USA Geography | New Hampshire

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

We are continuing our travels through the Northeast, this week visiting New Hampshire!
5-19-2016

Geography is still Abby's favorite part of our day!  She likes sharing what she's learned and occasionally we will do pop quizzes at random times during the week which she LOVES!

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Our geography lessons are spread out over the course of five days.  I've mentioned this before, but when I began planning to add U.S. Geography into our schedule I wanted something simple and manageable, but also something I could do daily to give Abby a good review.  This allows us to include read alouds, fun worksheets/coloring sheets and activities to enhance the week.  I have been using this curriculum as a general guide and I like the information and materials it provides and recommends, but also that it allows the flexibility to add or omit where needed. Our geography blocks take anywhere from 10-30 minutes depending on what activity is planned, some weeks being fuller than others depending on the resources and time available.  Though I have a general plan of typical activities I want to cover each week, I'm always on the hunt for a new activity or craft to use for each specific state to keep things fresh. Some weeks my plans may look completely different from the initial plan, but I have really enjoyed having a basic plan in place to keep me accountable. 

Here's a peek at a typical week...

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A new resource we happened upon was this super cute magnetic USA puzzle my dad picked up. Abby spent most of her free time putting it together, getting to know the state shapes and familiarizing herself with other states we have not yet covered.

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At the end of the week, we played a quick game of Jeopardy to review Massachusetts and New Hampshire, which Abby always seems to enjoy and watched several episodes of Liberty's Kids to correlate with this read aloud.

Next week, we travel to New Jersey!


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Freebie Friday: Letter J | Spot It! Activity

Friday, May 13, 2016

Happy Friday!

Each week I'll be offering FREE printables courtesy of Jen from Bitty Beginnings, as part of her Alphabet Letter Learning Pack Collection.  You can view all free printables here.

FREE ITEMS

Today I'm sharing one of our all-time favorite activity sheets, Letter J Spot It from Bitty Beginnings' Letter J Alphabet Letter Learning Pack. 

We typically use dot markers, but you could easily use stickers, magnetic pom-poms, markers or even slide the sheet into a plastic sleeve to create a dry-erase activity.  The activity can be printed in either pink/purple or green/blue depending on your preference.

To download, click the image.


USA Geography | Massachusetts

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

We are halfway through the Northeast Region of the United States, this week learning all about Massachusetts! My goal is to finish this particular region during Abby's final week of second grade, around the first week of June.  From there, we will take a short break as she enjoys a few weeks of activities during the summer picking up with the Southern Region in July.  You can read more details about her summertime plans here.

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I was excited to set up Abby's shelf  for the week and she was just as thrilled to see all the items included!  I had a few "props" to go along with several state facts and she loved looking at them and asking questions.

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I always seem to catch our first activity of the week, coloring.  It may seem like we color ALOT--which is partly true.  Abby was never interested in coloring until she turned 6 (she's 7 now) and by constant request we seem to be making up for lost time. ;-)  A few other printables I like to use during the week are here and here.

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As far as facts and such, I'm not seeking mastery with Abby at this point.  My main goal is to expose her to the information and I'm really happy with how much she's retained, especially with the states and capitals.  One of my favorite resources for learning the capitals is a multi-song collection by Larry and Kathy Troxel.  The states are broken into various sections (Northern Border, Southern Border,  Eastern Border, Pacific and Middle) and I love that the order in which the songs are presented is true to the location of the state per section.  Initially, we began with the Southern Border song because I found it to be a good starting point.  I had originally planned to follow up with the Eastern border, but Abby asked if we could learn the Northern Border first.  It actually worked better because she has been able to familiarize herself with states from multiple regions along with our weekly studies of the Northeast. 

Since she is becoming familiar with more states, I wanted to try a new activity printable with her to see what she thought.  This particular set is in alphabetical order (there are other options available) and I knew going into it there would be about 4 states she would be uncertain about.  She ended up enjoying the activity and it allowed the opportunity to introduce her to those new states and capitals--definitely an activity to re-visit in the coming weeks.

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We also began If You Lived At The Time Of The American Revolution, which will be spread out over the next several weeks.  We touched on the Boston Tea Party, Loyalists, Patriots, Paul Revere, etc. which we paired with Liberty's Kids and several read alouds including: Sam the Minuteman, Who Was Ben Franklin?, and Paul Revere's Ride.

Abby was also able to complete the introductory activity pages of Little Passports with a photo scavenger hunt using the included disposable camera.  She has been looking forward to completing this activity for a few weeks now, so I'm glad we finally had the opportunity.  We went on a little hunt around the house and in the woods before exploring downtown to collect a few pictures of "cool" buildings.

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We finished up our week making Chocolate Chip Cookies in honor of the Toll House Inn located in Whitman, MA.  Next on our road trip--New Hampshire!


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Letter J | Jellyfish & Jellybean + Giveaway

Monday, May 09, 2016

Summer is 45 months old.

This week we explored the Letter J and also began adding a few additions into each day, more on that below.

A look at Summer's shelf set-up.

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**Our themes and the majority of the printables we use each week are from Bitty Beginnings on Etsy, unless otherwise noted** 

She will grab this Spot It activity first thing, every single time!

