Winn Dixie and Seeing with Your Heart

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Currently, my daughters and I are reading aloud one of my favorite books, Because of Winn Dixie.  The short chapter book is full of depictions of characterization, the true meaning of friendship, and of course, the always-smiling dog – Winn Dixie (named after a grocery store of all things!).

During the book the main character, Opal, meets Gloria Dump who a woman the neighborhood boys insist is a witch.  Despite this, Opal meets Gloria and the two strike up a friendship.   Gloria, however, has bad eyesight so asks Opal to describe herself so she can see Opal with her heart. 

I love that the focus is on what a person is inside, rather than outward appearances.  I want my girls to always remember: it’s the inside that counts!

To drive this lesson home, I created a quick writing activity for my first grader. 

Winn Dixie Heart

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On the first body to the left, she will draw herself as she appears in the mirror.  She can color her hair, add clothes, and any other things she can visibly detect. 

On the second body provided, she will describe herself with adjectives next to and across her body, staying away from any that describe her appearance.

On the final page there is a prompt for her to describe what people would see if they see her with their heart.  I know what I would say about her, but I am really interested in learning what she thinks people would see if they saw her with their heart.

If you’d like a copy of these pages, feel free to click on any of the images above to access the document.

I hope you enjoy the story of Winn Dixie as much as I do!  And when you’re done, don’t forget to check out the movie.  It’s actually does a pretty good job of following the book and is almost as good.  Of course the dog is endearing and AnnaSophia Robb does a great job playing Opal.  But do yourself a favor – read the book first!

Dream Jars and Summaries with the BFG

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We just finished reading aloud the BFG by Roald Dahl and it ended up as a new favorite for my girls!  I remember reading the book when I was in elementary school, so I loved reliving the story of a little girl’s encounter with the Big Friendly Giant and her determination to stop the unfriendly giants from eating (as the BFG states it) “human beans.”

We have been working on the general idea of summaries lately, so for our culminating book activity, my daughters created their own “dream jars” out of recycled plastic containers using objects from around the house.  Their assignment was to create a good dream by filling their jar with items, words, and/or magazine clippings.  When they had “bottled up” a good dream, they removed the items and told me the story of their dream.  We practiced putting the whole dream into just a few words to create a summary, just as the BFG had labeled his dream jars in the story.

Afterward, my 6 year old recorded her summary on the page below and drew a picture of what the dream would look like bottled up.  Feel free to use the file below to help your own dream-catching kids summarize their stories!

BFG Dream Jar

Poppins Book Nook: Little Yellow Digger & Trace that Tractor

One of our favorite books is the story about a little tractor who becomes the hero of the day.

Little Yellow Digger is a pop-up picture book that follows a small tractor named “Little Yellow Digger” through a construction site.  All the tractor wants to do is help out, but he is continually pushed aside by tractors who feel they are too busy for Little Yellow Digger’s help.  After trying to assist tractor after tractor, Little Yellow Digger feels down-hearted until the end of the story where he’s the only one who can save the day.

We’ve been reading this book for years and sometimes it’s fun to revisit these old favorites, especially when there is construction going on near our house.  Driving past the construction site is exciting because the  vehicles are always doing something new.

Our homeschooling routine begins each morning with handwriting.  While my first grader does copy work using resources from the Burgess Bird Book, my four year old has graduated from her capital letters to working on her lowercase letters.  This week we switched things up so my youngest could focus on tracing a combination of capital and lowercase letters with a sheet that I call “Trace that Tractor!”  She is working on tracing one tractor per day, as we work on quality.  Grab a copy for yourself by clicking the image below.

Trace that tractor

Be sure to check out the other amazing bloggers below who have posted about this month’s travel and transportation theme and then link your own post at the bottom!  Start thinking about some books for July’s Beach and Ocean theme and meet me back here the last Monday of July to see our choice book and activity!

Preschool Powol Packets

Poppins Book Nook: Dinosaurs and Alliteration

Dinosaurs are a big topic of interest in my house and we scoured the library for a fun book to read this month for our Poppins Book Nook Club.  Surprising to me, our learning curved away from science side of dinosaurs and more onto learning about language.

