Sunday, February 16, 2014

Free Geography Printable

I've received a few requests for a copy of my US Geography sheet.  I am providing this printable free of charge as long as you agree to comply with my Terms of Service Just click on the picture to download.

US Blank Geography Page

I am unable to share pictures of the flags and state quarters as they are not my own, but here is a link to where you can find them to print for yourself (or you could color your own flag and tape in real state quarters).

State Flags:

State Quarters: 
Coloring Pages:

This site has a great informational sheet about each quarter/state:

I hope you find this printable helpful!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

What We're Reading

What we're reading during these cold weather days...

This winter it's been a struggle to get Pinky to choose to read.  She's much more interested in playing with her Legos.  Still, I've managed to find a few things that she's really enjoyed.

Calvin and Hobbes - Pinky has had a great time reading all of my old copies of Calvin and Hobbes.  We're on the waiting list for the complete collection from the library, and I may be more excited than she is to read it!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney - Pinky started this series over Christmas break and quickly read through all of the books.  I picked up the Dork Diaries from the library recently thinking she may enjoy those as well.  We will see.

A to Z Mysteries - Pinky is reading through this series at school during her reading time.  These are very quick reads for her, and she can read them quickly in the time she has at school.  She likes the mystery element to the stories.

Pompeii...Buried Alive by Edith Kunhardt Davis is not a book I would have picked for Pinky.  She typically shies away from nonfiction books so I was happy to see her choose one from the school library.  She has brought this book home more times than I can count now.  She is fascinated by the story of the erupting volcano burying a town.

Chaos has been making great strides in his reading recently.  In addition to the phonics and early readers that he's been reading, I've also been reading him some longer stories.

Three Tales of My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Ganett is what we're currently reading.  He loves the adventure and the illustrations in the story. 

Garfield books have been a staple in our house for several years.  It started with Pinky constantly bringing them home from the school library, and now Chaos is following in her footsteps.  I remember reading Garfield when I was a kid so it's fun to see that the stories and jokes are still funny to my kids.

Wild One:
Wild One still loves to read.  Reading time (and library check out) are her favorite parts of preschool.

Pete the Cat books are her absolute favorite (the other kids enjoy them as well).  I have found her walking around the house chanting "Did Pete cry?  Oh goodness no!  He kept walking along and singing his song..."

Sprout loves just about any book you will read to her.  She would probably even sit and listen to me read an instruction manual if I let her look at the pictures while I read it.  Of course, we do read her good books.  :)

Sprout is a big fan of the Brownie & Pearl series by Cynthia Rylant (especially this book with the car).  The stories are short and sweet with colorful illustrations.  She asks us to read these over and over again.

Linking up to some of these great parties!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Summer Math and the Math Curse

While the kids will be reading every day this summer, I also want them to be practicing math every day too. I've always loved the concept of a math journal so I decided to make one for Pinky and Chaos. Each day they will solve one problem in their math journals for some extra practice.

To start, I bought a one subject notebook for each kid.  I whipped up some super simple labels in Publisher to add to the front with some packaging tape (I went with simplicity over beauty here).

Inside, on the top of each page, is a word problem.  They can use the two page spread to draw and write the answer to the problems.

 For Chaos (shown above), I downloaded a free set of Kindergarten math journal prompts from Krazee 4 Kindergarten.

For Pinky, I purchased a set of prompts from Teacher Tam's Teachers Pay Teachers Store.  To start though, we are using problems from the book Math Curse by John Scieszka.

We read the book together, then I typed up some of the problems in the book to add to her math journal.  Some of the problems I changed slightly either by simplifying or changing numbers.  A few problems are made up by me.

I hope the kids have fun with these math problems!  The book, if you've never read it, is really fun.

Linking up to some of these great parties!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Summer Geography

We have officially begun our summer learning adventure! I've been planning fun things to share and teach the kids this summer, and I'm very excited to share them with you.

I think I am most excited about our plan to study each of the 50 states. Pinky and Chaos have both always loved looking at maps and love to learn facts about the states we travel through on our road trips.

I searched Pinterest and blogs for the "perfect" lesson plans or state books to use for our study, but didn't find one that was exactly what I wanted, so I made my own! They are a simplified version of the ones provided at The AnnaMatrix blog.  I didn't want to have too much writing detail because Chaos will be joining us for this study, so I created a one page document for the kids to fill in while we read about and explore each state. 
The page covers the basics:
  • state name
  • nickname
  • abbreviation
  • capital
  • state flower
  • state bird
  • state tree
  • state rock
  • state insect
  • the year the state was founded
  • the order in which it was added(first, second, third, etc.)
I've added a picture of the state's quarter and flag for Chaos and Pinky.  I also added a map of the United States so the kids can color in where the state is located.  When we've finished all 50 states, I plan to bind these pages with a cover to create a book to look back on.  I hope to be able to share these pages for you to download and use as we go along.  I will share more detail about each study we do as well.

