Tag Archives: creative writing

Writing A Letter for Young Ones

Dear Sofia 3I have a fun thing for you guys today. We stumbled across a way for your little girls, or your bigger girls, or whoever enjoys Sofia The First to be able to write a letter to her. It was in the September 2015 issue of Family Fun that came yesterday. The fine print says that if you include your return address on the envelope, Sofia will write your child back. There is the disclaimer on it that says not every letter can be guaranteed a reply should any errors occur with the mailing process and letters should be received by 12/31/15. But, still, its worth a chance, right?

Dear Sofia
J cut it out right away and wrote the letter. It is finished and she’ll be mailing it off at the first chance.

Dear Sofia 2

Here’s the address:
Dear Sofia
244 Madison Avenue Box #411
New York, NY  10016

Any chance to get them writing that they are excited about has me excited too. Do you have anyone in your home who is going to want to write to Sofia?

At Home.

**Disclaimer: The name Sofia the First and all of these images are not mine. I copied them directly off the pages from the magazine so that you all would know that this was not a random thing I dreamed up. The name Sofia the First is, of course, a Disney name and so copyrighted, protected, and all that other legal stuff. Family Fun is also, I am sure, copyrighted and protected and trade marked.

Listen and Write

Listen and writeIf you follow At Home on Facebook, then you may have seen this video that I shared there. We got some sleet and snow last night and I thought today was a good day to use this video for a creative writing exercise.

Edit update: https://www.facebook.com/LakeSuperiorPhoto/videos/932630820094088/

I played the video for the girls but they were not allowed to see it. They could only listen. It is short, only about a minute. So I played it twice. In between, I told them how many adjectives they had to use to describe the sound in their journal. E had to use six; L had to use 4-5; J had to use 3.

After listening the second time, they went and sat with their journals and wrote about what they think they heard. They also had to draw a picture of what they think they heard. Here is their work:

listen and write L listen and write J

L – age 8                                                  J – age 6    listen and write E                                       E – age 10

Having completed the writing and drawing about what they think they heard, we talked about what they thought it was. I then showed them the video with sound. We discussed how the sounds were similar or how they were different, now that they knew what they were hearing. We talked about how sight can affect hearing and vice versa.

The final part of the exercise was writing another page about what it actually was they heard and how they reacted when they found out what it was. This is fun and fits right in with our weather discussions going on with Katy and the Big Snow, our current FIAR selection. We looked up pancake ice and found some additional videos and photos of it. We used it in our discussion about the states of matter and how it differs from snow and water.

Here are the reflections from E and L.

listen and write L reflection listen and write E reflection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was a fun writing activity using a sound prompt. Using something different for a prompt helps them think outside the box. What interesting prompts have you used? I am always looking for ideas.

At Home.

Talking about Mammoths, part 2

mammoths part 2

We did a few things relating to the mammoths this week. (See the post on our field trip.) But, I was not in a terribly creative mood, I guess, because I had some real trouble thinking up some ideas. So, after we had used the files from the Waco Mammoth Site, I went with a bit broader category: fossils.

The Waco Mammoth Site has a lot of educational printables for various age groups. I went through and picked out a few for each of the girls that I felt would appropriately challenge or review materials. Here are the ones the girls did.

mammoth L mammoths E mammoths J

 

On E and L’s scientific name worksheet, it had them create their own animal using scientific names and draw it. After they had done that, I had them brainstorm ideas about what happened to their animal and more specific details about their animal. They had to come up with a lot of words about their animals. Once we had a white board full, each girl was asked to create a story or a poem or a written account of their animal. I don’t have copies of those finished products but the girls enjoyed that writing assignment.

On another day, we explored fossils. We got down all of the fossils that we have tucked away. E and L got down on the floor (so that dropped fossils would be less likely to break and the floor would be less likely to be damaged) and touched, examined, talked about, felt, and explored the fossils we have. We have various real fossils and then we have a few that were made by pressing a shell or other natural object into plaster of paris or air dry clay. The girls spent probably 45 minutes discussing and talking about all of the fossils.

mammoths shark teeth mammoths fossils

After their chatter began dying down, I handed them a worksheet I had created and asked them to each choose one fossil to complete the worksheet on. This included a measuring activity in both inches and centimeters. There was a box to describe, factually, what the fossil was like. They were encouraged to describe it with as many of their senses as they could, as well as anything specific they could observe about it. There was place for them to draw their fossil. One box had them describing where their fossil might have been found. And a final box had them describing what the fossil might be from and why. They were also asked to color-code their page: blue for facts and yellow for opinion/theory/hypothesis.

