Category Archives: 3rd grade

Viking Ship creation

Viking Ship activity

Today, we were talking about Norway in our Let’s Go Geography lesson. (Read our review of Let’s Go Geography.) We are still really liking these easy but informative geography/history lessons. The embedded links to interesting videos coupled with map work, some history, national anthems, and some animals keep Miss J interested. The map work is just enough to challenge and it includes enough review to help retain the information.

A large part of Norway’s background is Viking and they are pretty proud of it. The activity today was to create a Viking ship on the ocean. Miss J had lots of fun with it and it was simple to do. These types of conclusion activities are right up her alley and seem to tie it all together for her.

Let’s Go Geography is one we are definitely keeping in our rotation of lessons.

Blessings,
At Home

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Snow experiments

That title is perhaps misleading. Because, well, you know – central Texas and snow just don’t often mix. Not even recently when the Texas coast got some nice snow. We got cold and wet but no snow. (insert sad face here – I love snow!)

Regardless of what is in the air or on the ground, this week’s lesson from Mystery Doug was on snow. It was a neat video talking about why snow appears white. Who knew? Well, I guess some people did but we didn’t until the video.

(Shall I tell you? Snow is white because of the piling up of it. The edges reflect light differently and when those thousands and thousands of little flakes pile up, the edges all pile up and reflect light in a way that it is no longer clear! Bad explanation maybe. I am always amazed at how well he explains complicated ideas!)

Anyhow, we made snowflakes illustrating that idea. Wax paper and glue. Easy-peasy.

Snowflakes

Well, our snowflakes did not do as well as the ones on the videos but the idea was learned. And they did look neat as long as we didn’t pick them up.

Miss J really liked the wax paper after the snowflakes came off of it. The impressions left were very pretty, too.

snow

Mystery Doug presented another really neat one.

Blessings,
At Home.

Making A Hand

moving hand

It was a strange little project but we were following her interests. That’s how it goes, right? Delight directed can lead to some interesting things and this led to making a hand.

We started with the Mystery Doug video for the week which is answering “Why do muscles bulge?” Miss J was enthralled with the information and watched the video twice. And then there was the extension project mentioned – building a paper finger.

“Please?!?”
“Get your supplies. They are listed right there.”
Off she runs.

Not much later, she is moving the finger around and comparing it to her own. Trying to make them both do the same things. And they pretty much can!

studying the hand

“I wonder if I could make a whole hand?”
“Well, look at the additional learning project – make a hand.”
“Please?!?”
“What do you need?” And off she goes to gather more of the same, plus a little more.

Not much later, she is trying it out, trying to see what she can make it do.

And asking for more videos on making fingers and hands that work. So we do some more videos.

An hour and a half later, her curiosity is satisfied and her projects are beginning to not be quite as interesting. So, on to the rest of the school day. But what a fun project and what fun learning! She will remember this one.

At Home.

The Magic Stories ~ A Crew Review

The Magic Stories review

Many of you are probably familiar with our vendor for this review: Allsaid & Dunn, LLC, publishers of The Reading Game and authors of the Wordly Wise series. We have been using a supplemental product titled The Magic Stories.

The Magic Stories {Allsaid & Dunn, LLC. Reviews}

The Magic Stories is a supplemental reading program designed for 2nd and 3rd grade students but appropriate for any student who needs to work on reading comprehension. While this was designed to follow The Reading Game, it is not a prerequesite; this program stands on its own. (We have not used the other program.)

Each story is fairly short; my 3rd grader could easily read the stories in a single sitting, with no need to break a story up over two or more days. The stories each have a magical element and conclude with a moral. The tales are fun, imaginative, and varied.

The titles of the six stories are:

  1. The Magic Hole
  2. The Magic Ax
  3. The Magic Joke
  4. The Magic Hotdog
  5. The Magic Book
  6. The Magic Box

Each tale includes a list of the Naughty 40 – a set of 40 words that are often difficult, misread, or misunderstood. Many of these words have synonyms. This list is included with the book PDF but is also a part of the series of worksheets that are included in the purchase of The Magic Stories.

The Magic Stories {Allsaid & Dunn, LLC. Reviews}The worksheets are a printable file that comes with the complete set purchase. Each tale has a maze, comprehension questions/finish the sentences, real or imaginary/imagine questions, finish the story options, a running record, and a Naughty 40 word assessment sheet.reading from the Kindle

Each tale in The Magic Stories is accompanied by some worksheets, the first of which is a maze. The student reads a statement and then answers it true or false. If the student gets it wrong, they have to check a box at the top and go back the other direction. If they miss too many, it is a good indication that their reading comprehension needs work or they read too fast and so they are instructed to go back to the story and read it again. This was my daughter’s favorite sheet. She always followed the reading with it right away.