We came home with several books, but it’s Dinos in the Snow that hooked my daughter’s creative-side as we read it.

Yeah, yeah, the book’s a little “fluffy,” but the book does contain a ton of rhymes, a bouncy beat, and silly pictures.  It’s the alliteration, though, that garnered my 6-year-old’s imagination and took her on a book-making mission.

Today’s activity that I’m sharing with you was simply a random activity that came up after our reading of Dinos in the Snow.  I didn’t really plan for it, but it was a fun activity for the three of us girls to work on together.

When my 6 year old originally noticed many of the words in the book starting with the same letters, I introduced the term “alliteration” because I feel it’s never too early to be introduced to big vocabulary.  Sure enough, there were several sentences containing alliteration throughout the story.  After reading the book, we revisited the alliteration areas that described the names of dinosaurs doing something. germs and microbes 019She wanted to make her own book using family members doing things that started with the first letters of their names.   We brainstormed together, although after she got the hang of it, I was only supplying the names, while she was coming up with the rest.  I wrote what she dictated and both of my daughters worked on illustrations.  We had a pretty full collection of pages. 

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When we were done with more than twice as many pages than what’s pictured, I suggested putting the pages in alphabetical order, to give her practice.  She thought that was a great idea (score!), so she handed me the pages in order of first names.

She designed a cover for the book, we stapled everything together, and that was that!  We had a brand new book to share with Daddy when he returned home from work.  And, my kids must have read it at least a half dozen times before he arrived!

If you plan to try something like this, check out a copy of the book Animalia, which is an ABC book full of alliteration.  It provides a great link to this “lesson.”  Surprisingly we hadn’t read the book before, so it was nice to be able to pull out a new book that supported her spontaneous book-making activity.

 (My favorite page is “Daddy dances on the damper.” The damper has been a big topic of conversation in our house for the past week for some reason!)

Check out some of the other great dinosaur ideas from the blogs below!  Then, consider sharing some of your own Dinosaur/Prehistoric books and activities by adding your blog post into the linky below which will be opened for the next two weeks.  For June, get ready for a theme of Travel and Transportation!

Your turn!  Enter your prehistoric/dinosaur themed posts here:

Germy Germs K-1 Unit: Science and Language Arts


This week we turned our attention to some happy, good-for-you microbes! 

We  began with reviewing the concepts of germs from last week by cutting out and assembling this “You Might be a Germ If…” book.  It gave my preschooler some cutting practice and my kindergartener some reading practice.  It’s a short little mini-book that you can use to review some of the negative aspects of germs. Feel free to click the page to download a copy if you think you’d like to try it out with your kids.

Germ  Might be a Germ If

We then switched gears to start discussing the properties of yeast.  Yeast is an amazing little micro-organism that can live with or without oxygen.  Today we use it in baking, cosmetics, and other areas of every day life.  Even though we can’t really see yeast cells because they are so tiny, in science we can watch their growth through chemical reactions.

Using a science experiment from Bill Nye, take 4 water bottles and label each (yeast-warm water, yeast and sugar-warm water, yeast-cold water, yeast and sugar-cold water).  Fill the bottles accordingly, place a balloon around the outer lip of each bottle, and place in a conducive spot.  We kept our two warm bottles in the living room and the two cold ones in the refrigerator.

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Beware, your husband may ask you about what’s in the fridge.  I know my husband loves living in our house.  I’m sure it gives him a plethora of conversation starters for work.  Ha ha ha.

Check the experiments after 12 hours and again after 24 and you will be able to observe a chemical reaction taking place. 

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The balloon of the warm yeast and sugar water mixture will be filled with a mixture of carbon dioxide and ethanol.  This reactions is what happens when conditions are just right to multiply.

As an extension, we decided to see how yeast works in our kitchen.  We used a 30 Minute Pretzel recipe to smell yeast, taste it in the dough, and observe how our pretzel designs “puffed” as they rose right before baking. 

