Monday, October 13, 2008

Week 5

This week we start a new lapbook, this time about the forest habitat. We'll use the book One Small Square" Woods.

You'll need a double file folder this time, it will be a larger lapbook. Have the child write the word "Woods" at the top of the folder. Towards the middle use a green paper "triangle" to represent an evergreen tree. To this triangle add a brown stem by coloring one in. This is show in more detail in the book: Animal Habitats by Judy Press on page 37. Read the information there about forests.

At the bottom of the cover you will add a log. here is a template for that:

Print on card stock and cut out the log. There is a certain way to glue this log onto your cover. You want to do it in such a way that the log can be lifted and you can look under it. Glue just a thin strip at the top. Under the log draw salamanders, insects, etc. What you think might be under a log in the forest if you lift it! Perhaps draw a snail near the log.

Read pages 3-11 (skip what seems unnecessary as the intro notes may not be important to you). Also read pages 26-27.

Read aloud the following books: The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer and also The Log Hotel by Anne Schreiber.

Use enchanted learning to find print outs of salamanders and also land snails. Read the information and print out. Add a pocket to the rear of your second file folder to hole these information sheets. A pocket can be added by cutting a piece of paper about 3" tall and gluing it to the back of the lapbook.Glue the bottom and two side edges and leave the top open to form the pocket. Be sure to just glue along the edges or you'll glue your pocket shut!

From you will find two items which will go well in the lapbook:

Do those two activities and paste them into the Woods lapbook.

If you have the Giant Science Resource book use page 43 the snail sheet and label the parts. Then use page 153 Mixed Forest Habitat. Read and color. Add these two sheets to your rear lapbook pocket.

If you have older kids or extra time be sure to do the activities on pages 9 and 11 in One Small Square Woods.

Read pages 80-83 in Kids Easy To create Wildlife habitats and then head outdoors to look around and under some logs if possible. Perhaps older kids might enjoy the insect activity on page 80.

Start drying a gourd for the birdhouse/feeder activity on pages 72-73 of the Kids easy To create Wildlife habitats book.

Next week you will need the books (or similar topic ones if you can't get these at the library):
Squirrels by Brian Wildsmith
Why Do Leaves Change Color by Betsy Maestro

Friday, September 26, 2008

Week 4

This is our final week learning about the African Savanna.

This week Read:
One Small Square-African Savanna pages 24-36 Feel free to edit as needed for age and ability of your child.

Print out the Savanna booklet in the Habitats-Scienceworks book by Evan-Moor on pages 65-67. assemble the booklet and read to learn more about the grasslands habitat in Africa and other parts of the word. Discuss that grasslands exist in many places. Add this to your research pocket in the lapbook.

Print out the Savanna scene to color this happens to be in both the Evan-Moor habitats book and the Giant Science Resource book. It's page 64 in the Habitats book. Color it in and glue it to the back page of the file folder.

Now a game to review what we've learned. Set up a pretend water hole in the middle of the room or on a table. This can be just a bowl filled with water. In the water will be 12 of something with the numbers 1,2,3...12 on the bottom of each. So each item has a number. I happen to have 12 safari themed rubber duckies which I got from You can use anything that either floats or is ok to set in the water. Alternately use plastic animals you may already have and pre-assign each one a number that only you know.

Have child/ren take turns pulling something out of the water hole. They check which number they've gotten. Read the corresponding question to see if the child can answer it.

Questions and answers:
1. Why do zebras have stripes?- camouflage
2. African grasslands are also called what? -Savannas
3. Who eats the grasses in the grasslands?- The animals, specifically herd animals
4. Elephants and Giraffes like to eat what?- leaves and twigs
5. name of the tree which giraffes love?- Acacia
6. What helps some animals hide?- the tall grasses
7. When do grasslands stop growing?- the dry season
8. What season helps the grasses grow?- the rainy season
9. What lives perched on some African mammals and helps them by eating bugs?- Some birds (one specific the redbilled oxpecker)
10. What is a habitat?- a place where plants and animals naturally live
11. What is the largest land mammal?- African Elephant
12. Is Africa near where you live? - No (unless you do happen to live near Africa we're in the USA!)

For a prize for playing the game child receives bookmarks:
print on card stock.These are nice and have facts on them in addition to pictures.

For a snack serve animal crackers or gummy animals.

