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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Chicken Life Cycle 3-Part Cards

FREE 3-Part Cards for Safari Ltd Chicken Life Cycle Set from In Our Pond
I had a request for these life cycle cards to match the Safari Ltd Life Cycle Set.  The matching cards are simple, but they can be used for spelling, language acquisition, and science class.  The Montessori 3-part cards are available here.

FREE 3-Part Cards for Safari Ltd Chicken Life Cycle Set from In Our Pond

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How to Plan a Zoo Themed Road Trip

I've been enjoying Travel Time Tuesday so much and have been posting so much content (twice a week lately) that I decided to move all of it to it's own blog.  The Zoo Road Trip blog post is now at my new site- Party Through the USA.

Click on the picture to go to the zoo post.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Science Unit Alphabet Posters

FREE Science Theme Posters for Weekly Units from In Our Pond

I finally figured out how to make subject covers for our science units that are also useful as subject introduction posters!  These covers (such as the one below) feature the animal that we're going to be focusing on, the "letter of the week" in a few different fonts, and the continent where the animal originates (in Montessori continent colors).  I took creative license on the posters, placing animals on a specific continent based on how we were going to study them, even if the animal (such as an owl) can be found in more than one place.  I plan on laminating these covers, using them as the dividers between my units, and then displaying them as posters during the week.  I think these will work very well for us.

FREE Science Theme Posters for Weekly Units from In Our Pond

Our 2016-2017 Science Units
*each of the links takes you to my Pinterest board*

- apples (world map; a BTS tradition)
- gorilla (Africa; comparing apes and monkeys)
- vulture (Africa; scavengers; contentment)
- elephant (Africa; Savannah; safari)
- camel (Africa; desert)

fall break (one week)

- horse (USA; farm)
- alligator (USA; swamp)
- lizard (USA; desert)
- night owl (USA; nocturnal animals)
- pumpkins (USA; harvest; plant life cycle)

Thanksgiving break (one week)

- umbrella bird (S. America; rain forest)
- cookies (Christmas; gingerbread)
- winter (Christmas; snow)

Christmas break (two weeks)

- penguin (Antarctica)
- yak (Asia; Russia)
- bears (Asia; China; panda)
- tiger (Asia; India)
- dinosaurs (global; fossils)
- love (valentines' day)

Valentine's Day break (one week)

- zebra fish (ocean; coral reef)
- shark (ocean; food chain)
- manatee (ocean; marine mammals)
- octopus (ocean; invertebrates)
- quail (birds)
- fox (Europe)
- rabbit (land mammals)

Holy Week break (one week)

- kangaroo (Australia)
- worm (invertebrates)
- inchworm (insects; life cycles)
- jumping spider (spiders)
- frogs (pond; metamorphosis)
- bees (optional)


Dragonfly picked out ever subject that we're going to be studying this year.  She's a "Science Girl," and she knows what she wants to learn about.  I'm very glad that homeschooling fosters her self-driven desire to learn.  I hope she never loses it.

You can read about what we're going to put in the science notebook each week here.

FREE Science Theme Posters for Weekly Units from In Our Pond

FREE Science Theme Posters for Weekly Units from In Our Pond

Back to School Interviews (2016)

I haven't done a kid interview on my blog in a long time.  That's disappointing.  I'm going to rectify that today!

{Dragonfly- age 5}

Friends: my cousins and my friend at church (I'm withholding names for privacy)

Favorite Thing to Play: blocks and dublos and swimming pool and tree house and water and bicycle and slide and wood

Favorite Color: pink and blue and black and yellow and orange and green and purple

Favorite Book: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Favorite Movie: Bubble Guppies

Favorite Food: macaroni and cheese and brownies- love those!

When I Grow Up: "I just want to be a mommy with a baby" (she said doctor first then switched it).  Later, she said, "I want to be a doctor of babies."

