Maine: Lighthouses

Our final Maine book, and our second lighthouse one was a fun true story of one girl keeping the lighthouse lit through a terrible storm, and encouraging her sick mother and her two sisters while waiting for their Dad to return with more supplies.
<a href=””> Widgets</a>

After reading the story, I gave them a bit of specific direction on how to draw a lighthouse.  We carefully drew out our pictures, and since I had rushed out of the house that day we didn’t have the watercolors to make it look dark and stormy.  But, they did enjoy drawing and coloring the lighthouses.

The instructions came to draw it came from Art Projects for Kids Lighthouse lesson

I loved how varied their results were:
I found Superman’s especially interesting because he had a definite plan in mind for his lighthouse, and after a while I realized he was trying to make one like in the book for the pattern.

Louisiana: Johnette Downing books

For whatever reason my library has about 10 books by this author for Louisiana.  They all have great voice and flair to them.  They also have a very distinctive illustration style.  It’s a variation of collage artwork, a sort of cut work that is very appealing, and lends itself easily to art projects.

We used two of her books for art projects: “Down in the Bayou,” and “Chef Creole,” both were different projects.
Forgive the quality of the pictures, I forgot my camera at home, and we did this at a friend’s house.

For “Chef Creole” I gave them a bin of various pre-cut out shapes I made using various hole punches I have.  If you don’t have hole punches, just go crazy before hand randomly cutting out things.
This was a big hit and I’m looking forward to trying it again with just my kids and letting them use the punches with A LOT of supervision (mainly because I don’t want them dropped on toes, OUCH!).

Project 2 was using “Down in Louisiana,” it’s a fun counting book, and I made a small booklet with about 5 pages and gave them a stack of pictures for the animals in it from clip art images.

Their instructions were to draw the background with markers and then glue on the pictures.

This wasn’t as popular, they just wanted to cut and glue.
Either way I highly recommend these books, especially for the early elementary/preschool set.  They were wildly popular with all of the kids, and mine haven’t let me return these to the library yet.

<a href=””> Widgets</a>

Louisiana: Ol’ Bloo’s Boogie Woogie Band and Blue’s Ensemble


“Ol’ Bloo’s” is a fun retelling of “Bremen’s Town Musicians.”  If you’re not familiar with the tale, it’s about 4 old animals who are about to be “put out to pasture,” and decide instead decide to take off into the wide world and become traveling musicians.


The kids thought it was hilarious, and they laughed throughout the whole book, especially when they got to make the noises of the animals.


After we read the story we watched Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” from Fantasia 2000 to get the idea of what blues music is like.



After watching it we talked about how the cartoon was drawn mostly in blue, and the style of drawings.  Then I challenged them to draw a picture using many different shades of blue and media styles.  It could be inspired by the cartoon or the book.


They had access to markers, crayons, colored pencils, and watercolor pencils.  My kids only used the watercolor pencils, but the others tried different media.


End results: two inspired by the book with the animals, and two of soldiers………  I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions of who drew the soldiers.

North Carolina: Blackbeard’s Last Fight


We read this when we first studied North Carolina, and the kids were a little weirded out by it then because it’s a little scary, but they’re older now, and a bit more bloodthirsty, and besides our geography group skews heavily to the boy side of things, so anything with pirates is good.


When I read it 3 of the boys (including mine) were absolutely spell bound and kept creeping closer and closer to me, so they were almost on top by the time I was done reading it.


At first I didn’t have a great idea for a craft, and then as we did the protest signs for “Freedom on the Menu,” it came to me!  Blackbeard’s corpse sinking into the waters, yes that was our craft.


008So, I got out small Dixie cups, popsicle sticks, and cut index cards into little bitty pieces to fit into the cups (approximately fourths).  Then I set the kids to drawing their Blackbeard, when they were done they glued their card to a popsicle stick and we stuck it through the bottom of the cup.


They happily sat there pulling him up and down in the cup, and watching his body drown…..  Yes, they loved this craft.


Afterwards Superman had a blast stacking cups and making pyramids.

North Carolina: Greensboro sit-ins


Freedom on the Menu is about the Greensboro sit-ins that happened during the 1960s.  It mainly focuses on a family and the daughter, who is about 7 or 8, and tells it from her point of view.


She talks about how unfair it is to not be allowed to sit at the counter on the swivel chairs and eat an ice cream sunday, and how proud she is of her brother and sister for participating in the protests.


This led to some great discussions in our group, what is fair, and what isn’t.  How can you protest something unfair without being violent or disrespectful.