Do a puzzle as more review. I found grasslands animals word searches (as well as other puzzles) at Or there is a free one here:

For older children, or little ones with help, print out the animal report form from the Giant Science resource book page 303 and choose one Savanna animal to research further. Choose one or more animals from pages 38-43 in One Small Square.

For older children or to extend the learning for younger kids try to activities in the sidebars on pages 35 and 36 in One Small Square. One is a predator and prey game (may be unsuitable for young sensitive kids) and one is a diorama. I'm not doing these in my co-op class due to time limitations but will be doing them with my own children as time allows.

Add puzzle, bookmarks and research paper to your research pocket on the file folder and now your Savanna lapbook is complete.

Week 3

Read aloud the following book: DK Water Hole 24 hours ISBN: 0756611261

Read One Small Square-African Savanna pages: 10-23 this can be spread out through the week or choose selections from each page. This isn't as much reading as it sounds since there are many pictures and sidebar notes. This goes along well with the DK book.

This week we'll decorate the inside of our Savanna Lapbook

Inside left side glue some blue paper or foil, first cut it into an oval shape, to represent the water hole. There are two choices here. Either glue three sides so that the water hole forms a pocket to hold animal cards.or Glue the whole thing down and decorate the page with animal cards.

Print out Savanna animal cards from page 156 of the Giant Science Resource Book. These can be cut out and put into the water hole pocket or used to decorate around the water hole. feel free to find other African Savanna animal graphics around the web to add to this page.

Inside right of file folder will be a pocket. Use either safari print paper or decorate a sheet of construction paper in an animal print. For instance draw black stripes on a piece of white paper for a zebra print. Draw black spots or stripes on a tan sheet of paper for a big cat print. This will be cut to take up about half the page and form a pocket. Glue three sides and leave the top unglued so it an have papers put in it. For young kids a good way to phrase this is to "glue a smile" onto the bottom and sides of the paper. If you put glue on the top it's not a smile! Leave this to dry while you work on animal research.

Print out the Venn Diagram from page 293 of the Giant Science resource book.
Write house cat in the top circle.
Write Big cat in the bottom circle.
Write Both in the middle where the circles join.

Brainstorm with child/ren things which are alike and different about house cats and big African cats such as lions and tigers. Possible answers are House cat-live in a house, eats packaged cat food, is tame, Possible answers for Big cats are lives in the wild in Africa, roars, eats prey. For Both: Have fur, meow.

For the research pocket you've just made many animal fact sheets could be printed out. Over the last two weeks in my class we've had giraffe, African elephant and Redbilled Oxpecker. We''ll add a couple more next week. You can add many more sheets about animals since you'll have more time at home. I printed out the animal sheets from

Discuss the Redbilled Oxpecker and the Elephant together. Explain that the bird spends most of it's time on large mammals such as the elephant. Its habitat is perched on the mammals! The oxpecker eats fleas, ticks and pesky flying insects and this helps the mammal. These animals benefit from living together and that means they are symbionts.

Print out an outline map of Africa. Look in the back on the One Small square book. Color in the Savanna area of Africa in green. Color in the specific area represented in the book in yellow. There is a picture of this in the back of the book.

Store all info papers, venn diagram and map in the safari print pocket.

Is your grass from last week growing yet? If it's getting tall try cutting some and see how it grows again. When the animals eat grass it grows again and again until the rainy season has passed. When there is no rain for long periods the grass will all be eaten and won't be able to grow back until the rains come again. If you forget to water your grass for too long you will see the dry season arrive.

Older kids are families with extra time try the experiment in the sidebar on page 22 of one Small Square.

One more week of the Savanna and then we'll move on to the Woods Habitat.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

week 2 photos

Sample Savanna lapbook covers. Piece of animal print paper, wiggle eyes, green paper cut in strips. My sample is left, Tristan's interesting variation is right.

Grass seed in a cup with animal. This is Tristan's. The grass should start to grow within about 10 days and then will grow fast. Kids can cut it and see it grow again. replicating animals chewing the grass and the grass continuing to grow if it's still the rainy season.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Week 2

This week we'll begin learning about the Grassland Habitats, specifically the African Savanna.

Introduce Africa by showing pictures of this area in a children's atlas, a regular atlas or online. Figure out how far it is from Africa to where you live, look on a map or globe to see what route you could take to get there. Discuss if you could walk or drive there or would you need to go on a plane? Look on the back page of One Small Square African Savanna and notice where grasslands around the world are, these are shown in green. Point out the particular area in Africa which the book focuses on. This is show in yellow.

