Tag Archives: 3rd grade

Birds Unit Study

Birds

I know I have hinted and outright mentioned the birds study that Miss J was doing. She just finished it up. It came about because of her fascination with birds and wanting to learn more about different birds. She has been interested in birds since we did a birds book a few years ago. Since we read Look Up!, we have kept our binoculars on or near the kitchen table, which is where we can easily view the birds in the trees out back. We often grab them and study the birds that we can see and we really enjoy watching the cardinal family that comes back every year. This really factored into the decision to create a study, just for Miss J, the focused on birds. She has loved it.

birds unit study

My first resource is a bird study from Memoria Press titled “What’s That Bird?” When a local education store was cleaning out a couple years ago, I was able to get the old version of the teacher guide for this for a buck-fifty. I grabbed it. We used it to help us study the feathers, wings, migration, and more. It was a good overview of birds. We did not use the additional information in this study as it was geared quite a bit higher than 3rd grade.

We also watched Flight: The Genius of Birds, a video from Illustra Media. This video focuses on the dynamics of flight, what is required for birds to be able to fly, and how God’s design is perfect. The videography is just stunning in this video and we enjoy watching it. We learn quite a bit each time we rewatch.

We also checked out a bundle of bird books from the library and spent some time, early in the study, focused on nests, parts of the birds, feathers, and more. We used most of these books in conjunction with the pages from the Memoria Press guide we had.

The website All About Birds was a daily use. It has a good search engine on it so Miss J could easily search the type of bird she needed for that day. The information was thorough, yet accessible for one her age. It included identification, habitat, and food information, along with nest and egg details. There are bird calls to listen to and videos of the birds. This was a really good site for our study.

two page layout

I have a file from Homeschool Copywork that has coloring pages of birds. We printed these full-size and placed them in a three-prong folder. Each bird is identified. As she studied each bird, she colored it according to the images on the web site.

We also have a membership to NotebookingPages.com. This resource had a blank notebooking page for birds. I downloaded it and printed it out with four copies of it per page. Miss J would fill in one for each bird and then tape it to the back of the picture of the bird that she colored. There are several other page types on birds available in their science section. This resource is invaluable when creating your own unit studies.

The last thing I included in her study was copywork from John James Audobon. She studied a biography of him early on last fall and so including some of his most famous statements is a great way to keep him and his contributions in mind while benefitting her cursive work. These came from Homeschool Copywork.

bird quotes

This was a simple study that has given her lots of information. It has also been really easy to tie in with other work that we are doing, such as a study of the book “Bears on Hemlock Mountain.” It is not uncommon for us to be out and about somewhere and for her to state “I see a (whatever kind of bird).” We talk about it and she enjoys telling us how she knew what it was.

This is just one way in which we strive to encourage our girls’ in their learning and an example of what I wrote about for the 2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair week 3.

Blessings,
At Home.

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Bird Books

bird books for unit study

We created a bird study for Miss J. I decided it would be good to share some of the book resources with you that we used. I will be linking to this in an upcoming post on the unit study itself so be watching for it.

bird books on Audubon

We specifically made it a point to talk about John James Audubon and the influence he had on nature studies, and bird studies in particular. These were two very interesting books about him and his work.

The Boy Who Drew Birds by Jacqueline Davies

Capturing Nature: The Writings and Art of John James Audubon edited by Peter and Connie Roop

bird books set 1

These are some of the reference books we picked up at the library.

Backyard Birds

Smithsonian Bird Watcher

Bird – a DK eyewitness book

If You Were a Bird by S. J. Calder

bird books set 2

These books were chosen because they hit on a specific theme or idea we were covering such as nests or the birds we were likely to see based on where we live.

Learn About Texas Birds

Backyard Birds Texas by Bill Fenimore

Birds Build Nests by Cathryn Sill

About Birds: A Guide For Children

bird books set 3

And these were directing some of the more detailed information and questions for the study.

Exploring Creations with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day by Jeannie Fulbright

Look Up: Bird Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate

What’s That Bird? Teacher Key from Memoria Press

These books, by themselves, make a pretty thorough bird study. But, if you want to go further with it, check out the upcoming post about the unit study that Miss J just finished.

Blessings,
At Home.

 

Interactive Grammar Notebook for Elementary Students

interactive grammar notebook

Miss J enjoys learning with hands-on activity. So, when we were talking about how to do some grammar work with her this year that would be fun, we hit upon doing a notebook using printables about grammar. I had no idea at the time that most people refer to these as interactive notebooks. But hey, even I learned something this way!

Before I began anything else, I made a list of all the things we wanted her to review and learn:

  • nouns, common nouns, proper nouns, etc.
  • verbs, linking verbs, etc.
  • pronouns
  • adjectives
  • adverbs
  • sentences, including types of sentences

Then, I did a bundle of searches to come up with freebie printables that fit what we were wanting her to learn. In the process, I found some other grammar concepts that were perfect to add to her notebook. I saved all of these files on my computer and then I spent some time printing them all. I used colored printer paper to keep it fun and alternated the pages so that she did a different color for each page. Some pages had two or more colors.

There were foldables, lists, matching, lift-the-flap, and more. I found a good variety and we were able to print off enough to do several a week for the entire fall semester. She used a composition notebook to put them in and now she has a complete grammar notebook that she can refer back to if she needs a refresher. I am keeping it handy for that but also so that if I find more, we can add to it as she gets older and works on different parts of grammar.

The areas that she ended up with in her interactive notebook include:

  • subject/predicate
  • nouns, including common nouns, singular nouns, possessive nouns
  • pronouns
  • verbs, including verb phrases, being verbs and action verbs
  • adjectives
  • adverbs
  • prefix and suffix
  • synonyms and antonyms
  • punctuation
  • types of sentences
  • cliche, idiom, hyperbole, personifiction, simile, metaphor, alliteration, onomatopoeia
  • writing details
  • how-to practice
  • opinion writing
  • plot
  • important fact identification
  • reading responses

I often pulled out Grammar Rock from the Schoolhouse Rock series to go along with a new topic in her grammar notebook. After all, who doesn’t like a some to help you remember?

You can find some of what I saved in my Pinterest board but a lot of it that I used, I did have to give an email for. I didn’t mind and will be considering purchasing one or two options for additional activities for the more advanced concepts. Especially since I saw a couple on Pinterest that I didn’t print for her. Yay – more for her to do.

She was actually sitting here, helping me flip through her interactive notebook to make the above list and was asking to do more. She’ll be happy for me to print some more things for her to do.

What are your favorite grammar resources? I would love for you to share your favorites with me in the comments. It might give me something new to do with her and it might help someone else who is reading along here.

Blessings,
At Home.

Linking up with the Homeschool Review Crew through their weekly linkup.

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

Linked up with the Homeschool Review Crew and the Virtual Refrigerator.

Homeschool Review Crew Weekly Link Up

 

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.

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