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While the pretzels cooked, it gave us some time to write a little.  My daughters each wrote a recipe for their grandma to use (with my youngest dictating to me).  Although neither seem to include the “real” recipe, it gave a chance for some non-fiction writing with a little organization.  Feel free to click the image below to download if you think it’s something you could use with your own kids.

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How to make a pretzel

We took a little time with a little “J” Sound Sort, in which we sorted words between those that started with a J and those that started with a G.  How confusing can the English language get having two different letters that make the same sound?  Geesh!  The activity was a hit because we have “J” sound names in our family.  Outside of that it gave us a chance to talk about the different words, just for the exposure.  If you think you could use this at home, feel free to download by clicking on the image.G and J Sort

One of our favorite activities of the week was blow-painting our own germs.  I found this idea on Pinterest from Raising Sparks and think it’s adorable.   This is really not scientific, but it was a lot of fun and allowed us to discuss how we shouldn’t share straws or blow in people’s faces.  Not only that, but we had some wildly creative stories that stemmed from the pictures!

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Finally, our germy apples from last week.  I was a little disappointed that our apples didn’t brown more (thanks a lot Granny Smith), but as soon as the kids touched them, they exclaimed over how squishy the cut apples were.  I love how doing this experiment can be connected to how our own human skin protects our bodies from germs and microbes breaking through.

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Please don’t forget to head on over to The Usual Mayhem and STEMmom to see what they’ve been working on this week.  And, if you’re interested in a variety of Montessori ideas for germs, please visit  Every Star is Different, who shared with her current germ unit with me.  You will find lots of fun ideas to add to your own studies!

*Oh yeah, want to know what the results were of our petri dishes?  I am so glad we checked them throughout the week because we had a few microbes growing in several dishes, but the home computer petri was really icky!  The computer got a nice cleaning.  Unfortunately, I had an epic fail at the final results because I preheated my oven where I was storing the petri dishes…and totally forgot to remove the tray.  I would like to say the brownies that I made were worth it, but I doubled the batch and doubled everything but the sugar.  So I didn’t even lose the petri dishes for a good treat in return.  {Sigh…}

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They look a little melted, huh?  So sad…We’ll have to give it another try.  Be sure to check out the Kitchen Pantry Scientist to see some “real” results.

Click the button below to be brought back to the introductory post for this unit.  We have one more Tuesday to go before we share our free planning resources.  Enjoy!


Linking to:

Hearts for Home Blog HopTeach Beside MeFreebie Fridays For the Kids Fridays at SunScholars.comI Can Teach My ChildScience Sunday STEM Mom LinkyPreschool Powol Packets3Boys&aDog DEALS!

TGIF Linky Party hosted by 123Homeschool4Me





Cheerios and Lattes

Reading in 1st Series Review and Giveaway {Ended}

If you have a beginning reader, be sure to check out the Reading in 1st Series from Enchanted Homeschooling Mom.  She’s spent an incredible amount of time putting together printable booklets focusing on the 1st grade Dolch site words. 

Reading in 1st Cover Page (494x640)

In this creative series, you will find 20 unique printable books, using characters from stories such as Star Wars to Little Red Riding Hood to make learning more fun.  Each book states the site words of focus and contains paper tiles of the letters for each word to be cut and pasted into the corresponding blank word boxes.  Although my daughter isn’t a “gluey” kind of person, we switched up using the tiles and writing in the word boxes, with great success.

You’ll find a comprehension aspect to each book, for teacher-monitoring, as well as a bookmark of accomplishments for the reader’s self-monitoring.

While practicing with the books, you will have the chance to use word wall flashcards and practice words with a “Go Fish” game included in the file.

Recently we used the Life in the Arctic book (corresponding with our Polar Animals Unit) and the Ocean Animals book, which is our current unit of study (stay tuned for Wednesday’s post!). 

Reading in first

I especially like…

  • The diversity of the books. I can pull them out for holidays, science units, thematic studies, and even to go along-side literature we’re reading.
  • The repetition given for each site word.  When starting the Ocean Animals book, my daughter could read the word “know” but had a hard time spelling it.  By the end of the book she had both the reading and the writing of the word down pat.  Even coming back to the word  later, she remembered the spelling.
  • That my daughter has mixed practice with the words.  She gains experience in reading, writing, spelling (with pencil AND tiles), and verbalizing the words.
  • The graphics…yep, I’m a sucker for cute graphics! 
  • That my daughter can read the books pretty much independently (pictures help support difficult words), which gives her a boost of reading confidence.

