Tag Archives: 3rd grade

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Let’s Go Geography {Reviews}

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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.

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Progeny Press ~ a Crew review

Progeny Press is a company that brings to the table something I struggle with – deep questions related to a story that force a student to think critically about things. We have been reviewing the The Bears on Hemlock Mountain E-Guide. This study guide is aimed at lower elementary ages. It has been a pleasant experience.

Bears on Hemlock Mountain, The - E-Guide

Bears on Hemlock Mountain is an early chapter book by Alice Dagliesh. The Bears on Hemlock Mountain E-Guide is produced by Progeny Press to go along with the book, chapter by chapter. My 8 year old (beginning 3rd grade) was able to easily read the book and use the guide. The guide does require quite a bit of writing, which is not her strong point, so we modified some of the longer writing answers for an oral narration. It adapted easily and well.

The Bears on Hemlock Mountain E-Guide began with a note to instructors who are new to using this style of guide and it followed that with a synopsis of the book. Next is an author biography and a note on the background of the story itself (old folk story). There are a number of “Before-You-Read” activities to help the students become familiar with some of the background and ways of the people and places in the story. There were quite a few of these so we did not do them all. And then you get to the parts that go along with the story chapter by chapter.

Bears materials

For the pre-reading activities, we studied animal prints with a poster we have, along with the different types of animal prints you might encounter in the woods. We also looked at trees, leaves, and bird nests. We discussed a hill vs a mountain and looked at some examples online. We also had a discussion about hospitality: what it meant, how you can show it, why you would, and more. Finally, we looked up several sites where we could listen to bird songs.

The chapter by chapter questions are basically set up in two chapter sets. This made it very readable and if the child struggled to know the answer, there was not a very large area of the book to look to find the answers. Each chapter set covered vocabulary and comprehension questions. The vocabulary was both single words and muti-word phrases that the student may or may not be familiar with. Because it included some phrases, it was not always possible to just look it up in a dictionary. This meant that this was not independent work. That works well for my daughter because she likes company, no matter what she is doing.disctionary work

The questions relating to the chapters varied from comprehension to making inferences to apply Bible verses. An example of a comprehension question is “What does Jonathan do to keep up his courage?” This was a low-level comprehension question because the answer is almost completely stated from the story. A deeper level question was “Uncle James taught Jonathan observation. What is the difference between seeing and observing?” I liked this variation on comprehension questions because often you get either the really deep thinking questions or the low-level question. Progeny Press seems to have included a good variation of both in this study guide.

vocabulary workThe Bible verse questions were all application style questions. They asked you to read a verse, which was provided, and apply it to a particular situation in the story. An example of an application question for a verse had to do with reading a passage from James and then discussing being dependable and telling the truth. The student had to think about being dependable, telling the truth, and why those things may or may not go together. Then the student was asked if you could have one without the other. What a wonderful, deep application question that wasn’t too difficult but required some serious thought.

The final part of the study guide was a page of mystery words. The student had to recall some words from the story and then use them to solve yet another word that was coded.

Overall, this was an age-appropriate and ability appropriate study guide for my daugher. This was the first of its kind for her and while she didn’t love it, it worked pretty well for her. It was easy and followed the book well so she could easily hunt things up if she needed to, except for the last set of chapters. For some reason, it went from two chapters in a group to four in the last group. That made for a  very long set of questions and a pretty big group of chapters to search through when she wasn’t sure of something.

I would also have liked to see some “after you read activities” included in the guide. I felt like this guide is definitely missing a hands-on set of activities, as it doesn’t have any except for the pre-reading activities at the beginning.

review of Progeny Press

Progeny Press is a very good company if you are looking for a company to prepare study guides for your student over quality literature and living books. They have a large catalog for every age level. If you would like to see more of our reviews of Progeny Press, we have reviewed the following also

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Other Crew members reviewed one of these choices:

Click the banner below to read their reviews and find out more about Progeny Press.

 

Study Guides for Literature {Progeny Press Reviews}

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Using what works and working what we use (curriculum) ~ Back to Homeschool Blog Hop 2017

curriculum

As is common, we have rethought seriously the plans for this coming school year. While we are keeping our focus the same (faith, family, fun – with lots of books thrown in), we are trying to simplify and hone down.

This is mainly my problem – not the kids. It is so easy to look at programs, say “it only takes five minutes” and then end up with so many things that you feel burdened. Even though most of them only take a few minutes a day – thinking spelling and poetry specifically. So, I kicked those to the curb (holding onto the right to retrieve them in the future).

