stART I Love You Koala Lou

I’d seen this book a couple of places in the blog world recently, and since we’re studying Australia I thought it’d be fun to read.  As I was reading it I started thinking about how fun it would be to make a watercolor picture based on the artwork.  Of course as I was thinking this I realized I didn’t have the supplies I was thinking of that I wanted to use.  Excellent, an excuse to go to JoAnn’s…….  And then by the time we finished the story I decided on a completely different project: gold medals!
077 082 Batman and I084 085 Princess and Superman.
Super simple.  Get a piece of fun foam, cut in a circle.  Decorate, and then punch a hole and thread a ribbon through.
And, if you’re going to have a gold medal you need Olympics to go with it, so I present:
Yes, I am the crazy Mom who makes cleaning into a game.  We had the Clothes putting away race.  The pick up toys slalom.  And the horribly competitive find all the trash relay.
I present to you the winners:
Batman got a gold medal for his inspired picking up of clothes
Superman received the gold for his amazing picking up of trash, including stealing trash from my hands to be able to throw away more.
Batman squeaked ahead to get the gold for most toys put away.
And Princess, who mainly lay down and complained she was too tired, got the gold for complaining.
There you have it, our family Olympics.  It was truly awe-inspiring.
For more great story inspired ideas head over to A Mommy’s Adventures.

Geography and Science at the same time, can it be?

Yes, yes it can be.  How amazing is that!  We continued our discussion about Australia, we’re almost through all of the cool animals.  To continue along in our theme we made flapbooks about the different animals.  At the time I’m writing this we’ve completed three of them, but by the end of the week this is published we should have all of them done.  I hope.
Super simple to put together.  I cut out the templates and explained what each part said.  Then they cut out the pictures and glued them on.
Now, I planned on them going into a file folder and being glued there, but Batman had different ideas.  Very different ideas.  It took a lot of a gluestick to put it up there, and he wasn’t very happy with me when I took it down, but take it down I did…..

And here’s the link to the different files I used:
Kangaroo and Koala
Dingo and Tasmanian Devil
Kookaburra and Wombat
And so you can see what they look like when not added to by my son:
Australia Animals Platypus Echidna

And here’s a few great resources for whenever you reach Australia:
Elise over at Inspirations Surrounds, Creativity Abounds did an awesome unit on Australia, and she lives there to boot, so that’s even cooler!  I loved the two videos she linked on her site
Unique Australian Animals– I got a lot of the information I used for my lapbook pages from here.  Not too surprisingly there’s not a lot of books about kookaburras in Texas.  Though I do remember singing the song about them all the time.
Kookaburra – this one also has the sound of a kookaburra, which my kids found fascinating.
Our Cup of Tea– posted her unit about Australia, and she’s over in England somewhere.
Probably this coming week, or as you’re reading this I’m going to be teaching them about the flag and have the kids put together a puzzle of the different Australian states, or are they regions?
Now head over to Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn for more geography ideas.
And I’m going to link this up to my own Science Sunday linky because it’s also science related…….

Books on Australia and more

We continued our study of Australia this week and that’s where most of these books come from or are about.

Koala Lou– I saw this featured on a couple of blogs recently, sadly I don’t remember where.  As we were reading it I came up with all sorts of ideas I’d like to do with this book.  Overall it was very cute, fun and appropriate on so many levels.  It’s about Australia, koalas, and the Olympics.  Poor little Koala Lou is worried her mother doesn’t love her anymore, so she decides to compete in the Olympics.  Very cute.

Boo to a Goose– you may have noticed from the carousel that we read lots of Mem Fox books.  That’s because she’s from Australia, and it seemed rather appropriate to me.  This one kind of reminded me of the song “Down by the Bay” with the silly rhymes.  My kids like it a lot.  And again I had all sorts of ideas of what to do with this book.  Of course, I think for most of my ideas the kids would need to be a little older.
Hunwick’s Egg– very cute story about a (totally forgetting the type of animal, something that burrows and is only in Australia) that find an egg and decides to care for it.  Very cute, with a bit of a surprise ending.  My kids liked it, but weren’t thrilled with it.
Echidna– I think this is the one I checked out from the library, but truthfully I don’t remember exactly.  I didn’t like this one as much as the other books I found last week, and this one goes into more detail on mating rituals then I’d really like in a book to read to my preschoolers.  I’d say it’s more for 3rd grade, but if they’re in 3rd grade they need a bit more information.  So, it’s not scaled quite right for the age it’s geared for.  But, it covered the thing the boys were really big on, what eats them.  Really, they want to know this about every creature we read about it.

We continued to read the Caroline Arnold’s books from last week.  I’m seriously thinking of getting all her books in this series, they’re super cool.