My daughter said the  books were “fun” her eyes grew big with excitement when I informed her that we are reading the “How to Make Hot Chocolate” book this week as a supplement to her cooking class. 

Jill of Enchanted Homeschooling Mom has generously offered to give one of my readers the entire Reading in 1st Series.  I am excited for you to win because I think it’s a valuable and fun resource! 

How to Enter:

Leave a comment below telling me what you think you’d like best about these books and/or how you think you could use them with your beginning readers.

A winner will be chosen using Sunday evening, February 17th!  {Giveaway has ended}

If you can’t wait until then, you can access the Reading in 1st Series through the Enchanted Homeschooling Mom’s Member’s Only Website – an incredible resource of learning materials!

Feel free to check out my review of her Bernstein Bears Unit and at the same time learn about some other resources available on her Member’s Only Website!

Be sure to follow Enchanted Homeschooling Mom and No Doubt Learning to stay-tuned to see if you’ve won and discover other homeschooling resources! 

Disclosure: I was provided with the Reading in First Series at no cost by Enchanted Homeschooling Mom to help review her product and give my own personal opinion on it. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but were not influenced by Enchanted Homeschooling Mom or the free access provided.

Science Wednesday: People of the Arctic Science Experiment

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After learning about polar animals of the Arctic (here and here) and of the Antarctic, we went spent some time focusing on the people of the Arctic.  Over the past week, we’ve really enjoyed the Five in a Row book, “The Very Last First Time.”  This fictional story is based on the Inuit people who live in Ungava Bay in Northern Canada.  During the story, a little girl named Eva ventures off under the frozen top waters of the bay to collect mussels, while her mother waits for her on top of the ice.

My girls wanted to find out how Eva climbed under the ice, so we did a little science experiment to figure it out.

First, we filled 2 yogurt containers half way with water and placed them in the freezer for one hour (don’t forget to set the timer!).  When we took the containers out, they looked like this – completely frozen over…but we could see water jiggling underneath the ice.


My daughters used chopsticks to carefully poke a hole in the ice, just as Eva and her mother used tools to cut a hole in the ice of the bay.025Then they poured the water from under the ice out of the hole.  This represented the tide going out in the story.


Carefully, as to not disturb the ice, the girls placed Squinkies and goldfish crackers under the ice, to represent Eva and the tide pools under the bay.



  We followed the activity with writing poetry using a picture prompt (old calendar picture).  My kindergartener dictated while I did the writing.


Have you checked out The Usual Mayhem, Journey 2 Excellence, Childhood Beckons, and Montessori Tidbits yet?  They are also posting on Polar Animals this week and it concludes our studies of this region. Next week we’ll have a document for you to download some free Polar Animal lesson ideas and resources for your own learning adventures.  See you back here on Wednesday!

Linking to:

parents as teachers Teach Beside MeScience SundayNo Time For Flash Cards

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Science Wednesday: Animals of Antarctica

polar buttonHappy Wednesday!  Last week I posted about the Arctic here and here…and here you will find my outline for the unit.  Now it’s time for teaching a little about the life on mysterious Antarctica!  Animals are the only inhabitants of the South Pole and there’s such a variety!

Much of what we did came from lapbooking sites.  HomeschoolShare offers polar lapbooking resources and there’s free penguin lapbook resources and killer whale lapbook resources at  They have some great lapbook templates to use. 



Much to my surprise, the Albatross captured the fascination of my girls.  Aside from our library books, we read facts from National Geographic where we could even listen to Albatross calls!  We compared the Albatross wingspan of 11 feet to areas in our house so we could see how ginormous they were.  Yes, their wingspan is even longer than Daddy is tall!!  RSPB Wildlife Explorers had some great information and and you can even make your own paper albatross, but we chose to make the Albatross Puppets from the National Wildlife Federation.  These were a HUGE hit and have been flying around the house for the past few days!