We are focusing on core this year: Bible, math, literature/writing, history, and science. There will be some music, languages, and dance in there as well. These lessons are four days a week, Monday to Thursday. So, what exactly are we doing with each?

Oh, and for reference, these are for:

  • Miss E, 8th grade
  • Miss L, 6th grade
  • Miss J, 3rd grade

Bible studies

Bible – I and II Corinthians will be our focus this year. We will be using our Bible bowl materials, Bible Road Trip, and various other videos, worksheets, and games to go with it. The girls are expected to read some each day and we will have Bible bowl meetings once or twice a month. We use Quizlet to do online drills, as well.

math studies

Math – This is broken down by grade. Miss E, in 8th, will be using UnLock Math‘s pre-algebra program. We reviewed it a while back and she still likes it! She actually got upset when she heard me comment that I needed to go buy math workbooks and she thought I was taking her off UnLock Math! Win-win! I did go buy Horizons workbooks, though. Miss J is starting level 3 and Miss L is finishing up level 4.

literature

Literature/writing – You may have seen my post about Story Spiels. This is our literature curriculum for the year. Each girl has a book list to choose from and must make measurable progress in her book from week to week. (Not that I expect this to be a problem – two of them may fly through the entire book list this year and we will have to find more.) On Fridays, we will have a time where the girls will take turns presenting what was read that week and hosting a discussion about the topics and ideas of the book. They will also either do a notebooking page or a project about their book. If a project is chosen, we may relax the reading requirement for one week while the project is completed. Miss E may also be adding a fairy tales based literature program if it comes through but it is still in the works, so I am not counting on it at this point.

history studies

History – Miss J is going to be doing Let’s Go Geography. This is a new product and we will have a review of it up in about 6 weeks. I am really excited about this simple curriculum to take us around the world. Miss L is going to be combining her history and science as she is studying some books about women in various fields. Right now she is working on women in meteorology.  Next she will be doing women in architecture. These are books from Nomad Press and are in a series. I think we will probably purchase some more following these two if her interest holds. Miss E is working on finishing up her study on Ancient Greece. We had some things come up late in the spring and she didn’t get to finish it so she is tackling it again this fall since she enjoys it so much.

science studies

Science – Miss J is going to start with a study of birds. Her fascination has remained so we will study them using the Memoria Press program What’s That Bird? Our library has most of the literature books from it and I have the teacher’s guide. It is technically for an older student but we are going to adapt. After that we will tackle the Apologia Young Explorer’s program on Flying Creatures. Miss L is working with the books I mentioned above, completing notebooking pages to show what she is learning. The books do a great job of combining some history and science together. Miss E is going to do Friendly Chemistry from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. She is interested in the chemical structure of things, as best we can decide after much discussion. Nothing is clear cut in what interests her but she was able to state some things she did not want. So, we’ll give these lessons a try and see what she can do with them. After that, I am hoping she will feel like taking the geology course from SchoolhouseTeachers.com.

Electives –

  • Dance – all three are taking dance again
  • Sign Language – Miss is taking year 3 of sign language classes
  • Music – Miss E is working on recorder this year. Miss L is continuing violin. Miss J is learning piano.
  • Other? Probably but they are not strictly scheduled in as are these others. I would love to see Miss L and Miss J continue working on Spanish. We will throw some poetry in on Fridays. There will be some cursive work for Miss J and we will do art on Fridays. Miss L asked for a copywork packet so I printed one off for her with poetry. Things like this come up and I am more than happy to accommodate. 🙂

Fun Fridays – I am hoping to schedule some fun things for Fridays, such as art lessons and STEM building projects. Perhaps an inventors workshop or a DEAR day (Drop Everything And Read). We will still do a family devotional and our Story Spiels will fall on Fridays.

All in all, I am shooting for less stress, fewer structured programs, and more time for rabbit trails and interest led activities. Any suggestions and encouragement is appreciated, as I am really struggling to not include more (and more and more).

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Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017

This is the first day of the Back To Homeschool Blog Hop with the Homeschool Review Crew. Be sure to visit the other bloggers, too. Here are a few for you to start with.

Annette – A Net in Time

Ashley  – Gift of Chaos

Betty – Let’s Get Real

Chareen – Every Bed of Roses

Christy  – Unexpected Homeschool

Crystal – Living Abundantly

Desiree  – Our Homeschool Notebook

There are about 30 more so don’t stop here! Head over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog to find the rest. 🙂

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