Maryland: Billie Holiday

I found a few famous people who were from Maryland, and being a Jazz fan I decided to spotlight Billie Holiday.  I wanted to do something for Jim Henson as well, but I’m still brainstorming that one.



Tiny’s Hat is a super cute story about Billie Holiday as a girl and how much she loves her Daddy, but he goes away.  It’s rather sad and bitter sweet, but ends on a happy note.


I loved the chalk illustrations on this book and thought it’d be fun to let the kids try drawing with chalk.


003SUPPLIES: chalk (I found a box at Michael’s for a dollar), black construction paper


The kids happily experimented with drawing in chalk, for a while, and I left them with the paper and chalk and took turns having the kids read to me.


I returned to discover they’d left my planned project and started their own



I don’t have a picture of Princess’ bat, using black construction paper, a plastic lid, and 10 pounds of blue tape, but it was impressive.


And now I’m going to actually remember to hit publish!

Shibley Smiles

Maryland: Fredrick Douglass and Harriet Tubman

I had fabulous plans for what I was going to do for these two brave people.  Glorious plans, first we were going to read these two books:

Which we did, and then we were going to make Underground Railroad quilts.  Like the ones in the Quilt Code.  But, here’s the problem, the more I read about them being Hidden in Plain View, the more I found out it probably didn’t happen that way.


So, it’s more of an urban legend than fact.  That, and it would take a lot of work to get those shapes ready for a group of kids to do it……  A LOT of work……….




Instead, I found a list of slave states and free states right before the Civil War, and we very carefully colored in the different types of states and created a key.


It’s not very exciting, or interesting to write about, but it was interesting to realize things.  Like, I always forget Maryland was a slave state, I don’t know why.  Or how much harder it was for a slave to escape from South Carolina versus Maryland.


If we hadn’t been studying the maps we wouldn’t have noticed these things.


As to the books………


I highly recommend “Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led her People to Freedom.”  It’s very poetic and lyrical in writing style.  Also the illustrations are wonderful.


“Fredrick Douglass: Last Day of Slavery,” is also good, but it’s a more difficult read and is much longer.  I edited it a little bit while I was reading it to everyone, but it’s a hard book to sit through, partially for the subject matter.


I’m gonna link this over to, rather than the abortive post I tried to write earlier as my brain sat here fried from Rock the Rock this week.  I know we read a lot of books this week, but for the life of me I don’t remember a single one other than what I read them for bed tonight.

Maryland: Baltimore fires

As I go further and further into my state studies I find better and better books.  No really, for Delaware I found like 3…….  Maryland, 15.  Okay a lot of them were about the Star Spangled Banner, but still. This is a great book about a horse that helped save Baltimore from the great fire that enveloped it at the turn of the century (1900), and how the firefighters worked for hours to save the city.

 Well, since it seems determined to not show the text with this picture, I guess I’ll write it again…..  Growl.  So, they happily colored, cut, glued their way through a happy recreation of the story using a scanned picture of Goliath.  Sigh, imagine a much more pithy set of instructions, but I don’t want to retype it for the millioneth time…….
After reading the book we made a pop-up scene from the book using a scan of the horse and some cardstock.  The kids happily colored their background, cut and glued to their hearts content.


My boys found the idea that soldiers and firemen from all over came down to stop the buildings absolutely fascinating, so they drew in the soldiers who came down to help.

All in all, I highly recommend the book.  As you can see from the scanned pictures the book has gorgeous illustrations, and the story is very touching.  And, of course the horse survives.  An animal story is just no good if the animal dies.

And now, our geography co-op is officially on break as 1/3 of the families is now in Latvia.  I’m eagerly looking forward to their getting back.  Not just because they’re good friends, but also because they’re going to teach us all about Latvia!

Maryland: Star Spangled Banner

Photobucket  <a href=””> Widgets</a>
History/Geography stuff is probably going to slow down because our geography coop will probably be on hiatus until one of the families gets back from their annual trip to Latvia.  Good news for me, more time to figure out what I want to do and preview books.
Bad news for me, I really enjoy those sessions…….  Sigh.

I might keep doing some projects with my kids and then redo them with the geography group again.  Hence this Maryland project.  Also, I wanted to try out a theory on painting.
So, while we work on this project we listened to the Adventures in Odyssey episode about “The Star Spangled Banner,” which is a really good one and gets you to thinking about stuff.  If you don’t have that available, “By Dawn’s Early Light” also covers the history behind our anthem, but I thought listening to this would be a fun change of pace.

I gave each of the kids a half sheet of paper.  Then I gave them each 2 ships and a fort to glue on.  They happily did and spent a merry few minutes explaining who was good guys and who was bad guys……….

Then they painted their ocean blue.  I was rather insistent on this, and didn’t give them any other paint except blue.  I’m so mean……

After they’d painted their ocean I gave them a stiff brush and a little, red, yellow and orange.  I showed them how to dip their brush in the paint and then flick it at the paper with their finger.  Which Princess was not happy about because it got her fingers messy.
Then after awhile they just wanted to paint whatever.  So, the boys painted numerous “John Avery Whittacker” and Princess just had fun.

Superman’s final project.  As you can see, he used a lot of glue for the fort.  And there were not a lot of explosions going on.


This is more what I thought it’d look like.  Still, not quite the dramatic explosions and stuff I was hoping for.  Maybe if we had watercolors and could have blown them with our mouths……

If you want the ship and fort print outs it’s just a quick clip art search from Microsoft, but to save you the time:

Ship and Fort.

For more geography/history ideas head on over to Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn.

Edited to add more pictures from our geography group:

Don’t you just love the variety?