Penguins were such a fascinating topic.  My girls were impressed to find out that Emperor Penguins can grow as big as a 6-year-old!  My daughter is 6, so this was quite impressive!  National Geographic Kids had a great selection of penguin videos and pictures, among other facts.

There were several resources from that we used, including the Life Cycle of a Penguin and an easy reader using thumbprints to form penguins.  My daughter also read a free Penguin Party reader that we downloaded from Preschool Powol Packets.  The little readers we find help boost her reading confidence!


We tried walking like penguin males, holding the bean bag “egg” on our feet.  Boy, was it hard!!  Those penguins are really talented!001

I think our favorite penguin activity though, was getting our feet a little messy for our penguin footprints.



Krill were mentioned in a lot of our readings for this week.  To learn about krill, we used the small booklet from to record the facts we learned from both the video Antarctic Krill on and  National Geographic Kids, where you can see red swarms of krill on top of the water.  It’s amazing that these one to two-inch creatures are the basis of many food chains.  In fact, they are just a few steps below us!  For example, if you eat tuna or salmon, those animals eat krill.  They are an extremely important building block!

Blue-eyed Shag

Aren’t Blue-eyed Shag colorful?  At first look, these birds look a lot like penguins, but they are in fact birds that fly!  They are a form of cormorant that have an orange-colored growth that appears during mating season and strategically hunt for fish, floating on the water in what appears to be a raft-like cluster.  It’s interesting that these birds like to stay out of the ice and their babies are born without down to keep them warm.  Take a look at this video where you can see Rockhoppers, Blue-eyed Shag, and Black browed Albatross.  See if you can pick out the Blue-eyed Shag!  For the Blue-eyed Shag, we printed out a picture from online and wrote facts on a 3×5 card to glue into our lapbooks.


Just like the wolverine,  Enchanted Learning had an online coloring picture that both kids enjoyed coloring.  Aside from our library books, the National Geographic site had some additional facts and and it was so neat to listen to the audio (look on the site’s right menu) of what seals sound like!!  You can also check out Weddell Seals on, which are one of the largest species of seals.  My girls really enjoyed being able to see the animals in action.

While studying seals, we used straws to blow watercolors across a sheet of paper.  Doing this, created some interesting creations!  I fell in love with the kids art on Pinterest


A while ago, I fell in love with this post I saw on Pinterest and had to try out the seal art.  I simply cut around the girls watercolor creations and ended up with some adorable seals (which even led to a discussion on animal training).



We read numerous books about whales.  Aside from books, you can check out National Geographic Kids, offering information on the Blue Whale and the National Wildlife Federation explaining that the Blue whale are not only the  biggest, but loudest creatures on Earth.  If you are studying whiles after learning about krill, you might be interested in this short BBC video clip of whales hunting krill in Antarctica.

We recorded our facts on the back of construction paper whales.  After tracing a template from an image search, the girls “dressed” them up with bows.  It was good practice in tying bows for my kindergartener!


My girls are really into coloring right now, so we also printed off this Blue Whale coloring page to add into our lapbooks.



Sharks are almost everywhere, except….the waters of Antarctica!  The waters are much too cold for sharks to inhabit the area.  So on our study of the South Pole we crossed out sharks and added this symbol to our lapbook!

Next week I’ll be posting some general ideas for the polar regions, as well as some learning we’ve done about the people of the Arctic and scientists of the Antarctic.  Hope to see you back here next week!

In the meantime, don’t forget to check out The Usual Mayhem, Journey 2 Excellence, Childhood Beckons, and Montessori Tidbits who each have posted about Polar Animals this week. We’d love to have you follow along with each of us!

Linking to:

parents as teachers Teach Beside MeScience SundayNo Time For Flash Cards

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Science: Arctic Animals {Part 2}

I hope you caught a glimpse of my first Arctic Animal post last Wednesday.  Here’s a follow up offering even more animal activities to do with your young ones at home!

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Arctic Hare

Who doesn’t love learning about bunnies?  With all of our focus on the large animals, it was nice to take a step back to the smaller ones.  The library book to the left was a great introduction to the animal.  The arctic hare has shorter ears than a regular rabbit and has an amazing ability to change fur color from brown in the summer months to white during the winter months.  By doing so, the hare is camouflaged so predators don’t attack.  Unfortunately, many of the animals we learned about were predators!  As an art project to our learning, we potato-stamped some rabbit art based on the rabbits from Nurture Store



Did you know that reindeer have a large reign?  The new vocabulary helped us understand that reindeer are amazing travellers!  Among many resources, the pictures in our library book (left) were amazing and helped us see reindeer as the true creatures they were – not just as a connection to Santa.  It was so much fun for the girls to see on a map that the Caribou live right above the United State in Canada! One of the activities we did was a picture-story.  I had an old calendar that had a picture of a Caribou and my kindergartener dictated a story to me.  The funny thing was that it included many characters from our house meeting up with the Caribou!


We also really enjoyed the free unit provided by The Teachers’ Cauldron.  We didn’t use all of the activities, but we organized our research, labeled reindeer parts (with little sister coloring the reindeer in), practiced our measuring, and wrote another story (although this one didn’t have ANYTHING to do with reindeer – I’ll take it – it’s writing!!)!  If you’re working on reindeer, I’d go check it out!


Snowy Owl

Snowy Owls don’t make nests in trees or cliffs – they make a hollow area in the ground to lay their eggs and nest.  We thought this was fascinating, given than the Arctic Foxes and other land animals were predators.  But, maybe it helps that the Arctic Owl is one of the biggest owls in the world!  Using the foldable provided by Homeschool Share, we recorded our research and my daughter made a thumbprint owl scene.  We’ve been very much enjoying Ed Emberley’s thumbprint art books lately, so it was a perfect tie in.


Not only that, but we also learned form our Arctic Memory game that many birds in the arctic have feathers down their legs to keep them warm in the chilly weather!

We played this game at the kindergarten level by laying out the cards picture-side-up.  I would show a picture and my girls would each look for that card.  As they were searching, I would read the facts about that animal or painting.  We then split the deck in half and were able to play 2 different games of memory.  It was great bringing a form of professional art into the lessons!

Arctic Fox

The Arctic Fox is similar to the Arctic Hare in that its fur changes color from summer to winter to blend in with the arctic conditions.  One of the most interesting fact we learned about the Arctic Fox was its relationship with the Polar Bear.  Arctic Foxes stay their distance from Polar Bears, but once a Polar Bear is done with its meal, the Arctic Fox is quick to finish up the leftovers. Another great lesson we learned was the difference between foxes and wolves.  My girls could pick up on the differences in pictures almost immediately, whereas I had a little more trouble!!

Again, we filed all of our pictures, notes, and interesting facts into our lapbook pockets. 


Other Arctic Activities

I wanted to take the time to also highlight a few other activities we’ve enjoyed with the Arctic portion of our Polar Unit. 

  • Check out Ana Capurro at Ingles 360, who has a some polar play dough mats and coloring sheets to identify Arctic items for free in her Facebook group.

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  • The girls have also been free-playing with the little creatures from our Actic Toob.  At first we used them in our sensory tub, but they have been roaming the house ever since.  It’s so much fun to listen to their imagination as they entwine what they’ve learned with what they are playing.  Amazing how the food chain even comes into play!

  • Royal Baloo has a free downloadable kindergarten Arctic pack.  We used the math and Sudoku game from the pack.  It was our first experience with Sudoku and it was a success!!016
  • Probably the biggest learning experience for us though was to visit the snow this past weekend.  The girls really learned what it felt like to live in the Arctic.  Well, maybe not the “real” Arctic, but they had a whole new view of snow, ice in their boots, and managing around the slippery stuff.  Ah-ha!  That’s why many of the Arctic animals have wide paws, or grips on the pads of their feet!!

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Stay tuned for Wednesday post, when we share ideas from the South Pole.  It’s onto Antarctica!

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Winter Hideaway Wednesday: Hibernation Math and Language Arts


It’s the last day of our Kindergarten Hibernation Unit!  Today I am sharing a few math and language arts (writing) highlights that you can try at home or school to go along with your hibernation theme.  Be sure to visit Erin over at The Usual Mayhem to see what hibernation activities she’s done this past week!  While you’re at it, feel free to click the button above or below to visit my initial post on hibernation with an outline of the unit and stay tuned for my next post where you will have access to our Google document planning resource.



Nope, that wasn’t a typo, I meant to type cupcaves!  My kids love to cook, so what better than to use hibernation as the theme?  The girls made cupcake batter (great for math/measuring) and pushed a Teddy Graham bear into each cup before cooking so it was covered.  We popped the cupcaves into the oven and baked them into their caves.  When they were done cooking (and cooling), the girls had fun eating their way into the cave to “wake the bear up” from hibernation. 


Now, I’m sure many people haven’t heard of this activity, so my kindergartener’s activity was to write directions so her grandma would know how to make them.  She was encouraged to use words and pictures in the following “How to Make a Cupcave” prewriting activity.  I included transition words (first, next, then, finally) as an early introduction to sequencing steps.  Feel free to click on the document image to download a copy to use with your own kindergartener.How to make a cupcave pic 1

Hibernating Animal Dreams

Do you remember Hedgie from my first hibernation post?  At the beginning of the unit, we put a stuffed hedgehog into hibernation.  In order for the kids to get a true idea of how long hibernation lasts, he’ll be there for a few more months!  The girls were asked what they though he might be dreaming about while he’s hibernating.  They drew a picture and dictated the story of what his dreams entailed.  Click on the image for a copy of the dream bubble.

Hibernation Dreaming pic 1

Friendly Letter to Hibernating Animals

Another (short) writing activity we did was write a letter to Hedgie.  For years I’ve taught friendly letter format and I figured why not introduce it in a kindergarten way?  We used the template I created below copied onto colored paper.  The template lightly states the parts of the letter near each part.  We reviewed writing the date using numbers and placed it at the top of the paper.  My daughter sounded out Hedgie’s name (Hege) for the greeting.  Then we wrote the body of the letter (it was pretty short – “I miss you.  I love you.”  She signed her name at the bottom, practicing to capitalize her name as a proper noun.  You can click the letter template below, but I think it also comes out nice using stationary.  It creates an even more personal touch.

Hibernation Letter pic


Hidden Bears: Facts of 10

The Hidden Bears game reinforces mental math and facts of ten.  To play, gather 10 objects and use an upside-down container as a bear cave.  Hide some of the bears inside and leave the rest in view of the children.  The object is for your child to guess how many bears are still inside the cave.  There are several recording sheets you may choose to use.  Both the Virginia Department of Education and KidsCount1234 (scroll to the “Under the Bowl”) have sheets to use.


Sorting, Grouping, Skip Counting

Many animals gather nuts before the cold winter weather sets in.   Have a nut taste test.  Grab a variety of nuts and keep them in the shells.  Children can predict what they are, feel the texture, order them from biggest to smallest, and sort by color, shape, and size.  When nuts are in groups, they can practice counting by 2’s, 5’s, or 10’s.  Then, crack them open for a taste test.  Your kids can use this sheet to draw a picture of each nut and circle the face that represents their feelings toward the taste of the nut.  If a sad face was colored, we discussed how taste buds change, so maybe next time we try the nut it will be liked!

Nut Taste Test pic

Place Value

Working on place value?  In order to continue practicing with manipulatives, we played a hibernation place value game.  This game involves recognition of place value manipulatives to the hundreds and at the end, children add up their manipulatives.  Click on the picture if you’d like to try it with your kids!

Hibernation Place Value Game pic


Have you checked out The Usual Mayhem’s post from last week?  Erin found a great link for editable bears and created a board game used to reinforce any skill.   Stay tuned for my next post granting you access to our Google Document for more ideas in organizing your own hibernation unit.Hibernation-Button-final4

Linking to:


parents as teachers Freebie FridaysScience SundayNo Time For Flash Cards

Teach Beside Me