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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Things to read Thursday

Teaching elementary school introduced me to a huge variety of children's books. Today I would like to feature a favorite picture book, a non-fiction book, and a favorite chapter book, with ideas to incorporate these books into activities with your children.

Falling for Rapunzel

What a delightful book this was, and a great twist on the traditional fairy tale. If you are going to watch "Tangled" with your kids, I suggest finding a variety of Rapunzel books for some fun compare/contrast activities. Here is a great site to give you some ideas.
Activities to do before/during/after reading Falling for Rapunzel:
1. Talk about communication. Do you ever hear each other incorrectly? What kinds of situations can arise because of miscommunications? Great time for listening practice.
2. Rhyming words games are great activities, and the fun rhyming in this books is a great way to point out word families and words that sound the same.
3. Act out the book. Dress up and be sure to have a part for everyone!
4. A puppet show is always fun!

Weather by Seymour Simon
Haven't heard of Seymour Simon? Well, all of his books are highly recommended, especially for ages 8+. I've read this book with my 3 year old, but we mostly just look at pictures. However, this is a great book to start introducing weather concepts to younger children.
1. Observe the different kinds of clouds. Are they fluffy or wispy, dark or light? Give your child the name for those kinds of clouds! I'm a huge fan of teaching vocabulary early. And if you wonder at whether the clouds are cumulous or numbus or stratus clouds every time you go outside, both you and your child will quickly remember the different types. And you'll teach them to be careful observers of their surroundings! You can also point out whether it is "mostly sunny," "mostly cloudy," ect.
2. Science is SO MUCH FUN!!! Here is a great site with some fun weather experiments: Science activities
3. is an amazing website I used all the time in the classroom! You can get a free trial to view some fun weather cartoon educational videos. Or, it's $80 a year to subscribe to unlimited videos. I'm considering doing this once we officially start "home pre-school" in the fall. I'm not in any way affiliated with Brainpop, I just love their videos on every subject imaginable!
4. Have your child keep a journal recording the different types of clouds they see, complete with illustrations! You can even have them find and print pictures online to have them practice cutting and gluing if they need to work on that!

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

My mom read the first few Little House books to me as a small child, and to this day I still love me a good frontier/pioneer/homesteading story! Some ideas for this book:
1. Play "what would it be like" and imagine different scenarios from the book and how you would have reacted.
2. There are lots of imaginative play opportunities from this book!
3. Some ideas other people came up with, because, hey, why re-invent the wheel? Here, here, and here.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Times and seasons

Ok, I actually really love technology. But, I do have some regrets. Such as the amount of time I spent blogging when The Girl was a baby. I don't regret recording so much of her life, but I definitely could have been more productive during nap time, or at least taken more naps myself.

Now, as a sleep deprived soon-to-be mother-of-three, and without a computer most of the time, I find that I am completely enjoying being offline.

Let me give you an example. When I had computer/internet access all day, I would create to-do lists on Google Calendar. I loved it! BUT, every time I got on the computer to check something off or see what else I needed to do, I would spend 10, 20, 30 minutes because I would get distracted by Amazon, Facebook, or blogs. Now I don't spend hours a day on the computer when I should be with my kids, napping, or cleaning. I might spend a few minutes in the evenings catching up, but that is pretty much it!

I have to say, going offline has been great. I don't miss it! I can still check recipes and my email on the Ipod touch, but it is too much of a pain to do much else on that thing.

One thing that I've thought about is that there are a number of things I would like to write about. I have a posts in the works about infertility/adoption/infant loss, and I want to write more about parenting, homeschooling, media, what I learn from my scriptures, and things like that, but there isn't time. So I have come to determine that this is not the season of my life for being a prolific blogger. And that is ok.

Might I add, I am much more effective without my to-do lists. :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Vineyard

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has great service opportunity online for it's members. Check it out here.