Saturday, November 29, 2014

FIAR-Cranberry Thanksgiving

We have been using a different curriculum this year for Lily's Kindergarten year. Moving Beyond the Page. It's a literature based one, and we have been having fun with it, but I just haven't taken much time out to blog about it. I have found myself kind of missing FIAR, sometimes. SO, when Thanksgiving rolled around, I decided to take a break, and do a FIAR book-Cranberry Thanksgiving. We are SO excited to be back with FIAR for this week. We will be coming back to it for the Summer, as well. :)

We read the book for the first time in the evening. Lily was very interested in the story. We talked about how Mr. Horace smelled like lavender, but that didn't make him a better person than Mr. Whiskers, who smelled of clams and seaweed. It was bath time right after we read the book, so I put lavender oil in her bath water, and put lavender lotion on her skin right after the bath. She said she didn't want to smell like Mr. Horace, because he wasn't nice. 

Fresh from the tub, and smelling of lavender. Should we trust her? :)

For our Geography, we located the New England area on our map. We have rowed a couple of other books that take place in that area, so Lily was familiar with it. She said she wanted the disk to be in Massachusetts, so we placed it there.

 We discussed the six states that make up the New England area. I outlined them on the map, and Lily colored them in.

We talked a LOT about cranberries this week. We tasted cranberry juice.
 Lily approved! Yum!

We worked on this cranberry worksheet. I got it from the lapbook for Cranberry Thanksgiving at

To complete the worksheet, we had to guess the amount of cranberries in the bag. Lily guessed 100-she was off by a few. :)  The one on the right is 100. The bowl on the left is the rest of the bag.
We bounced cranberries in the kitchen. Lily was keeping track of how high they went so we could measure.

 Lily worked hard on filling out her sheet.

Our sensory bin for this unit was cranberries and water-Lily LOVED this, and played with it for hours. She flooded the bog, strained the berries, transferred them, and just kept doing it over and over again.

Lily watched the show "How It's Made: Cranberries"  on YouTube. She found it very interesting.

For some math fun, Lily measured cranberries.

We discussed why cranberries float. We cut one open, and saw that there are air pockets inside.

We cooked a wonderful dinner one night. We decided to fix all the dishes for this book that are in the FIAR cookbook: Roast turkey, corn pudding and a pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream.

I wasn't sure how Lily would like the corn pudding-she can be a little picky-Lily approved!

Lily adores science. There were a couple of fun science experiments that we did with this unit. We talked about leavening and the chemical reaction that happens when baking soda and vinegar mix.

We also talked about starch. Then, we got some iodine and a selection of different foods, and put iodine on the different foods to see which ones contained starch. The ones that turned black had starch in them.

The book talked about Mr. Whiskers being a clam digger. We tried some clam chowder. Lily did NOT approve! 

 We discussed how people used to decorate for the holidays a long time ago. We popped some popcorn and made a garland of cranberries and popcorn. We talked about patterns and when we were finished, we put this outside to feed the birds. (This was a fantastic activity to help build fine motor skills)

 For art, we discussed silhouettes and profiles, and we traced Lily's profile and cut it out on black paper.

 The book was also painted in warm colors, so Lily drew a Fall picture to go along with that theme, and this also led to a discussion of the different seasons.

We couldn't do this book without actually making Grandma's Famous Cranberry Bread! The recipe is in the back of the book. So, we closed the blinds, and got to work. (Grandmother always pulled the curtains tight before she made her bread)

We talked about how the Pilgrims would use berries as a natural  dye. We boiled some cranberries, then smashed them, strained them, and kept the dye that was left.

Lily took a white wash cloth and put it in the dye. We made sure it was covered well, then we washed it out.

The final product!

There were so many great activities and discussions that came from this row. We talked about Thanksgiving, and families. We talked about traditions, and about our own traditions. It was a great book!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Moving Beyond the Page-Thanksgiving unit

We have been using Moving Beyond the Page (MBTP) level 4-5 for our kindergarten year. It has been fun. It is more structured than Five in a Row (FIAR), and we have enjoyed it. I really like the creativity and flexibility of FIAR, though. We started to enjoy MBTP more when I let go a bit, and started adding some stuff, and making it more like our FIAR units.

