Sunday, January 29, 2012

Teach Heart Healthy Habits

February is American Heart Health Month, and Evan Moor has some fabulous freebies for teaching your kiddos some heart healthy habits.

Grades K-1
We Must Take Care of Our Bodies: Nutrition
This science unit provides information and activities about the importance of good nutrition. The unit includes directions, topics for class discussion, and a mini book titled “I Eat Healthy Foods." 

Grades 2-5
The Circulatory System and Heart

Two simple diagrams of the circulatory system and heart; also includes labels.

Grades 4-6
You've Got the Beat
A fun ten-minute science activity in which students learn how to check their heart rate while at rest and after running in place.

Alphabetimals - Fun Alphabet

If your kiddos are just learning their ABC's, you will definitely want to check out Alphabetimals!  The site features a read along book that has a sound for both the animal and the word.

You can also type in any name or word to see it in alphabetimals style just like we did with Luke's name!

 For more alphabet practice, try these alphabet worksheets!

And they can watch the ABC song alphabetical style here as well:

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Learning About the Human Heart

Valentines Day is a great excuse to learn more about the human heart!  Your kiddos will be surprised how different a real heart looks like compared to Valentine shaped hearts.  You can find a ton of resources for teaching and learning about the human heart anatomy for kindergarten to sixth grade here:

Texas Heart Institute

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Snowmen At Night

You can read the adorable book Snowmen At Night on-line for free.  Then have your child write their own version of things that snowmen might do at night.

Here are some more snowman activities to use with the book:


Making a Snowman Writing Prompt

Snowman Addition


Counting Snowmen Book

How to talk to your snowman poem

Monday, January 16, 2012

Weekly Meal Planning

If your days are anything like mine- you feel like you have way too much to do, and not enough hours in the day to do them all!  Menu planning at my house unfortunately often starts only an hour before dinner time and often is not as healthy as I would like.  That's why I love these free weekly meal plans from Skinny Mom! They come complete with recipes and shopping lists which will make my life much easier!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Contests for Kids

If you have creative kiddos, you may want to enter their work in one of the following contests:

Art Contest
Students submit a digital photo of any art (other than photography) and submit it online at  Two contests each year — Next deadline is April 3rd.  There are 10 winners in each grade division of K-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12 who will receive $25 and a full color book that includes their art.  Other artists of merit will be invited to be published.  There are no costs to enter or to be published.   Open to all students in the US and Canada. Each year we have several home schoolers who are among our national winners.

Poetry Contest
Students submit one poem 21 lines on any topic and submit it online at or mail it to Creative Communication, 159 North Main Street, Smithfield, UT  84335.  Three contests each year with upcoming deadlines of April 12 and August 15.  There are 10 winners in each grade division of K-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12 who will receive $25 and a book that includes their poem.  Other writers of merit will be invited to be published.  There are no costs to enter or to be published.
Our website at also includes a database that is divided by grade and subject and contains over 1000 lesson plans on how to teach poetry.  You can also subscribe to our newsletter with tips on teaching poetry.

Essay Contest
Students submit one non-fiction essay, 250 words or less on any topic and submit it online at or mail it to Creative Communication, 159 North Main Street, Smithfield, UT  84335.  Three contests each year with upcoming deadlines of Feb 15 and July 18.  There are 10 winners in each grade division of 3-6, 7-9, 10-12 who will receive $25 and a book that includes their essay.  Other writers of merit will be invited to be published.  There are no costs to enter or to be published.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Marshmallow Subtraction Activity

With colder days coming our way - I love this idea for marshmallow subtraction with a marshmallow theme from ABC and 123!  You can print out the worksheet and use it as is like above, or laminate it for a fun re-usable activity. 

Here are some more hot chocolate themed activities:

Hot Chocolate Odd and Even 

Addition Practice with a hot chocolate theme

Hot Chocolate Plural and Singular Nouns

Hot Chocolate Comparing Numbers

Math Libs

We love MadLibs at our house, so finding MathLibs was a fun find!
You type in the names of people, objects, and numbers which are used to generate math word problems that cover whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percentages, place value, expanded notation, multiplication, long division, algebraic thinking, geometry, probability and more

When you get to the site you'll see a welcome message. Select either:
*MathLibs - This is the game generator. Choose grade 3 or 4 and then follow the prompts on the screen to choose a problem "Set."  You'll be prompted to type in information to generate word problems.

