Tennessee: Sequoyah

Hey!  I spelled it right!  I was so sure I was going to spell that wrong.

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Every now and then you find a book that just works completely.  It presents the information well, the pictures are interesting, and it’s something you didn’t know before.

This was one of those books.

I’ve heard of Sequoyah trees, and now I know I’m spelling something wrong because his name is spelled differently than the trees.  I knew the name of the person, but not much beyond that.

I learned Sequoyah created the Cherokee alphabet and persevered through people burning his house down to stop him and other hardships.  Isn’t that cool.

I’ll be back.  I promised to teach the kids how to use the “hot glue gun.”  Can it really be called that if it’s a low temp one?

I’m back.  The kids are now happily gluing away.  I foresee another trip to buy lots of wooden supplies.
This is what really intrigued me about this book.  It includes the story written in Cherokee.

After reading it I challenged the kids to create their own version of the alphabet.

Which they happily set to.

My boys created various blobs.  Older friend made a rather ingenious alphabet based off of musical symbols and other symbols he knew.

Princess just recopied the alphabet.  She was not getting it.  Younger friend again happily scribbled.
Tennessee Sequoyah(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

Okay, so they’re not going to invent alphabets, but they did learn about a cool man who stood up for what he believed in.

Linking this up over at All Things Beautiful.

Tennessee: Swamp Angel

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Little did I know, but Tennessee has almost as many tall tales and what not as Texas does.  I’ve been having a blast previewing the books we’re going to use, and I’m thinking of having my kids take a stab at writing their own tall tale.

Maybe, I’m sure there would be an uproar if I did.
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Swamp Angel is the story of a girl who grew up in Tennessee and saved it from the biggest bear ever to plague the state.

At one point while she and that bear wrestled she threw him up into the sky and he hit the stars (thus creating Ursa Major).  Well, we had to make our own versions.  I had grand dreams of much more complicated versions, but I knew for the sake of the kids I needed to “Keep It Simple Stupid.”  So, I did.
Swamp Angel Tennessee


As always they took it and ran.  Little friend happily scribbled away.  Big friend, drew a picture of a bear with a very small earth below.  My boys drew the entire fight with both sides growing appendages all over.  Princess happily drew a smushed bear up in the sky.

Kentucky: Young Abe Lincoln

I love Abraham Lincoln, and also tall tales, so a book that combines the feel of a tall tale with Abraham Lincoln is a good find.

The story tells the tale of young Abe Lincoln and his first best friend as kids in Kentucky, and actually does tell an incident that really happened in Lincoln’s youth, but with a fun light-hearted feel, which is important because it is a scary time where he almost dies.



After reading it we took some time to write “what makes a good friend,” (link to printable).  Their answers were amusing, things like “play with them” or “makes me laugh,” but they were very true.  It shows that being a friend doesn’t really change from being 5 years old to being a grown-up.  Or so called grown-up.


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I’m gonna link up over at All Things Beautiful, with her history/geography Meme.  I have zillions of posts I need to link up there.

Vermont: Champy

I have to admit I love anything and everything Stephen Kellog, he just write and illustrates some of the cutest books.  I’m lucky and went to a conference he was at and he signed a book for me.

A couple of years ago when Superheroes and Princesses wrote about Vermont she mentioned Lake Champlain has an inhabitant rather like the Loch Ness Monster, she actually found a book about him, but my library didn’t have that.  However I own the next best thing a book not specifically about the Loch Ness Monster.


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Well, after reading it and talking about Champy, we took some time to make our own versions of him.


Isn’t if funny how they each have their own very distinct Champy?

And here’s the printable, if you want it: Vermont: Champy

Vermont: Nora’s Ark

I was badly burned by a “Noah’s Ark” retelling a year or so ago, it was horribly written and didn’t work for us at all.  So it was with a great deal of trepidation that I checked this book out.


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This is a well written and illustrated story.  It takes place during the 1920s during a flood in Vermont.  The actual story may not be true, but similar incidents happened.  Nora’s house was the one house in the area high enough to be out of the flood waters.  By the end of the story Nora had cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, and people in their house.


It’s a great lesson on what is truly important, and what isn’t.  As she says in the story, “The rest is just gravy.”



After reading the story I challenged them to fit as many things in their house as they could.  They had to have at least two of each different item Nora had in her house.  So, at least two cows, two horses, two chickens, two men, and two women.





Not too surprisingly they fit a lot of chickens in.  But, that’s just what happened in the story, she had over 100 chickens in her house.

Inside they had to write what they would save from their house if it flooded.


Can I just say it made me smile to have the kids all say they’d save their Bibles.

vermont flood

Here’s the printable for anyone able to find a copy of Nora’s Ark.

Vermont: Tricking the Tally Man

Tricking the Tally Man- it’s a super cute story about a town that sees the tally man coming and they don’t want to be taxed, so they lie about how many are in the town, only to discover he’s counting for the new government.  There’s several rounds of this, and it ultimately comes out right.



