Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Our Christmas Unit-study

Before we take our Christmas vacation, we are having alot of fun doing our Christmas unit. I've taken some of the ideas from the Jan Brett unit posted on the 4reallearning board and added and subtracted to tailor it to our more science/nature bent. We are creating a scrapbook/notebook of everything we do and I will post pictures of the pages soon.
Here is the general outline by Topic:

  1. Christmas Math Fun: using the website as a guide and doing a little each day.
  2. The Miraculous Staircase of Loretto Chapel. Then read more about St. Joseph in our saint books.
  3. Gingerbread: Read Jan Brett's Gingerbread Baby and discuss a circle story. Make Story Wheel. Make Gingerbread house and take digital photos to illustrate each step. Make into booklet. Visit National Gingerbread House Competition at Grove Park Inn.
  4. Arctic vs. Antarctic: Use Eyewitness video to take notes on similarities and differences between Arctic and Antarctic regions. Make graphic organizer.
  5. Reindeer: Read Jan Brett's Wild Christmas Reindeer, research reindeer facts. Graphic organizers.
  6. Polar Bears: Read Jan Brett's Whos That Knocking on Cristmas Eve. Research Polar bears. Grahic Organizers.
  7. St. Nicholas. Read all about him and add to timeline and notebook. Focus on his symbols, and St. Nick around the World. Use materials from this great site.
  8. Snowflake geometry and science. Use this site, plus others. Learn about radial symmetry and practice measuring angles with a protractor. Make lotsa snowflakes!
  9. A Christmas Carol. Read the book and discuss story elements (protagonist, rising action, crisis, climax, denoument, etc). Graphic organizer. Creative writing: "What will your Christmas future be like?"
  10. The Christmas Story: Of course. The birth of Christ, etc.

There are alot of other books and activities we will be doing in addition to the basic outline above, but this gives you the general idea of our plans. As usual, we leave open the option of going off on a rabbit trail if the spirit moves us to do so!

We will be having so much fun and learning alot, too. The first couple of days have gone very well. We've done the math, gingerbread and reindeer days so far and have several pages of the scrapbook done. I will post pictures soon.

Hope your holidays are just as joyous!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Fun Grammar

Madlibs. Gotta love 'em! What a simple, cheap, fun way to reinforce basic grammar. We begin our Christmas Unit today, so last night I pulled out the Christmas Madlibs I picked up last week. What fun! We loved the Christmas carols we ended up with, especially "Frosty the Dingo Man," "Jingle Chickens," and "Rudolph, the Monkey-nosed Reindeer!"
Sometimes I forget how very simple and fun learning can be.
Highly recommended.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Nifty electronics set

Here is something that works whenever I need Superboy to work completely independently (if I have bills to pay or chores to do, for example). I just open the box at let him go.

It is called Snap Circuits and it is wonderful! Remember those 300-in-1 electronics kits we had when we were kids? With the wires and the springs on the circuit boards? They always looked like so much fun, but never worked half as well as they looked.
Well, snap circuits is sort of the same idea, but it actually works! It comes with easy-to-understand directions for over 300 projects that are really cool (with noises, lights and buzzers)and teach about electronics. And the ingenious snap-together design makes them very easy to work with.
We got our set from Timberdoodle Company and it is a bit pricey (around 75 bucks, I believe) but it is SO worth it. Superboy can spend hours snapping these projects together completely by himself. All I have to do is come running when he calls "Mom, you've GOT to see this, it is SOOOOO COOOL!!!"