Tuesday, September 22, 2015

U.S. History - Early Settlers / Pilgrims Unit Study

*This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you click on them and purchase something through that link, but I am only linking to items that we are personally using and that have enhanced our studies.*

We kicked off our chronological study of US history with a unit on the early settlers / pilgrims. We started with Jamestown and Pocohantas, then moved on to the pilgrims and Squanto. I decided it would be fun to begin our lessons with videos to draw us into the lesson, so on most days our WATCH section will come first. We took 3 days to cover this unit. However, you can take as long as you like, adding or omitting anything you want. Soooo, without further ado...

Jamestown Colony (Drive Thru History)
Jamestown and Plymouth Settlements (History Channel)
Crash Course US History: When is Thanksgiving? Colonizing America
The Mayflower (Drive Thru History)
The Mayflower Compact (Drive Thru History)
Kid Snippets: First Thanksgiving (Imagined by Kids) *Just for fun*
Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving

READ: With my 3rd grader, I read D'Aulaire's Pocahantas. This is a great story telling about the life of the princess and it gives some great history about the Jamestown settlement and its inhabitants. My 8th grader read Graphic Library: The Story of Jamestown and began reading the Myles Standish book by Cheryl Harness. We also read Graphic Library: The Voyage of the Mayflower, Three Young Pilgrims by Cheryl Harness, portions of Colonial Times by Joy Masoff, and The First Thanksgiving for independent reading for my 3rd grader. Also, I scheduled the Pilgrims Fact Tracker book from the Magic Tree House series, but we didn't get to it.

I have included picture books and easy comic book type books for my 8th grader, too, because you can get some great info quickly and in a fun way using these types of resources. I believe everyone can enjoy a good picture book, no matter the age.

WRITE: We used a Jamestown interactive notebook piece from Elementary Lesson Plans found here.
And a Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving interactive poster activity , also from Elementary Lesson Plans.
Pilgrims and First ThanksgivingInteractive Social Studies Journal for UPPER ELEMENTARY

DO: I found this Jamestown Online Adventure game for the kiddos to play. There's a Plimoth Plantatiion Virtual Field Trip here and we did this Jamestown Mini Lapbook from Currclick.

Also, throughout our chronological studies we'll be working through Homeschool in the Woods's Time Travelers series. For this study we used the Mayflower Compact foldable from the American Revolution unit.

HISTORY Through the Ages Time Travelers American History Study The American Revolution

Hopefully, can use some of these resources for your study of Jamestown and the Pilgrims. Follow along with us this year as we explore US History together. It'll be fun!

Do you have any resources you'd like to share that would enhance a study of the early American settlers? I'd love it if you'd share here. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Chronological U.S. History Study for Elementary through High School

We are embarking on a new adventure this year. It's a chronological study of U.S. history beginning with the early settlers / pilgrims and continuing all the way through to the present, for multiple ages. We won't be finishing this in a year; maybe we won't finish it in two. However, this is the way I like to learn history, because it's so much easier to place people and events together and understand the context in which events occurred,  so this is the way we're going to do it.

Rather than using a history textbook that only includes snippets of chosen events here and there, usually short summaries that leave out juicy details, I created a plan for us to use picture books, biographies, hands-on notebooking activities, videos, etc. We'll use textbooks, too, but as supporting resources, not as the main text. It's an ambitious process, to say the least, and it took way, way, waaaaay more time to plan than I imagined, but it's soooo worth it!

I started out by creating a giant Excel spreadsheet and listing every event or person I could think of that I felt was significant to a study of U.S. history in order like a timeline. Then I went crazy, copying and pasting any resource I could find that would enhance our study of that event or person. The idea is to spend a day (or whatever time it fills, considering rabbit trails and such) on each topic. I used timelines such as the one found here to help me fill in the blanks.

Then, to make it a well-rounded study, I inserted all the presidents by dates of presidency and all the states by date of statehood. I found several great resources that help us cover these that I will be sharing as we go through this study.

Once I had this skeleton structure in place, I went through and created a schedule by day that organizes things into 4 categories: Read, Watch, Write and Do. This helped me visualize if I was including too many books and not enough hands-on materials. It also aided me in determining whether or not I included videos, notebooking activities, etc. for each topic. I want this to be a well-rounded study of history, incorporating as many learning styles into the study as possible.

I designed this study to use with my 3rd and 8th graders, but it could be used with high schoolers, too. For high school, I would add writing assignments and novels. You could also beef it up with more videos and deeper discussions. The possibilities are almost endless.

Hopefully, with this tremendous schedule of people, places, and events, we'll have a rich experience with U.S. history that my children will remember for a long time.

What kinds of things do you include to enrich your study of history?

Reptiles Unit Study FREEBIE - Compare and Contrast Alligators vs. Crocodiles

Here's my latest little creation. We will be doing a mini unit on alligators and comparing them to crocodiles using this venn diagram. After that, we'll use the writing prompt to detail reasons why we think one is better than the other in preparation for learning how to write persuasive paragraphs. Download your free copy by clicking the link to go to my TpT store.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Valentine's Day Place Value Math Center

I enjoy using printable math and literacy centers with my Princess. They are a bit of work, but she enjoys them. She's a very active girl and learns best when she's moving. This is the wonderful thing about homeschooling... she can learn lots of things and doesn't have to sit still to do it.

I thought I'd share the latest center that I created. It's in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Just click on the picture to go there and download it for free.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Space Unit - Astronaut Words Write the Room activity

I've created this set of 10 astronaut related words to use as a matching game and write the room activity in our space unit. I've also included a recording sheet to write the words on. My little girl enjoys write the room activities, but I may also use this as a matching activity, writing prompt cards, word wall cards, etc. There are so many ways to use these in your homeschool or classroom. Just go here or click on the picture below to download it for FREE.


I hope you enjoy! Keep coming back, there's more on the way.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Astronaut Writing Prompt FREEBIE for Space Unit

I put together a little writing prompt freebie to go with our astronaut theme we'll be working on next week. I thought I'd share for anyone who desires to use it. Enjoy!

Just click here to go to my TpT store and download this for free.


Moon Dough! Sensory Play in 2nd Grade

"What would you like to do today?" I say.

"How about something fun?" she says.

"How about some moon dough?" I say.

(excuse the random pile of stuff)

"This stuff is awesome!" she says.

"I like it crumbly the best!" she says.

Want to make your own moon dough? It's easy peasy.

You dump a pile of cornstarch on some wax paper (to protect your surface from the coloring). Then you squirt some shaving cream on top. The cheap, foamy stuff. Squirt a couple drops of food coloring and then mix it up. It starts out very sticky and the food coloring stained my hands, but the more you work with it the more it takes the shape of moon dough. If it stays too sticky add some more cornstarch. If it's too crumbly add some more shaving cream. Rocket science, right?

I got the idea on pinterest, so it's not me who is the genius here, but don't tell her that. She thinks I'm pretty awesome and I'd like to keep it that way. *wink wink*

What do you do to impress your kiddos?