Friday, December 7, 2012

Integrating History: Pearl Harbor attacks

On December 7, 71 years ago, there was an attack on Pearl Harbor. You can view pictures here:  Pearl Harbor Attack.

The next day, we went to war in what would be World War II. President Roosevelt labeled Dec. 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy."

This weekend take time with your kids and look up pictures and read about this day and the events that followed after it.

Have your student write a Christmas letter to a serviceman or woman thanking them for their service during a time of year when they could be with their family, but they are protecting us.

It may seem small, but it woul mean so much.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Integrating reading &writing:Print rich environment

I love having words around for my children to read. This as an easy craft I did in the Fall.
1. Get letters from your local craft store.
2. Choose scrapbook paper. 
3. Turn letters over to trace
4. Cut out letter.
5. Use modge podge on the letter and stick paper to the letter.
6. Place a bit of mode lodge on top of the paper. Allow to dry and hang where you would like. 

I have also done this for the girls names. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Integrating Holidays: Halloween Fun

This time of year is very long for parents, at least for me. Every day I get the question, when is Halloween? In schools they talk about Fall and Halloween for quite a while.

A favorite book to read:

To help with sequencing and comprehension skills, you can:
 enlarge items from the book, color them, lamenate them (for durability), and have your child put them in order of how they arrived in the story.

We read the book then I had her put them in order from what she remembered. After that, we checked the book to see what she got correct.
Once they were all in order, we made the noises of the two shoes going "clomp, clomp" and the other noises as well.

It was a fun activity and one we can revisit again and again. After a while, I am going to see if she can draw the items in order and create her own scarecrow.

Here is a link with tons of Old Lady activities for this book: Afraid of anything

Also fun Fall activities remember Leaf Man from a previous year?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Integrating Culture: Hispanic Heritage Month

From September 15th to October 15th, tht United States celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month. According to Wikipedia: "September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. They all declared independence in 1821. In addition, Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21, respectively."

Hispanic Heritage Month also celebrates the long and important presence of Hispanic Americans in North America, starting with the discovery of America by Spanish conquistadors led by Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492. While we no longer receive the day off of school for Columbus Day, we do need to recognize that he discovered a land where we know occupy and live.

The contributions of Hispanic and Latino are many and to help guide you on who and the what, here is the government website you can read on what they are focusing on here: Hispanic Heritage

Here are a few books to read:

Here is a website I have sent to my teacher, but there are some names of Latinos you could have your child look up and read about. Scholastic.

Here are some more resources you can use during the last part of this month and all year long to recognize Hispanic and Latino Heritage: Parents Connect.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Integrating History: Constitution Day

Constitution Day, September 17th, 2012

This document is the Supreme Law of the United States and kids in the family should begin learning about what their rights are as US citizens. You can start small with the little ones or go big with the older kids.

Here is a website for a quick list of activities can be found here.
Another great website, Constitution Day, has information on the ratificaion of the Constitution and the Founding Fathers.
For the older kids in your family, you could match the Founding Father with one interesting fact about that person. This activity woul take longer than one day.

Amazon has a great deal on two books I read that helps kids understand the purpose of this document a little more.
David Catrow is slowly becoming my new favorite author.

 You can talk about what rules are and why we have them as you read these books. Of course since it is still the beginning of the year, you can put in place school rules for the house like:
1. No TV on a school night
2. Reading after dinner for 30 minutes
3. We will play a board game as a family one night a week.

Whatever you think will fit your schedule and family needs. The kids will love creating rules for parents as well. Have the older kids write out a constitution for the family and everyone sign it to be placed in the playroom or bathroom of the house.

Recognize this document and how lucky we are to be an American. It is your role as a parent to help create functioning citizens in this country. Start now.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Integrating Behavior: Library Visits

We took on the library summer reading challenge. We went to the library, signed a star, received our sheet to color each day we read 10 minutes. She really wanted that rubber ducky. Diva E and I read each night before bed, that is a given. She loves to read.

But then I started thinking. Since that day we signed up for the challenge, I had never returned with my child to the library. Besides being 8 and 9 months pregnant this summer, what was keeping me from going?

When my bonus kids were younger, during the summer I did a great job at taking them to the library every morning for an hour. It was a free activity and it kept the amount of "checked out" books at bay at the house. (Because honestly, it is no fun to receive a late fee on a book your child has misplaced.)