Quotes: "Call me Jayda." (such an Anne-girl)

{Skimmer- age 4}

Friends: Aunt Emi

Favorite Thing to Play: Cars!  Cars!  Monsters! (trucks)

Favorite Color: black

Favorite Book: Cars

Favorite Movie: Dinosaur Train and Bubble Guppies

Favorite Food: mac and cheese

When I Grow Up: Dinosaur Digger

                                       Quotes: "I a box man" (UPS man)

{Tadpole- age 3}

Friends: mommy

Favorite Thing to Play: motorcycles and water

Favorite Color: blue

Favorite Book: truck book (Little Blue Truck)

Favorite Movie: Zoo-me-zoo-me (Team Umizoomi) and Cars

Favorite Food: hamburger

When I Grow Up: food! grown up!

Quotes: "

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Counting to 100 Printable Mat

In kindergarten, kids begin learning to recite the numbers from 1-100 and to count objects to 100.  The task might seem overwhelming, but breaking the big number down into a smaller number makes it easier.  I made this printable for counting out 10 groups of 10 objects each to equal 100.  You can also see from the above picture that the board can also be used to count higher numbers and reinforce concepts of 10's and 1's (ex- 6 groups of 10 equals 60 plus 5 ones).  I made a pink version and a blue version.  As always, they are free to download.  Below are some ideas for using the board.

1. pumpkin seeds
2. pony beads
3. novelty erasers
4. pennies
5. counting bears
6. wood stars
7. m&ms
8. paperclips
9. jungle animals
10. pretend skittles
11. nuts
12. buttons
13. glass stones
14. candy hearts
15. candy corn
16. diy penguins
17. dublo/lego towers
18. chocolate chips
19. little rocks
20. cereal
21. snowflakes
22. flamingos
23. diamonds
24. jellybeans
25. DIY aliens
26. pumpkins
27. hearts
28. chickpeas
29. DIY ladybugs
30. acorns
31. mini marshmallows
32. sticks
33. apple seeds
34. toothpicks
35. foam blocks
36. sunflower seeds
37. google eyes
38. goldfish crackers
39. noodles
40. letters
41. monsters
42. watermelon seeds
43. glow in the dark stars
44. flowers
45. tictacs
46. mini pompoms
47. teddy bear crackers
48. barbie accessories
49. rainbow loom bands
50. raisins

Math counters that can fit in an altoid tin can be found in this blog post.  And here is a list of 100 larger objects that could be counted.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Prepping Your Children for Camping

I've been enjoying Travel Time Tuesday so much and have been posting so much content (twice a week lately) that I decided to move all of it to it's own blog.  The Prepping Your Kids for Camping blog post is now at my new site- Party Through the USA.

Click on the picture to go to the camping post.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Work Boxes and Daily Five

As I was doing research for this next school year, I was intrigued by the idea of Daily Five, which is often used in kindergarten classrooms.  Daily Five encourages kids to work on reading, writing, and spelling through five different daily activities (hence the name).

Free Chalkboard Labels can be downloaded here.

Work boxes are very common homeschooling tool.  I've been dabbling in them for the past few years (I even wrote two posts about them already this summer- a planner here and the labels here).  Now that I have my curriculum sorted out, I think I know that I want my work boxes to look like.

The paper drawers are our work boxes.  This shelf is for the things the kids will share and the things that the boys will do apart from Dragonfly.

1- Read Aloud: our current novel for whole group reading time
2- Math: number work for the boys
3- Skills: scissors, pinching, handwriting, etc
4- Calendar: storage
5- Notebooks: interactive notebook materials
6- Science: materials for our theme that week

This shelf is Dragonfly's materials.  I'd like her to be able to work independently through the boxes eventually.

7- Math Games
- Horizons K math workbook
math tiles (matching, etc)
monster flash cards
graphing with dice
math counters
zookeeper's day (telling time)
100 chart
school day (telling time)
10-frame games
roll and cover
pirate clip and count
counting jewels
bug roll and fill game
                                                        - making teen numbers board

As you can see, there are even more ideas for math games!  It's also very easy to make math games that fit our science theme units.  Small changes can make big differences in the novelty of a game.

