Monday, August 31, 2020

"Bone Poems" by Jeff Moss

I love this book from the American Museum of Natural History! In fact, since I have an autographed copy and I'm quite sure I've never met Jeff Moss, I suspect I bought it at the museum gift shop in DC. I'm in the middle of teaching about dinosaurs -- and trying to present the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous Periods separately instead of jumbling them all up -- and it occurred to me that I've never noted which poems go with which periods. So, here goes!

I often use Bone Poems with the study of the human body as well, especially "A Poem to Help You Figure Out What Bone the Patella Is" and "206." They are humorous, as you would expect from the co-creator of Sesame Street.

"About This Book" - page 13

"Bones" - page 20

"Gotta Find a Footprint" - page 36

"What the Paleontologist Said When She Uncovered the Biggest Dinosaur Bone She Had Ever Seen" - page 65

"Where to Find Millions of Bones" - page 78

"Lucy in the Museum" - page 72

"Eggs" - page 75

"The Jellyfish and The Clam" - page 28
Cambrian Period

"Octracoderms" - page 50
Silurian Period

"Crocodiles, Turtles, Beetles, and Frogs" - page 47
Cretaceous / Triassic / Carboniferous / Permian
beetles are Carboniferous so they're the oldest

"Dimetrodon's Sail" - page 48
Permian Period

"Eating Problem #1 (Apatosaurus)" - page 14
Jurassic Period

"Bye-Bye, Brontosaurus" - page 32
Jurassic Period

"Eating Problem #2 (Brachiosaurus)" - page 34
Jurassic Period

"I'm Going to Ask a Stegosaur to Dinner" - page 45
Jurassic Period

"Words That Describe the Eating Habits of Two Dinosaurs and My Cousin"
- page 44
Jurassic / Cretaceous

"Quetzalcoatlus" - page 30
Cretaceous Period

"America, the Beautiful Home of Dinosaurs" - page 18
Cretaceous Period

"Dinosaur Math Quiz" - page 40
Monoclonius, Triceratops, and Pentaceratops are Cretaceous

"The Arms of Deinocheirus" - page 21
Cretaceous Period

"Ankylosaurus" - page 16
Cretaceous Period

"Anatotitan" - page 25
Cretaceous Period

"The Horn" - page 29
Parasaurolophus is Cretaceous

""Pachycephalosaurus" - page 38
Cretaceous Period

"A (Mostly) Dinosaur Alphabet" - page 26
Xiphactinus & Zalamdalestes are Cretaceous

"True Colors (Something to Thnk About If It's True That Birds Are Descended from Dinosaurs) - page 23
Cretaceous Period

"Something Else to Think About If It's True That Birds Are Descended from Dinosaurs" - page 41
Tyrannosaurus rex is Cretaceous

"Odd Pair" - page 60
Tyrannosaurus rex is Cretaceous
cockroach is Carboniferous

"Incorrect" - page 51

"Cold Enough" - page 52

"An Ancient Horse" - page 46
Hyracotherium is Paleogene Period (Eocene Epoch)

"A Change of Mind" - page 56
fish walking on land is Devonian Period
wolves becoming whales is Paleogene Period (Eocene Epoch)

"Hippos and Elephants: Two Stories That Are Probably True (Except Maybe the Parts About Talking and Thinking)" - page 53
hippos are 15 MYA so that's Neogene Period (Miocene Epoch)
elephants are 1.6 MYA so that's Quaternary Period

"A Poem to Help You Figure Out What Bone the Patella Is" - page 64
chimpanzees and humans diverged between 5 and 7 MYA
Neogene Period (Miocene Epoch)

"A Poem About One Way Scientists Tell How Smart Our Ancestors Were: They Measure the Brain Size by Filling the Skull with Uncooked Rice and Then Pouring the Rice into Measuring Cups (Yucch!)" - page 59
early humans from 3 MYA is Neogene Period (Pliocene Epoch)