Hector Saves the Moon– okay, so I finally found my copy of the first book in this series: Hector’s Escapades, First Night Out, and read it to the kids, and they were so worried that Hector would never find his Mommy again.  Good book to read to emphasize not running away from your Mom when you’re out (hint hint Superman and Batman, that is NOT A GOOD IDEA!).  It’s fun to see a book that talks about the local area so much, I got a lot of the references, but the kids didn’t, not too surprising.

Beginner’s Bible– Batman has been requesting Bible stories like crazy, and so we’ve been reading this all the time.  I’d like to find one that’s a little older for them, because they’re outgrowing this one.  But, I get frustrated with most kids Bibles because they’re either way too simplistic and don’t include many stories, or way over their heads.

David and Goliath– I LOVE Little Golden Books, especially the older ones.  This one is a great retelling of David and Goliath and is fairly faithful to the original storyline.

I just remembered another book I read when I was reading Natalie’s post:
Blue Bonnet Girl– I picked this up  because I like the Tomie DePaola version of the story and thought it would be interesting to see another version.  It’s told in rhyme and it’s a more or less well done rhyme, but the rhyme messes with the flow of the story, so I could feel the kids not following it and losing interest. It has beautiful illustrations, but it just didn’t work here.  I might suggest it for second or third grade after reading the Tomie DePaola version to compare the two.

For more great book recommendations for your kids head on over to Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns

Geography: Texas and Australia

Because I’m sure you were really thinking those two went together.  Well, oddly enough in our house they did, because to teach them about Australia I had to first show them a few things on our map.
012First we found Texas on our map (and yes Batman is attempting to do a handstand on the map).  Then we put push pins in for where we are, and where Nana and Granddad and our friends who sent us postcards are (Adriana over at My Bilingual Boys).  And as I posted yesterday we also were reviewing a product about Australia, and I thought this was a perfect way to move into zoo animals (I’m thinking we’ll learn about different zoo animals from each continent).
So from finding Texas on the map, and discussing where that was, and how it is part of the United States, a concept I hadn’t brought up before.  We looked in the atlas and found Australia.  Alas my globe has been eaten by the monster in our house, so I don’t know what happened to it, but we were able to find it on the atlas and figure out it’s far away from us.  I found my globe, or I should say one of the boys did under their bed.  We had a very long discussion about how it’s not a toy to wander around the house.
They were really intrigued by this idea of a it being entirely surrounded by water.  They’re also intrigued by the different animals that are found there.  I’m thinking this might be a future lesson about Texas, what animals do we find here.  Of course most of the animals you find here are found in most of our country.  So, I don’t know, I’m still thinking through if that makes sense as a lesson.  I’m looking at this site here, and all of the animals listed are fairly common, I mean we have a Virginia Opossum (incidentally very cool site about animals, if you’re interested).
And I just found out about this:

I sent the lady an email about joining a few days ago, but haven’t heard back yet.  It might be she’s already got Texas for her next group, or she’s getting overwhelmed with requests.  So, this could be another way to get postcards.
And, if you’re still wanting a card from Texas, or just feel like randomly sending me a card…….  I’ve got all of mine sent out, except a request I got last week, and the international ones.  If snow clears up I’ll go mail those tomorrow……  Notice how I snuck in we got snow?
If you want to find out about more great geography ideas head over to Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn for more great ideas!

Review: Download and Go Expedition Australia

So, here’s my second e-book to review for my try-out.  We’re still in the process of using this, but I wanted to let everyone know what I thought so far.

This is from a series of books called Download ‘N’ Go.  Each individual book costs $7.95, and has about 100 pages of information (or the Australia one does).  I have to say I really enjoyed this book and of the two I was given to review I think this is a much better deal.  I’m thinking some of these could be great for me to get for my kids in a few years.  I like the Davy Crockett one I just got an email for in my in-box.  He would be fun to study in a few years, especially when we cover United States history in more detail in a few years.  Now be honest, how many of you when I said Davy Crockett got the theme song to the old Disney TV show stuck in your heads?

Here’s the set-up of the book it has two different things you can do.  First it has a notebooking set you can go through and fill out with all sorts of great information and comparison between where you live and between different parts of Australia.  It’s designed so you can go through and do a quick study of Australia in 5 days.  And in five days you get a pretty good knowledge of it.

Each day you talk about a different geographic feature, a different animal, and each day also has a specific thing they talk about.  For instance day one talks about how we say different words to mean the same thing.  Another day you learn about Captain Cook.

While you go through and learn about these different things you construct both a notebook and a lapbook.  I have to admit both of these are intended for kids much older than mine, so most of it they couldn’t do without a lot of help, but they enjoyed the activities that goes with this.

What did I like most?  For me right now, I liked that they’d already researched all of the kid appropriate links for me and included some really interesting videos (I would have linked more videos, because I had problems when I started to look for videos of the other animals that didn’t have videos).  That’s one of the harder things I think right now is finding links that are age appropriate without searching for hours.