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Line tracing--Summer has a tendency to want to trace lines from right to left.  The funny thing is it bothers her because the lines end up looking crooked and not "pretty" as she likes to say.  So interesting to see how different her and Abby are at this age.  Abby just wanted to get any activity done no matter how it looked, Summer wants it pretty close to perfect.  We've been working on going left to right, which she is slowly beginning to realize makes a big difference in the neatness department.

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I loved how cute her letter craft turned out!  I found these cute jellybean templates and reduced the size to fit on the letter craft template. I colored them in neon marker and pre-cut them so Summer could simply create and paste.

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She worked on numbers with this jellyfish dot-to-dot activity, which was brand new to her.

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Shapes...

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And, colors. I printed the jellybean cards and cut each card in a different way to create a puzzle.

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Painting her name...

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And, she loved playing with "ocean slime." I used this recipe.

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I also wanted to share something new we have been adding into her week.  I have noticed lately that Summer is needing more of a challenge in certain areas, but still needing practice in others.  I just so happened to have an updated version of a program I used with Abby when she was younger.  I am not necessarily following the plans exactly, but I am using it as a guide.  A few goals I've been working towards with her are uppercase and lowercase identification along with letter sounds. The activities this week provided a great review for her, which was perfect.

Here she's using labeled clothespins to match uppercase letters one day and lowercase on another day.
 
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We focused on beginning sounds using letter tiles.

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Matching uppercase and lowercase letters...

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Tracing...

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And, she loved playing this game and asked to play several times. She would roll the die, count that many spaces, identify the letter and sound and then think of a word that started with that sound.  Was it completely perfect? No!  Did she need help? Yes!  But, she enjoyed a new concept and viewed it as FUN which was exactly what she needed.

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And, now for the Giveaway!

Jen from Bitty Beginnings is offering one of my readers a chance to win her Letter J | Alphabet Learning Pack filled with over 12 activities!  The pack includes the option to print certain activities in either pink/purple or green/blue depending on your child and she details how to prep each activity along with fun ways to play.  Keep checking back for more opportunities to win each week as I share each letter!


For a chance to win, simply enter below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Freebie Friday: Letter I | Pre-Writing Practice

Friday, May 06, 2016

Welcome back to Freebie Friday! 

Each week I'll be offering FREE printables courtesy of Jen from Bitty Beginnings, as part of her Alphabet Letter Learning Pack Collection.  You can view all free printables here.

4-29-2016

Today, I'm sharing the Letter I | Pre-Writing Practice from Bitty Beginnings' Letter I | Ice Cream and Iguana Letter Pack.  This activity can be printed in two color options and is another favorite of mine.

Be sure to check back next week for more FREE printables! 

To download, click the image below.


USA Geography | Maryland

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

We just wrapped up the fifth week of the Road Trip: USA program we've been using over the last few months with a trip to Maryland! 
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One of my favorite aspects of our geography time is the various read alouds we've been introduced to over the last few weeks.  I have found at least two sites (here and here) to be incredibly helpful in offering several book options for each state, most of which have been wonderful additions and thoroughly enjoyed by all of us.  Maryland is one state that had many options, but unfortuantly not many were available to us in such a short amount of time.  On a positive note, the book we were able to check out was a good one, Aunt Flossie's Hats (and Crab Cakes Later).

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So last week, I shared a little bit about our shelf set-up and the reason behind certain items I include.  In the beginning, I wanted to display key pieces to help Abby remember important information throughout the week.  My idea was to use items we had around the house like stuffed animals, flowers, items related to sports, and anything of the like to help grab her attention and help her remember key facts about the particular state we were studying. Up to this point, it's been just a basic collection of read alouds, our atlas', a foam puzzle piece of our weekly state and a flashcard with information, but a few states coming up will finally give me a chance to bring my idea to life and I'm pretty excited about it!

With that being said, I wanted to share a closer look at a few pieces that are hard to see in my pictures, especially with the smaller Northeastern states.  I came across these colorful pocket flashcards when I was researching ideas for a geography unit through Spell Outloud.  I loved several of her ideas and immediately ran out a grabbed a pack of these cards at Hobby Lobby (also here).  The pop of color caught my eye and I especially like the state flag being included on the front.  This helps Abby out when she colors her state facts sheet.

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The back includes lots of information for easy reference.  You'll also notice the foam puzzle piece in the shape of the state.  While introducing the weekly state Abby loves to pick up the piece and try to match it to the wall map.  It's something fun and tangible and eventually as she becomes more familiar with the United States and where each state is located we will begin putting the giant floor puzzle together.  I picked ours up at a local teacher supply store, but you can also find it here.

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Summer decided to join us this week for coloring.  As always, I love this sheet from Crayola.

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We finished up a book recommended in the Road Trip: USA curriculum called If You Lived In Colonial Times which we began reading with our visit to Connecticut a few weeks back.  Abby also had a chance to work through a few pages in her Little Passports Field Journal, locating various landmarks in the U.S. by using the map and answering geographical location questions which she seemed to find really interesting!

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And, we finished up the unit with a little art project using oil pastels to draw Black-Eyed Susans.

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Next, we are headed to Massachusetts and it should be a fun week!