May 28, 2011

Roman Celebration

Last night was our unit celebration about Republican and Imperial Rome. What I love about unit studies is that all of our kids can work on the same topic through all the disciplines: History, literature, science, cooking, art, and Bible. You'll see it all here. Most of the craft ideas are from Classical Kids: An Activity Guide to Life in Ancient Greece and Rome and Ancient Rome!: Exploring the Culture, People & Ideas of This Powerful Empire.

The kids wore togas, recycled from our Greece unit celebration.

Toga Party!

Our ten-year-old son painted this mural of Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon. Click to see it bigger.

Crossing the Rubicon

This shield depicts a dragon burning a tree.

Roman Shield Craft

Roman army units used standards in the same way current units use flags. Our eight-year-old daughter designed the one on this table. I don't know if the heart on top would strike much fear in enemy hearts, but I sure like it.

Roman Standard Craft

This paper mache Roman helmet is a fairly accurate replica of a real Roman helmet.

Paper Mache Roman Helmet

We ate omelets sweetened with honey, the only sweetener they had in ancient Rome.

Honey Omelet

A little physics lesson doing target practice with this simple catapult.

Simple Catapult

Rich Romans wore gold earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and anklets. Our eight-year-old d.d. made this jewelry. She lost her beaded earrings and made these straw ones at the last minute.

Roman Jewelry Craft

The boys put on a gladiator show with swords, nets, and whips, and spears.

Gladiator Show

Dad read Mark Antony's "Friends, Romans, countrymen" speech from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. We talked about why God chose Imperial Rome as the time and place to send Jesus (Pax Romana, common language). It was a fun night to celebrate, share, and solidify what we've learned the past several weeks.

Classical Kids: An Activity Guide to Life in Ancient Greece and Rome (A Kid's Guide series)   Ancient Rome!: Exploring the Culture, People & Ideas of This Powerful Empire (Kaleidoscope Kids)

Your comments are welcome!

May 23, 2011


What does this cloud look like to you?

On a breezy spring day, read Eric Carle's Little Cloud or Charles G. Shaw's It Looked Like Spilt Milk. Then go outside, watch the clouds, and ask your students to describe, draw, or write what they see.

To extend the fun, check out these cloud craft ideas at Fun Bliss.

Photo: Michael Roper

May 20, 2011

Fun Spelling Activities

Spelling practice can be fun. When I became a teacher, I swore off repetitious spelling drills and looked for ways to make spelling time a fun time. Shaving creamWikki Stix, magic markers, magnetic letters, and even Q-Tips can enhance your students' word work. Check out the following hands-on, creative, and fun ways to practice spelling.

Shaving Cream
Tactile Spelling Practice

Shaving cream is wonderful for tactile spelling practice. Just spray it onto a desk, smear it around, and start writing. Shaving cream words are easily erased which provides three benefits. Mistakes are gone at the swipe of a hand; students can practice a word several times without seeing their previous effort; and they can work through several words in a short amount of time. Children love the cool, smooth feeling, and teachers love how clean the desks are after spelling practice with shaving cream. Here are some more fun things to do with shaving cream.

Word Pictures
Visual Spelling

For visual learners, word pictures are great spelling practice. This photo shows one of my first graders doing spelling practice. She is writing some words randomly, but notice the placement of "up" in the upper part of the page, the word "blue" written in blue, and "time" with clocks all around it.

Concentric Spelling
Fun Spelling Drill

Why write a spelling word five times in a list when you can write it five times in colorful concentric bubble letters? Make sure your students put extra space between the letters in their words so they have room to write each letter bigger and bigger. I don't have the data to prove it, but my hunch is that spelling words written like this leave a longer-lasting impression than writing the same word over and over in list form.

Magnetic Letters
Quick Spelling Practice

Magnetic letters work well when you want your students to practice several words in a row, and especially well when working with word families. Keep the cluster of letters that you are working on, and switch the other letters in and out.

Q-Tip Spelling
Build Spelling Words

Good, old cotton swabs work well for tactile spelling practice. It's tricky to form curved letters, but as you can see by the letter e in little, it can be done. The space between the two ts is there to indicate the division between syllables.

Wikki Stix Spelling
Focus on One Word

I've written elsewhere about wikki stix as learning tools, so I won't repeat myself here. They are durable, flexible, inexpensive, and versatile manipulatives for spelling and, well, for just about anything else. This student formed her letters from wikki stix, spelled the syllables of yes-ter-day, and then pushed the syllables together to form the word. Check out wikki stix on amazon.