Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Picnic & Play: The Tale of the Squawky Young Birds

This morning we went back to our established progression of movement verses in Circle Time. Zac liked the animal yoga poses but he really liked returning to the familiarity of what we had been doing before.

We didn't do a wrapping game because I had our puppetry carefully set up under a silk and I didn't want anyone to bump into it! Our story this morning was also from The Breathing Circle. We did "The Tale of the Squawky Young Birds" on page 120. To do this as a puppetry you need a basket to be the nest, one large feather and two small ones to be the mama and baby birds, a long piece of green roving to be the python, a ball of golden wool to be the lion, and a button to be the owl. Zac was absolutely entranced by this pedagogical story. It has quite a build up but comes to a comforting ending.

Afterwards we opened up the Birds of Illinois bin from IDNR which we checked out yesterday from the public library. This bin is free to borrow (and they can be found in every county of Illinois) and packed with stuff. Zac is little so we did Box 1 with him. Box 1 contains six Audubon stuffed animals, plush birds which each play their song when you squeeze them. Box 1 contains American robin, cardinal, mallard, mourning dove, red-tailed hawk, and wild turkey. After playing with them we went on a nature walk around our neighborhood to listen for bird songs.

The Breathing Circle:
Learning through the Movement of the Natural Breath

by Nell Smyth

It's funny because once you tune into something you seem to see it everywhere! Birds, birds, birds. Completely by coincidence, Becca just finished sewing up her knitted owl pattern yesterday and Zac just finished up his bedtime read aloud The Starry Bird by Reg Down last night. (Even I was on pins and needles wondering what was going to hatch out of that egg!)

I will freely admit that I got that bin from the library to serve two purposes. Zac is doing Bird activities this week in Picnic & Play but, as a nice spin-off from Local History & Geography, my Science Club kids are going to start with Birds of Illinois! The great thing about Birds is that it works for all ages, with older children going into it at a deeper level. I found a ton of great materials in the bin and I already had quite a few ideas of things we could do.

Here's a brainstorm list of resources I have on hand... things I want to buy... possible activities. I welcome suggestions!

The Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton W. Burgess

Bird Egg Feather Nest by MaryJo Koch

hang bird feeders in the yard

mix up hummingbird nectar - ratios

Illinois Birds activity PDF from IDNR

Illinois Birds bin from IDNR - some of my favorite items

there's also a great chapter book biography of Audubon which won the Newbery Honor in 1937

take easels and draw and paint outside, nature sketching

"Classifiying Shoes" activity from Classification Clues, review Linnaean classification

Darwin and his finches

The Tree of Life: Charles Darwin by Peter Sis

nomenclature cards biomes of the world - compare birds across biomes across the world


Beaks! by Sneed B. Collard III

beak lab - TpT options, combine ideas, make sure everything is nut free

barn owl pellet dissection from Nature Watch

The Barn Owls by Tony Johnston

Owl Pellet Bone Sorting Chart (PDF)


Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart

crush blue jay feather in mortar & pestle

buy peacock feathers from Nature Watch


An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Hutts Aston

ostrich egg and emu egg from Nature Watch, $29.00 each

eggs - chicken, duck, peacock

membrane diffusion activity with vinegar, corn syrup

eggs and chickens at farm


Urban Roosts: Where Birds Nest in the City

collection of bird nests

A Nest is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston

bird nest box

weaving activities with branches


birdwatching logs

Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs: Eastern Region Audio CD

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

MLB Planning: Local History & Geography

I have been collecting notes all summer long as to what I might incorporate into our Local History & Geography block, plus I have my notes from introducing this topic last year in Science Club. (This was by request. The Science Club kids said they wanted to learn about what was in their very own backyard and surprise and teach their parents things they hadn't slowed down enough to notice. How perceptive of them!!!)

When we worked on this topic last year it didn't work at all well to start with the present and go backwards in time, so we will begin with the very formation of the land we are living on today. I know that there will be lots of events this year celebrating the bicentennial of Illinois, so I expect that we will continue to dip into this topic even after the main lesson is formally over. It's fascinating for me to study Illinois since I didn't grow up here.

Here are collected my notes and musings in a rough chronological order and I'm open to additional suggestions!

Of course I will also share the actual lessons as they unfold all month long.

Into the Field: A Guide to Locally Focused Teaching by Clare Walker Leslie

How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World by Faith McNulty

layers of earth tapestry, weaving on the loom our backyard meadow with the layers of soil under it, biome jars

nomenclature booklets for parts of the biomes, parts of the soil, layers of the soil

"The World Beneath Our Feet" poster, IDNR

Mountain Dance by Thomas Locker

Appalachian vs. Rocky mtns, what is the oldest mountain range on earth, plate tectonics, This Dynamic Planet map, video of new ocean floor being formed as molten rock bubbles up

Pangea puzzle, IDNR fossils bin, fossils book, Tully monster (IL state fossil), modeling beeswax

fossils IL special guest Laurel?

Grand Canyon by Jason Chin

coal, fern forests, IL mining

Illinois Topographic State Wall Map

field trip to Little River

IDNR prairies bin

petroglyphs field trip - Fountain Bluff, Piney Creek Ravine

Journey to Cahokia: A Boy's Visit to the Great Mound City by Albert Lorenz

mound builders

French, fur traders, beaver, Mississippi River, shape of Illinois, map making, compass rose, scale

Looking Down by Steve Jenkins

Ste. Genevieve field trip - links from Hilary

Louisisiana Purchase - Lewis & Clark

Fort de Chartres

Fort Massac (Encampment weekend Oct 20/21)

French & Indian War

when did IL become a state

local history, Lincoln, debates, John A Logan museum
one room schoolhouse at John A Logan college (Oct 12)
Lincoln museum springfield

Jackson County Historical Society, Jackson County Memories: The Early Years book

bricks made in Murphysboro were used in the construction of the Panama Canal

Illinois 200 articles

Leslie cave Underground Railroad

L is for Lincoln: An Illinois Alphabet by Kathy-Jo Wargin

Illinois: A History in Pictures by Gerald Danzer

The Great Fire by Jim Murphy

The Voyageur in the Illinois Country: The Fur Trade’s Professional Boatmen in Mid America by Margaret Kimball Brown

Colonial Ste. Genevieve: An Adventure on the Mississippi Frontier by Carl Ekberg

IDNR state symbols bin

corn watercolor painting

Thu Sep 27
pumpkin patch visit

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!