Each tale is also accompanied by some worksheets that reinforce reading comprehension through varied questions. There are about two pages of questions that range from obvious answers to ones that really make the students think. The students have lines to write their answers on. One suggestion here would be to include age-appropriate lines, rather than just a single blank for writing. My daughter really struggles with her writing when she is writing on a single line.

The real or imaginary/imagine questions are different from the reading comprehension questions. On the real or imaginary pages, the student is differentiating between real and imaginary and creatively thinking about some various opportunities and how real or imaginary would affect those. On the imagine pages, the student is asked to imagine a setting or situation related to the story somehow and to think creatively about a solution or idea related to that.

creative writing

There is also a worksheet that encourages creative writing. Each story has at least two options to choose from. There are suggestions for writing alternate endings, evaluating a character and talking about his choice, writing a new story for a character, or creating something completely different. Miss J did her creative writing on a word processing program on the computer and really enjoyed this portion of it.

There are two other sheets included in the purchase of the whole set: one is a running record and the other is a test sheet for the Naughty 40 words. The running record is simply a 100 word reading test to check fluency and correct reading. The other is a sheet for checking the Naughty 40 words. I used this to check before her reading of the book and then at the end of all the work with that particular story. This was one place where I was a bit frustrated with these sheets – the Naughty 40 did not match the list in the PDF that followed the story. It was easy enough to add them to the list and find the ones she didn’t read if she read from the PDF. But, it did mean that often, she was reading 50 words or so. It seems that these really should align. Like I said, though, it was easy enough to work with. **UPDATE – the lists have been aligned now and this is no longer an issue.**

There is also a download of the Naughty 40 words as flashcards. We did not use these because Miss J seldom missed a Naughty 40 word. This is a printable file, a separate one for each story, that has the word printed in bold and then a sample sentence for the use of that word. It would be a great resource if you needed to drill any of the words with your student.maze

We have worked through 4 of the six stories so far and Miss J has truly enjoyed them. Our schedule:

  • Day 1 – Naughty 40 pre-read list; read story and complete maze
  • Day 2 – answer comprehension questions and real or imaginary/imagine questions
  • Day 3 – creative writing
  • Day 4 – running record and final test on Naughty 40 (if she missed any the first time)

This was a simple addition to our school day and was something that Miss J seems to enjoy. The quality of the story is really quite good and I was pleased. Too often stories for reading comprehension feel contrived and are not pleasant to read. These are enjoyable, fun, and brought good thoughts and ideas, as well as creative writing, to our days.

If you are looking for a supplemental program to check or improve reading comprehension, sight words, and creative writing, check out The Magic Stories from Allsaid & Dunn, LLC. The publishers of The Reading Game and authors of the Wordly Wise series have created a product that is a pleasure to work with.

From The Magic Stories: We would like to offer your readers a 25% discount should they choose to order The Magic Stories.  To receive the discount, enter “raisingreaders” in the coupon box upon checkout.

At Home.

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about how other families have used The Magic Stories and what they thought about them.

The Magic Stories {Allsaid & Dunn, LLC. Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Weekly Science Lesson

simple weekly science lessons

We have had a lot of fun recently using a weekly science lesson from a company called Mystery Doug. Each week we get an email with a link to a video answering a question. We watch the video and then, if even one of the girls is interested in learning more, we do the extension activities when they are offered.

This week the question was about the skeleton – why do our skeletons have so many bones? The short, five minute video was a neat illustration of the human skeleton and its function. It doesn’t take long for the video and we have really learned a lot of interesting things from these videos.

company name

Sometimes, there is an accompanying hands-on activity. This week, it was making an artistic rendition of your own hand so that it looks like an x-ray. It was lots of fun and Miss J did a great job with hers.

We have found that the video do so well that the topics pop up in conversations often. For example, the other night, we were talking with grandparents about the trees changing colors. Miss J popped out the explanation for the change in colors and shocked everyone at the table (the other two girls had missed that particular video lesson). She was quite proud of the fact that she knew something no one else did. Great way to increase self-esteem, as well.

If you are looking for a short and simple addition of science to your week, check out Mystery Doug.

At Home.

Let’s Go Geography ~ a Crew review

Let's Go Geography

Geography is a subject that is always fascinating because there are so many facets to it. Whether you are looking for the language, culture, geographical features, landmarks, or other information on a country, Let’s Go Geography has a fantastic program. This has been a fun review that we are planning on continuing long past the end of the review period.

coloring a pageDesigned for K-4th grade, this is an online homeschool geography curriculum. Because it is online, you will need access to a computer, the internet, and a printer. From home, you will probably want a binder to keep the travel journal in and you will need basic school supplies for the activities. This would include crayons, pencils, map colors, scissors, glue, and few other supplies for specific crafts activities.

