Feed the Birds

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It’s been a cold, long winter here and while we have been able to cozy up by the fire, the birds have been left to the elements.

And so we have been doing our part to keep them fed – here are a couple of our favourite homemade bird feeders:

 

Peanut Butter Sunflower Rolls:

The kids really enjoy making these ones. They are quick and easy and only require a few items.

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Materials:

– Peanut Butter

– Plastic Knives

– Sunflower seeds (or any birdseed)

– Bowl or plate (for rolling)

– Toilet paper rolls

– String (for hanging)

– String

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Allow the children to spread peanut butter onto their desired number of toilet paper rolls. Then roll in your choice of bird seed. Lace a string through the roll, tie and they are ready to hang!

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Blueberry Cheerio Hearts:

These feeders are a tasty treat for the birds and also double and triple (and even quadruple!) as a snack for the kids and a fine motor and patterning activity!

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Materials:

– pipe cleaners

– cheerios

– blueberries

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Method:

Allow kids to thread the Cheerios and blueberries onto each pipe cleaner. This is a great opportunity to encourage younger children to be more precise in their fine motor activity, especially with the blueberries, which require much less force! For older children, ask them to create and continue a pattern as they thread. Once the kids are satisfied with their creation, twist the pipe cleaner ends and bend into a cute heart shape! Hang.

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 Our finished products are loved by the birds and even make the trees look pretty, but best of all, they bring the sounds of Spring to our yard…since the snow and cold don’t seem to be in a hurry to go!

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 Do have a favourite way to feed the birds in you area? Care to share? We are always looking for new ideas!

Monthly Book Club ∼ Jan Brett

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With the New Year we have started a monthly book club for a group of fellow homeschoolers in our area.

Each month will feature a new children’s author and share the love of reading with our early readers. The plan will be to read a story together, have other titles by the author available for the children to read and then bring our story to life through a craft and hands-on activity.


For the month of FEBRUARY we celebrated the beautiful stories of Jan Brett!

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Our primary focus for book club was “The Mitten”, but we also had the following titles on hand for the children to enjoy:

  • The 3 Little Dassies
  • Mossy
  • Armadillo Rodeo
  • Trouble with Trolls
  • The Hat
  • On Noah’s Ark
  • The Umbrella
  • Gingerbread Baby
  • Cinders
  • Hedgie’s Surprise

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We began by lacing a card stock mitten. Each child then got a bag of animal cutouts for a sequencing activity. While I read the story aloud, the kids got to put the appropriate animal into the mitten, the cut-outs had both pictures and words so they were great for a variety of ages.

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After reading the story we discussed what kinds of things would typically fit inside a mitten. We came to the consensus that this was likely a fictional story, which had been exaggerated just a bit!

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 For our craft we made some stained-glass mittens. I lined the backs of some cut-out mitten frames with contact paper and had a variety of tissue paper pieces for the kids to stick to the tacky paper. Each child was able to punch a hole in their mitten and thread a string through to hang them.

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And they look very pretty collecting sunlight in our window!

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My eldest and I also did a follow up comparison activity using Jan Brett’s, The Mitten, The Umbrella and The Hat. These stories all follow a very similar story line from which many similarities can be drawn, but they also have very obvious differences. And can even be used as a great springboard for a unit on animal habitats.

Come back next month and dive into the timeless and tongue-twisting tales of Dr. Seuss along with us at Mommy School!

Letter of the Week ~ O

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Although my personal philosophy of letter learning is that they cannot be studied in isolation and should be learned in the context of words, as this is how we see them most often, we have a letter of the week at Mommy School.

Why, you may ask, do I do something opposite to what I just finished saying I believe in? Well, for one, we don’t study the one letter in isolation. Typically, we complete a letter craft, create a search and find sensory bin using items that begin with that letter, learn about the various sounds the letter makes in different parts of words (because the English language is crazy!) and plan our weekly fieldtrip to somewhere that begins with our letter. Sometimes, I include the letter in other ways throughout our week, but that’s often just a sweet combination of luck and coincidence!


Here’s what we got up to for Letter O Week:

Letter Dictionary:

Each of my older children gets the chance to find a hidden object that begins with our letter of the week from the rice bin. This week Little Momma chose Ursula the octopus and Mr Man selected an ogre, Princess Fiona.

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I take a photo of the kids with their chosen objects and then have them complete their dictionary page. Little Momma writes a sentence and illustrates, “O is for octopus.” and Mr Man copies the upper and lower case letter and then draws his chosen object.

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Letter Craft:

O is for Ostrich.

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To make your own: Pre-cut an upper-case letter O from black construction paper. Provide an ostrich neck, tail and 2 feet cut from pink paper, as well as an orange beak and some googly eyes.

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Field Trip: 

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For this week’s field-trip Friday we visited the National Art Center here in Ottawa for a tour of their orchestra pit. It was pretty neat to see behind the scenes!

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Journal Writing: 

To end-off our week the kids each spend some time writing in their journals about our weekly field trip. Often it is pictures for my younger guy with a few scribed sentences, while my eldest will write a few simple sentences on her own, using her word wall, ‘best guess’ spelling and some assistance from myself (she’s my perfectionist!).

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100th Day of Homeschool!

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And just like that we have had 100 days of Mommyschool! We have read and played, learned and explored and have thoroughly enjoyed our adventure thus far!

I have been blown away (with both exhaustion and love) by this experience, but I will save my own reflection for another day.

Here’s how we celebrated 100 days of learning:

We counted to 100 using our hundreds chart and discussed how 100 was 10 groups of 10. then using 10 different water colours and Qtips we drew/dotted 100 gumballs on our gumball machine template.

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We talked about how big the number 100 is. And for little ones just beginning to grasp the idea of number sense it truly is a HUGE number! I drew 2 pictures of a cup and showed them the actual cup and droppers we would use and then had the kids predict what 100 drops of water would look like.

Following their predictions we got some water (which I coloured blue to make it easier to see) and measured out 100 drops into our cups and recorded our findings. Both of them were pretty surprised at how little water we actually got from those 100 drops!

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It has been frigid in our parts lately…actually all Winter, so for our daily physical activity we were indoors. We completed a 100 fitness movements challenge, which the kids LOVED and we have been doing daily ever since!

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We made a list of 100 words we know (even after they insisted NOBODY knows THAT many words!). And yes, ‘poop’ and ‘pee’ made the list, but so did ‘mosaic’, ‘kindness’ and ‘vehicle’, so I let it go,,,you’ve got to pick your battles, right?!

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We counted out 100 Duplo blocks and experimented with what we could build with them.

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We bingo-daubed 10 ten-frame caterpillars to help reinforce the concept of 100 being 10 groups of 10.

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And while the littles napped, Little Momma and I had a roll the dice race to 100 – which she won, but was kind enough to help me finish, too!

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We had a really fun day celebrating 100 days of homeschool, anyone else do anything to commemorate the achievement?