Word Wall Ball

Last week  I put on a Word Wall Ball for our military homeschool group and it was… word wall ball titleAWESOME!  Okay, I know that is totally braggy but I’m just really happy with how well it went and how much fun we all had.

So what is a Word Wall Ball you ask?  Well, my sister gave me the idea from something she observed in a kindergarten class.  The idea was that kids would have their list of sight words on their word wall when they have learned all of them they earn a ticket to the Word Wall Ball.  Really we just celebrated everyone’s accomplishments in reading, whether it was learning sight words or starting to read for the first time or finishing a grade level.

DSCN1720We held it at the community center on base and everyone brought a potluck dish to share for lunch.  I said for the kids to dress fancy for them–whatever would make them feel special–and boy did they dress up.  I had helium filled balloons floating around with strings long enough for the kiddos to catch them and then other balloons on the ground for kids to bounce around (if you know me IRL you know what a big deal this was for me because I HATE balloons).  When they entered I had royal music playing (alright, it was just the march from Sleeping Beauty) and as soon as the kids came in and saw the balloons and everything they started screaming and bouncing around and dancing.

In addition to the balloons and dancing, we also did a cake walk.  If you haven’t done a cake walk, you are seriously missing out.  Think happy musical chairs with cupcake prizes.  We had sight words cards for our spaces.  When the music plays the kids walk around the circle.  When the music stops, we call out a word and the child standing on that space gets a cupcake and leaves the circle.  Add in a DSCN1686new kiddo and begin again.  We just played until everyone got a cupcake. (Okay in a real cake walk it would be cakes and then you would start with a whole new group, but I really like it this way.)

Download the Sight Word Cake Walk

 

I also had out scratch out for the kids to do.  Such an easy craft–just set out the supplies–but such a big hit.

img075

And we had a photo booth!  I think I love the pictures even more than the kids loved taking them. 🙂

DSCN1695 cropped

I found my props online; then just cut them out and added shish kabob skewers.  I recommend using an exacto knife for the eye holes and other fine details.  And before sure to glue the skewers with the pointy end against the paper piece so no one gets hurt.  So many are for weddings or adult parties but I found good ones for the kiddos at Accent the Party (a great list) and Creative Juice.

DSCN1685

 

But the best part of all for everyone was recognizing the children’s accomplishments.  On the walls I had a img074book for each kiddo celebrating their achievements in reading.  I had the parents write me with what they wanted to celebrate and then I just copied and pasted them onto the book stencil.  At the end of the party we gathered the children around to acknowledge each of their accomplishments.  After announcing the child’s name, I would read their “book” to the group and we all cheered.

I am uploading the book template as a powerpoint file so that you can make adjustments and add your text.  I am also adding it as a pdf in case you can not open the powerpoint.

Book template powerpoint

Book template pdf

DSCN1730 fixed

In homeschooling kids can miss out on public recognition of their achievements.  While we shouldn’t do things just for the applause, it certainly is nice to be celebrated.  I think all the parents were surprised at just how much it meant to our children to recognize them in front of the group.  You would have thought they won the lottery when I called a name.  We will definitely be doing this again in the future.

wwb pic copy

That night the girls told me how proud they were of themselves.  Looking at those smiles, I know that the greatest part for them was getting recognized for their hard work.  And one of the greatest parts for me…  Mia ran up, gave me a giant hug, and said “Thank you Mama!”

P.S. We used the plain scratch art paper that I actually cut in half sheets and it worked just great. The kiddos loved creating their own designs. But if you are looking for something a little more fancy or structured, there really are all kinds of great options.

Will it Freeze? Experiment

As part of our Frozen-themed unit we did an experiment to see how different liquids freeze differently.  Our question was “Do all liquids freeze the same?”  States of matter are one of the girls’ favorite science topics lately so this experiment was right up their ally.  I loved that it was such a quick and easy experiment that they found interesting.

First we gathered a bunch of different liquids…

DSCN1277

Need ideas?  Here’s what all we used:

  • Water
  • Orange Juice
  • Olive oil
  • Sprite
  • Tomato Juice
  • Corn syrup
  • Shampoo
  • Ketchup
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Windex
  • Vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Milk
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Wine
  • Apple Juice

DSCN1276

I made these worksheets for them to use as we went through the experiment.  I thought it was interesting that the girls each had a different hypothesis–one saying they will all freeze the same and the other saying that they will freeze at different times.  The ice cube tray diagram allowed us to keep track of which liquids were in which spot.

