Monday, March 30, 2009

Art in History: Discovery Through Creativity

As most of you know, I'm a big fan of hands-on projects. They make learning fun and help your students retain what they have learned.

I just discovered a new resource for hands-on learning called Art in History: Discovery Through Creativity. In the words of the publisher, these kits are "historic replicas of art that students decorate to reflect the time period and the culture from which it originated."

Available kits are from time periods ranging from 3,000 BC to present day, making them perfect for unit studies! For instance, if you're doing a unit on the French Revolution, you can create a Limoges Box; a unit on Ancient Rome - an oil lamp; a unit on Romanov Russia - a Faberge-style Egg.

I reviewed a piece from the Civil War era - a southern Face Jug, a ceramic tradition started by African slaves during the 1840s. The ceramic was a large piece, about 5" high and 5" wide. All the stains, paints, brushes and sponges needed were included. The directions were simple and easy to use.

Each kit may be purchased separately for $8.49 each, plus shipping. Apparently, the lesson plans are no longer available, which is a disappointment. However, the kits can be used with any lesson plan.

If you have children who love art, these kits will be a hit!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Teaching the 50 States and Capitals

There are lots of fun ways to teach the 50 states and capitals! Here's a few of my favorites:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

FREE Online Foreign Language Class!

I just discovered this resource online -Ma France. It includes 24 interactive French Videos for a total immersion experience in French. This is not for beginners, but if you have had a basic course in French, this will help you improve your fluency, accent, and understanding. Explore the site - there's is more and it's FREE!

And for those interested in another language, this BBC Web site also offers Spanish, German, Italian, Greek, Portugese, and Chinese. 

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Five Senses-Taste

Now here's a lesson where your diet may go up in smoke! For this lesson, you MUST do some taste testing! (I love the sweet part!)


Friday, March 13, 2009

Raising an Isaac Newton

It’s difficult to encourage your children to study mathematics if you can’t give them a good reason for doing so. I've written this article, Raising an Isaac Newton, to help you encourage your children to enjoy math!

How to Stock a Family Library

Jo Ann Miller asked me to share some pointers on stocking a home library - I am assuming she meant a family library, not an adult only library, so here goes:

I look for biographies that make learning about famous people fun for kids. I especially like Childhood of Famous Americans, Opal Wheeler biographies, and Rookie Biographies. I know these are wholesome books.

I look for classic literature published with interesting illustrations. Because much of the classical literature is written in vocabulary that is oftenno longer used or difficult to understand, good illustrations help hold a child's attention. (I also keep a dictionary handy! Try reading Robinson Crusoe in it's original version and you'll see what I mean.)

I look for science and history books that make learning history fun - again with color illustrations if I can find them.

So much of what is in bookstores is full of violence, sorcery, vampires, sexual overtones, and bad language. I rarely find anything suitable in local bookstores. I do my shopping for children's books in Christian bookstores or used bookstores (both online and in local shops.)

I have a purpose for buying the book: Is it for my child to read on his own? Then I look for something that is below his or her normal reading level to make it fun and encourage reading. Is it to improve my child's reading skills? Then I look for something on or above reading level that we can read together. Do I want to inform or entertain my child? Then I buy a book that I will read to him or her. The vocabulary can be adult level because I can explain the words as we go along. This increases vocabulary.

I love books with pop-outs or inserts (like maps or diary entries) that you pull out and read. An example would be Lewis and Clark on the Trail of Discovery: An Interactive History with Removable Artifacts.

I hope that will get you started!

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Ocean - Unit Study

One of my favorite units is The Ocean. I love the reading list and you can make it more fun if (1) you live near the ocean or (2) you have an aquarium nearby. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

More Literature Resources

I just updated my Web site with literature resources including where to get free e-books! It includes book lists, free e-books, and searchable databases. Enjoy!