Tag Archive | Ducksters

Year of the Monkey

Well, it is that time again… Chinese New Year and our yearly revisit to all things Chinese. This year I decided to go a slightly different route and combine a look at the country with light worksheets with a monkey theme. Instead of doing a notebook like last year (which was a blast HERE), the younger ones voted for a binder like they did for Christmas, and the twins continued their special event book they also began at Christmas. The centerpiece of our unit is a lovely large map of China that Ken created and printed out for us – 9 pieces of printer paper in all. With some star stickers I lucked out and found at the Dollar Tree last year we were well on our way.

We started with the Great Wall of China. I found a video documentary on youTube and some wonderful books. We really lucked out with a series of entertaining and educational books, for the Great Wall we used  For some other helpful books!

  • 20 Fun Facts About the Great Wall of China by Therese Shea HERE
  • Great Wall of China by Elizabeth Raum HERE
  • You Wouldn’t Want to Work on the Great Wall of China HERE

One of the activities I came up with for the kids to do was make postcards based on famous landmarks in China. I basically Googled those terms and let the kids scroll through the list and images at the top of the search engine. I love it when they have that freedom to make their own choices. Granted we vetoed The Forbidden City and The Great Wall since we were covering those as a family in detail.

  • Trinity chose the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Their official site HERE is adorable. Trinity got her fact about the beginning point of this amazing place off Wiki HERE. It all began with 6 panda!
  • Emanuel chose Elephant Trunk Hill in Guilin. So called for its shape that mimics an elephant with its trunk in the water. We went to a travel site for amazing pictures and some great information HERE. Thanks to China Travel Guide.
  • Gavin chose Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian City. There is a lot about this Buddhist temple and some good history to cover, so he got picked to do a mini report on it as well. But for starters, we went back to the China Travel Guide HERE.
  • Zander chose Mount Sanqin in the Jiangxi Province. One of the top mountains for tourism it was chosen strictly on the amazing google search picture he found next to it HERE. We went back to our travel guide site for help with facts and numbers. Talk about and animal and plant rich mountain! HERE.

We do love our colouring pages and beyond the bounty that is Activity Village, we found some other gems… the twins love the stained glass style year of the monkey page at The Imagination Box HERE.

Sparklebox has some great stuff on their page, we specifically printed out the full list of animals and their Chinese characters HERE.

This year we spent a good week on the Forbidden City. There is so much to see and learn about, I think we could have spent a month. BUT here are the links we used:

We found two amazing books… You Wouldn’t Want to Be in the Forbidden City! by Jacqueline Morley HERE and In the Forbidden City HERE

Guangzhou is a relatively new topic for our family, but important all the same. This is the city that our dear friends and family came from. So this year I figured we needed to know more. And boy is there a lot to know! A massive place there was a wonderful official site to look through HERE. But we used so many more links, all to get a handle on the size… the lifestyle and the amazing uniqueness of a place that must be so different from anywhere we have visited ourselves.

  • Trip Advisor HERE
  • Kidz Search HERE
  • Top China Travel HERE
  • Travel China Guide HERE, HERE
  • Science Kids HERE
  • Wiki HERE
  • Connect the dots with Connect the Dots 101 HERE
  • Maps of World HERE

We covered a few cities in a relatively brief overview… Hong Kong was a rather complex concept with a few helpful links at Crayola.com for a colouring page with information of their flag HERE, Academic Exchange HERE, About Travel HERE, Travelling East HERE, Ducksters HERE, Kidz Search HERE.

One of the kids’ favourite activities this time round was to try out origami… especially once the twins figured out they could make THROWING STARS!

  • Kids Gen has videos HERE
  • Origami with Rachel Katz HERE

As something relatively new to our China unit we covered two people important to the shaping of China – Confucius and Chairman Mao. It was our first foray into this deep of a conversation for the twins and as interesting. Things like Communism and philosophy came up as did the concept of a rather brutal leadership. Here are some links!

  • Kids Philosophy Slam HERE, A China Family Adventure HERE, Biography.com HERE, My Interesting Facts HERE, Ask.com HERE,

General China sites that were helpful:

  • Science Kids HERE
  • Take a peek at language differences though I warn you there is a missing resource with Discovery Education HERE. We contacted our friends who are the true pure resource for this one.
  • Kai-Lan’s official printables thanks to Nick Jr. HERE

Of course we had to look at inventions. This was an exercise in the twins actually choosing inventions and searching for them themselves online to find out things like who, when, where… so I will just link the main ones used.

