We are just finishing up an English unit, and with Christmas season in full swing I wanted to take a break from the usual curriculum and doing something different. In our history unit, we are approaching a chapter on Homer’s Odyssey, so I could feel all the stars aligning for a Christmas Poetry unit! Its still very much in the works, I don’t have any cute printables to share with you. But I wanted to get the idea out there before Christmas was done and gone and I would have to wait for another year. So here’s the framework that I’ve been coming up with. My kids range from pre-school to 5th and I am trying to incorporate something for everyone. If you are still scrambling for a good December plan, feel free to join in on the poetry fun!
I’ve organized what I want to teach into six lessons. For each lesson, I will introduce a poetry term, a type of poetry, a Christmas poem (when possible), and have the kids do a range of activities from writing, to STEM projects, to art projects. I cut a big Christmas tree out of green poster board and wrote each term on an ornament. We'll hang them up one by one as we go through the lessons.
Poetry Term : Poetry
Poem Type : Epic
Poem : Homer's Odyssey
We would have done this anyways in history, so it will kick off our poetry unit. We’ll be listening to Mary Pope Osbourne’s audio edition and be coloring these great printables from TeachersPayTeachers. This will be a filler activity for several weeks as we go through the ancient Greece portion of Story of the World Volume 1.
Poetry Terms : Rhyme, Stanza
Poem Type : Narrative
Poem : How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Activity : Grow the Grinch’s Heart 3 sizes! (Science project) and the Grinch paper plate (Art project).
Assignment : Write a 2 stanza, rhyming poem that tells a short story.
Poetry Term : Alliteration
Poem Type : Limerick
Poem : Still googling some cute Christmas one's that I'll put in a short powerpoint. We'll also use Dr. Suess' A-Z to really learn the alliteration.
Activity : Melting Snowman picture -->This was my inspiration!<--
Assignment : Write a limerick about a snowman to match the above mentioned picture, using your own name and some alliteration. I’m going to be flexible on the syllable count for this because I don’t want that to stunt their writing at this point. I came up with my own as an example!
"There once was a snowman named Julie,
Who loved to consume good coffee,
But coffee is hot
so before she was not
She solemnly switch to sweet tea"
Poetry Terms : Simile/Metaphor
Poem Type : Narrative
Poem : The Night Before Christmas (We’ll listen to Jim Weiss’ rendition, which is on sale this month over at welltrainedmind.com for a whopping 99 cents! We’ll also check out a copy at the library and identify as many similes and metaphors as we can.
Activity : Sleigh Building Challenge
Assignment : Write a few similes or metaphors. For the younger kids, I’ll start specifically with colors, eg. “Santa’s coat was red like a tomato”. It can be very, very simple!
Poetry Terms : Repetition
Poem Type : Sonnet
Poem : Joy to the World (not technically a sonnet, so don't yell at me. I'm not ready for Shakespeare yet!)
Activity : Identify repetition in Joy to the World
Assignment : Cursive writing practice - copy the carol in cursive and add a decorative border.
Poetry Term : Personification
Poem Type : Haiku
Poem : When Cindy Lou Who / Caught the Grinch with the presents / She believed his lies. - from 365 Christmas Haikus
Activity : Watch the book "Wish to be a Christmas Tree" on Youtube. Build a gumdrop Christmas Tree.
Assignment : Attempt a haiku about a Christmas object, using personification.
I made one of these up too! If I couldn't do it, I couldn't ask the kids too. Here we go. Don't laugh!
Christmas Lights Sparkle / Little elves dance on my tree / Delivering joy
And there it is! If I get through 4-5 lessons I will consider that a big success. What are your favorite Christmas poems?
We have never celebrated Halloween with our kids. Not out of any big conviction, but just because we have never been in the United States while our kids were trick or treating age. That is... until last year. Last year they got the full, candy-filled, costumed-out, Halloween experience. We went to Halloween parties, a Halloween parade, and trick-or-treated in our neighborhood (yes, our OWN neighborhood, which I came to sadly find out is rare these days). I was glad that they got to experience all of that at least once, even though it did start a steady stream of candy into the house that wouldn't end until after Easter.
So now, for the first time, I feel somewhat obligated to give the kids at least a little dose of festivities this year. Since the kids are in Pre-K, 1, 2, and 5, I'm trying to find activities that will be fun for everyone, with a little bit of art, science and math mixed in without them noticing much. And of course there will be candy, lots and lots of candy.
1. Halloween Bingo
This Free Bingo Download will engage all of your kids from Pre-K to fifth! There are 4 levels that include different mental math problems from Number Recognition to Order of Operations. But the best part is, they all end up in the same numbers, so that everyone can play together!
