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Fun With Sight Words: Part II

Continuing our theme of last week’s post on Sight Words made fun, I am posting a list of ideas to keep your kids engaged this week (assuming the kiddos have tired of the Sight Word Munching Monsters that we posted earlier).

The biggest key to sight word success is to interact with the words.  This means building them, writing them, drawing them and yes, even discussing them with mommy and daddy during “play time”.

        Sight Words Ideas

  1. Use wax sticks (like Wiki Stix) to spell out the words and make pictures for words.
  2. Use bathtub paint to draw and write “sight word graffiti” on the wall during bath time.
  3. Use toothpicks or scrabble tiles to spell out the words (for the toothpicks they can glue them down and display the paper on the fridge! :))
  4. Create coloring pages then color them in a creative way (see image below)

 

For the coloring pages, I would recommend finding a printable that is on a subject your child is interested in (my nephew loves Mario brothers).  I cut up tissue paper into small squares, with a little plate of glue and a pencil you can create the wonderful work of art you see below! (Photo courtesy my nephew!  He was doing color sight words).

posted by samantha in Education Advice,Parenting Tips and have No Comments

Making Sight Words Fun!

Sight words, the phrase alone is enough to make kids cry and parents desperate for an effective way to inject a little fun into an otherwise overwhelming and tedious job.  Recently my sister and nephew have been embarking on this journey themselves.  In an effort to help, the “Sight Word Munching Monsters” game was born.  My goal in creating this activity was to try and bring back the excitement my nephew first expressed at the prospect of going to kindergarten.  If you are seeking the same thing then try out our monsters game.

Materials:

  • Hot glue gun
  • Elmer’s glue with paint brush
  • 3 pieces of scrapbooking paper (8 x 11)
  • 1 scrapbooking paper block (small paper size)
  • Scissors
  • Copy paper (1 sheet)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Clear shipping tape
  • Markers
  • 3 Plastic jars (Crystal Light works really well)
  • Box cutter or Exacto Knife
  • Velcro

Steps

  1. Remove wrapping from the Crystal Light jars, discard lids.
  2. Paint Elmer’s glue onto all sides of the jars (excluding bottoms).
  3. Roll the paper onto the jars (be sure to keep the paper even with the bottom).
  4. Set them aside to dry.
  5. While they are drying, create the site word “crackers”.
  6. Take the copy paper and create a 1” x 2” grid, cut the resulting rectangles out.
  7. Write the sight words on to the “crackers” (aka the rectangles).
  8. Laminate them by placing clear tape on the top and bottom and trimming each one.
  9. Once the tubes are dry, cut the excess paper at the top to look like hair. (by cutting “V’s” or skinny strips.
  10. Use the Exacto knife and cut  a hole into one side of the jar, make sure it is a little wider than 2”.
  11. Use the smaller scrapbooking paper to add details to your monsters.
  12. Create 3 circles; color one green one red and one yellow.
  13. Label the green circle “go”, the Yellow “slow” and the red “woah”
  14. Place the Velcro on the back of the circles; stick the other side to the plastic monster bodies.

How To Use Your Monsters:

  1. Lay out the site words in front of the monsters.
  2. Each monster plays a roll:
    • Woah – words needing more study time
    • Slow – words your child almost knows
    • Go – words your child knows
  3. If your child gets the word right they “feed” the site word cracker to the “Go” monster
  4. If they get the word right, but only after some help/clues, the site word gets fed to the “Slow” monster
  5. If they get the word wrong, even with prompting, the site word gets fed to the “Woah” monster.
  6. The goal of the activity is to move all of your crackers into the “Go” monster.
posted by samantha in Education Advice,Parenting Tips and have Comment (1)

Showcasing Your Student’s Work (It’s Not Just For Refrigerators Anymore!)

Here is an idea that I used in my classroom.  I was looking for a cheap and efficient way to celebrate my students’ achievements by showcasing their work.  It cost me about $10.00 to $20.00 in materials and about an hour of my time.  Turns out it is a great and simple idea for any  parent, teacher, or homeschooling family looking for a way to show off their students’ work!