Let’s Go Geography was created by Carol Henderson. Mrs. Henderson has taught geography in a co-op setting for a while but decided to adapt her lessons to an online format for more homeschoolers to access. (I am so glad she did!!!) The program is a planned 3-year cycle taking the students from continent to continent and country to country. Each year of the cycle takes the students through at least one country per continent (well, Antarctica, Australia, and New Zealand are the anomalies for this).Let's Go Geography

The lessons follow a similar pattern for each country studied in the program:

  • map work, marking the country on both the continent map and a closer-up map when appropriate, which also includes answering some questions related to the maps and the country (mountains, lakes, borders, etc.)
  • a statistics page for the country
  • coloring the country’s flag and adding it to a map and/or passport
  • listening to the national anthem
  • videos that are related to important information about the country – the people, the geographical landmarks, the food, the exports, and more
  • a link for reading more online at a kid-friendly site and information on where to look in the library for printed materials on the country
  • a photo album with pictures from the country
  • a craft or coloring page related to the country

Watch the video of the lessons on the website.

This is a lot of information but it is simple and easy to follow this curriculum. Each country study opens in a PDF and all of the links you need for printing or videos are embedded in the PDF. You can even check off your progress on the website.

HOW WE USED IT

lighthouseMiss J is 8 and in 3rd grade. She has been working, somewhat inconsistently (my fault), on a continent study for the past year or so. This program was a perfect fit for her. We have enjoyed doing a country or two per week. She enjoys it and wants to complete a country each time we open the program.

Let’s Go Geography is written in such a way that you can do one country each time you use the program or you can break it up into several small sections and take several days to study the country. Either way would work well. This means it is an easy addition to your schedule and it takes almost no preparation.

Miss J enjoys studying the countries and we have found several things that have been rabbit trails in this study. What a wonderful things to experience.

  • She asked about maple syrup after studying the US Northeast. We dug ours out and saw it was made in Vermont. Perfect for a taste test.
  • After reading about maple candy and maple leaves with Canada, we found some maple candy at a store and got to eat it.
  • After watching the sugar cane video, she wanted to know more so we spent another 45 minutes finding more videos about sugar cane, how to use it, how to plant it, etc. That really brought Haiti to life for her and connected her to it.

That is what we are looking for in programs – connections! Let’s Go Geography definitely has that kind of connection for her.

volcanoes in Nicaragua

Back to how we used it each time, though. I would go through the PDF ahead of time and print off the pages we would need. I did not print the entire PDF for any of the countries since some of it is a cover page or instructions. She 3-hole punched the pages and placed them in her travel journal in the appropriate section (sections are by continent). We then would work through each of the pages – coloring maps and flags, pasting the flags where they go, answering questions, watching videos, and doing the craft or coloring page. She did either the craft or the coloring page for each country. If she had questions or interests that cropped up in the middle of the study, we followed them. If that meant we didn’t get through the whole country that day, it was fine. We just picked up where we left off.

lei from Hawaii

We often took this with us to her sister’s dance class and worked on it there, since we have plenty of time to sit and wait. It made a perfect project to take with us on the go if I printed it ahead of time. Except for one thing – when I transferred the PDF to my Kindle the links don’t work (we did still have internet access). The PDF reads fine but the links are no longer embedded. This is a fault of the Kindle, not the program. Easy to fix, though. I just planned ahead, opened the links, copied them, and emailed them to myself. We were then able to watch the videos.

While we have not yet reached a review lesson (lesson 12 is the first), the review lessons are really good! They review all of the countries studied thus far for the continents being looked at. There is extensive map work for the older students and plenty of good map work for the younger ones, as well, learning more about maps than has been discussed so far and encouraging as much work as possible to be done from memory. With matching activities and writing activities, the review lessons are packed full.

travel journal and passport

FINAL THOUGHTS:

We really like this program. It is simple enough to follow and do the planning for. But, best of all, Miss J enjoys learning and is making connections with the countries we are studying.

Miss J says:
It is very fun. I have no idea why they did not call it “Let’s Go Geography Fun!” I like that it has fun activities and that you can mostly do them all if you have a printer. I think my friends would like this.

At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read what other families thought about Let’s Go Geography.

Let’s Go Geography {Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Carlsbad Caverns

At the end of August, the girls and I were able to take a field trip to New Mexico, my home state. We visited a couple of sites that are pretty special to me and enjoyed our time there and with family quite a bit.

This is the highlights of our time in Carlsbad. We did see the Bat Flight program the night before we hiked the cavern but it is not safe for the bats to have any kind of a device on, so we turned off the cameras and phones and just enjoyed watching. The estimate was that there were about 500,000 bats the night we were there. The Brazilian Free-tailed Bats are a migrating bat so they are not there year round. We truly enjoyed seeing them. The next day, we hiked the cavern and saw lots of beautiful sights. The girls really seemed to enjoy it and we had a pretty good time.

Carlsbad was a specific destination for us since watching the videos about the National Parks. This was one that Miss E has been asking to visit. It was not difficult for us to get there and we definitely enjoyed checking this one off her “bucket list.”

Enjoy our pictures.

At Home.

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