8- Word Work Ideas
- curves and sticks for building letters (free)
- Thanksgiving spelling game (free)
- rainbow words spelling (free)
- magic words (white crayon writing)
- black light words (highlighter)
- tiles (one of my summer projects)
- juggling CVC words (free)
- salt box (using finger or brush)
- magnetic letters
- bananagram worksheets (free)
- safari spelling and math challenge (free)
- secret message (finding beginning sounds to spell words)
- poke pin words
- CVC dice (free)
- word family rimes chart (free)
- monster word sorting (free)

Our CVC word cards came from Miss Giraffe.  We'll start with these for rime words (words with the same ended).

The idea for our Sight Word cards came from Learning with Mrs. Langley.  I used her idea of rainbow words and made my own set of smaller cards.  Her cards can be bought at Teachers Pay Teachers. The printable list of Fry words can be found here.

As you can see, there are tons of ideas for word work.  And, thanks to Pinterest, I'll never run out of novel ways to teach phonics and sight words.

9- Listen to Reading Ideas
- parent/sibling/adult reads to child (a list of things kids can do while they listen)
- audiobooks with headphones
- read-to-me stories on device
- youtube videos of people reading books
- free QR codes for kids books

10- Writing
This is mainly going to be copywork and free writing as she gets more proficient and reading and writing.  You can read about my resource binder from writing here.

Here are a few more helpful things that I found to incorporate through our year:

how to write like a scientist
use a spaceman to separate words
opinion worksheets ($- I like __ because __.)
this is how I write the first day of school
free journal paper
rainbow writing (tracing different colors)
write from your heart

11- Read to Self
I think that most of these books are going to be related to our science theme of the week.  The Read to Self part of the day will be a chance for her to take a break from learning to read and to just enjoy the idea of books again.  She can look at pictures and tell the story.  These books can then be part of our listen to reading time.

12- Practice Reading
I don't really have anything to add to this list.  Basically, it's just mom and child or dad and child working on reading aloud books.  Or perhaps working together on sight word flashcards or rimes.

To keep track of all my themes and good ideas for the boxes, I made my own planner pages.  I'm going to put them in a binder.  You can download the planner pages with the work boxes written in or a blank planner page.

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

School Supplies Tool Boxes

This picture is a great example of organization and disorganization existing in the same place.  On a shelf inside our homeschool cupboard, sits this untidy line-up of very organized tool boxes.  I'm sort of addicted to them, so I'm sure this won't be all I ever make.  The larger cases came from Walmart, but the smallest one on the right came from Amazon.  I thought some might enjoy a peak inside.

The smallest box in the collection holds one-inch wood tiles.  One side has a plain D'Nealian letter on it, while the reverse side is done like a Scrabble letter with a value.  There is both uppercase and lowercase letters to allow for lots of spelling opportunities.  The colored tiles are phonics blends for when we move past simple CVC words.  I'm planning on making a second box (told you I wasn't done) for the cursive letter tiles.  The printable for all these letter tiles (print, Scrabble, cursive, blends) can be found here.

The box without a side label is our phonics object box.  Each place is filled with objects that start with that letter of the alphabet.  As you can see, some of the letters have a lot and some have very little.  Objects were collected from around the house.  I also bought a pack of 300 random trinkets off Etsy.  I think these objects will be very fun for beginning sound sorting and spelling.

I wrote about this box here so there isn't a lot more to add.  The letters are from Educational Insights.  I think there are two lowercase letter sets in this box.

Yet another way to spell words!  These Melissa and Doug stamps can be used on either paper or in play dough.  I like that the set comes with punctuation so we can work on sentence structure with capital letters at the beginning and periods or question marks at the end.  The ultra washable ink is a must if we're going be be using them on paper.  As a bonus activity, I'm going to have the kids wash the stamps after we finish using them.

As we move toward writing on paper, we have a writing tool box.  This box has a bit of everything in it.  Pens (lots of colors), pencils (two sizes!), chalk, colored pencils (rainbow writing), and highlighters (which will glow under a black light).  The big purple push pin is for poking out messages and pictures- a good activity for strengthening finger muscles.