The first state we are studying (and we are going in no particular order other than by when the books are available at the library) is Minnesota.  One particular book series that I'm hoping to use throughout the summer is Discover America State by State.   I've found the series to be interesting to my 7 year old right down to my 3 year old.  There is a lot of information given without being overwhelming.

We are also using our National Geographic laminated US map to identify the states we've studied.

Linking up to some of these great parties!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What My Child is Reading

It's been a long time since I posted what my kids are reading!  Here's a few of our current favorites.

Pinky has continued to enjoy reading longer chapter books.  She still enjoys the Rainbow Magic series, but has branched out to try different series.

Judy Moody - She just started the Judy Moody series and has really enjoyed it.  I told her if she read "The Not Bummer Summer" I would let her watch the movie when she finished.

My Secret Unicorn by Linda Chapman- A series about unicorns?  That's really all Pinky needed to know about this book to be interested.  I have not read this book myself, but judging by the way Pinky's nose has been in it all day, I'd say it's a hit.

Babymouse - The Babymouse series was recommended to me by a teacher friend.  It's written as a graphic novel (something that is VERY appealing to Pinky) and tells the story of Babymouse - a mouse with big dreams and a wild imagination.  As soon as Pinky finished the first book, she grabbed another and asked if I would get more from the library.

Chaos continues to love his I Spy books and has really enjoyed reading super hero books as well.  He loves to read facts about all of his favorite heroes from his newest book, Meet the Marvel Super Heroes.

A few other books Chaos has been enjoying lately:

The Sandcastle Contest - Any book by Robert Munsch is bound to be a hit with kids.  His books are always fun, wacky reads.

Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown - I'm sure most people know the story of Flat Stanley.  Chaos even knew who he was without ever having read the book.  It was fun for him to learn how Flat Stanley became flat!

Wild One:
Wild One continues to love everything related to dance, so it was no surprise she loved reading Angelina Ballerina by Katharine Holabird.

When Sophie Gets Angry, Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang has also fascinated Wild One.  She loves watching Sophie get angry and then calm down.  She has been walking around the house quoting this book over and over again.

A few other books we have enjoyed as a whole family:

One by Katharine Otoshi is a wonderful book about standing up for yourself and others with an added lesson of counting and colors.

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Stieg is a classic about a young donkey who makes an unfortunate wish.

Hubble Bubble Granny Trouble by Tracey Corderoy is a fun story about a Granny who is quite different than what her granddaughter thinks she should be.  When granny conforms to the norms, her granddaughter realizes that she's quite bored with an "average" granny. 

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett - We picked this book up on a whim while at the library, and I was surprised at how much we enjoyed it.  It's a story about a girl with magical yarn who changes an entire town.  The illustrations in this book are just as wonderful as the story itself.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Summer Learning - Writing

One thing I really wanted to work on with Pinky last summer was her handwriting.  It's something she just doesn't enjoy.  She will draw all day, but just really dislikes putting pen to paper to write. I wanted her to write more, but I didn't want to fight with her to do it.  I came up with two ideas to help.

The first was Draw Write Now books.  Since Pinky already loves to draw I thought this would spark an interest in her.  I was right!  We started with Book One and have since expanded all the way through Book 4.  I make her do the writing before she begins drawing.

I picked up the books secondhand on ebay and used Melissa and Doug storytelling paper we already had on hand.

The second idea I had was probably MY favorite.  I happened to have a spiral bound one subject notebook on hand (probably leftover from back to school shopping in the fall).  On a whim I wrote a note to Pinky on the first page (even added a little picture to go with it).  I told her that we could write letters back and forth to each other.  Each night, before she went to bed, I would (secretly) write a little note and tuck it under her pillow.  After she was tucked in, she would turn to the next page and write a note back to me.  She usually added a picture too.  Sometimes she would answer a question I had asked or respond to something I had said and sometimes she came up with things completely on her own.  When we reached the end of the notebook, I picked up another and we started again.  It has turned into a wonderful keepsake and a way for us to strengthen our relationship.  We have kept up our journals since we started them last summer. 

Looking for more writing ideas?  Check out my Pinterest board:
Love of Learning - Writing

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Summer Learning - Geography

Awhile back I read a blog post at Finally in First about a great activity to go along with the book Me On the Map.  You can read the original post here.

The story is told by a young girl who shows readers a map of her room, then continues, step by step, to show the larger picture: her house on her street, her street on a map of her town, her town in her state, etc.

This was a really fun way to begin to explore maps with the kids and to help them understand where they live in relation to the rest of the world.

Looking for more great Geography ideas?  Check out my Pinterest board:
Love of Learning - Geography

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