mossy by jan brett

December 31, 2012

Joining up with the Virtual Book Club for Kids. This month’s author is Jan Brett. We read the book Mossy.

Mossy by Jan Brett

Mossy is about an eastern box turtle. She spends her days in her favorite spot, by a little pond, so much so that she begins to grow moss (hence the name Mossy) on her shell and eventually a beautiful garden. Mossy catches the eye of not only a male box turtle but also a museum director who puts her on exhibit. Mossy is a favorite in the museum but she misses her pond and her fella. The story ends well for Mossy and the museum but I won’t spoil it–read the book!

In typical Jan Brett style, Mossy is filled with intricate detail that enriches the story, notably frames around each page that hint at what’s next in the story.

This book was perfect for us, the budding naturalist and museologist-in-training. Plus we are quite fond of the box turtle friends we have met.

eastern box turtle found in our backyard Lily and Jack (turtle ambassador from our fav nature center)

After our reading of the story, we headed over to Brett’s website to see what else we could find. We enjoyed the video of how to draw an eastern box turtle that includes the back story to Mossy.  There are printables, including a color-in of Lilypad Pond–Mossy’s home. There is also a contest that starts January 7th to win a library visit from Jan Brett, which we will try for.

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We have an abundance of moss

detail of moss                  moss wall

so for the activity to accompany the book we made a terrarium. Here’s how we did it–

Materials used:

  • glass container
  • marbles for drainage
  • crushed charcoal
  • sand
  • soil
  • moss

Instructions:

  1. We cleaned the container to prevent bacteria from growing later down the road.
  2. Then we placed the marbles at the bottom of the container.
  3. We added a thin layer of the crushed charcoal and then layered it with the sand.
  4. Next we added the soil.
  5. We added the moss.
  6. Lastly Lily decorated the terrarium with little bits of stones and shells she has collected over the years (those she was willing to part with, that is).

our little terrarium

This is a blog hop but I can’t post the linky (no javascript allowed on free WordPress blogs). Here is a list of the other bloggers that are participating in the Virtual Book Club:

Toddler ApprovedRainy Day MumAdventures in Reading with Kids3 DinosaursRoyal BalooThe Educators’ Spin On ItInspiration LaboratoriesPleasantest Thing Edventures with Kids Two Big Two Little Playing With Words 365Kitchen Counter ChroniclesOutlaw MomMommy and Me Book ClubCrafty Moms ShareNo Twiddle TwaddleThe Good Long Road Ready. Set. Read 2 MeReading Confetti Mama SmilesJuggling with KidsMom to 2 Posh Lil DivasCreekside LearningCreative Family FunThe Usual MayhemTeach PreschoolPlayDrMomCraftoArtHere Come the GirlsBeing a Conscious ParentSmiling like SunshineCrayon FrecklesTrain Up a ChildSmile Play Learn

Joining up with the Virtual Book Club for Kids. This month’s author is Tomie dePaola. We read the book The Song of Francis.

The Song of Francis, book cover

The Song of Francis is a story of Saint Francis of Assisi; it beautifully captures his character through simple text and vibrant illustrations.

Lily found a kindred spirit in Saint Francis; she loved that he loved the birds and nature.

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I was interested to learn that dePaolo considered being a Benedictine Monk for a time.  After living in a monastery for a few months he rejoined secular life but he continues to draw on religious inspiration.[1] He has created murals, such as that in the Dominican Retreat Chapel in Niskayuna, NY.

Religious influence can also be seen in his artistic work as an author and illustrator; dePaola has written many stories based on religious stories and characters besides The Song of Francis, including The Miracles of Jesus, The Parables of Jesus, Mary: The Mother of Jesus, Francis: The Poor Man of Assisi, Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland, and The Holy Twins: Benedict and Scholastica.

We explored the life of Saint Francis by looking at his song, the Canticle of the Sun (here is a modern interpretation that we listened to performed by Jacob JohnsSon) and images of him in manuscripts, icons, and folk art (favorite works of Saint Francis include those by Sadao Watanabe, Jose Fransico Borges, Elayne LaPorta, M.C. Escher, and Gertrud Mueller Nelson). I also read to Lily excerpts from, The Little Flowers of Saint Francis of Assisi and  God’s Troubadour, The Story of St. Francis Assisi by Sophie Jewett, a children’s story about the life of Saint Francis.

Because she is fascinated with The Secret of Kells, I decided to expand our reading by having Lily make a manuscript-style artwork of Saint Francis. Lily made her artwork by first drawing out the images and text in pencil. She then went over the lines with permanent marker and filled in the color with watercolor paints. She drew a picture of Saint Francis with a bird and her text (she had me spell everything out for her) reads, “Saint Francis preached to the birds. He loved nature.” 

 

Lily's manuscript-style drawing of Saint Francis

 
 
 

This is a blog hop but I can’t post the linky (no javascript allowed on free WordPress blogs). Here is a list of the other bloggers that are participating in the Virtual Book Club:

Toddler ApprovedRainy Day MumAdventures in Reading with Kids3 DinosaursRoyal BalooThe Educators’ Spin On ItInspiration LaboratoriesPleasantest Thing Edventures with Kids Two Big Two Little Playing With Words 365Kitchen Counter ChroniclesOutlaw MomMommy and Me Book ClubCrafty Moms ShareNo Twiddle TwaddleThe Good Long Road Ready. Set. Read 2 MeReading Confetti Mama SmilesJuggling with KidsMom to 2 Posh Lil DivasCreekside LearningCreative Family FunThe Usual MayhemTeach PreschoolPlayDrMomCraftoArtHere Come the GirlsBeing a Conscious ParentSmiling like SunshineCrayon FrecklesTrain Up a ChildSmile Play Learn

 

 


[1]“Tomie dePaola.” Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2012. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 23 Nov. 2012. 