Those who have read this blog post won't be able to recognize this husk of my math tool box.  I have been tweaking how I store things and haven't quite figured out what all is going to go in here.  Maybe some of my math games or maybe just objects for higher math.  I know I'm going to be putting our rulers in here for sure.

I included the printable for the place value cards here.  This box is why the math tool box is so empty.  I decided that I wanted to make room for a hundreds tile and the cards, which meant putting the Cuisenaire rods in a new box.  The white, orange, and blue cards have a bit of velcro on them to help the layers stick together (make them less slippery).  They can be layered to express a number or taken apart to represent place value.  I think they will be a valuable part of our homeschooling journey for many years.

What would you put in a tackle box for your homeschool?

Products from this post:
Elite homeschool cupboard
small tackle box
Educational Insights Magnetic Letters
Melissa and Doug stamps
ultra washable ink
colored pencils
black light
poke pin
Cuisenaire rods

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Our School Supply List (2016-2017)

This year, I have three scholars.  Dragonfly will be in kindergarten, Skimmer will be in prekindergarten, and Tadpole will be in preschool.  Not that it really matters, since we're homeschooling and they'll be learning together.

Duct taping the marker lids together help
keep the markers together.  It's also very
easy to tell when one is missing and adds
accountability for the kid to get her
markers all put away correctly.  As a
bonus, having the markers close to each
other like this, means that kids are
working on strengthening their fingers
and they don't even know it's happening.
General Supplies
- regular Ticonderoga Pencils
- fat Ticonderoga Pencils
- RSVP pens (still my favorite for lefties)
- fat Washable crayons (Skimmer and Tadpole)
- regular 16-pack Washable crayons (Dragonfly)
- fat Washable markers
- wet erase markers
- lined white boards
- white chalk
- kindergarten lined paper (copywork)
- pink, blue, and clear crayon boxes (crayons)
- pink, blue, and clear crayon boxes (glue sponges)
- clear crayon boxes for life cycle sets
pink, blue, green, and black composition books (science notebooks)
- chewable pencil toppers (Etsy)

Safari Toobs
- Land Down Under
- Dolphins and Whales
- Monkeys and Apes
- Alligators
- Horses

- Horizons Kindergarten Math book 1+2 and Teacher's Book
- Cursive Workbook

(also see this post for more information)

Wish List
- extra large world map
- world globe
- large chalkboard

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Pirate Road Trip (a summery)

I've been enjoying Travel Time Tuesday so much and have been posting so much content (twice a week lately) that I decided to move all of it to it's own blog.  The Pirate Road Trip blog post is now at my new site- Party Through the USA.

Click on the picture to go to the pirate post.

Pirate-Themed Road Trip for Kids from In Our Pond #family #roadtrip #travel #partyonwheels #party #pirateparty #roadtripwithkids #travelwithkids #travelhacks #traveltips

Monday, August 15, 2016

Zero the Hero

FREE Zero the Hero Printables for the 100 Day of School from In Our Pond

A few months ago, I ran into a fun idea on Pinterest called "Zero the Hero."  This teacher-written book (PDF) explains Zero's story.  I think the original idea came from this Schoolhouse Rock song.  In many classrooms, Zero the Hero visits on day 10, 20, 30, etc, to help the children count to 100 (and beyond).  He often brings a zero shaped snack for the kids and sometimes a craft, game, etc.  On day one hundred, he brings his sister, Zerona, to place-hold the tens-place zero.

My PDF includes large (6") stick puppets for Zero and Zerona, small stick puppets (3") for the siblings, and counting by 10's flashcards featuring the superheroes.  I can't wait until we start calendar time, so we can use this fun idea.

To download, click here.

FREE Zero the Hero Printables for the 100 Day of School from In Our Pond
I also decided to make this counting poster featuring Zero the Hero.  It's just a one page sheet, showing the numbers 10-100.  It could be hung on the wall or placed in a resource binder.

To download, click here.