Level 1 - Number Recognition, suitable for Pre-K to 1st, depending on skill level. Even if your Pre-K student doesn't recognize numbers all the way to 50, this is a party, so let bigger siblings help them out!
Level 2 - Addition and Subtraction up to 20, Doubles, and Near Doubles Facts. For numbers over 30, its Missing Numbers. Ideal for K-2, depending on skill level.
Level 3 - Addition and Subtraction up to 100, a few Missing Numbers and a few Adding 3 numbers. This is good for 2nd-3rd.
Level 4 - Multiplication, Division, and Basic Order of Operations. This would work for 4th-5th.
Depending on your students' mental math skills, you could choose to let them, or not let them, work the problems first and write the solutions in the square. I love that it is so flexible, and I've kept it simple because ink is expensive! There are two different cards for each level. Click below to download!
2. Graphing M&M minis
My mom teaches sixth grade and has been doing this project with them for the 15 years! The key is the M&M minis! This means kids will have more candy to count, organize and graph, with less candy to eat. Sneaky, right? And this is great for all ages too!
Pre-K - Organize the colors and match them to a colored cup or square.
K-1st - Count the candies and organize them by color, least amount to the greatest amount. Older learners can also make a simple bar graph.
2nd-4th - Make a bar graph or line plot by color.
5th-6th - Make a pie chart of the color ratios.
3. Candy Science
Its definitely a win if you can use up some candy without it actually being eaten, right? So maybe these are great after-Halloween experiments to use up some of that trick-or-treat treasure in a way that doesn't involve cavities.
We are going to try Steampoweredfamily.com's Layered Lollipops, but she also has a whole 31 days of Halloween STEM projects that are worth checking out.
4. Pumpkin Art
My 2nd grader recently told me that we don't do enough art in our schooling and I have to admit that she is probably right. So I'm looking for easy, low-prep, low-cost ideas that I can incorporate on a more regular basis. When I came across this Pumpkin Apple Stamping from frugalmomeh.com, I thought it was so cute and perfect!
5. Candy Corn Fractions
I saw this on pinterest as an easy way to make a Halloween banner. But we are going to make it the day before and do some fraction lessons with them first. Then we can hang them for the next day's party!
So that is the PLAN for Halloween! We get back from Malaysia just two days before, so I am trying to prep now and cross my fingers that I will have the energy and togetherness to get everything ready for the big day!
You can follow on Instagram @thetypetree to see the final results!
The past year and a half I pretty much gave up blogging. We planned to take a short break from traveling and living abroad, and I actually intended to use the break to be productive and invest more heavily into the blog and my pre-made printable collection on Etsy. However, instead, I ended up investing 9 months into a creative project (Hello World, Again #1), which we now lovingly call Gale. We spent an extra year stateside, wondering what the future held and if we would finally just settle into what we like to call "normal" life. With the extra physical stress and emotional anxiety, I was left with the creative energy of a paperweight!
Neglecting the blog seemed inconsequential. When I wrote, I always felt like I was rambling on to myself. And that is pretty much why I was doing it - to keep track of lesson ideas, family travels and to challenge myself to write and create. I never imagined that anyone was really paying attention. That's why I was really surprised to hear from several random strangers over the course of the year who were loving my posts and wondering when I was going to finish some of my curriculum series.
Well, slowly we started to figured out how a family of seven functions and we decided it wasn't debilitating enough to give up our passion for travel and globally educating our small army. We are currently in India (Hello World, Again #2), where we really like to stay when we aren't hopping around Asia. Homeschooling has resumed after a one year experience in the US public school system. And we have some exciting trips planned for the next 12 months. So I feel that it is the perfect time for me to get back into the habit of forcing myself to write, and hopefully helping some of you in the process. And that's Hello World, Again #3!
Here's a bite size chunk of our last year and a half, which included plenty of exploring our own native lands. :)
My oldest girl turned seven this month. For the past year, she's been saying she wants a pool party and I kept telling her it might not be able to happen in October! But we just so happened to join the YMCA in September and they offer great rates on indoor pool parties. Even though it seemed a bit out of season, we had a blast celebrating with an Under the Sea Mermaid theme. There are so many cute ideas out there and I couldn't help but do more themed food than I usually do. Of course, first things first, I had to come up with a new invitation design. It was a good excuse to play around with my new iPad Pro and Pencil. I've been using the Astropad App to draw directly into Illustrator and it has been life-changing! The invitation is in my Etsy shop here!
I know party favors can get out of hand, but I do like to do something. The trouble is I always end up inviting tons of kids and it can get expensive! I knew I was on to something when I saw this great tutorial for homemade Sea Glass Candy. I put my own twist on the packaging and wha-la, party favors for about $10 total! I had to make 2 batches to fill 18 bags. For the couple of really young kids that came, I filled their bags with fish-shaped fruit snacks. You can download and print the tail template for FREE.