Here is a picture of the finished wall!

 

To achieve the Masterpieces Wall, you will need: 

  1. Wooden clothes pins (1 pack of 24)
  2. Duct tape (various decorative colors)
  3. Self Stick Velcro (6 feet should do)
  4. Push pins (one pack)
  5. Decorative lettering

First you have to prepare the clothespins. I tore my duct tape into strips and used it to cover the top surface of the pin.  I then cut the Velcro in half, adhering one side to the clothespin and leaving the other adhesive side covered till I was ready to mount them to the wall.

Once the pins are covered and Velcro attached, measure out a grid on your wall and stick the pins (clip side down) to the wall.  Center your wording above the display and attach them with pushpins (I find the clear colored pushpins are easiest to use and quick to remove if you make an error, and virtually invisible when you put them on the wall).  Finally, attach the work and step back and enjoy!

posted by samantha in Education Advice,Parenting Tips and have No Comments

Naturalist Notebooks Head to the Beach! Exploring our Amazing Coast!

This week’s theme pays homage to the end of summer and the beginning of the school year with a field trip…to…the…BEACH!!!!  What better way to finish off a Florida summer than to spend it learning about the ocean on one of our many beautiful beaches.

NOTEBOOK ACTIVITY:

Supplies you will need:

A bag

Clear tape

Pencil

Today is a scavenger hunt.  While at the beach you will be searching for the following common items  once you find them, you can tape them into your notebook, label them to take home and study.  (***NOTE, do not harvest any living organisms while on your quest, plant or animal.  The beach is a fragile ecosystem.*** ) In addition to the items below you need to collect sea shells from the surf to create your craft when you get home.  Be sure the shells are already empty.

Items to collect

A tiny piece of driftwood

The smallest complete shell you can find

A sea grass blade (they wash up on the beach all the time)

A photograph of you playing on the beach

Once you have collected your scavenger hunt items you can take them back to your area and tape them into your notebook (being careful to dry them off first)

Seashell Mobile

Supplies:

Seashells

String

Scissors

Branch from a tree (you can get this from your own yard)

Drill with a small drill bit

Steps:

1.  Drill holes in all the seashells you are going to string on your mobile.

2.  Cut three to four pieces of string, all different lengths.

3.  Thread the string through the first shell and tie a large knot underneath ( for extra security add hot glue).

4.  Continue threading on the shells, tying knots each time.  Separate and arrange your shells however you would like.

5.  Make loops at the end of the shell strings to hang them from the piece of wood.  Parents: check the mobile for balance as you put them on, too much weight on one side will not let the wood hang flat.

6.  Tie one piece of string to the balance point of the wood; this will become your hanger.

7.  Hang your mobile up wherever you wish.  Perhaps in your room so you can remember your wonderful beach trip or outside on your porch?  The choice is yours.

posted by samantha in Education Advice,Parenting Tips and have No Comments

Birding Is For The Birds: Teaching Kids to Appreciate Florida’s Native Bird Population

This week’s blog activity is devoted to the bird species of Central Florida, and more importantly to the hobby of birding.  Birding is a very simple pastime requiring only a quiet, natural place, binoculars, a camera and the internet (for identifying the birds that you don’t know).  Today, your family’s naturalist notebook activity will incorporate birding with a follow up craft to be able to attract birds to your own back yard!

For those of you that are looking for a location, other than your own back yard for observing birds, I highly recommend Mead Botanical Gardens.  They are located on 1300 S. Denning Drive in Winter Park, Florida.  They have a bird guide and checklist on their website that can assist you as you view the birds.  Download and print it out at:  http://www.meadgarden.org/programs/birding-checklist .

A Few Tips to increase the likelihood you and your children will see birds:

Early is better, the birds are out foraging and hunting.  Last week, while doing summer camp at Mead Gardens we saw a hawk and a barred owl flying around at about 830a.m.!

Quiet is key!  Birds scare easily, so adopt a no talking policy while hunting for birds.