Read from One Small Square-African Savanna pages 6-9. This is an introduction to the Savanna and some information about a giraffe. It touches on the dry season and the rainy season. This is the focus of week one in the African Savanna.

Discuss how different this area might look in the dry season (brown, little grass, leaves mostly eaten off the trees or dead) as opposed to the rainy season (green, tall grasses everywhere, full lush acacia trees, Happy animals!). The water hole might be muddy or even dried up in the dry season and full like a river in the rainy season.

Activity 1, make the cover of your Savanna Lapbook.
You will need:
1 file folder
green paper of any type
two wiggle eyes
small amount of animal print paper or make your own by coloring an animal print onto white paper. This should be about 2" by 3" give or take.
green marker

On the front of the file folder, at the top have the child write Savanna in green marker.
near the bottom of the file folder glue the animal print paper. Glue the wiggle eyes onto the animal print paper. Cut up the green paper into strips from skinny to about 1/2" wide, pieces can be from less than an inch tall to 4" inches or so. This is your "grass" Glue the pieces of grass along the bottom of the file folder, cover a lot of the animal print paper but make sure a little shows through and also make sure the wiggle eyes show through. Your cover now looks like a wild animal peeking out of the tall grasses!

Activity 2 plant your own savanna (a variation of this activity is show in the sidebar of page 13 in One Small Square, African Savanna)
you will need
potting soil or just soil from your yard
grass seed
small plant pot or a paper cup will do
popsicle sticks, fat are better, regular will work
small stickers of African animals or markers to draw some

cover your work area with old newspaper or do this activity outdoors.
add soil to your plant pot or cup, nearly to the top.
add grass seed
cover grass seed with a thin layer of soil
on the top 1/3rd of popsicle sticks put stickers of African animals or draw some. Giraffes, zebras, lions etc... 2-4 popsicle sticks per plant pot is enough.

Put the decorated popsicle sticks into the soil in your plant pot. Eventually the grass will grow up to the animals.

Explain, the dry season has just ended look how dry the ground is. Water your grass seed, explain that now the rain has come. Soon the grasses will grow and the animals will be happy. Animals will come from far away if they see rain and lightning in the distance, they know it's raining in another part of the savanna and will race to get there. Make sure to water your grass each day so it will grow. When the grass has grown tall your child may like to cut it, as if the animals have chewed the grass. What happens now? If it's still the rainy season the grass will grow all over again and get tall. Some grasses can grow to 6-9 feet tall! The rainy season lasts from approximately March-October. Then the dry season takes over from October-March.

Information sheet Giraffe on enchanted learning color the picture if desired, read information to child. They can draw themselves standing next to the giraffe and compare heights. Use some math and work out how much taller an adult giraffe is than you. Do it again with a baby giraffe. Even a baby giraffe is taller than a child and many adults!

Take a tape measure outside and measure out 19 feet. That's how tall the tallest giraffes are. Measure out 6 feet, this is how tall a baby giraffe is.

If possible find a book about giraffes at your library or look online for a printable book. I found some on Read a little about giraffes each day through the week.

For older children:
Draw Write Now book 8. Try drawing the giraffe. Write a story about a giraffe. This can be fictional or non- fiction based on the information you've learned today.

For next week you will need the book:
DK 24 hours, Water Hole. Around the clock with the animals of the grasslands. ISBN 0756611261.

Next week we will add a water hole to our lapbook, we will learn about elephants and we will lean more about Africa in general.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Week 1

The purpose this week is:

To introduce the children to lapbooking, in case they aren't familiar with it.

To introduce them to animal habitats.

Vocabulary to go over with the children:

Habitat- a habitat is a place where animals naturally live.
A very small habitat is an ant farm, a tree in your yard or a hamster in a cage. Some large habitats are the ocean and the rainforest. A habitat should have enough food, shelter, water and space for everyone who lives there.

Biome-a major ecological community type (as tropical rain forest, grassland, or desert). In other words a Biome is a large Habitat.

Ecosystem-An ecosystem is a community of living and non-living elements and their relationships to each other.

At times you may hear the words Habitat, Biome or Ecosystem used to mean the same thing.

To make a nature notebook with which the children may draw, write about add photos or postcards of any animals they have seen through the year.