{Zero the Hero Resources}
- Teachers Pay Teachers printables
- free coloring page and numbers tracing
- count and exercise with Zero the Hero
- 100 day of school spy party to save Zero the Hero from Agent 99
- 100 day of school superhero party

FREE Zero the Hero Printables for the 100 Day of School from In Our Pond

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Chalkboard Calendar Set

FREE Printable Chalk Board Set from In Our Pond

You may have noticed from some of my other home decorating printables, I like chalkboards.  My dream is to have a big one in our kitchen by the table for schoolwork and artwork and inspiring quotes.    As I was setting up our kitchen classroom this year, I decided that a chalkboard calendar set was exactly what our schoolroom needed.

FREE Printable Chalk Board Set from In Our Pond
 I used an 18"x24" black foam board to be my "chalkboard" base.  I hot glued yard sticks, cut to the right lengths by my husband, around the perimeter of the board.  Then, I used 3M strips to attach it to the side of the cabinet.

I designed a legal sized calendar set for my fake chalkboard.  The base of the calendar is plain white, with the days of the week differentiated by rainbow colors.  I sewed plastic onto the calendar with my Brother Sewing Machine to make pockets for the calendar cards.  There are several calendar card options, and I'm sure I'll add more throughout the year.

FREE Printable Chalk Board Set from In Our Pond

Calendar  <>  Holiday Cards  <>  Number Cards  <>  Months  <>  Days of the Week

FREE Printable Chalk Board Set from In Our Pond       Other Calendar Sets:
             - circular calendar
             - mini calendar (8.5x11)
             - jungle calendar (18x24)

FREE Printable Chalk Board Set from In Our Pond

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Family Friendly Attractions- Museum of the Rockies

I've been enjoying Travel Time Tuesday so much and have been posting so much content (twice a week lately) that I decided to move all of it to it's own blog.  The Museum of the Rockies blog post is now at my new site- Party Through the USA.

Click on the picture to go to the dinosaur post.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Interactive Science Notebook for Kindergartners

This year, Dragonfly (my self-appointed "Science Girl") had a list of requests for me of animals that she'd like to study.  I love her enthusiasm and have created this science "curriculum" accordingly.  The non-science themes are centered around holidays and when we'll be taking our school breaks (every break in the line is a week or more off).

{Letter}  (Theme)  Activity
{  } apples (our BTS tradition)- Montessori world map book
{G} gorilla (monkeys and apes)- monkey and ape sort
{V} vulture (scavengers)- letter V hunt
{E} elephant (African savannah)- parts of an elephant
{C} camel (African desert)- parts of camel book

{H} horse (farm)- farm or not sort
{A} alligator (American swamps)- life cycle of alligator
{L} lizard (American desert)- parts of a lizard
{N} night owl (nocturnal animals)- nocturnal or not lift the flap
{  } pumpkins, seeds, etc- pumpkin mini journal

{U} umbrella bird (South American rainforest)- what is a rainforest book
{  } cookies (Christmas)- smells of Christmas
{  } snow and winter- pattern block snowflake

{P} penguins (Antarctica)- penguin life cycle
{Y} yak (Siberian Asia)- parts of a tiger
{B} bears (panda bears)- panda information book
{T} tiger (Asian rainforest)- parts of a tiger book
{D} dinosaur (paleontology)- fossil puzzle
{  } who I love (Valentines Day)- what I love survey

{Z} zebra fish (coral reef)- label a fish
{S} sharks- food chain
{M} manatee (marine mammals)- marine mammal sort
{O} octopus (invertebrates)- vertebrate/invertebrate sort
{Q} quail (birds)- parts of a bird puzzle
{R} rabbit (mammals)- land mammals sort

{K} kangaroo (Australia)- parts of kangaroo
{X} fox (Europe)- fox report
{W} worms (composting/garden)- parts of a worm
{I} inchworm (insects)- life cycle of insect
{J} jumping spider (arachnids)- label a spider
{F} frogs (pond)- life cycle of a frog
{  } bees- hexagon math

Here is what I planned for last year when Dragonfly was a preschooler.

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