In a few years my answer would change.  I remember doing a country report in sixth grade and struggling to gather the material to present.  This perfectly lays it out in a way a younger elementary student could do with help, and an older one could do by themselves.  And both of those students would have a very impressive report that could win a prize if they took their time.

Is it worth the money?  I’d have to say yes.

Other items that could go with this:
Little Continental Hoppers Australia– another e-book
Check out my what we read this week book for some of the books we checked out for this unit.  And then check out our science activity.  And since I realized since I wrote this review I’m still adding more to what we did for Australia, just go to the Australia section.

Science Sunday: How far does a kangaroo jump

So, if you read my post yesterday you can see we started reading about animals in Australia.  Well, my kids are absolutely enthralled with the kangaroo.  They want to pretend they’re kangaroos, and they want to find out all they can.  And who am I to stop a desire like that.
So, we read a couple of books: A Kangaroo’s World, and A Kangaroo Joey Grows Up.  Both of which I highly recommend (hopefully I linked to the right Kangaroo Joey Grows Up, I didn’t know there were so many books with that title).  I tried to find some youtube videos of kangaroos, but my search accidentally led to a rather drunk naked guy trying to jump like a kangaroo.  Thankfully that was too dark to really see anything, and also thankfully I didn’t have the kids with me when I started that one.  So, lesson learned always make sure you know what the video you’re showing is.
Now, on to our experiment.  We were intrigued by how far a kangaroo could jump and how could we jump.  So first we made a hypothesis, “that means an idea you can test” (thank you Dinosaur Train for teaching my kids about this, now they don’t really use the word right, but that’s not your fault).
First we drew a line to show where we thought we could jump.  Ummm, my kids think they can jump amazingly far.  You can see Superman over there at the end of our driveway.  He was convinced he could somehow magically jump into two places.  Batman thought he would jump the entire length of that line.  Princess is somewhere halfway to the next neighbor in her hypothesis.
Well, we lined up next to our starting line and everyone jumped.
045 Here they are all lined up to try jumping again.  As you can see no one was correct in their hypothesis.  I was the closest and I fell short as well.
So, next we tried a running jump.  That didn’t work out so well.  I tried to show them what to do for a running jump, but you’ll see in the video.  They really treated it more as a race.  So after one more thing we changed it just a straight racing game.

Here’s our final thing we did for this little experiment/learning activity.  We compared the relative jumping distances.  Princess jumped the shortest, then Batman and Superman next, then Mommy, and then a kangaroo’s jumping distance way out there (according to the book we read kangaroos can jump up to 30 feet).
048 They’re standing order is Superman at the kid’s distance, Batman where Mommy jumped, and Princess way out there to where a kangaroo would jump.

So, how about you guys, what did you do this week?

We read lots of random books recently, here’s the few I remember

A Kangaroo Joey Grows Up and a Koala Joey Grows Up– In case you can’t tell we’re starting a unit on zoo animals, and because I’m also reviewing a product about Australia I decided to go ahead and start with the Australian animals.  These were really popular and the kids loved reading about them.  Afterwards they were able to tell me a fair bit about the animals.

A Koala’s World and A Kangaroo’s World– I actually think it works really well to have both of these books together.  First we’d read “A Kangaroo Joey Grows Up,” and see the actual pictures from inside an animal preserve.  Then we’d read this one, which had collage pictures, but it also went into some details that weren’t in the other books.  For instance my boys are fascinated by the natural predators of each animal, so they always want to know what hunts them.  We learned that dingoes, foxes, and eagles are the enemies of kangaroos.  So, all in all it’s a really interesting pairing of books.

Legend of the Indian Paintbrush– this is another one that I always remember teaching in conjunction with the Legend of the Bluebonnet.  My kids enjoyed it, but didn’t quite feel the connection they did with the Bluebonnet book.  They did enjoy the stART activity we did with it though…….

Sing Along Song– I won this in a giveaway at Teaching With Picture Books, actually I picked this specifically because Princess sings all day long, and thought she’d love it.  It’s an adorable book about a boy who sings through the day, and if I could figure out a good art activity I’d use it for stART, but all I can think of is the songs to sing.  I highly recommend this one.

Kingfisher Picture Atlas– I check this out from the library while trying to find books about Australia, which were all checked out quite sadly.  But, I LOVE this.  It’s a nice amount of information for little kids without getting overwhelming.  It looks like when I was looking this up in Amazon that they have a large amount of books in this series of all sorts.  So, it could be interesting to get sometime.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night– my kids always love this one.  And I think we randomly read it this week, that or they’re just remembering the “up and demand a piggy-back ride” line from the book.  They’ve been jumping on my back all week doing that.

To see what other kids are reading head over to Mouse Grows Mouse Learns