As they grew older and my child entered the world, I slowed down on the visits. I am not proud of that and while I look at the amount of activities there were at the library this summer, I feel bad that I missed out on tons of FREE entertainment for my toddler.

So, I did something drastic to ensure that trips to the library would occur at least monthly. I canceled a few of my magazines that I know the library receives each month. A few things will come of this:
1. I won't feel so overwhelmed at being "behind" reading my magazines. Each month one comes and I haven't read one since April. Some magazines are just easier to read in a sitting while your child watches Doc McStuffins. Others......
2. I am saving money.
3. Less clutter. What do you do with all those magazines?
4. I am modeling reading at the library for my child.

Diva E met the challenge and I made a conscious effort to get her to the library to get her rubber ducky and free book.

 I gave myself a challenge. I will get my child to the library at least once a month. But how will I do that?  So when my favorite magazine that I have had since the beginning came in the mail with the renewal stamp. I sent it back with a "cancel please" a first I felt like I had betrayed my dear friend, Oprah, but I know each month, I will see her at the library. And since she is so into the promotion of reading, she can understand my motivation to do this. So after doing inventory of the magazines that I subscribe to and checked to see if they were at the library.

So my house has said good bye to:
and Good Housekeeping.

I will have to keep Essence until the library has those. But I feel a ton lighter knowing all of those subscriptions are not collecting dust as I put them to the side, planning to read them.

And..... I have inherited People and a few gossip magazines that I always read in the check out line at the grocery store. (I purposely pick the long line just to read them).

What will you do to get you and your child to the library once a month?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Integrating Food: National Watermelon Day

August 3rd- every year we celebrate a big fruit. One of summers favorite treat and so popular. I know we have seen it at almost every BBQ we have been to this summer.

Here are some books to read.

This one is great for counting. A little description:
Max and Josephine are planting a garden,
from small blueberries to big watermelons
and everything in between.
Can you help them count the seedlings from one to ten?
And when they are ready to harvest,
can you help Max and Josephine count the crops by tens…
all the way up to one hundred?
For Watermelon Day
Description: There's a watermelon growing in the corner of the patch where the fence posts meet, and Jesse is waiting for it. Waiting for it to fill up with the cool summer rain and the hot summer sun. Waiting until at last it is ripe and ready for eating. Waiting until it is ready for her family's annual Watermelon day.

And finally, my favorite: Just then we heard a fella yellin??
He was sellin? watermelon! . . .
We chomped and slurped
And gulped and burped,
Then Peter spit a seed at Sue. . . .

Four friends turn a boring summer day into a rollicking, watermelon-seed?spitting adventure that takes them all the way into the town square, where everyone can?t help joining in on the fun. But when the mayor arrives, will she put a stop to it all? Energetic, begging-to-be-read-aloud text and boisterous, hilarious illustrations combine to form a picture book that celebrates simple, good-natured mischief.

Of course, if you are as creative as my friend is, you could even cut out a watermelon in the shape of things like a pig, a baby in a carriage or other creative things. All you have to do is "Google" it! Have a Happy Watermelon Day!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Integrating Culture: Asian-Pacific Amrican Heritage Month

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States have enrichened the American Culture. Just like most cultures, they also have a "designated month" which is in May. But with everything going that month, I knew we could celebrate it anytime.

A few things about Hawaii from my point of view:
1. I went there for my honeymoon and fell in love.
2. It looks exactly like the pictures.
3. I really don't care to take my children before maybe the age of 13. It can be expensive and we can do the beach thing on the "mainland." I really want them to travel, just to closer places that won't hurt my wallet.

Thankfully, I live in a state that has many Pacific Islanders residing. I began looking for presentations. The big kids and Diva E's first experience was a great one. It was a group of young kids learning the dances, so they were putting on a free performance. I forgot to warn the little one that they would be without their shirts, Diva E screamed out, "EWW, mommy, he has no shirt on." At the age of three she still talks about the man who wore no shirt and had fire on a stick. It made an impression.

You may not be able to attend presentations, but here are some things you can do:
1. Watch a YouTube video of a dance or two and try to do the same dance or create your own dances.
2. Make flowers to put in your hair
3. Find shells to make bracelets and necklaces
4. Invite friends over to do a big cookout and have your own Luau (we have a great hawaiian restaurant I love to order from.)