  • China Whisper had a list of top 20 HERE
  • Wiki has their own list HERE
  • Did you know toilet paper was first used by the Chinese??? Today I Found Out explains HERE

And Chinese New Year itself:

  • Asian Holidays by Faith Winchester HERE
  • Happy Chinese New Year, Kai-Lan! HERE

Videos:

  • Stone Soup… and other stories from the Asian Tradition HERE
  • Beijing Travel Guide DVD 2002/2004
  • Food With Friends! (Dora) HERE

Additional Books:

  • A Gift by Yong Chen HERE
  • China by Michael Dahl HERE
  • Beijing and Shanghai HERE
  • China by Christine Juarez HERE
  • China a Question and Answer Book by Nathan Olson HERE
  • Ancient Civilizations China by Valerie Bodden HERE
  • China phrasebook by Lonely Planet HERE
  • The Magical East HERE
  • D is For Dragon Dance by Ying Chang Compestine HERE
  • Wonders of the World by Colin Dibben HERE
  • Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim HERE
  • Celebrate Chinese New Year by Carolyn Otto HERE
  • Chinese New Year by Alice K. Flanagan HERE
  • The Runaway Ricecake by Ying Chang Compestine HERE

Two books I am dying to add to our collection:

  • Little Leap Forward: A Boy in Beijing by Guo Yue HERE
  • And a family favourite… The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine HERE

To add to our unit we focused on monkeys that live in China. I won’t link all the pages we used, but I had the kids check out the list on Wiki and then we did our research online. We had the Slow Loris, Golden Snub Nosed, Black Crested Gibbon and. It is always fun to add an animal connection to a unit.

I am sure I could continue on with more and more links. We really went ALL OUT on this unit this year. But I figure I will just add those to the random resource post I plan on adding to the site later in May. I would suggest, if you have not looked into China as a homeschool or personal research project, do so! The culture, the people and the country itself is AMAZING! We are so blessed to have friends who are family who are directly from there. They have opened our eyes and our hearts to an amazing new world! 

Our Special Snack Platter with the newest addition to our decorations..  lucky orange tree!

Our Special Snack Platter with the newest addition to our decorations.. lucky orange tree!

Christmas In Our Homeschool

We have always based a lot of our curriculum around the seasons and holidays and Christmas has always been a month long unit for our family. This year I took a bit of a different approach. While the little ones still did the group binder with its worksheets, drawings and colouring pages the twins were in charge of their OWN notebook. Surprisingly enough, with some whining and complaining we still managed a project that we ALL feel proud of. Lots of independent mini reports were written up and even ideas of things to paste in their books on their own were brought forth!

Of course I have a long list of resources and I am going to share them for my benefit as well as others… Movies first!

  • the Muppet Christmas Carol, I found a great worksheet set thanks to IPA Productions that deals with the original story for the twins that tied in nicely with the movie. We used the movie as an accessible medium to introduce the story and then they read the condensed version in these worksheets HERE. There is a cute colouring page for the movie HERE from Coloring Wallpapers.
  • Veggie Tales – Saint Nicholas, A Story of Joyful Giving
  • Veggie Tales – It’s a Meaningful Life
  • Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Books! (sorry no links… but hopefully with name and author you can stumble upon them… this post is simply too late as is!)