mammoths fossil sheet

It surprised me that the girls were excited to complete these. E actually asked to complete two of these, so I let her. They also choose to sit down together and share their findings.

mammoths sharing

After these were completed, we got out our posters on poetry styles. We reviewed poetry styles, including limericks, lyrical poems, cinquain, and more. They each chose one style of poetry to use and wrote a poem about their fossil. L’s favorite style is always lyrical; she loves rhymes and descriptive phrases and long, flowy sentences. E’s favorite style is almost always cinquain. Here is their poetry.

mammoths E poems mammoths L poem
I am linking below to the information page the girls filled out. You are welcome to use this and share it but please link back to this post when you are sharing it.

Fossil worksheet

Our mammoth and fossil study has been fun. I have a couple of other ideas that I would like to do but we’ll see if they happen or not! Please share with me if you study mammoths or fossils or something related. I’d love to know what you do. At Home.

 

E is for Experiments

E is for title

I know when you read the word experiments you are probably thinking science. But, for this post, you need to think taste! You see, the giggly girls like to experiment with making up their own recipes. While this is good practice for thinking through different aspects of the recipe, it is kind of frightening for mom and dad because you know who gets the responsibility of tasting all of these experiments, right?

Thankfully, most of them are pretty reasonable, though we have had a couple of doozies! I thought I would share the most recent one as an example of the types of recipe experiments we try around here.

This is by J, our youngest giggly girl at the exciting age of 5. (It was written down by her 8 year old sister for her.)

E - J recipe pg 1 E - J recipe pg 2

I don’t have any pictures of the finished product but, as you can probably tell by the ingredient list, this one isn’t too bad. At least we didn’t have to have something strange like rice in our ice cream today. Perhaps on another day, we’ll be sharing another experiment in the kitchen. For today, we’ll be eating Increadable Ice Cream. At Home.

 

I am linking up with ABC Blogging over at Ben and Me today.

 

Ben and Me

C is for Convention, Curriculum, and Companions

C title

This last weekend, I was really blessed. The three giggly girls stayed with their aunt and grandparents for Friday and Saturday so that my husband and I could go to the Arlington Bookfair. It was a fantastic weekend away.

We found a cute little bed and breakfast in Duncanville (Alla’s Bed and Breakfast). I wish I had taken my camera with me! It is a small house that used to be home to some of the founding family of Duncanville. They had furnished the home with lots of period pieces. Rick, Alla’s husband, must enjoying tinkering with old electronics because they had lots of period lamps and light bulbs, an 80 year old refrigerator that works, a black-and-white TV from the very early stages of the invention, a color TV from when they were brand new, and a gigantic console radio from the period. The home was furnished with lovely antiques and it was really comfortable. Of course, we got a very good idea of what L will be like when she grows up if her talking habits don’t change – Alla did not stop talking once. Seriously! She had so many stories to tell and lots to talk about. It was lots of fun!

At the convention, we heard some great speakers. I won’t try to name them because I will certainly misname someone or mislabel their topic. I do pretty well taking information in but not so good at spitting it back out with something like this. I got some much needed encouragement and some great intellectual challenges. I am following it up with some pretty in-depth study. That may all come out later as a blog post but for now, lots of reading and thinking and Bible checking.

At the convention, we also found some good curriculum pieces to add to their girls’ school work when needed.

C history We bought Mystery of History book 1, though I was kind of surprised at a couple of things when we got home. I’ll have to preread it (which I don’t mind doing – it is very well written and I love history!) so that nothing catches us by surprise with the Bible part of this history. We also found some blank timelines that the girls will fill in as we work through the history.

 

 

 

C art

 

We bought Artistic Pursuits for L and J to share.

 

 

 

C cds

 

We got more of the Maestro Classics, which I am really excited about. We’ll do quite a bit with these over the summer – fun learning but keeping the brain intact and not turning to mush!

C writing

 

 

We also bought WriteShop Level D. E had really wanted to be selected for the team on the Review Crew to do this one but we weren’t. So, we bought it and we’ll probably start it before too long because she is so excited about it. (We already have a level of it for L to work on.)