Freezing experiment

We then placed our ice cube tray into the freezer.  Then at our set intervals we would take out the tray and record our observations.  I just had them make an F in each square that was frozen when we checked.  After doing the experiment I realized it would be better if we had checked after 10 minutes, 1 hour, and then 4 hours so I changed the worksheets to reflect that.

Freezing experiment2
img073

Click here to download Will it Freeze? worksheets

The girls were able to come to the conclusion that different liquids freeze at different rates.  We were also able to introduce the idea of viscosity since they were able to see how it affects the rate of freezing as those with a high viscosity froze more rapidly than those with a low viscosity.

 

New and Improved

Very excited about the new layout for my blog!  Really I’m just excited to start blogging again.  I know it’s been pretty spotty, especially since our little man joined the family but I’m excited to get back into the groove.

When I started my blog I never really expected anyone to read it.  I just thought it would be a fun thing for me, so I’m really surprised that I have had more than 110,000 views.  I know that’s not a lot for the blogsphere but it’s a lot for me.  Especially since I don’t know 100,000 people so it can’t just be my friends being nice.  (Although I certainly don’t mind if my friends look at it just to be polite–I’ll take it.)

It’s crazy to think of how much our life has changed in the last few years.

6408535301_80fc07600c_o

My girls when I started

DSCN1406 cropped

My girls now…

 

We’ve moved cities, Ed has changed jobs, we decided to homeschool the kiddos, and we added a child!

DSCN1545[1]

The newest member

And along they way we’ve been having fun and laughing a lot!

DSCN1353
DSCN1350

 

Doctor Foster

With all the rain we’ve been experiencing here, I thought that the DSCN1680nursery rhyme “Doctor Foster” would be perfect as we got back into our nursery rhyme memory work.

Doctor Foster went to Gloucester
In a shower of rain
He stepped in a puddle
Right up to his middle
And never went there again.

To go with the poem we made these cute umbrellas.  The girls fingerpainted the tops and then glued on the handles and the rain drops.  I just gave them ribbon and precut raindrops and let them decide how they wanted their rain to look.

DSCN1683

We also did rain paintings.  The girls painted designs and then we placed the sheets out in the rain to get splattered.  It was inspired by a picture on pinterest that didn’t turn out at all like the pin, but we still liked the tie-dye, watery look we got.

DSCN1675

Be sure to use thick paper (I used cardstock) and only have it out in the rain for a minute or two (or your picture can disappear).

DSCN1677

And while practicing reciting our poem, we also colored these printouts from SparkleBox.  (SparkleBox is a UK site filled with all kinds of great printables and goodies.)  Just click on the picture to go get the coloring page along with a short book.

DSCN1681

Veterinary Dramatic Play

Guess what we did today!  Lately the girls have been obsessed with playing with their stuffed animals so I decided to set up a veterinary office in their playroom for after we finished school.

DSCN1283

We’ve always done child-directed activities so I’ve DSCN1286never actually set up something like this ahead of time.  If you know my girls in real life you know that they have no shortage of imagination (my mom would tell you that their whole life is dramatic play) so it just didn’t really occur to me sooner.  But this was super easy and considering the happy reaction, we will definitely be doing this again.  So here is our veterinary office using only supplies we already had on hand….

 

 

For our tables I used TV trays (we received some kid-sized ones a few years ago).  I covered one with a small table cloth to make it an examination table.  And laundry baskets came in very handy for additional set-up.
DSCN1284

Medical supplies we used:
  • Toy doctor kit laid out
  • Our microscope (to examine test results)
  • Plastic gloves (We don’t have any real ones but luckily I had some from my hair dying kit that worked just fine.)
  • Package of old gauze bandages (These come in every first aid kit we’ve ever gotten and I think we’ve only used them once.)
  • An ace bandage (I ended up letting the girls cut it into pieces to fit their animals and dolls so it looks like I will be buying another one.)
  • Clipboards with recording forms attached and pencils

DSCN1281

And I added:
  • Laundry baskets to serve as kennels for patients
  • Baby doll bathtub to wash the animals
  • A receptionist space with their cash register and play phone and some appointment slips I found online
  • Obviously all the animal accessories the girls have
DSCN1293

It immediately became a very busy office

 

Desk where clients pay and records are updated

Desk where clients pay and records are updated

We found great printables at:

I printed out all the different forms so that they could see which ones they liked.

DSCN1297

So it looks like we will be playing vet for awhile…

All of their customers waiting to be seen!

All of their customers waiting to be seen!

 

I loved the teamwork!

I loved the teamwork!

%d bloggers like this: