Friday, September 14, 2012

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Storytelling and a Favorite Tool

When I look back on our week, it seems that it was a week of storytelling. No matter what we did, a story was involved.

That was, in part, due to our current unit on Fairies and Forts. We will be attending a fun exhibit at Powell Gardens near Kansas City, Missouri, called Fairy Houses and Forts. It was the inspiration for our current unit.

The base piece of literature for our fairies week was Alice the Fairy by David Shannon.

I absolutely love David Shannon (remember his No, David! series?). His illustrations are so fun and I just want to hug those naughty characters he has in his stories. Alice is a true treasure.

This story gave us the opportunity to explore voice and perspective in literature. I also introduced the story web to Eli and Brynne, and we used it several times.

In this web, Eli and Brynne were pretending to be fairies that received magic powers.

Another way we told stories this week was by printing off coloring pages of images that are favorite things of each of the kids. Brynne loves puppies and they both love ninjas. They colored them and we made them into stick puppets. Then Eli made up a story with his and acted it out with his puppets. Brynne got shy on us and wouldn't do one. (I did catch her acting out scenes later. And then she had made print off all the Lego Ninjago character coloring pages and she made them into stick puppets. She has been playing with them all week.)

After brainstorming about some of our favorite things and writing them on index cards, each of the kids chose one to use as the subject of a paragraph. To help them come up with topics, I used the "who?, what?, where?, when?, why?, how?" module. This helped them gather thoughts. They put them down on paper in the form of sentences that made a paragraph. They are rough, that's for sure. But next week we are working on editing.

(The white board photo above shows us doing this same thing pretending we were Eli the Fairy and Brynne the Fairy and them receiving special powers.)

We did all of these activities this week with our white board. I purchased one this summer for a bargain (have you checked out the prices of stand-alone office white boards? They are expensive!) I got ours for about $50. Right now it's $65.88 plus shipping. It is awesome! It has the adjustable legs so I can use it either on a table or on the floor. I typically have it set up in the corner of the room and then put it away in a closet at the end of the day. I didn't realize how much I would really use it. Eli is obviously a visual learner because he likes me to write out sentences and problems for him to see so he can work them out with me. We love this board!

The biggest way we use it is with our Grapevine Stick Figuring through the Bible daily lessons. We start our day with our Bible lesson. We read the Bible passage, do some review, test our memory, and then draw the stick figures for that day's lessons. When they are older they might be able to come up with their own figures, but for now I draw what the book suggests and they copy it. This was most-certainly our Favorite Resource this week (and most weeks.) I love this curriculum!!

I love the furrowed brows of Adam and Eve in this drawing by Eli. They are apparently really angry about being kicked out of the Garden of Eden.

Today it's Friday, and it's Nature and Art day. We had intentions of getting in our Nature study (doing an insect grid), but it's rainy and cold and we actually are needing to get packed and ready to go to Oklahoma for the weekend. So, we just did art. We learned about Monet and made "water lilies". We are going to do our Nature study on Monday.

I hope that you had a great week and are having a ball in your homeschool this year! I know we are!

Here's what was going on at Journey to Excellence this week, in case you missed it:

We observed lots of ants.
I put up reviews for Marshall Publishing (Penguins) and Family Time Fitness.
I gave another shout-out for the fantastic Grumble-Meter.
And I was awarded a Top 25 Homeschool Blogging Award.

We are linking up at:


  1. I love the Monet art project -- very clever.

    I also really love it that your kids were printing and making their own stick puppets. I think I need to tell my Ninjago obsessed boy about this (who is sitting by reading his Ninjago guide as I am typing to you!)

    Enjoy your weekend!

  2. What a great week. I have been reading your blog for awhile and see that Dawson is back in PS. I hope he is loving it and just thriving. Love the things you did with the younger two. I miss Keilee being that age! That water lilies craft is wonderful!

  3. Looks like another lovely week! I just received my copy of the Usborne Art Treasury. I think I'll borrow your idea for art & nature Fridays. We try to take Fridays off, but I don't think the kids will grumble if it's art and nature!

  4. I always enjoy seeing your kids art projects, they turn out so well. Books with puppets looks like a winning combination. Thank you for sharing.

  5. We love our white board too! Your units always look like such fun!

    Have a great weekend!

  6. Wow!! There is so much to comment on! I love the stories, the lilly art (stunning!), and those brows are hysterical. The angel pointing the way is pretty funny too! Be jealous- my brother brought me a "throw away" (that I think is perfect) school room white board when we started homeschooling. For free! It is an awesome tool.

  7. Love, love, love the water lilies. Beautiful.

  8. Looks like you all had a great week, Nicole! I really like the water lilies and the puppet storytelling.
    Thanks for linking at Favorite Resources :)


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