 

 

 

The rest of our purchases were research based. Some of it the girls will end up using but a lot of it was for Joe and I. Creationism vs evolution is quite a big discussion point right now. The girls totally understand that God created the world so that isn’t something we have to deal with. However, as they get older, they are coming across the details in science that conflict with that and we are gearing our brains up to be able to help them understand it all clearly within the science realm of it all. Also, sometimes, you just want something new to read.

C answers books 

C readingC dinosaursC dad booksC books to read

One of the highlights of my weekend – getting to meet Gwen, a fellow Review Crew member. This is the first lady from the crew I have gotten to meet in real life. It is nice to meet someone in person that you are getting to know from your time online. It was fun meeting her and some of her children. (They were so polite and kind and a joy to talk to.) The more Gwen and I talked, the more we found we had in common. It was really a pleasure and a treat to get to meet up with her.C with Gwen

 

So with convention, curriculum, and companions – C – I am happy, geared up, and ready to go again.

At Home.

Ben and Me

A is for Apprentice

 

We have begun a new series of blog posts that will take us Blogging Through The Alphabet. This is in conjunction with Ben and Me blog. So, for week one,…

A is for Apprentice

We are currently working on a review for a CD about The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas. We are really enjoying it and there are so many resources to go with it! You’ll have to watch for the official review. Today, we are going to show you some of the extra activities we did to go with the CD.

Scratch offs –

scratch offs

A friend gave us these scratch off papers she got at the dollar store. We used them to create a picture that reminds us of the tone poem The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The oldest giggly girl chose the ABCs, because an apprentice is there to learn, and a wand, because the apprentice uses magic to get out of a job that he is too lazy to do. The middle giggly girl chose to create a tapestry. (We are studying Apologia’s “What In The World Can I Do?” and talked about tapestries recently.) She said the music told a story and reminded her of God.) The youngest giggly girl created a picture of all the things a sorcerer would need – hat, clothing, spell books, wand, and more.

Fantasia –

We watched the animation of this piece of music on the Disney Fantasia DVD. This got mixed reviews from the girls but the general consensus is that this was not their favorite version.

Maestro Classics –

We used the booklet that came with the CD from Maestro Classics. It has a few different activities in it. There is a crossword puzzle that the two older giggly girls worked together. There is also a very short matching game, where you match up the composer and two poets with an item that represents them.

Poem –

We looked up the original poem from Goethe and found a line-by-line translation. We read through the poem and the girls acted it out. We then went through some posters that we have of different types of poetry and the two older giggly girls chose a style in which to write their own poems about “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

Piano Music –

piano music

I found the piano music for the March of the Brooms from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice on Making Music Fun. I played it on piano and the girls danced.

Strega Nona –

Strega Nona

We found a book about another magical sorcerer, Strega Nona, and her apprentice, Big Anthony. We borrowed the book and the Scholastic video from our library. We read the book and then watched the video. The girls picked up right away about some of the animation and how it changed or differed from the book. We talked about those changes and why they might have been necessary. They compared the book and movie.

 

Pitched Percussion –

We pulled up several videos and sound clips on pitched percussion, such as marimba, xylophone, glockenspiel, vibraphone, and chimes. One very good link was from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. We also used the opportunity to look at pictures of the various pitched percussion and compare them.

DIY Project – Create A Water Xylophone

water xylophone

We got out five 12 ounce jelly jars and E filled them with water to varying heights. The girls took turns exploring the sound with them. Then we talked about the sound differences. Even J, at 5 years old, was able to make the comparison that a fuller jar = a lower pitch and an emptier jar = a lower pitch. They also experimented with using different items as mallets and realized that each different material created a different timbre. (We got lots of music vocabulary in!)

playing instruments

Then, we turned on the music and let them play along with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

 

Tune in next week to see what is chosen for letter B, as we blog through the alphabet with Ben and Me. In the meantime, go visit some of the other blogs that are blogging the alphabet with us.

Ben and Me

 

 

 

Story Cubes Day

Story Cubes titleToday, we used Story Cubes for our writing prompt. If you have never used them before, they are just a set of cubes with pictures on them. You roll them like dice and then use the pictures to create a story.

