January 19

Another Phenomena

I was walking through a nearby neighborhood and discovered a few oak leaves still attached to a branch, and although it is January, the leaves were still green. The remainder of the deciduous tree branches had dropped their leaves. Why do you think this green oak leaf is still attached to the tree?  “Phenomena are observable events that cause a student to wonder or engage with the process of science.

This reminded me of the following stories in which the little leaves don’t want to let go. There is certainly a life lesson here!

Click here for the Safeshare link of Leafy, the Leaf that Wouldn’t Leave.

Click here for the Safeshare link for The Little Yellow Leaf.

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In my backyard, I have some trees that have thin tan leaves, but they historically never lose their leaves until late spring. This phenomenon is called marcescence and occurs in American beech and many species of oak trees.

January 18

Snow People

You don’t see many snow people in Georgia! My neighbor, Daphne, made this snow boy after our rare snowfall.

Click here to watch Snowballs, a favorite story of mine and a great inspiration for the art below.

Use doilies for the body of your snow people (or animals) and then let your children choose from a variety of materials to bring it to life! We dipped sponges in white paint to add the snow. Write stories about your snow people characters.

If you don’t have snow, try stuffing white garbage bags with recycled paper, stack them, and make the snow person’s features with recyclables, clothes, or other art materials.

January 18

Snowflakes

Watching snowflakes is enchanting! The activities below connect art, science, math, and reading.

Click here for the Safeshare link.

“Snowflake Bentley” (1865-1931) was fascinated by snowflakes and in his quest to share their beauty discovered a way to photograph snowflakes in the early 1900s. Click here to see Snowflake Bentley’s photographs. Click here for the Safeshare link of Snowflake Bentley.

Snowflakes are beautiful, pure, and white,
And like God’s children,
No two are alike!

I tried to capture some photos of snowflakes. I’ve found that a material that is dark and water repellant, like a garbage bag works best. I need a better camera, but I had a little success.

Cutting snowflakes is always fun! Trace a circle on a piece of paper with a plate or other round item. Fold it in half. Then fold the half in thirds, so it looks like a pizza slice, then you will have six sections.

Click here for the Safeshare link to learn another method to make a six-sided snowflake.

Make giant snowflakes with larger paper.

Click here to watch real snowflakes form.

It’s also fun to make snowflakes with pattern blocks. These snowflakes were made by former kindergarten students. There are six pattern block shapes – square, triangle, trapezoid, rhombus, parallelogram, and hexagon. Each student began with a hexagon which has six sides, like a snowflake. Two trapezoids or six triangles also make a hexagon.

January 17

Repost: The Perfect Snow Day

My second grade class completed this writing project in 2014. Today’s snow in Georgia motivated me to repost. We haven’t had measurable snow here since 2018!

I’ve added these additional two stories for background information. Click here for an animated version of The Snowy Day. Click here for Snow Day!

Original Post:

We recently completed a project that we took through the writing process-prewriting, rough draft, revise and edit, final draft, and publish. Our final drafts are displayed in the hall, and we have received many compliments!

Prewriting:  We read There’s No Day Like a Snow Day, and afterwards listed activities we could do if we had a snow day.

We wrote our rough drafts using a sticky note graphic organizer. This system allowed us to easily rearrange our sentences during the revising process. I instructed the children to write a paragraph with a main idea, supporting details, and a closing sentence. Then, we listed ways we could make our writing more interesting-varying sentence length, beginning sentences in a variety of ways, including figurative language (alliteration, similes, or onomatopoeia), descriptive words, and greater detail. One of my goals was for them to use transition words, such as first, next, later, afterwards, and finally.

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Then I met individually with each child to help them revise (clarity, language, and sequence) and edit (punctuation, capitalization, and spelling) his/her rough draft. We copied our rough drafts in paragraph form. We are learning to indent the beginning of a paragraph.

Finally, each child made a snow setting and glued a picture of him/her into it. I took these pictures during our blizzard dress down day.



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This was a lot of work, but the final products and the skills the children mastered made it well worth the effort!

January 11

It’s All in a Name!

Yellow rump warbler visits always make me smile!

 

Animals receive their names for a variety of reasons and the following book explains what names tell us about an animal. How many animals could you add to their lists? I immediately thought of bluebird and red-eared slider. Click here for the Safeshare link.

For a fun follow-up, ask your children to create an animal and give it a name. Will it be named after a physical trait, how it moves, where it lives, the sound it makes, or the food it eats? Or present a photo or a video of an unfamiliar animal and brainstorm names for it.

Some animal names are actually incorrect, like starfish and jellyfish. Neither are fish at all! Can you think of any others? Children will enjoy this humorous story! Click here for the Safeshare link.

If you want to continue with this theme, ask children or other family members why they were given their names. I have found many children do not know. Interview grandparents to discover why they named their parents as they did. Search for the meaning and origin of a name on a website or in resource books. Do all cultures follow the same naming traditions? This is an interesting study.

Chrysanthemum is a fun story about names. Click here.

January 7

False Alarm

It has been my desire to spot an owl while on a hike. I have heard the call of a great horned owl at dusk, but I’ve never seen it.

It is easier to spot owls during winter months because leaves are off the trees, and it is therefore easier to see their silhouettes. On one of my recent walks, I noticed something that I thought was an owl, but when I took a closer look with binoculars, I realized it wasn’t a real owl after all. So disappointing! The search goes on. I did some additional research to improve my chances of finding one of these elusive birds of prey. One of the clues I will look for is whitewash, splatters of thick chalky white excrement on the ground and on tree branches found around owl roosting spots.

This hunt reminds me of Owl Moon, one of my favorite winter picture books. The illustrations are exceptional, and there are many examples of figurative language. Click here or here to watch the story.

See the source image

Click here for the Safeshare link for the informative video about owls below.

January 6

Birds of Many Colors

Just look at the colors of the birds visiting my suet feeders-cardinal, bluebird and goldfinch!

Click here for the story, My Colors Book Early Birds, written for very young scientists. This book introduces the concept of onomatopoeia (a word that suggests the sound that it describes) and simile (a figure of speech that compares two unlike items using connecting words such as “like” or “as”).

December 18

An Outdoor Family Tradition

When I first read this book, I believed the family was off to choose their Christmas tree, but there was a delightful surprise awaiting me. This charming story is sure to be a favorite with nature enthusiasts.

Click here for the Safeshare link to the story.

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Start a new family tradition and make edible ornaments for the birds. One of my favorites is a pinecone covered with peanut butter (natural is best) and rolled in birdseed. Hang the pinecones with twine and in the spring, the birds can use it for nesting material.

December 3

Another Use for Amazon Boxes

Many of us are receiving boxes this time of year. They are a great tool for engineers! Create something with boxes as a family or assign the activity as a virtual assignment. Use the following books for inspiration:

Click here and here for the Safeshare links.

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Click here for the Safeshare link.

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Because she isn’t able to purchase a dollhouse like her friend, this young girl decides to make her own with cardboard.

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Click here for the Safeshare link.

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There are many ways to attach cardboard with minimal tape and glue.

Check out a kit called makedo. The kit includes screwdrivers, screws, saws, and a variety of other items to build with cardboard. Click here for more information about makedo.

Click here to learn about five tools to cut cardboard safely. Children can easily and safely make straight cuts with Klever Kutters.

I have found canary scissors a useful tool for home and school. If cardboard boxes are too difficult for little hands to cut, use cereal and other food cartons.

See the source image

Click here for additional inspiration!