 

 

united states geography

December 7, 2011

After her introduction to geography, she studied the geography of the United States.

To bring everything together before we set sail further out into the world we did a me-on-the-map activity by making nesting paper boxes (there are instructions on how to make the boxes from Family Fun) with satellite images of the boundaries we live within (starting with Earth down to our town) on each. She wrote the labels on each box. And we pasted a little picture of her in the smallest box.

Bug-on-the-map

geography introduction

December 7, 2011

For L’s lessons of geography I decided we are going to focus more on getting a taste of the world outside our neck of the woods and not a comprehensive study.  I don’t think it is necessarily helpful for her at this age to memorize rote facts, but she should be aware that there is diversity and common themes across the globe.

But before we stepped foot out of our own door, I wanted to make sure she had a foundation that would help her take the most out of our lessons. The first thing we did was the map study awhile back. Then she made a poster of the differences between wants and needs (and I am going to make a point during our study to compare how these are met throughout the world). We also went into focus on how we meet our needs. Some examples of what we did– she made a paper model of our house after we had a discussion on what makes a house and she helped me plan meals for a week. I also introduced physical geography beyond what we discussed in her map study by reading The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth and by making a play dough model of the earth (idea from Meet the Dubiens).

thanksgiving lesson plan

November 23, 2011

It makes more sense to tell you about our Thanksgiving lesson plans now rather than after, like I usually do, just in case something piques your interest. Even if you are not looking for formal lessons, some of these can be fun to do on turkey day with the kiddos.

We are going to make and play these games—Wampanoag Toss and Catch and Pilgrim Fox and Geese (from plimoth.org). We are going to choose two traditional recipes from plimoth.org for our dinner tomorrow. If I can get it to load (we have dial up), we will explore this interactive also from Plimoth (it is my favorite source for all things Thanksgiving). We are going to read some historical fiction letters from Scholastic. (If you want more I would suggest exploring the Plimoth and/or Scholastic pages further.)  We are also going to read Squanto’s Journey: the Story of the First Thanksgiving by Joseph Bruchac, and because art is her favorite, she will make these crafts that I found through Pinterest—

Also, because we are trying to be more mindful and it is really what the day is for, we will take the time to think about what we are thankful for. I think we will make the sunflower plant from Rebecca Calagna Blog becasue doing is much more fun than me talking.

Happy early Thanksgiving Day to you and yours!

“lining things up”

November 15, 2011

Since school started in August, L has been working on the “Lining Things Up” section of Art for the Very Young, Ages 3-6 by Elizabeth Kelly and Joanne McCanville. This book introduces basic art concepts and techniques through activities that emphasize process, and the book also provides helpful references to relevant artists/artworks. Here is what she worked on.

Line Dropping–introduced by looking at Franz Kline’s b+w abstract compositions

Foot Path–she loves footprints, looking for those of animals, making her own in sand or with her wet feet on pavement so she def loved to get to make footprints with paint

Lines of Movement–lines made to the music of the White Stripes, followed up with a reading of Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Spiral Lines–she got to play with my record player

Glue Lines–she made these with colored glue and now she can use them for printing

Calligraphy for Kids–first I showed her some of John Stevens’ work and made her a calligraphy pen out of a craft stick cut at an angle and she went to work

Painting with Rollers–using rollers from her playdough set and her little chubby Viking cars.

Multi-media Lines–she loves the color green and paint so she didn’t focus much on other media but she did try some different lines

Tape and Color–testing out the perpendicular lines she learned about in math

Line and Shape Design–she named her work, “Playground.” She made it from dried spaghetti that I dyed black (well, almost black, more like a really dark purple) and cardboard she painted black and cut into shapes.

We skipped the lessons, “Group Lines” and “Outdoor Art” because they were difficult to execute with just one artist (the book is designed for brick and mortar classrooms not necessarily for homeschoolers). I supplemented this unitwith lessons I found through Pinterest. They gave her a chance to explore lines in additional ways. Here is what she worked on.

(Projects from smART Class, bloesem kids, Modern Parents Messy Kids, and Family Fun.)

We also read Laura Ljungkvist’s Follow the Line. Not only did the book get L to counting, thinking, and observing  with the questions Ljungkvist posed but also brought in the concept of line in a captivating way–the line goes everywhere and brings everything together, from the front to the back cover of the book and through the little world Ljungkvist creates in between. 

….

Overall, I think L has a good grasp of the concept of lines and the different ways she can make them. And now she notices them everywhere and enjoys it when they come up in other lessons and as she adds more to her repertoire.

rover-bot

October 31, 2011

I’m back after a nice long break and taking time to get us back into the rhythm of school.

Besides carving pumpkins and generally chillaxing, we spent our break working on a fun project from the blog, lilla-a-design–The Robot Exhibition.

L spent quite a bit of time collecting her materials for her robot before she decided to get to work putting it together. My contribution was to make it really roll (I added a third wheel and axel), otherwise, she designed it, from the sweet little purple cap to its rainbow wheels. L named her robot Rover and gave it the power to pour coffee and do karate.

Rover was assembled and photographed in a flurry to make the deadline (because this mama is a terrible procrastinator). So since then I’ve figured out a way to make it sturdier with hot glue (originally it was held together with masking tape).

This morning we got a look at the exhibition over at lilla-a, and it was fun to see the whole bunch of robots. The creativity presented there is inspiring, and we are pretty proud of Rover’s presence in amongst the crew.

Thanks to lill-a for putting this together!