  • The Legend of Saint Nicholas by Demi. This was a great introduction the origins of Santa without ruining the magic for anyone as the book ends with the tradition being continued on after Saint Nicholas’ passing by a boy in the village who was chosen to continue his work.
  • Christmas by Trudi Strain Trueit
  • Christmas Around the World by Emily Kelley. We love this book, each of the twins chose THREE countries and summarized the traditions they have into on brief paragraph that I spell checked and then they copied into their notebooks.
  • Christmas by Natalie M. Rosinsky
  • O Christmas Tree by Jacqueline Farmer
  • Christmas by Alice K. Flanagan
  • Celebrate Christmas by Deborah Heiligman
  • A Short History of Christmas by Sally Lee
  • Merry Christmas Everywhere! by Arlene Erlbach and Herb Erlbach
  • Twelve Days of Christmas in Minnesota by Constance Van Hoven
  • Christmas Traditions Around the World by Ann Ingalls
  • Christmas Trolls by Jan Brett… this was a random mid unit find at the library. The art is AMAZING!
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
  • The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
  • What Star is This? by Joseph Slate
  • City of Snow, The Great Blizzard of 1888 by Linda Oatman High
  • The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  • A Child Was Born by Grace Maccarone
  • The Heron Christmas Carol by Frances Tyrrell
  • My Penguin Osbert by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
  • What is Christmas? by Michelle Medlock Adams
  • The Christmas Story by Jane Werner
  • A Very Shiny Christmas by Debbie Guy-Christiansen
  • A Pussycat’s Christmas by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Santa’s Snow Cat by Sue Stainton
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Barbara Shook Hazen
  • Santa is Coming to Texas by Steve Smallman
  • A Porcupine in a Pine Tree by Helaine Becker
  • Christmas Is… by Gail Gibbon
  • A Kenyan Christmas by Tony Johnston
  • The Nutcracker by Bethany Snyder
  • The Gingerbread Man by Dawn Bentley
  • Recordable storybooks read by Gammie – Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Night Before Christmas
  • And a lovely British book mailed by a friend of Favourite Christmas Stories from Brown Watson publishers

Hanukkah, while not the most important Jewish holiday IS the one closest to Christmas and the best known generally so we did cover it briefly. Here are our books.

  • Hanukkah by Rebecca Pettiford
  • Hanukkah Around the World by Tami Lehman-Wilzig
  • Hanukkah by Lisa M. Herrington
  • Chanukah Lights Everywhere by Michael J. Rosen

You can find some terrific printables on Teacher Vision HERE and a Hanukkah mini book thanks to Family Education HERE.

Of course we covered Polar Express, both the book and the movie. The little ones did parts of a lapbook I had purchased years previous but we supplemented with worksheets… pages from a party kit by Houghton Mifflin Books HERE, Scholastic.com had some resources HERE, and activities and lessons by Busy Teachers Cafe HERE.

  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

We covered a lovely range of topics from symbols to world traditions and including Santa Claus and reindeer. A supplementary fact page about reindeer HERE thanks to Kids Play and Create. I also have some resources I have acquired from Currclick:

  • The History of Candy Canes HERE. We also watched how candy canes were made on The Kid Should See This HERE
  • Christmas Symbols Lapbook HERE

Want a little info about Boxing Day? We got ours from Ducksters HERE.

 

I hope these links are helpful… late as they are posted!! IMAG1959

Discovering Mexico…

So with our in depth examination of China the kids requested another country… Being all democratic (first mistake) I let them choose… even after extorting the amazing qualities of some European countries (ok so Mommy has some interests not yet tapped) I was out voted and we chose a month+ long focus of MEXICO!!!

This is another first for us. I the topics I thought would be interesting and made up pages for the twins (and the littles to a more limited extent) to chose from. Topics like Sports, Inventions, Capital City, the list goes on and on… so we shall see how giving some more independence and choices works with the kids… FINGERS CROSSED!

However I am still verifying all websites before they settle on them so I had some major work ahead of me. And of course I have some to share as well!! I will post them according to topic, the only order is the one chosen by the boys to cover!

GEOGRAPHY

  • What hemispere is Mexico in? Ask.com has the answer HERE

SPORTS

  • donQuijote.org has a short article HERE.
  • we checked out further information on Lucha Libre thanks to Wiki HERE.
  • VisitMexico.com has an interesting piece on Charreria HERE.

CAPITAL CITY – Mexico City

  • Angel of Independence thanks to Mexico City – Guide HERE.
  • CNN has 10 interesting facts about the city HERE.
  • Discovering Ice… a travel blog has tons to share including personal experiences HERE.
  • MexicoCity.com has a page HERE

DINOSAURS… yup we went there… Emanuel and Trinity and I!