L, age 7, wrote this story based on the cubes in the picture below. (no editing on my part in typing it in here)

L's story cubes

Ounce upon a time there was a mad sintist. He wanted to be king. He lived in a cottide in the hills. He mixed up a brew and told his pet crab “Don’t say a thing. This spell only works in silence.” He got another gaget ready and cranked the wheel. Then he held out his bag and the powder fell into it and he closed the bag cakling. Then he opend the bag and got out a handful of the powder. He thrust it into the air. Just then his pet crab pinched him. “OWWW!” he cried. The powder stopped in midair and then disiperid. “Nooooo!” the sintest cried. “Another eviel plan foiled!”

 

 

E, age 9, wrote the following story based on the story cubes below. (again – no editing on my part in typing it in)

E's story cubes

 

Once upon a time a little girl lived with her grandmother. They loved to play ball together. The little girl hurt her finger. The girl and her grandmother went out. When they were gone a robber knocked on the door. When no one awnsered he went in to steal all of their money. But the girl’s next door neighbor saw him and started screaming. The girl came with her grandmother and they called the police and they arrested him. Grandmother talked to the police and they walked home. Then they celebrated. The End.

Will You Be Mine? – Resources for February

Feb Resources title

I cannot believe that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Who said life could move this fast?

In light of that realization, I figured I had better get some resources together so that we can have a fun Valentine’s day, talk about Groundhog Day, and review what we know about some of our presidents. February is packed full of learning opportunities and when you throw in the fact that the 2014 Winter Olympics are going on this month, it is hard to decide what to cover and where to spend your energies.

2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

We will be doing a large unit on the Sochi Winter Olympics. They are not an every day occurrence and there is so much to be learned that we cannot squander this opportunity. For more on the plans we have made for the Winter Olympics unit, see my posts about the resources we will be using and the Opening Ceremony scavenger hunt.

Groundhog Day

I don’t think we will spend much time on Groundhog Day but we will definitely talk about it. Our resources and activities for it include:

After these activities and books, we will doing some writing. I will be giving the girls the choice to write either a poem or a story about groundhogs the includes some of the facts they learn about groundhogs and Groundhog Day.

President’s Day

President’s Day, Lincoln’s birthday, and Washington’s birthday all occur during the month. We are somewhat fascinated with Abraham Lincoln in our house (or at least I am). We will do a short unit on the presidents and it will be about more than Washington and Lincoln.

  • book Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers  by Karen B. Winnick
  • book George Washington’s World by Genevieve Foster
  • book Abe Lincoln’s Hat by Martha Brenner
  • book Where Lincoln Walked by Raymond Bial – we’ll be using the parts related to the different presidents
  • view pictures and information on the presidential monuments in Washington DC (both personal photos and at the National Park Service)
  • Animaniacs video on the presidents
  • photo of the presidential stamps that we have in the girls’ hallway
  • information on Mount Rushmore from the National Park Service, including the kids’ information sheets that can be downloaded

We will be doing some different activities, including timelines, biography readings, writing a “Did you know…” about a president, and a math project with Mount Rushmore and geometry. Also, we will do lots of geography with these, marking our 50 states maps each time we come across a site related to a president.

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is going to be fun. We are participating in a Valentine swap with other homeschoolers across the country. The girls will be making their valentines so I have been collecting all sorts of crafty items for them to create with. We love jokes so the girls will be using jokes in their valentines this year. We will use this opportunity to reinforce the geography of the United States, which we have been studying in our 50 States project (a post on this is coming later). They can mark the addresses of the other kids they are sending valentines to on our large map that they made. They can label the part of the country the address is in and then graph it, too.

Other resources include

  • This Is How I Know God Love Me free printable
  • I want to create something like this sign for our house that emphasizes God’s love for us
  • I will be using the idea from Not Consumed to do a heart search, each printed with a scripture focusing on God’s love
  • We will be creating these Paper Bag Valentines blogged at Or So She Says for the copywork the girls will be doing related to our study of God’s love
  • I really like the idea found at Afterschool for Smarty Pants that has to do with drawing the parts of your heart. I was thinking we could use the idea and put in the things that we know God loves about us.
  • There is also the possibility of doing the same sort of thing with torn paper and calling it the Pieces of My Heart.
  • I plan on putting something like this printable (7 Things I Love About You) by Buttoned Up out for each of the girls on Valentine’s Day.

Here are the majority of the resources and ideas that we will be referencing during the units we are planning for the month of February. Enjoy and then come back and let me know what you are planning for the month of February. At Home.