Then there was the food. I have to admit, after being away from the US for several years and not having access to Hobby Lobby, I was so amazed at all of the creative stuff you can buy now and had to control myself from buying EVERYTHING. But I couldn't pass up food spray paint. Apparently the kids had never seen it before either and were unsure about the gold oreos that I was inspired to make from this post. One of my friends was so quick in her wits to explain to the kids that ALL the food they were eating had some sort of artificial coloring and that they didn't need to worry.
The adorable crab sandwiches were inspired by All That Glitters and the jello oceans cups I put my own spin on after seeing a bunch of different versions. The seaweed celery sticks were my last minute attempt to provide something healthy for the adults!
There are a lot of really amazing mermaid cakes out there! Most of them are far beyond my cake decorating talents! I was inspired by this simple, yet cute cake done by RoseBakes.com. I avoid fondant at all costs, so I made the mermaid using the "Frozen Buttercream Transfer" Method. I have done it for one other cake in the past. Its a great option if you feel confident with piping, but not with fondant.
I hope that you found some helpful tips and party ideas!
Jolly Phonics - Letter L
We lick the lollipop
We lick the lollipop
/l/ /l/ /l/ /l/
We lick the lollipop
Mary Had a Little Lamb
Mary had a little lamb,
little lamb, little lamb
Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow.
This Little Light of Mine
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
Leaf rubbing is a great activity to get the kids outside and could be integrated easily with a science or art lesson. You don't need anything but a blank piece of paper and a crayon (and leaves of course!), but I have included a worksheet that you can use that reinforced the letter L and the spelling of leaf. After collecting and tracing all of our leaves, we even incorporated some math by organizing them from the biggest to smallest!
The letter L coloring sheet is another great way to reinforce vocabulary. And the picture story reviews vocabulary from i to L. Not only is this a fun activity to read aloud together. But if you are teaching a class, you can print copies for the kids to take home and practice with their parents. This is a great pre-reading activity that will help build their confidence for further skills.
Print these letter L flashcards for easy practice of the L sound and vocabulary. You can use the black and white to let the kids make and color their own for practice outside the classroom. They are free to use, but do not advertise them as your own and do give proper credit when linking to them.
Luke's great-grandparents immigrated to the US from Sweden, so I thought I should include it on my country list and learn a thing or two. I hardly scratched the surface of what there is to know about this rich and complex country, but I really enjoyed the month!
I really dropped the ball on this one and actually forgot to listen to anything throughout the month! I did come across this video that has gone viral in the past few weeks, a parody inviting all world leaders over for fika, the Swedish word for a sweets/coffee break.
There is tension in Sweden over racial and refugee issues like there are all over Europe and the US. Recently a Muslim school has come under fire for allegedly separating girls and boys on the school bus. They also reinstated their draft for both men and women due to the decrease in volunteers, but growing threat from Russia.
In honor of Allan Karlsson (the hundred year old man...) and his love for vodka, Skal! Cheers!
He struggles through his life being misunderstood, depressed, weak, lonely and afraid. His devotion to his work was often a means to escape the dark feelings that haunted him. If we were his contemporaries, we would surely criticize him for being a workaholic and unable to appreciate the important things in life. The book was also not a captivating story, it was pretty dry and boring, at least saved by the controversial letters from Alfred to his mistress of twenty years. I trudged through (for the sake of the challenge, mostly), and ultimately I’m glad I did because it has made me think about a few things more deeply.
In our obsession with enjoying life to the fullest, traveling, exploring and staying connected, do we forget that there were men and women throughout history that had to invent these things that we so casually enjoy? When we travel with ease across countries and borders, do we stop to appreciate the millions of people that have done something to make that possible? Alfred Nobel’s dynamite gave a huge advantage to the travel industry by greatly reducing the time to construct railways. Can I condemn him for creating something so destructive while enjoying the obvious benefits of it?
I have often sat at airports, gazing out the window as the planes are taxied, bags are loaded and passengers accommodated. So many people have to work hard at their jobs day in and day out to make my choice of life possible. This goes for almost everything I enjoy - the food I eat, the clothes I wear and even the books that I read. With all of the social strife that is raging today, maybe we should all stop and think about how the people that we judge, accuse and hate, might play an integral role behind the scenes of our daily lives and the luxuries we enjoy. Are we contributing to the future or just enjoying the fruit of other people’s past labors?