If you answer incorrectly, you will see the correct answer together with a brief explanation and cartoon animation of how to do the problem. 

Factor Samurai App

A while back my kids got me addicted to Fruit Ninja.  And although it is a fun little diversion, it is not really a learning game - and I love when my kiddos play learning games!  So, today, I found Factor Samurai!
It is very similar to Fruit Ninja - only you slice composite numbers and try to avoid prime numbers.

Your child can select from a variety of levels from Grasshopper for beginners (which features smaller numbers) up to Master. 
In this instance, your child would slice the 8 which would in turn break into 2 and 4, and your child would have to slice the 4 as it is another composite number.  Super fun, and your kiddos will have no idea they are learning! 

That is if you are unlike me, and you don't become addicted to it yourself!

Best part?  The app is free at the itunes app store!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

That Quiz

I am seriously loving That Quiz - especially for my older boys.  The site offers free multiple choice tests that grade and keep track of your kids scores.  You can choose and level tests as you like both from the site and from other teachers as well.  You could also set up your own tests based on materials your kiddos are working on.  The best part is that the service is completely FREE!

From the site:
What is ThatQuiz?
  • A free service for teachers who want to replace paper tests with online testing.
  • An online grade book providing fast analysis of class and individual student progress.
  • An exchange for teachers to share the resources they create.
  • A skills site for students, especially useful for math practice and testing.

Who uses it?
  • Students all over the world, at home and at school.
  • Math teachers. Science teachers. Language teachers. All kinds of teachers.
  • You, if you want to spend less time grading and more time teaching. 

That Quiz

Paper Chains for Learning

My boys love making paper chains for counting down the days to special events (Christmas, birthdays, vacations, etc.), so I love this idea from the Mailbox for using paper chains for learning.  Their suggestion was to use them to sequence events in a story, but my wheels started spinning with lots of other ideas as well:
Math Facts: Why not have your child write a series of math facts on the chains?  For example write 9 X 1 = 9 on one, 9X2 =18 on another and so on for all the facts of 9s (or whatever fact they are working on).

Steps in a Math Problem: As your kiddos get older, math problems get more complex with more steps.  Why not have them write each step on one of the chains.  The steps of long division would be a great idea for this.

Life Cycles: Why not have your child write each of the stages of a life cycle on each of the chains? (Butterflies, frogs, etc.)

Parts of Speech: If you are learning parts of speech, have your child make noun chains, verb chains, adjective chains, or adverb chains.  As they encounter these in their reading they can add to the chain.

Book Report: Turn a paper chain into a book report with one chain for the title, one chain for the author, one for the genre, several for main characters, and several for their thoughts on the book.

What other ideas can you think of?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Create Your Own Comic Book

Even the most reluctant readers and writers can be inspired by comic books.  Now your kids can create their own comic books thanks to Marvel Comics.  The site lets you choose premade layouts or create your own. You can make a single page comic or an entire book.  Let your kids run with their imagination, and they will have no idea they are really learning!

Marvel Comics

Learning With Playdough

My boys love playdough, both the store kind and the homemade kind.  But besides playing with it, did you know that you could use playdough for learning as well?  Here are a few ideas:

Learning the letters of the alphabet - Have your child create the letters of the alphabet with playdough.  If they are passed this, you could also say, "Show me the beginning sound of dog" and have your child create the letter d.

Retell the story - Have your child use playdough to retell a story they have just read (or that you have read to them).

Math Facts - Your child can model math sentences using playdough.

Science- Have your child use playdough to model life cycles of animals such as a frog or a butterfly.

Geography - Have your child use the playdough to make a map of your state.

Lost Pet- Writing Assignment

Have your child make a flyer for a lost pet using Microsoft Word, Paint, Publisher, or any other similar program.  Then have them write a story describing how they would feel if they really did lose their pet.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Reading Bear - Free Online Phonics Resource

My five year old is just starting to read, and we were both super excited to find Reading Bear. This brief video gives you a general overview, but you will definitely want to explore Reading Bear yourself.

You can choose from a variety of phonics skills, from vowels to consonants, and you can choose from a variety of learning modules as you can see in the screen shot below:

Big Snow Poem

PBS has an animated poem entitled "Big Snow" available to watch now.  The poem is narrated as the words flash across the screen, perfect for your beginning reader.

