journey our six caterpillars are on. The below images are the cover and inside pages I created. They glued the observation page on the bottom of folded card stock and then drew a picture above it of what they are seeing each day. Since they have become chrysalis’, we have taken a break as not much change is taking place to the naked eye (however, much on the inside!!).

We have had them for exactly two weeks and we hope we might be seeing some butterflies by early next week!

As far as our lesson day, we had an awesome time learning with some friends and had a ton of fun!

We started with morning circle and weather graphing. We followed that with some cooking today-something new and fun for our summer school! We decided to take some super ripe bananas and give them new “life” as banana bread and continue on their life cycle! Everyone took turns mixing ingredients; the older two read off the instructions and aided the littles in measuring. The bread cooked while we did our book work and what a yummy, warm snack we had waiting for us once book work was over!

After the bread was popped in the oven, we moved on to book work. We started with Letter L work. Below is Lucas timing himself finding all the Letter L’s!

Frog lifecycle work was next and the kiddos had some awesome manipulatives from Oriental Trading to play with that I love! They played with the Frog group first!

 

 

After, we moved on to Butterfly lifecycle work and used that set of manipulatives! We took a break for our YUMMY and HOT snack and then regrouped for a special felt board story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle! We’ve had this set for years that we found at a yard sale and they’ve always had a blast taking turns putting the felt pieces on as we read.

 

 

After we finished the butterfly work, the kiddos created their very own Life Books chronicling their  lives since they were born. They had a year per page and wrote the age on the bottom. They shared what was special and what they were into each of those years through stickers. They had so much fun working on these and looking back at how much they’ve grown and changed. For the last page, they drew their own picture of what they want to be when they grow up! The books came out great!

 

What a great day we had learning about how things grow and change through their life!

 

 

Letters K and W – Kite and Wind

We started our day with circle, then headed right into book work so that we could get in some kite flying before lunch!

I couldn’t find a great worksheet on Wind so I created one. Click below and save as if you’d like to use it! Please leave a comment if you like it and use it and please use it for personal use only. Thanks!

We had a quick snack and then jumped right into crafts! Today we made a popsicle stick kite kit and kite bookmarks both from Oriental Trading Company!

Then, we were off to the park! Let me just say, I had high hopes for this outing, no pun intended! This specific day, however, there appeared to be very little wind, which is ridiculous considering how windy it usually is here! We headed down to the park and I should have known better than to take them out in the heat here at 11:45 am. Oy. Talk about whining and complaining. We had a few successful lift offs but the majority of the half an hour was chalk full of “is it time to go yet; I’m so hot; there’s too many bees; there’s no wind…” blah blah. So although the following pictures look majestic, picture me behind the lens gritting my teeth 🙂

We scurried right home for lunch, and enjoyed our kite sandwiches.

After lunch, we  went to cool down at the pool!

All in all, another great day just not the outing I had hoped for! Lol

Letter J – Jesus

Today we celebrated Jesus and worked on the letter J!

We started our morning with circle time and sang an uplifting song to begin our day!!

That was followed by some stories and great conversation.

Some book work,

After some goldfish, we moved onto to some fun crafts!

What a blessed family we have and how lucky am I to be spending such quality time with these awesome kiddos!

Letters H and X- Health and X Ray

I was looking forward to this lesson because I had found great items on Oriental Trading and Carolina Biological Supply for the boys to use/create while pulling these lessons together!

We of course started with morning circle and book work. I intended to sing Dry Bones (some call it Dem Bones) but wanted to get so much in and we had some guests today, so I cut morning circle short without the song. Bummer.

Some of the book work required the kiddos to pull out our collection of 3D and pop up Human Body books and do some research!

We took a break for snack and I set up a blindfolded taste test for the kiddos. We had spent some time on the five senses while doing book work so I wanted to put “Taste” to the test during snack!

I created some salty, sour and sweet items for them. I put on their blindfolds and had them try an item one at a time. They would tell me whether they thought it was sweet, salty or sour. After they were done, they categorized the items and filled out the fun sheet. The below picture is my messy Ben’s plate after he was done moving the piles around on his plate (forgot to take the before picture 🙂 ) . I think everyone had fun!

After snack, we moved onto skeleton construction! I found these great kits from Carolina Biological and thought they boys would love building them and placing them on the shelves in their rooms!

After the assembly of these fun kits, we moved onto the great sticker sets I found at Oriental Trading! They have great organ and skeleton sets where you place your own stickers and labels on. It takes some research once again from books or the web to put the whole thing together! The stickers are moveable so children can adjust where the parts go if they find they’ve mistakingly put the wrong one down or too high/low.

We started with the skeletal structure and read the Scholastic book What Does the X Ray Say? which was illustrated by children themselves!

Next, was the organ structure!

The boys had enjoyed the information so much they were quizzing each other and Daddy at dinner that very night! I love how much fun they are having!!

Letters G and N – Gardening and Nature

After a week with indoor field trips (all AWESOME), I was looking forward to an afternoon just exploring outside so I couldn’t wait to hit Letters G and N!!!

We of course started our morning with circle time and book work.

After an unprocessed snack of fresh fruit and nuts, we jumped right into the next activity of the day – planting our own daisy seeds in a clear growing box so we can watch the roots and stems emerge! There is even a sheet in their work books to document how tall they grow over the next few weeks to see who wins for tallest flower 🙂 I created some plant markers so we don’t forget whose seeds are whose.

After a quick lunch, we then grabbed a hold of our scavenger egg cartons and hopped in the car off on another adventure! We arrived at the Rio Grande Nature Center and started our amazing afternoon.

We found the most amazing exoskeleton of a cicada! They just pop right out the back so their exo is completely whole in shape! We were all SO fascinated and found quite a few of them.

The boys spent at least 30 minutes just looking out the window at the observatory watching the turtles, frogs, tadpoles, and investigating spider webs!

We spent some more time exploring the Nature Center where they had fun making animal tracks, animal shape crayon rubbings, and putting on puppet shows!

We then spent the remainder of the afternoon simply taking in the awesome surroundings outside!

This last one pretty much sums up the day 🙂

Love my boys!

Letters E, P, S, and U – Earth, Planets, Solar Systems, and Universe

My kiddos have always been into the solar system and we have tons of great books, a lot of them pop-up and 3D, so they are already quite familiar with the basics of the planets. So today, we spent some time working on more in depth info on each of the planets and through a great project, worked on fine motor skills and writing.

After morning circle and book work, we chowed on some cheesy “moons” and then built our  cosmic rocket fueled by baking soda and vinegar!

It was then time to start on our My Planets Book. I purchased this awesome download for $2 from Teachers Pay Teachers and then you simply need markers, colored card stock or construction paper, and some great resources with factual information (books, web).

It took quite some time and is probably more easily done in two days but boy were they SO proud of it and I love how it collapses for easier storage!

It was another great school day!