  • Our dinosaur list was found on EnchantedLearning HERE
  • Gorgosaurus: a wonderful picture on deviantArt thanks to SommoDracorex HERE. Dino Hunt Canada with their “breathing” image HERE. EnchantedLearning facts HERE. Raresource HERE.
  • Labocania: not a common dinosaur AT ALL… so this is the best I could do! Dinosaurs.about.com HERE, CoolDinoFacts Wikia HERE, RareSource.com HERE. BUT an amazing picture to colour thanks to deviantArt and hyphenatedsuperhero HERE.
  • For Hypacrosaurus we used one site as our launching pad and clicked their links. VERY helpful. You can find our link HERE thanks to Dinosaur of the Week.
  • Pterosaur: not so much a specific animal but a grouping of apparently NOT dinosaurs, so fun for the kids being as these were FLYING critters. EnchantedLearning HERE. SomeInterestingFacts.net HERE. And our colouring page on SuperColoring.com HERE.
  • Lambeosaurus: A duck-billed dinosaur we had a few good resources we used – KidsDinos.com HERE, EnchantedLearning HERE, and our colouring page was from IAmFritz.com HERE.
  • Apatosaurus: Our last dinosaur chosen to research… Science Kids HERE, Kids Dig Dinos HERE, EnchantedLearning HERE and our colouring page from Ducksters HERE.

PLANTS AND ANIMALS

  • The National animal/bird is the GOLDEN EAGLE… and the plant the PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS. We found that out using Wiki HERE. Learn more about the Golden Eagle thanks to Sandiego Zoo HERE. And all about the Prickly Pear Cactus thanks to DesertUSA HERE.
  • Endangered animal list thanks to Mexidata HERE.
  • Of our list Zander chose TWO animals to research (online)… Axolotl was the first with three links: A-Z Animals HERE and National Geographic Kids HERE and Mother Nature Network HERE. It is crazy cool! The second was the Tigrillo or the Margay. We found various pages once we realized the secondary name so here is a quick list – Encyclopaedia Britannia HERE, SoftSchools.com HERE, PoC HERE, The Animal Files HERE.

TRADITIONAL CLOTHING

  • Education.com worksheet for traditional clothing for both genders HERE.
  • Facts about traditional clothing thanks to FactsAboutMexico.com HERE.
  • Sombreros facts HERE thanks to ehow.

WEATHER STUDY

  • Discuss the seasons on an informational site HERE.
  • Learn about the rainy season on Mexperience HERE.
  • Does it snow in Mexico? Find the answer from people who live there thanks to Yahoo Answers HERE.
  • General climate information on Mexperience HERE.

ART, CRAFTS and ARTISTS

  • Gavin did the research and write ups for this one. First Frida Kahlo, mainly from our book list but also from Wiki HERE.
  • And her husband Diego Rivera, again mainly from our library finds and Wiki HERE. Our colouring page of one of his murals can be found HERE thanks to Scribble Blog.

LANGUAGE and PEOPLE

  • Learn Spanish at Duolingo.com (app available too) HERE.
  • Famous people born in Mexico list with links onward thanks to Biography.com HERE.

NATURAL DISASTERS

  • An article of interest on the examination of an area in Mexico that experienced a massive drought for about 650 years thanks to NBC HERE.

AGRICULTURE

  • Livestock numbers (from 2008) thanks to Answers.com HERE. We used this as an example of the types of common animals raised for food and other reasons.
  • Learn about the Cacao plant and chocolate thanks to Wilderness Classroom HERE.
  • A list of common plants to Mexico (short) thanks to ehow HERE.
  • Plants of Mexico list (long) thanks to Backyard Nature HERE.
  • Agriculture in Mexico thanks to Wiki HERE.

INVENTIONS

  • We used this list on Wiki as a launching pad for researching 3 of them. Nothing fancy just a list of interest really HERE.
  • A second list thanks to the site Latina HERE.

MEXICO INDEPENDENCE DAY

  • SoftSchools.com has a wonderful page about the history of Mexico’s movement to independence HERE.
  • KidzWorld.com has some information HERE.
  • Globe In has 10 interesting facts about Independence Day HERE.

GENERAL FACTS

  • A to Z Kids Stuff HERE.
  • Duckster with some Mexico Geography HERE.
  • Octavio Paz (famous individual) thanks to Wiki HERE.
  • Chichen Itza thanks to SoftSchools HERE

RELIGION

  • Mexconnect covers the history of Catholicism in Mexico HERE.

