This week we “rowed” The Big Green Pocketbook, meaning that we read the same story every day this week and then did lessons, activities, games, and crafts based on it. This cute little book is all about a mom and a little girl who run errands together. At each stop during their trip, the little girl adds a souvenir to her pocketbook. Near the end of the story, she is heartbroken when she realizes that she accidentally left her pocketbook and all her treasures on the bus. The kind bus driver brings the pocketbook back to her and she colors him a picture as a way to say thank you.
We started off by reading the story. Jacob kept screaming, “Pocketbook!”
Our first activity for Pocketbook week was a little board game that I made. I had so much fun making this game and I’ve been really looking forward to using it.
The rules were simple- we rolled the die, moved our buses around the game and collected game cards for each place in the story that we passed. The cards had pictures of each item the little girl collected during her day of running errands. It was a good chance to remember the parts of the story, and also reinforced counting and colors. The boys loved it and I still was pleased with how the game turned out.
Afterwards, we used crayon cards (because the little girl gets a box of crayons in the story) for matching and sorting games. It was fun for my two that have already learned this, and very exciting for my two-year-old who is currently fascinated by colors and their names.
Continuing with the crayon theme, we made crayon cards and little crayon boxes (they were simple paper pockets) to store the cards in.
Just for fun, we had candy orange slices (just like the girl in the story, of course) as a special, sugary treat. Drew is usually napping during preschool, but he was awake by the time I passed out orange slices so he got some too. He loved them!
On Tuesday our lesson was about using our manners when we are in public. We talked about being quiet and obedient, saying please and thank you, and staying close to Mom. We did some role-playing about how to act and how not to act when we are running errands, which of course made my little guys laugh hysterically.
We played a matching game with the buildings and items from the story (printed from the B4FIAR downloads, but not worth the price, in my opinion). We also played another round of the Pocketbook board game.
We used tiny letter stamps to print out the boys’ names. It was the easiest way to replicate using a typewriter like the girl in the story and the boys love using stamps anyway.
The girl gets a key chain at the jewelry store so we made beaded key chains of our own. The big kids made key chains as well, after their own school work was done.
I love Asher’s inky blue beard!
Once again, I found Jacob happily reading by himself in the corner. I loved his little feet sticking out from underneath the book.
Our lesson for Wednesday was about taking care of our things. The little girl leaves her special pocketbook on the bus near the end of the story. We talked about how the girl felt and about times when certain special toys have been lost at our house. I told the boys how important it is to take care of our things, especially the things we love most.
We used yellow and purple lollipop cards (just like the yellow and purple lollipops the girl got at the bank) for patterning and sorting activities. The boys really enjoyed this; there is something creative about making up a pattern and then continuing it.
We painted ice cream scoops (because she got ice cream at the drugstore). Once the scoops were dry we cut them out and glued them onto an ice cream cone. Maddie was careful with her paints. The boys were more free with their color mixing and they ended up with “chocolate” ice cream in the end.
The little girl wears a cute shirt with shapes on it so this was a great chance to talk about shapes (mostly for Jacob). The kids used foam stickers to make little shape-decorated shirts of their own.
Our final project for the day was the most time-consuming and the most fun. The little girl gets a calendar at the dry cleaner and I really wanted to kids to each have a mini calendar of their own. I wanted something simple and fun, featuring each month and the corresponding holidays.
I cut 3×5 cards in half and wrote a month on each card. We talked about each one and the kids used seasonal stickers to decorate them. They had so much fun searching for perfect stickers for each month, as well as finding a month that would suit a particularly cool sticker. When all twelve calendar pages were complete (times five kids who made them), I used my binding machine to put a little binding on each one.
The kids were absolutely delighted! They spent a lot of time looking through their little calendars and it really seemed to help them identify the months and holidays.
Our lesson was about kindness and saying thank you. We talked about how the bus driver showed kindness by bringing the pocketbook back to the little girl and how she said thank you by drawing a special picture for him. We discussed ways that we can be kind and help others to feel happy and how important it is to say thank you.