What You Will Need:

Birding Field Trip:

Binoculars

Camera

Pencil

Naturalist Notebook

Snacks and water

Sunscreen

Hat

Sunglasses

Make Your Own Bird Feeder:

Empty juice carton

Acrylic or oil paints

Paint brushes

Scissors

Marker

Ribbon

Single hole puncher

Mesh bags

Bird Seed

Glue

Instructions:

Field Trip

You can choose any location you want for your birding field trip.  Then follow these easy steps:

1.  Have your camera and naturalist notebook handy.

2.  Walk around looking for birds, search the trees and the ground especially around a body of water (Florida has A LOT of wading birds, they might be fishing!).

3.  Once you find a specimen, snap its picture or sit down and put your drawing skills to the test.  If you choose the drawing option, this becomes page two of your naturalist notebook (for page one see last week’s blog post).

4.  If you took pictures, go home and print them out, then paste them into your naturalist notebook and hop on the internet to try and identify your birds, write the name of the bird species beside each photo.

Juice Carton Bird Feeder

The night or day before:

1.  Assemble supplies.

2.  Rinse out your juice carton and let it dry.

3.  Prime it with a base color of paint, depending on the colors on the carton you may need to use a darker color.

4.  Cut out holes on each side of the milk carton (see image).

After  the birding trip.

5.  Paint your carton with a colorful and attractive design (you might want to paint it a color that blends in with the environment like green or brown) Parents, you can teach children about camouflage during this activity as well!

6.  Fill the mesh bag full of bird seeds.

7.  Punch a hole through the top edge of the carton and string through your ribbon or hanger material.

8.  Go outside and hang up in a spot and wait for your birds to show up. When they do, you can sketch or photograph them and add them to your naturalist notebook too!

posted by samantha in Education Advice,Parenting Tips and have Comment (1)

Go Wild! Exploring Nature With Your Child!

It’s summer time in Florida, that means…the kids are out of school and if you’re anything like me you want to keep them busy. Productively busy though, not just sitting in front of the TV for hours learning how to rescue the 14th castle – trapped princess in a row.

To help you make learning fun, and get the kids outside for a while, try out our Naturalist Notebook activity!  Through the course of the next few weeks, I’m going to show you how to turn any outdoor space into an awesome nature excursion with a different craft to add to your naturalist journal each time.  Read on for a list of supplies and your first journal activity.

You Will Need:

  • comfortable, light colored clothing
  • water
  • A plastic or cloth grocery bag
  • clear tape
  • googly eyes
  • markers
  • pencil
  • medium sized notebook
  • glue
  • construction paper
  • scissors
  • comfortable shoes
  • hat
  • bug repellant
  • clear tape                                                                                  

What are the benefits of allowing children to explore nature in an unstructured fashion?

1.  Unstructured play enhances a child’s creative abilities.

2.  Unstructured play, where a child must ask questions, draw their own conclusions and “test out” the answer allows a child to engage in critical problem solving.

3.  They become natural risk takers as they work to solve problems.

4.  You build a strong relationship with your child as you provide  a safe and encouraging environment for them to “discover” answers and solve problems  ( you should avoid “giving” your child the answer, it will keep them from developing the skills listed in 1-3.  Instead, inquire with them and problem solve with them. Become their partner in this activity rather than their leader).
The Activity #1 – Naturalist Journal : Creating Leaf Critters

You and your child will need a notebook each (yes you should do the activity along with your child! As it turns out, play is good for grown ups too!). Visit our blog each week for a new activity for your journal.

STEPS:

1.  Head out on a nature hike, take your scissors & plastic bag.

2.  Walk around and collect interesting plant parts, leaves, stems, flowers etc.

3.  Place each clipping carefully in the bag.

4.  Bring the bag back home and spread out your plant clippings (See right)

5.  Begin to arrange your leaves to make a creature, use your imagination to create the shape and body parts of your creature.

6.  Glue your creature down (in your journal) and add on googly eyes, mouth, and any other details using construction paper or markers.

7.  Name your creature!

8.  Show off to family and friends.

posted by samantha in Parenting Tips and have No Comments