Big Snow Video

For more snow learning fun, try these resources:

Snowflake Tracer Template

Snowflake Grouping

Snowflake Addition

Snowflake Subtraction

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Free Handwriting/Printing Practice Worksheets

If you are looking for a way to help your child with their printing or cursive handwriting skills, you will definitely want to check out this free website -because really, who doesn't love free?

First select the type of worksheet you want, then type the text, select some options and print!  Voila!  Your own free handwriting worksheet. 

Perfect for copy work, your child's name, memorizing passages, ???? What will you use it for?

2012 Traceable Calendars

Free printable monthly calendar pages  that have traceable numbers.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a leader who dreamed of a better world. Celebrate the life and work of the civil rights leader by sharing these materials with your kiddos:

This year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is on January 16

Reading and Language Arts"An American Leader" (article about the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., for grades K-2)

"Honoring a Man of Peace" (article about the recent opening of the Martin Luther King, Jr., memorial, for grades 3 and up)

Martin Luther King Character Map

I Have a Dream Writing Prompt

The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. – a timeline activity (PDF)

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr. – a word search (PDF)

Martin Luther King, Jr. Had a Dream – students read and respond to the text of the "I Have a Dream" speech (PDF)
Martin Luther King Vocabulary
Martin Luther King Proofreading


Martin Luther King Math Facts

Martin Luther King Multiplication

Martin Luther King Jr. themed word problems to solve K-3rd grade

Martin Luther King Jr. themed word problems to solve 4-8th grade

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Winter Color Words Emergent Reader

If your kiddos are working on learning to read color words, you will love this Winter Color Words Emergent Reader!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Informational Text Resources

One area that my boys have had challenges in reading is with expository or informational texts.  K12 reader has a myriad of resources in that area (as well as many others!). An example of the first grade and fourth grade level are pictured above.  Here are the links:

1st grade

2nd grade

3rd grade

4th grade

5th grade
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Using the Newspaper as a Learning/Teaching Tool

Having your child read the daily newspaper is a great way to encourage them to read authentically!  I found this great calendar that can be used to extend the learning opportunities.  The calendar gives ideas for language arts, math, science, social studies, and life skills.

Learning calendar

Monthly Menu Planners

One of the challenges of raising 6 boys has always been figuring out what to feed them all!  I am seriously loving this adorable and oh so useful menu plan from No Ordinary Moments! Not only are they cute, but you can type into the pdf files all of your menu ideas for a month, print it out, and place it on your fridge.  Then the next time that your kiddos ask the dreaded, "What's for dinner?"  you can point them to the menu!

Menu Planner

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Penguin Chit Chat Template and Tons of Ideas!

Mailbox has this adorable free penguin chit chat template that you can use with your kiddos for reviewing all types of skills. 

Practice Dialogue
They suggest folding a sheet of paper into four sections and having your child glue a penguin in each one along with dialogue.  This is a great language arts/creative writing activity for your child!

Math Review
You can also use the penguins to help the child remember the steps to a math problem such as long division.  You could have the child write each step in a speech bubble for the various penguins.  For example, one penguin could say "Divide" the next could say "Multiply" the third, "Subtract" the fourth, "Bring down". 

Fun Review Game
Print out the penguins for fun game pieces.  Write the questions on the back of each penguin and see who can "win" the most penguins by answering the most questions correctly!

What other ideas can you think of?

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Earth Science Resources

Nova has some amazing Earth Science resources for your older kiddos to check out.

The following NOVA resources will introduce students to the mysterious and sometimes violent functions of our planet. They will have an opportunity to explore ideas and concepts ranging from seismic shifts that cause destructive earthquakes to volcanic eruptions large enough to affect Earth's fluctuating climate and vegetation.

What does the anatomy of a volcano look like?

Explore the basic geological features of a volcano like Mt. St. Helens, as well as the deadly materials released during volcanic eruptions.

Interactive, Grades 6-9

How does vegetation change through the seasons?

In this interactive, learn how the distribution of Earth's vegetation varies from season to season.

Interactive, 6-12

What can we find on the arctic seafloor?

Explore the seabed of the Arctic Ocean with some of the first imagery ever shot of landscapes and life-forms that no one knew existed.

Interactive, Grades 6-12

How does climate change?

This video segment describes climate data that suggest the Earth has undergone dramatic climate shifts in relatively short spans of time.

Video (5m 49s), Grades 6-12

Can we predict earthquakes?

In this video, a team of U.S. geologists travel to Haiti after a large earthquake to try and determine if and when another quake will strike.

Video, Grades 6-12

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