Each of the kids picked someone they wanted to thank and drew a “thank you picture” for that person, just like the girl in the story. Braden and Asher both thanked me for being a good mom. Maddie thanked her track coach (which made me smile since track season ended last summer).
I made more story sequencing cards for this book. Putting a story in order is a basic example of narration, and narration is a crucial step in the writing process. (This is nearly five years of Writing with Ease talking, I guess!) The boys enjoyed the cards and were able to get them into the right order with only a little help from Maddie. We talked about each place the little girl visited and what she got there- two suckers at the bank, typing her name at the insurance office, a key chain at the jewelry store, a calendar at the dry cleaner’s, orange slices at the five-and-ten store, and crayons and ice cream at the drugstore. The kids were excited when I told them that we have made, bought, or- in some cases- eaten every item from the story this week.
We made pocketbooks next. The kids were so excited about this project. I cut pocketbook shapes from green felt (no pattern so they all turned out a little bit different), punched holes along the edges (which made my hands hurt after a while), and then helped the boys lace white yarn through the holes.
Jacob stood next to me while I made his and he kept crooning, “Oh, this my pocketbook. You makin’ my pocketbook.” Hearing him say pocketbook, so carefully pronouncing each syllable, really melted me. He was so excited about his pocketbook.
We finished the day with ice cream cones with sprinkles. Several kids correctly pointed out that the little girl in the story actually had square ice cream in a silver dish, but I told them that I thought cones would be more fun since we don’t usually have them. Everyone ended up moving out into the backyard to enjoy their ice cream.
Our “memory” for Friday was sucker making. The first batch was a badly burned disaster, but the second batch was a delicious success. The kids all think we should make suckers every day.
Elementary School Highlights
Most of our work is “same old, same old.” The kids are doing well in their studies. They finished book reports this week and got 100% on their spelling tests. Joshua didn’t miss a single problem in all nine of his math assignments, and Brenna got A’s on each of hers.
We are nearly finished with our current read-aloud, Holes, and I recorded the movie so we can watch it when we’re done with the book. I am trying to put together a summer reading program for the kids as well, something that will challenge them to read a lot over the summer, but that won’t be teacher-intensive while I’m recovering from having a baby.
I’m making good progress on my summer lesson plans, but there is still a lot to finish…
The kids are loving Latin. I really love the translations, immersion, and “whole to parts” teaching they are getting with Visual Latin. I’m impressed with what they can translate without any help. I’ve finally decided to add in Lively Latin so that we have a “parts to whole” approach as well. Can you ever have too much Latin?
Still no decision on Maddie’s math for next year… Thinking, thinking…
We’ve been reading about the Reformation and Counter Reformation, along with the Renaissance. The kids have enjoyed it. It feels strange to me to be wrapping up our year-long study of the middle ages.
We had talked about stained glass recently and I thought it would be fun to replicate this. At first I was going to do an elaborate project to recreate stained glass, but in the end I just bought some cute little sun catchers and let the kids paint them. They understood what we were replicating, they had fun, and the sun catchers turned out cute.
We had fun for science this week. On Monday we finished up our “Plant Parts” experiment, comparing a flower to our bean plants and noting the similarities and differences between them.
We also checked in with our cotyledon experiment. I’m glad that we kept this going an extra week. It was amazing to see the growth from the whole seed compared to the growth of the embryo by itself.
Our experiment for the week was about roots. We did a few experiments that showed the strength and function of roots. We sprouted radish seeds on paper towels and let them grow for about a week. On Thursday the kids were able to see the tiny root hairs and also were able to observe root strength as those tiny roots firmly attached themselves to the paper towels.
The root hairs were more visible on the radish seeds growing in the petri dish.
In a different petri dish, we put a few more sprouting radish seeds and added some blue coloring to the roots. We left this overnight and the kids were then able to observe how the coloring traveled up the roots and into the leaves and tinged them blue.
The kids were pretty fascinated; it’s neat to see plant (and root) growth in action.
Poor Drew is never featured in our homeschool posts, but I think next fall he’ll be old enough to join us for preschool. Soon, buddy, soon.
His bruised eye is from last week when one of Maddie’s well-meaning little friends tried to pick him up and ended up dropping him into the corner of the bookshelf instead.