Our Thanksgiving unit was so much fun! We read " Thanksgiving Is" by Gail Gibbons. We talked a lot about the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. We watched the Learn Our History DVD about the first Thanksgiving and the Mayflower.

After watching the video, and talking about the Pilgrims, I gave Lily a dry erase marker, and had her mark the path that the Pilgrims took to come over from England.

After we talked about the first Thanksgiving, Lily ran upstairs to get her toys. She came down and recreated the first Thanksgiving feast, complete with a butterfly and alligator. :)

  We talked a lot about how the Native Americans helped the Pilgrims learn how to grow foods, including corn. We made some corn muffins to go with our dinner that night.

After dinner, we watched Pocahontas, and had another corn product as a snack: Popcorn! Lily LOVED the movie, and talked about Pocahontas for the rest of the week. She even wanted to wear her hair down, because it was "Pocahontas hair."

We learned a lot about turkeys this week. Lily was actually pretty interested in learning about them. She made a "Fact turkey", where all the feathers are actual facts that she learned about turkeys.

She also made a hand print turkey. I love hand print art. If I never saved any of her other art work, (which I do), I would save her hand print art. She really enjoyed making it, and kept saying "This is fun!"

After learning about turkeys, we found an episode of the Wild Kratts to watch. This one was about wild turkeys. Lily loves the Wild Kratts series. She settled down to watch it on the Ipad.

We talked about the Mayflower, and how the Pilgrims didn't have a smooth voyage while coming over here. Lily made a Mayflower out of a butter tub, and we put some water in a bin. I added some blue to it. Lily spent some time making wind and waves, and seeing how that affected the way the Mayflower sailed.

We have the Draw Write Now series of books, and I try to add one of those in whenever it relates to whatever we are studying. Lily really dislikes writing/drawing, so I try to make it fun for her. She is getting SO much better with her drawing/coloring this year. I am so pleased with her progress! I found a turkey for her to try to draw.
 Great job, Lily!

We discussed being thankful for the things that we have. I think this topic went a little over her head. She was telling me she was thankful for reading her Rudolph the Reindeer book. I had to explain that we can be thankful for things that are not material things, too-like family and friends. We made a cornucopia and she made a list of things she is thankful for. Each fruit or veggie has something she is thankful for on it.
 It's hard to see, but she did finally add her family to things she was thankful for! Lol-I was starting to wonder. :)

We talked about Abraham Lincoln, and how he was the president that declared the last Thursday of November to be a National holiday-Thanksgiving! Lily made an Abraham Lincoln mask.

 We talked about how Abraham Lincoln was poor as a child, and how he lived in a log cabin. Of course, we had to build a log cabin with our Lincoln Logs.

 Great job, Lily!
We did a little bit of Thanksgiving baking-we made some pumpkin muffins.  Lily had one for breakfast the next morning, and gave them a thumbs up!

We did a little feather counting for our math.

The best part of our week, was a trip to the Jamestown Settlement. During our discussion of Pocahontas, I told Lily that she used to live in Virginia. Lily said she wished she could see where Pocahontas had lived. Well, we can! The Jamestown settlement has a recreation of a Powhatan Village, and it is within driving distance. The weather was good that weekend, so, off we went! We learned a LOT about Pocahontas and the Powhatan way of life. Lily absolutely loved this trip, and said she would like to go back sometime.

Arriving at the settlement. Lily refused to say "cheese" for pictures on this trip-it was "Mayflower" and "Pocahontas."

The entrance to the Powhatan village.

Learning how the Powhatan Indians made their clothing.

 The houses that they Powhatan Indians lived in.

 There were animal furs/skins everywhere.

Lily was scraping the fur off of this deer skin-this is how the Powhatan Indians made clothing.

Grinding some corn.

Lily wanted to know how they made the baskets that she was seeing everywhere. This lady was in the process of making one.

Practicing her marksmanship! (I love her face in this picture)   There were hoops hanging from a branch, and an "arrow" made of a corn cob and a feather.

 At the settlement, we got a Powhatan Indians TOOB. We put in in a bin with some sand, and Lily played with that for a long time. She loves sensory bins.

This was an awesome week! Lily learned lots, and is having a blast with her schooling this year. Next week, we are taking a break from MBTP, and doing a FIAR book-Cranberry Thanksgiving.