Afterwards we made protest signs with index cards and popsicle sticks.  I could tell they really got it when they started their own protests.




Snow Doggy joined in too.

Linking up to: All Things Beautiful, Journey to Excellence 

abc button

Shibley Smiles

Massachusetts: Pennies for Elephant

Photobucket Widgets

If you haven’t read this book, go find a copy.  It is WAY TOO cute!  The story, the illustrations, the team work.

Quick Synopsis: A circus owner is retiring and has offered to give his 3 elephants to the Boston zoo if the city can pay $6000 (and this takes place in 1914, or somewhere close to that).  The city can’t pay it, so they throw it out to the children of the city to raise $6000 in 3 months.  The story follows two kids raising money and how they follow the newspaper articles of how kids raise money and how much.



Not particularly thinking of anything super cute for them to do, instead they acted as teams and had to come up with as many ideas as they could to raise money, pricing it for the time period.  I gave them an idea of how much other things cost, and the value of a dollar at that time.



Then after they’d brainstormed each team got to share how they were going to earn money.  They were quite the little entrepreneurs, and older girl wanted to keep her cards for ideas for earning money this summer.


Some of their ideas: wash people’s cars, rake leaves, throw a tea party for little girls and charge entrance.


And who won the boys vs. girls competition?  It was a tie.  The girls had more ideas, but their prices were not correct for the time period.  The boys had the right prices, but less ideas.  So each team got one piece of chocolate.  Probably the best outcome of all.

Yankee Doodle Widgets



I was quite amused to find out the state song for Connecticut (Does anyone else think in their mind as they spell that state: Connect I cut?  Or is that just me?) is Yankee Doodle.  I rather like that song and it’s one of the few nursery rhyme archetypes we have in America (I have all sorts of amusing theories on the things we’ve created in America, that I might expound on someday).



But, getting back to what I was talking about.  So, we read the very cute story up above which has multiple extra verses written by Mary Ann Hoberman that do a great job with rhyming and letting my kids work on predicting the rhyme, which they need work on.  And lets the older kids work on creating their own rhymes.




So, after listening to the story they all got an index card, and set to work creating their own verse to Yankee Doodle.  I love the illustration Oldest E came up with (at some point I’ll have to come up with nicknames for the families joining us in these studies).  I won’t be the least bit surprised if she becomes an illustrator someday.




There’s Superman sharing his illustration.  After drawing they each  took turns sharing their rhymes and illustrations with everyone.




Here’s their rhymes:


Superman: Yankee Doodle stuck a feather in his hat and called it T-Rex.  He stuck another feather in his cap and called it macaroni.


Batman: Yankee Doodle stuck a feather in his cap and called it Pteranadon


Princess: Yankee Doodle went to town riding on a pony, stuck a feather in his cap and called it dog.


I love how much their drawings  and rhymes indicate their personality.  Don’t you just love their illustrations?

Some other Yankee Doodle activities, I really wanted to play the game:

Superheroes and Princesses

Adventures in Mommydom (part of our nursery rhyme book)

How Stuff works (a game)

Preschool Corner: Tornadoes

Shibley Smiles
Okay, actually it’s just one tornado book, and this is one of about 4 posts about tornadoes.  Really, we found that many awesome books about them.
A Twisted Tale has probably been one of the two favorites from our Kansas study.  The kids love reading about the animals getting all mixed up, and imagining what would happen.

Now, if I still had this toy, it’d be perfect to follow up on this book, but it went the way of the Dodo in our house because the kids had outgrown it.

But, I don’t.  Instead I just sat there thinking about how much fun that would be.  Or any of the other fun mix up the animal toys which we don’t have.

So, I turned to an old standby………  index cards!  And I challenged the kids to think of a funny way to combine two animals.

So I got a dog and a cat that are connected to each other’s bottoms.  Superman was oh so proud of that.  Me, not so much.

A bird that has an E in it.  I think.

A person with really long legs.

Two ducks drawn by Batman that have feet from different animals. 

While, I’m not a fan of the whole connected by their bottoms, I did think Superman’s drawing was somewhat original.

Stay tuned for more posts about tornadoes.
Now, head on over to Homeschool Creations for more posts about preschool adventures, and JDaniel4’s Mom for more fun book inspired activities.  And head back on Sunday to see our science project for tornadoes.  I think Kansas has been our most fun state study recently.

I better get thinking how I’m going to top this for another state.  Actually we’re starting over because we’re going to start doing this with some other families.  Which gives me a chance to decide how to make these studies work better.