I wonder what Alfred Nobel would have thought if he had lived to see the twentieth century, the most barbaric and deadly of all time. His last will and testament, which established the Nobel Peace Prize, was not just a last ditch attempt to make up for devoting his life to destruction. He actually had a keen desire for peace all of his life, and his greatest ambition was to create something so destructive and deadly that nations would be forced to live peacefully. As anti-social as he was, he had a deep concern for world peace that we would do well to emulate, first and foremost in our daily interactions with one another.
Jolly Phonics - Letter K
Kites are flying in the sky
/k/ /k/ /k/
Kites are flying in the sky
/k/ /k/ /k/
Kites are flying in the sky, flying in the sky
Kites are flying in the sky
/k/ /k/ /k/
Kick the Ball
Kick, Kick, Kick The Ball.
Kick it very high!
Kick it over the garden Wall.
Kick it to the Sky.
Kangaroo, Kangaroo, hop up and down
Kangaroo, Kangaroo, turn around!
You jump so high,
That you reach the sky!
Hold your Joey tight!
"K is for Kick" coloring sheet -Reinforces vocabulary and practice handwriting skills.
Letter K Coloring Book - Reinforces vocabulary and develops an interest and confidence in reading books.
1. Fold along the middle dotted line.
2. Fold back and forth along the dotted lines like a fan, ensuring the title page is on the outside.
3. Put two staples to secure the spine.
4. Cut along the open edge so that all the pages open.
"K is for Kite" Craft - Develop fine motor and problem solving skills
1. Print the template on various colors of card stock. There are three kites per template and I've done my best to set it up in a way that minimizes cutting.
2. Cut the triangle pieces out (or if you have older kids, you can let them give it a go.) You can use this as a good teaching opportunity both for triangles, and for "Big, Medium, Small" since there are three sizes of triangles.
3. Mix up the colors, so that each student can get a variety of pieces for their kite craft.
4. Children can glue the pieces in the correct spaces on their kite picture.
Download the preschool letter K vocabulary flashcards and activity worksheets to use for personal and educational purposes. Do not sell them or offer them as your own. Please give proper credit wherever you use them.
The flashcards are formatted for A4 and can be printed back to back, cut and laminated. There is a color and a black and white version in case you want to save on printing costs and do the coloring yourself.
Having picked Botswana completely at random, I couldn't have been more interested and impressed by this little country! A population of just 2 million, it is an example for the entire continent being the least corrupt, least violent and most politically stable country on the continent.
My favorite music was this guy Ronnie on his guitar. Overall the music was beautiful and soothing to listen to. I listened to some very traditional songs where they were singing accapella as a group and it honestly sounded like a choir of angels.
While the country has been peacefully and democratically ruled by the Khamas since independence in 1966, more political parties are forming and the current government has been blamed for slow economic growth and for high unemployment about the youth. The next elections will be held in 2019 and prior to that a coalition has united against the current government. I hope that they can continue to maintain peace even if such a massive transition of power takes place. Also this month, Botswana was hit by a cyclone which has left flash floods and many damaged homes. It is hard to believe there are flash floods in a country that is 70% desert!
Laleme le le lengwe ga le a lekanela - One language is never enough! So true, I wish I knew more!
My very favorite thing to buy when I travel is EARRINGS! It is completely possible to have too many coffee mugs and magnets, but I don't think it is possible to have too many earrings, especially when each one has a story. However, packing earrings when traveling can be a nightmare. I usually put them in a small pouch and they end up in a tangled mess. Knowing we will be on the road for roughly 7 months of 2017, I knew I needed a better solution. I scoured the house for something I could repurpose, and I ended up with this great solution without buying anything new!
STEP ONE :
Find a pouch that is the perfect size for your earring collection. If you travel a lot, you will probably have something like this lying around. Otherwise you could sew something with scrap fabric, or pick up an inexpensive one at the store.
STEP TWO :
Cut a piece of extra-thick card stock to fit easily inside your pouch. I cut out the side of a cereal box and it was the perfect thickness.
STEP THREE :
Lay out all of the earrings you want to bring on your trip. You'll want to organize them by length on your diy earring rack, so its good to be able to see everything you are working with.
STEP FOUR :
When organizing your earrings, you will inevitably find that one who's match has completely disappeared. I used this to punch my holes. It will work best if it is a straight, thick stud. It will probably end up bent in the end, so don't use a good earring. You could also poke your holes with a thick sewing needle. After punching each pair of holes, go ahead and put the earrings in the holes, so that you can get accurate spacing for the next pair.
STEP FIVE :
Continue until your card is completely full.
STEP SIX :
Slide the card easily into your pouch and you are ready to go!
Add a mini-binder clip and hang up your earrings at home or on-the-go for easy access anywhere.
Luke and I are married and have four little munchkins that travel the world with us. I blog about living overseas, travel, kids, education and graphic design.
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