MUSIC AND DANCE

Tlacololeros a traditional Mexican dance… watch it below:

Mexican Hat Dance… check it out below:

CURRENCY

  • A great image of the currency and explanation of how it works thanks to Focus on Mexico HERE.

COUNTRY STUDY… a great all over overview from Activity Village we are now using for any country we cover as more than a micro unit HERE.

MEXICO printable booklet, for purchase on TeachersPayTeachers HERE. Great for grades 1-3.

COLOURING PAGES and WORKSHEETS

  • Mexican Revolution HERE thanks to Oncoloring.
  • Know Your Neighbour HERE thanks to jumpstart.com.
  • Spanish word book and more HERE thanks to Homeschool Share.
  • Clothing colouring page HERE thanks to Coloring Book 4 Kids

BOOKS… boy did we have books!! I may have cleaned out 2 or three local library branches!! So enjoy the fruit of my requesting! I will try and point out the super useful or fun books with a bit of further information. After all, this is useful for me too when we chose to revisit a topic for the littles to learn more about!

  • Cactus Soup by Eric A. Kimmel. This is a take on the stone soup idea set in Mexico during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1922). The kids picked up right away that it was a great lesson about sharing. Though the girls were VERY put out about the people lying about having things at first… not cool! Great book HERE.
  • Little Egret and Toro by Robert Vavra. This is not a MEXICAN story but we chose to read this book because it was set in Spain and about a fighting bull. The whole concept of bull fighting and the ending of the fight in the death of the bull is visited. It does have a happy ending though! HERE
  • Mexico by Gina DeAngelis (a common name for a lot of the books we borrowed but I will link each one if I can!): Many Cultures, One World. HERE
  • Christmas Around the World by Emily Kelley HERE.
  • P is for Pinata by Tony Johnston HERE
  • Ancient Mexico by Kelly Campbell Hinshaw HERE
  • A Look at Mexico by Helen Frost HERE
  • Mexico by Sarah Tieck HERE
  • Cultural Traditions in Mexico by Lynn Peppas HERE
  • Mexico by Christine Juarez HERE
  • Mexico by Deborah Kent HERE
  • Mexico by R. Conrad Stein HERE
  • The Boy Who Wouldn’t Obey: A Mayan Legend by Anne Rockwell HERE
  • Food and Festivals Mexico by Linda Illsley HERE
  • Mexico City by R. Conrad Stein HERE
  • Countries of the World Mexico by Beth Gruber HERE
  • Mexico in Pictures by Janice Hamilton HERE
  • The Cooking of Mexico by Matthew Locricchio HERE
  • Mexico! 40 Activities to Experience Mexico Past & Present by Susan Milord HERE
  • Traditional Crafts from Mexico and Central America by Florence Temko HERE

AZTECS AND MAYANS – we only did a cursory discussion on these two groups but had a lovely stack of books for reading and enjoyment and of course the fact finding.

  • Aztecs by David and Patricia Armentrout HERE
  • Ancient Aztecs by Tim Cooke HERE
  • Life Among the Aztecs by Eleanor J. Hall HERE
  • Lost Temple of the Aztecs by Shelley Tanaka HERE
  • The Aztecs by Tim Wood HERE
  • The Maya HERE
  • Houses & Homes by Tim Wood HERE
  • Ancient Mayan Civilization by Nancy Day HERE
  • Crafts From the Past – The Aztecs by Gillian Chapman HERE

MOVIES/DOCUMENTARIES

  • Families of Mexico (Families of the World) HERE
  • More Families of Mexico (Families of the World) HERE
  • Travel With Kids Mexico HERE
  • Ancient Aztec The Fall of the Empire (Ancient Civilizations for Children) HERE

I really enjoyed this unit and the kids seemed to learn and enjoy a lot too… Please enjoy the images from some of our finished work!IMAG0622

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Our craft... This was traditionally started when the child was born and each colour added for each year. Birth Charms.. though the kids and Ken made theirs up in one day.

Our craft… This was traditionally started when the child was born and each colour added for each year. Birth Charms.. though the kids and Ken made theirs up in one day.

Here is a quick peek at our finished notebook/binder… sorry about the quality and the babbling!