 Some great ideas of what a luau can be here at this Party ideas website .

Here are great books you can share with your child:
I love the counting book, it has a CD with it.

There are many events that your city may even hold if there is a large Asian/Pacific Islander population. I know for us here in Utah, the Polynesian Cultural Center is coming to visit us to perform favorite pieces from their performance Ha:Breath of life. I was so excited right and bought tickets right away! What a great way to end the theme week.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Integrating Art: Keeping the memories

There is nothing better than your child coming home with wonderful artwork that they made at school. This occurs more at the preschool and lower grade levels. I do not like to keep things around. Never have and never will. So how, as a mom can I make her feel special and celebrate her beautiful art without it junking my house? One way is using her artwork as cards to send to family members. Another is to create a book. It is very simple, take a picture of the artwork and place it in a folder for later keeping. After you get a collection worthy to fill a book, you can go on to websites like or to create the book. I took pictures over the last year and a half and gave it as an Easter present. She loves it, and now she has documentation of her artwork, and I have less clutter. Now, she has a book she can read over and over again.
The quote on the back: " Artists can color the sky red because they know it's blue. Those of us who aren't artists must color things they way they really are or people might thing we're stupid." Julie Feiffer

Friday, June 22, 2012

Integrating Seasons: Summer Bubbles

Summer is here and if your children are like mine, they love to blow bubbles. We have already been through many jars of bubbles and it reminded me of a favorite unit that I did teaching first and second grades. At the end of year, to tie in writing, reading, and fun, I taught a bubble unit. The information and ideas are from a Teaching Guide called "Bubbles, bubbles everywhere." It was originally published by Macmillian and has tons of activities, ideas, and reproducibles. The rest of the ideas have developed since I have had a child that could be entertain for hours with bubbles. To make sure you will successfully entertain your children, first, make sure you have bubbles! A cheap way to create bubbles in a sink is with dishwashing liquid. You can also buy some jars at the dollar tree. While you are at the dollar store look for various wands, blowers, and items to blow the bubbles with. Or you can make your own: Pipe-cleaner wand: Form a loop at the end of a pipe cleaner. Dip and use. Paper cup: Use a pencil to poke a hole in the bottom of a paper cup. DIp the open end of the cup into the bubble mix. Blow gently through the hole. Funnel: Dip the large end of the funnel into the solution. Blow gently through the small end. Six pack holder: Grasp the holder at a corner. Dip it into the bubble mix. Gently wave the holder through the air. I googled a few images to give you an idea. If you buy these crayola bubbles, I recommend you do these in the tub. They are a bit messy. This bubble gun is a lot of fun. It was a gift this season. It is a light up bubble gun. I saw that you can purchase it on amazon for a great price. This is a great bubble wand I purchased at Gymboree Play and Music. I even bought the bubbles. There is something they are made of because they last a long time and do not create residue so are perfect for indoor rainy play. Here is something that I can save you from buying. I wish I read the reviews, but I saw this in the store and thought, "WOW! Thousand of bubbles in minutes!?? Bubbles 30 feet into the air!?" So I bought it. In front of my child and four neighborhood kids, we filled it, read the directions and waited with great anticipation for bubbles. We waited the said 2 minutes and there were still no bubbles. We even kept it going for 10 minutes and it looked pitiful. A few bubbles here and there. Sad. The kids walked away disappointed. So did I. That evening, I dumped the solution out and cleaned it with water, just like the directions state. My husband turned the machine on and there were more bubbles coming out of that machine just like we wanted earlier. I will try it again tomorrow. But be warned if you purchase it. Some fun books to read after an afternoon of blowing bubble are below: I had to throw this book in, there is a cartoon on the Disney Channel called "Bubble Guppies." Really has nothing to do with bubbles, but the title. And the songs are catchy. And to keep the summer fun going, have your kiddos write things down to become a "bubbleologist." Observations such as: What is inside a bubble? What colors are seen in a bubble? What shapes do the different wands make with the bubbles? Are all the bubbles the same size? How do you touch a bubble without breaking it? For the older kids, have them explore what bubble films are, how rainbows are created in or on the bubbles, and how they can create bubble domes. They can write their findings in their journals.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Integrating Celebrations: Flag Day, June 14th, 2012