"What You Should Answer If Some Scientist Comes Up to You and Says, 'What Do All Proboscideans Have in Common?'" - page 58
Quaternary Period

"The Evolution of the Woolly Mammoth" - page 66
Quaternary Period

"Something to Think About If Someone Asks You If You Would Like to Move into a Beautiful New House Right Next Door to a Saber-Toothed Tiger Family" - page 74
Quaternary Period

"A Long Time (or Sometimes You're Not as Important as You Think)"
- page 62
Homo sapiens is Quaternary Period

"206" - page 70

"Stand Up Straight!" - page 68

"Mammals: The Smallest and The Smartest" - page 69

"I'm Glad That Dinos Are Extinct" - page 76

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Sunday, August 30, 2020

"Strange and Wonderful" Animal Series

I have been working hard on building up my collection of nonfiction books, mostly about animals and biomes at this point. I bought almost all fiction for Natalie, Leah, and Becca when they were little and it's because we had access to the nonfiction collection at The Tidewater School. So I made sure they had plenty of picture and chapter books at home, but if we needed to research something we had the school's collection. Now Zac and the kids in the homeschool co-op are benefitting from that extensive library, and I'm turning my energy to adding the kinds of books we don't already have.

Personally, I think it's important in the time of COVID, when you may not be going to the public library as much, to find an author whose work you really like and trust, and you feel confident buying their books sight unseen. Then start putting titles in your cart. It is exciting when they arrive. Occasionally there will be a dud, but I've discovered some real gems that way! I just purchased the fourth book in Kate Messner's "Over and Under" series. It is about the rainforest and will work really well for our Botany study this year!

I love Steve Jenkins and have invested in all of his books. I also recently discovered April Pulley Sayre. And Sneed B. Collard III. And Jess Keating.

Now I've become interested in Laurence Pringle. We love his monarch butterfly and green darner dragonfly books, and I just got the red fox one. In searching for his work, I found a whole series of "Strange and Wonderful" books that have excellent reviews. I will likely save up and purchase the series. I think they'll work well for my distance learning tote bags this year!

Here are all of the titles I've found so far:


February 1995
The initial book in the series, I won't get this one since it is likely out of date. I have a much more modern book, Dinosaurs! My First Book About Carnivores by "Dinosaur George" Blasing, and it is absolutely fantastic!


April 2003


January 2008

Alligators and Crocodiles

February 2009


August 2009


December 2009


June 2010


September 2010


April 2012


September 2013


October 2013


April 2015


March 2016


October 2017


February 2019

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

Kindy Notes - July and August

We haven't done much for formal kindergarten this summer, to be honest... mostly cooking together and Nature study and our yarn dyeing experiments. And lots of play, of course! Zac has been playing on his own, because no one has been coming over (happily, we have a dog).

I have dutifully taken notes in my planbook about what we've done. It's not a lot because I've been working so much! But no matter how busy I've gotten with prepping for the new school year and consulting and curriculum writing, I've still always read to him. So I do have lots of books to share!

Zac has really enjoyed the activity ideas from Tinkergarten, and Potion Play was going strong for a long time. You'd think we would run out of new ingredients but we never seem to. There are things to collect in nature, of course. And we have a HelloFresh subscription, and he likes to use the remaining fresh herbs from the kit that we don't need for the recipe. They also give us little packets of dried herbs and spices, and if we have that dried herb or spice in the cabinet I'll use mine and either set their cute little packages aside in the camping closet or give them to him for sensory play.

He also loved inventing games with balls (PDF) and excavating the contents of Frozen Treasures (PDF). I put the links to all the free PDFs from Tinkergarten that they sent out over the summer on my Preschool & K page.

Playing in the sunshine. Playing in the rain. Playing in the mud. Playing under the playstands. Making forts in his room out of blankets and chairs. Building elaborate block structures for his little animals. Matching mother animals to their babies. Playing with trains, with cars, with diggers, with his wheelbaroow, with his wagon, with sticks and stumps. Climbing trees. Hanging things from tree branches and then hitting them with sticks...

