Saturday, March 14, 2009

"Very Last First Time" Lapbook

Aly has been using the Five in a Row curriculum this year. We read a book for 5 days (in a row) and do a variety of activities each day. One of the cool things we have added in this year is lapbooking. We take a big sheet of construction paper and make a booklet. We add the activities that we do for the week into the lapbook. We've done quite a few lapbooks already (and have quite a few waiting to be put together). This is the first I've gotten around to taking a picture of. One of the great things about homeschooling is learning right along with the kids. I learned some very cool things during this particular Five in a Row book. This lapbook is based on the book Very Last First Time. In the book a young Inuit girl goes with her mother to collect mussells for the first time on the sea floor under the ice. The book takes place in the Nunavut Territory of Canada. There is a specific area where once the bay is frozen over, the Inuit cut holes in the ice and when the tide is out, they drop down and walk on the sea floor under the ice to collect mussells. Awesome! I checked this out online and it is true. There are very, very few places where this is possible. Unfortunately, the site I found did not have pictures. So while reading this book, we studied first time experiences, the Inuit people and culture, tundra biomes, temperature, and tide pools. We spent two weeks on this book because there was just so much to read about. Here's the lapbook Aly made...

Front cover with mussells & a starfish.
The inside
We had so many little booklets that we had to add some underneath the bigger papers. Aly remembered what the Canadian flag looked like and told her Daddy when she saw it on Sportscenter :)
Aly's drawing of a polar bear with the Northern Lights. She used the Draw Write Now book for this.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Nature Walk

Yesterday the Weather Channel predicted rain for today. This morning we found that they had pushed the rain back till tonight and predicted 63 degrees. I decided then that we would go for our first Nature Walk of the year. I have been inspired by a homeschooling mom on the internet who posts an Outdoor Hour Nature Challenge. Next fall we will be doing these as a regular part of our school routine. It's actually scheduled in Aly's curriculum. Hopefully, we will be able to fit them in this spring and summer too. It was a beautiful day. Very windy, but beautiful. We had a couple of errands to run before we could go to the park and by the time we got there the sun was gone and it was a little cooler. The girls didn't mind a bit. Spring has definitely not arrived yet. Things are still looking pretty brown and bare. I wasn't sure exactly what we'd see, maybe a couple birds or ducks. At first, I didn't think the girls would see anything. Aly was busy throwing sticks into the lake and Skyeler wanted to run on ahead (missing any possible nature). Surprisingly, we found quite a few interesting items to investigate. We took the short nature path that wound around the lake (.7 miles around the lake) and here is what we found...

Cattails. Skyeler still remembers when she picked some when she was little and the "exploded" in my car :)

This little guy was a surprise. A painted turtle (I think). He's a little blurry 'cause I zoomed in to make him bigger in photoshop. Aly had just thrown a stick in nearby and we were surprised he was still sitting there. Skyeler took this picture.

Now this was a find! Aly's Five in a Row book the last couple weeks was Owl Moon. One of the things we studied was woodland habitats. One of the books we read was One Small Square Woods (which was excellent). We studied about trees and how the rings tell how old the tree is. I counted at least 15 but I am sure that I missed a few. Aly was impressed that it was older than Skyeler :)
A huge tree next to the path. Of course the girls thought it needed climbing. This was one of the "running by the nature" parts of our walk. Aly did see some tiny bugs on the tree, but I wasn't going up in it to see them. Not pictured was a dome of sticks and twigs next to the tree with a hole going down in it. I would love to know what was living in there.

Now comes the part where I need a Nature Guide of some sort. We found quite a few things that we can't identify. This being the first. Aly actually brought one of these home. Very prickly.

Oh, I could identify this. A cattail that has already "exploded." Skyeler loves how soft they are. She finally was able to pick a couple (without falling into the lake) and give them to Aly. Aly promptly put them in her backpack and by the time we got home, less than an hour later, they were "exploding." She had to shake out her backpack :)

We have no ideas what this beautiful seed pod is. The fibers inside were so smooth and silky. It's a little blurred 'cause the wind was blowing hard. We found this on the edge of the "prairie" next to the lake.

Another beautiful seed pod of some kind. Skyeler found this on the edge of the prairie as well. It looked like a bird's feathers. Also soft and silky. This was was more fragile than the last. It was breaking apart and flying everywhere.

Skyeler with the above seed pod. She is watching the wind carry the seeds away. You can't see it but they are on her shirt. As we walked a little way up the path, we saw some caught on other grasses. I think we were helping to pollinate today :)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Feeling a Little Like Spring

It's official. I have Spring Fever. Today it was 61 degrees (and windy)! The girls and I went outside for awhile. I pruned some bushes. No, I have no idea what I am doing with the bushes. Hopefully not killing them. I just know that the girls and I would like to plant some flowers and maybe some veggies back beside the house and a couple bushes are taking over back there. Our trampoline net has seen better days. Somehow we are going to have to fix it. Aly will never be able to jump on it without the net. Aly and I also played a little "tennis" on the back porch. Now, if it would only get warm and stay warm. I just can't wait!