According to Wikipedia, "In the United States Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777.[1] The United States Army also celebrates the Army Birthday on this date; Congress adopted "the American continental army" after reaching a consensus position in the Committee of the Whole on June 14, 1775." By now, your child has been exposed to Memorial Day and will soon be exposed to the 4th of July. So to a young child, this all could be very confusing as the flag is present in every Holiday. I explain to my child that Memorial Day is to remember all those people that fight for us, 4th of July is America's birthday, and Flag Day is well, the flag's birthday. All represent America. Here are some books you can read to your child. I find that even for my older children, they love to hear a quick story, especially in the summer. Pictures books are great for all ages. w a Afterwards, have some fun making a yummy flag treat. I find there are so many places to find recipes, but my favorite is What You Need: **3cups boiling water, **2pkg. (4-serving size each) JELL-O Berry Blue Flavor Gelatin **2cups ice cubes, **2pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened **1/4 cup sugar **1tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, **2pkg. (4-serving size each) JELL-O Strawberry Flavor Gelatin, or any red flavor **2cups halved strawberries **1/2cup blueberries Make It: STIR 1-1/2 cups of the boiling water into dry blue gelatin in medium bowl at least 2 min. until completely dissolved. Add 1 cup of the ice cubes; stir until ice is completely melted. Pour into 13x9-inch dish. Refrigerate 20 min. or until gelatin is set but not firm. PLACE cream cheese, sugar and half of the whipped topping in large bowl; beat until well blended. Spoon over blue gelatin layer in dish; spread carefully to evenly cover gelatin layer. Stir remaining 1-1/2 cups boiling water into strawberry gelatin in separate bowl at least 2 min. until completely dissolved. Add remaining 1 cup ice cubes; stir until ice is completely melted. Let stand at room temperature 5 min. or until slightly thickened. Spoon over cream cheese layer in dish. Refrigerate 3 hours or until set. SPREAD remaining whipped topping over dessert just before serving. Decorate with strawberries and blueberries to resemble a flag. Store leftover dessert in refrigerator

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Integrating Holidays: Memorial Day- Repost

Due to the business of my job, mom duties, wife duties, and life in general, the month of May flew by. Here is a repost from last year about Memorial Day. I hope that you enjoy this Holiday and have had a wonderful weekend remembering and being with family like I have had the pleasure of. Memorial Day: Repost

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Integrating Holidays: Cinco De Mayo

Cinco de Mayo, the 5th of May, is a day celebrated in America as a day of heritage and pride. In Mexico, primarily in a town called Puebla, it is a holiday called, El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla (The Day of the Battle of Puebla).In the state of Puebla, the date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza SeguĂ­n. It is not Mexico's independence day-that is September 16th. Here are a few books you will enjoy to check out.
So what fun literacy things can you and the kiddos do to recognize and celebrate Cinco de Mayo? How about sing about it? Here are some songs you can read and sing along together to familiar children's tunes. And of course, cook up some Mexican food and enjoy a great meal. All Around Puebla (to the tune of Pop Goes the Weasel) France invaded Mexico In 1862, Thinking they would march, march, march, march Right into Mexico City. But what they had not counted on Was General Zaragoza Who ordered his men to fight, fight, fight, fight, Fight for their freedom. So all around Puebla The Mexicans chased the French, Until the last French soldier gave up – Cinco de Mayo! Cinco de Mayo (to the tune of Are You Sleeping?) Cinco de Mayo, Cinco de Mayo, The fifth of May, The fifth of May Is the anniversary Of a great victory For Mexico. For Mexico. Today’s a Day to Celebrate (to the tune of London Bridge) Today’s a day to celebrate, Celebrate, celebrate, Today’s a day to celebrate Courage under fire. The Mexican Army, they were poor, They were poor, they were poor, The Mexican Army, they were poor, But that did not stop them. They followed orders and charged ahead, Charged ahead, charged ahead, They followed orders and charged ahead, Routing the French forces. A great victory they did win, They did win, they did win, A great victory they did win In the Battle of Puebla. Today’s the Fifth of May (to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell) Today’s the fifth of May, “Cinco de Mayo,” we say, Let’s join hands and sing and play – It’s Cinco de Mayo today.