Finger knitting. Taking walks. Playing board games. The Tree of Life puzzle. Pattern beads. Making play dough. Art on the outdoor easel. Talking about the seasons. Painting a Summer abstract in warm colors. Reading Say It! and making Shaving Cream Marbled Leaves. Birch tree painting. Reading Winter Awake! and making wine cork stamped ladybugs.

Listening in on some of my tutoring lessons (especially Native American Legends, Famous Inventors, and the Timeline of Life). Participating in our weekly Book Share.

Writing with milk to see if it makes an invisible ink. Grinding up grass in a mortar and pestle; mixing up grass and dirt with egg yolk to see if it makes paint. Colored water and celery experiment. Experimenting to see what happens if you water plants with juice.

Helping me organizing the house and tidy the yard. Sweeping! Dusting! Handwashing cloth masks and hanging them out on the clothesline. Stuffing sachets with dried mint for our baskets of wool in the Handwork room (moth repellant). Writing letters to family members who live out of state.

Making recipes (Peanut-Butter Chocolate No-Bake Cookies, Cinnamon Zucchini Cake). Making dinner with me. The HelloFresh meals are really good! We loved so many; here's one I happened to write down: Zucchini and Tomato Flatbbreads with Lemon Ricott, Basil, and Honey. MMMMMMMMM.

Read Knoxville, Tennesee by Nikki Giovanni and shake up heavy cream to make butter and buttermilk. Making Sun Tea. Slathering raisin bread with homemade butter. Inventing smoothies. Nibbling endlessly on fresh basil.

Experimenting with planting seeds from a lemon. Will we get a lemon tree?

Painting a huge cardboard box to be a fort. Playing in it outside. Constantly tying pieces of yarn to things around the house (handles, doorknobs, chairs, etc.). Tying play silks around his stuffed animals to be capes.

Spraying the tomatoes with our fermented garlic spray to keep Striped Chipmunk away. Checking the cherry tomatoes every day and harvesting.

Planting different kinds of pumpkins on the Fourth of July so we would have home-grown pumpkins for Halloween. And, yes, we did get two VERY strong plants, both from our packet of heirloom Red Warty Thing from Botanical Interests. They are currently taking over the yard by the back door!

Doing our own little July 4th traditions since we couldn't go to Maryland this year (watching fireworks, doing the egg & spoon race and the egg toss).

Visiting the native prairie plants garden at the John A Logan Museum.

Collecting tree stumps for our outdoor classroom.

Working in the butterfly garden. Adding basil and chives. Setting up a butterfly muddle. Starting seeds for seven different kinds of sunflowers, more butterfly plants (fennel, yarrow, dill, four kinds of lavender), plus morning glory and moonflower.

Reading The Popcorn Book and popping fresh popcorn. Eating popcorn & cream like the colonists.

Reading Lenny the Lobster Can't Stay for Dinner and practicing the lobster walk lesson from Tinkergarten (for social distancing).

Finishing up The Adventures of Bobby Raccoon and moving on to The Adventures of Jimmy Skunk, both by Thornton Burgess.

Now we are in a new bedtime chapter book, An Extraordinary Life: The Story of a Monarch Butterfly by Laurence Pringle. It's amazing! Pringle wrote wonderful nature study books, including one about a green garner dragonfly. I can't wait to read that one next. And yesterday we collected six monarch caterpillars and set them up in their habitat! I'll make a post of photos soon.

And, naturally, we've been reading and reading and reading some more:

A Worm's Tale by Barbara Lindgren

Poofy Loves Company by Nancy Winslow Parker

Seven Simeons by Boris Artzybasheff

Apron On, Apron Off by Helen Kay

The King, the Dragon, and the Witch by Jerome Corsi

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