For our activity each of the kids got to hide a handful of peg dolls in one of the “cities.”  Afterwards we took turns finding all of them and counting them using tally marks.

Everyone enjoyed the mad dash to find and record the citizens.  Our littlest one even helped by bringing over random extra ones she found.


tricking hte tally man


To make it simple I just made a small chart.  Obviously you could make it into whatever format you wanted, but this was our different cities.  If you want to use ours, you can just click on the picture and it will take you to the download.


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Vermont: Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream

My kids have been asking for ice cream for ages and ages.  I was glad to have this excuse of getting some, but I have to admit I didn’t get Ben and Jerry’s.  I’m too loyal a Texan and I got Blue Bell.  Shocking and horrible.


So, I don’t really have any pictures from us actually doing this activty, because this is a clean version of my kids eating ice cream.  When you add in toppings and syrups…….  It was more of triage and keeping sticky hands off stuff.


We read the book, and talked about Ben and Jerry’s funny names they come up with for ordinary flavors.  Then the kids all happily designed their own flavors complete with funny names.

vermont ice cream


This is the printable we used, but Ben and Jerry’s website also has some fun games you can play, which we didn’t really get a chance to do.


Messiness and all that……..



Well, this is two posts in one day, but neither of them are particularly inspired, but putting them together in one post seems rather shoe-horned.  Or it does to me, and I know I have weird opinions, especially when I have a headache.  I’m gonna go eat something.


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Rhode Island: Nathaniel Greene

So, one of the famous people from Rhode Island is Nathaniel Greene, Revolutionary war hero and general.  My library had NOTHING on him.  Or nothing that is age appropriate, so I made something up.

I took no pictures of us working on this because I was busy reading, and it would just be pictures of heads looking down.  But, I have a nifty printable, and a short Lego battle totally unrelated to him to share with you:
Nathaniel Greene Rhode Island(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

The Battle of Fort Ticonderoga as enacted by Legos!
The British soldiers thought they were safe in their fort, so they all went to sleep in their beds.  Or bent over like they are bowing because that amused my boys.

The American soldiers attacked and took the fort with no shots fired.

Then came a scene of general carnage and destruction so horrible no pictures could be taken.  Or if you followed the real history they looted the cannons and took them down to Boston through an amazing feat of engineering.

Oh, I forgot to say.  I’m linking this up to All Things Beautiful and their geography/history linkie.

50 State Study: New York

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This is one of those states that I know we spent several weeks on, but there wasn’t much that was bloggable about it.  And yes bloggable is a word.


So……  let’s see what’s in their books:


Norman Rockwell– on the inside is the story written by that kid.  My kids only wrote one sentence, but for older guys you could challenge them to come up with more.


Building New York– one of the non-bloggable activities.  We read the book, and then put the timeline of activities in order from the page at the back of the book.  I liked this one because it does a great job of providing a nice timeline activity to look at.


Under New York– a great story about what is happening underground.  I learned some great things from reading it, and was very amused by it.


Tenth Avenue Cowboy– A wonderful story about a boy who dreams of being a cowboy, and how his dream comes true.  Everyone wrote how their dream came true, but most of the kids wrote rather silly answers.


My Ideal Park– we tied this into “What to do About Alice,” but it’s not supremely related.  Teddy Roosevelt founded our national parks, and so we talked about that a lot.


Franklin Roosevelt and Teddy Roosevelt pages- These are just a simple 2 flap book with their images glued on top.  If the boy from the book pictured above had written smaller he would only have one book with something written about each of those presidents written under the flap.  But….  he’s six, and has rather messy handwriting.


Statue of Liberty– We measured it out and saw the relative sizes….. link to the printable is there as well as a link to the site that had the measurements.


And finally: New York State Symbols


Well, now I’m staying current, more or less, with our state study reviews.  I just need to go back and add in the ones I haven’t done yet……..

North Carolina: The Flyers


“The Flyers” is a very cute book with several kids who have been watching Orville and Wilbur Wright trying to fly.  Each of the kids dreams about what might happen sometime in the future if they are successful.


Most of their dreams have come true, not always how they were thinking.  The back of the book gives examples of how their dreams came true.


I thought this was a super cute way of telling this story, interspersing what actually happened during the first flight with what the kids are dreaming about.



After we read it, each of the kids drew a picture and wrote a sentence about their dreams for a future plane.  Wright Flyer printable


There were lots of plane/car creations or plane/helicopter hybrids.


I did this first because I knew once we started


flying paper airplanes, there would be no going back.  This was also our last activity for the day.  I especially loved that our littlest one got in on the airplane throwing fun.




Our last time around we made this a science experiment (over at Almost Unschoolers she showed me a much better plane), which I could tell my kids still remembered because they tried to make all sorts of modifications to their planes to see if that worked.



Of course a few ended up in trees.