Wanting even more ideas? Visit my fellow members of the Review Crew and find out what resources they are using this month. Just click on the photo below to head over to the list of the participating bloggers. (This link will be live on February 5, 2014.)

 Valentine's Day RoundUp

Snowflake Baby

snowflake collage with title

As part of our winter study, we have done some really fun activities. We are still working on those and we will publish a post on it later. However, part of the study of the snowflake included a creative writing activity. The girls made a paper snowflake “baby”, decorated it and gave it a face, then wrote about that snowflake’s life in some way.
P1080889
E – Age 9 Snowflake Baby
Once upon a time, there was a mommy and daddy snowflake. When they melted they left behind a speck of ash. The ash grew water vapor around it. Then, it froze into a ice ball. Next, it grew hexagonal crystals. The crystals grew. Now it was a baby snowflake! She fell to earth and then was buried for 10 days because of the blizzard. Finally she melted, leaving only a speck of ash behind.

E – age 9 Snow Crystals
Once upon a time
fell straight in a line.
One, two, three
Him, her, me.

First some ash,
Not some trash.
Grow some vapor,
Better not wake her.

Very cold ice ball
Not a single wall.
Hexagon crystals,
Not a few pistols.

Crystals grow,
Let’s row.
Fall to earth,
And we can’t surf.

IT’S SNOWING!

P1080893

L – Age 7 – The Life of a Snow Crystal

A tiny speck of pollen, salt, or soil.
Forms while the humans use the oil
to light their lamps
a speck of water vapor comes from the camps.
From a lake, a pond,  a pool or a ocean,
The water vapor sticks to it like a clump of lotion.
Then a ball of ice forms on the spot,
then it forms into hexagonal crystals whatnot.
The crystal grows. Crystals join to make a big, big, big, big snowflake, flake!
And after it grows, and joins, and knows,
that it’s ready to come down, it snows!

P1080892

J – age 4
J created twin snowflakes – a boy and a girl. She was pretty proud of them. J didn’t do any creative writing but she told a cute story to me about her snowflakes.

If you have done any creative writing this winter, please share with us what you did. We have found that writing happens very well after a craft associated with it. We’ll be sharing another one soon. In the meantime, we’ll be doing more creating. At Home.

5 Ps of Homeschooling Essentials – Paper

5 Ps of homeschooling image

I know you are probably thinking “Paper? Really? REALLY?” My answer – YES!!!!

We go through so much paper and it is probably not all what you imagine. We use paper for so many things that I cannot imagine even trying to educate without it. And lots of it is used in delight directed activity. So, yes. Paper.

  • For writing
  • For drafts
  • For drawing
  • For creating
  • For sculpting
  • For printing
  • For playing

Some of those are obvious; others, maybe not so much.

We do writing activities – stories, from prompts, poetry. They also do a lot of writing on their own, just because a story or poem has come to mind. One of the girls gave everyone a poem that she created for Christmas.

One of the “not so obvious” – sculpting and creating. Have you ever seen a paper TV? I wish I could show you but I don’t have a picture of it. My middle giggly girl made a three dimensional TV for her dolls out of paper and tape.

The playing encompasses so much! They make lists of things they want to do. They write the rules for the club they are forming. They make lists of “services” they offer, such as drawings, hair styling, or horse lessons. (Yes, I do mean horse lessons, as in how to canter, trot, or do dressage.) They make programs for the performances they put on for us. They make things for their dolls – candy, money, purses, books, and so much more.paper use collage

Yes, we do the norm – printing out worksheets or maps or whatnot. But I keep a drawer of scrap paper for all of their activities. I have had to ask for people to save me papers that have been printed on one side but are now ready for the recycle bin because I ran out of scrap paper. So, for our family, one of our absolute, must-haves is paper. Plain, printed on one side or not, ready to create with. At Home.

 

Homeschooling Essential is as different as can be. Find out what these friends feel is important on this 3rd day of the Homeschooling Essentials blog hop.

Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
DaLynn @ For the Display of His Splendor
Brandy @ Kingdom Academy Homeschool
Meg @ Adventures with Jude
Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Julie @ Nurturing Learning
Nicole @ Journey to Excellence
Adriana @ Homeschool Ways

Still wanting more ideas about what Homeschooling Essentials might look like? Visit one of these ladies from The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew.
5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

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