Examples. Child goes to the zoo they may add pictures of the zoo animals. Child goes on vacation to Australia or a relative sends a postcard from there, the child may wish to add photos or the postcard and a story about this. Child finds a toad in the backyard and keeps it for awhile to observe, child may wish to take a photo or draw a picture of the toad and write a few words about it.

Lesson 1:
Animal Habitats a Williamson Little Hands Book by Judy Press ISBN 0-8249-6778-x
Read aloud pages 5-6 A Habitat Is A Home. Discuss the questions on page 6.

Discuss the vocabulary words above, make sure child understands what a habitat is.

Make a nature notebook. I ordered pre-made kits for simplicity in a large group but it could easily be made by the child in their own unique way. The kit I have has two 8x10 foam sheets which have been 3 hole punched for the front and back cover, about 20 pages of 3 hole punched paper for the notebook, strings to tie the covers to the papers and an assortment of foam decorations such as a bug jar, some bugs and the words nature notebook.

Discuss with the child what the nature notebook might be used for. To draw insects and wildlife they see in their own yard, to write a story about an elephant at the zoo, to paste a postcard with a Kangaroo on it that Auntie sent from Australia. etc...

For this lapbook use just one file folder without any special folds, it will be used as-is.
Write Animal Habitats, have the child decorate in any way they wish- suggestions, draw a scene of an animal in its habitat, print out some clip art or use animal stickers

Inside left glue these three items:

Graphic one
Biomes from Homeschool Share (click Biomes for the printable) assemble this layered book, have child draw picture of each biome on its own page.

Graphic two
Clipboard from homeschool share on the clipboard write or type for your child:
A Habitat is a place where plants and animals naturally live.
Large Habitats are also called Biomes and Ecosystems.
An example of a small habitat is a hamster in a cage or a tree in your yard.
Some types of large habitats or biomes are forests and oceans.

Graphic three
library pocket printed on cardstock or make an envelope you have into a library pocket. One library pocket to print is at homeschoolshare.

In graphic three you will put cards about some habitats.
See page 145 of the Giant Science Resource Book by Evan-Moor ISBN: 978-1557996961
Have child cut out the 6 pictures and color them then place them into the library pocket.

Inside file folder right side we will glue an activity: Find the habitat.
This is from the book Habitats by Evan-Moor ISBN978-1557996886 on page 9. have child do this activity.

Back cover of file folder write at the top; My Favorite Animal is:
Have child draw their favorite animal on the back and try to guess where it lives. Answers will vary.

Extra for big kids!
Kids Easy To Create Wildlife Habitats by Emily Stetson ISBN 0824986652
Read pages 5-9 then put together your own Wildlife Sleuthing kit as described on page 9. You have already made a nature notebook in this lesson which can go with your kit.

Friday, August 22, 2008

What you will need for this year long study

You will need the books listed in the sidebar. The Evan Moor books and the Animal Habitats by Judy Press are books you would need to purchase as they are used multiple weeks all year. The Wildlife habitats book by Emily Stetson is needed if you have older children or want to do these extra activities.
The One Small Square Series of books by Donald Silver is good to have but as each one will be used for only 2- 3 weeks they could be gotten from the library. The order they will be used, starting week 2 is this:

African Savanna-9/15, 9/22 & 9/29/08

Woods-10/6, 10/13, 10/20/08

Tropical Rain Forest- 10/27, 11/3, 11/10/08

Cave- 11/17, 11/24, 12/1/08

Hibernating Animals -One Small Square is not used this week, this is a spin off unit 12/8/08

Review and this week will be used as a Christmas Party for in person class and a surprise lesson or activity for online users. 12/15/08

Christmas Break no lessons posted 12/22 or 12/29/08

Winter schedule is subject to vary due to snow days for the in person class. The Swamp lessons will be condensed or left out altogether if there are snow days. These WILL still be posted online. The dates you will need the books may vary though due to snow days or cold and flu days on my part so consider these approximate:

Arctic Tundra- 1/5, 1/12, 1/19/09

Cactus Desert- 1/26, 2/2, 2/9/09

*Swamp* dates may vary 2/16, 2/23* 3/2/09

* 2/23/09 is winter break for in person class I may still post online

** Seashore and coral reef will be a combined lapbook**

Seashore approximate dates 3/16, 3/23/ 09

Coral Reef approximate date 3/30/09

Pond- 4/6, 4/13, 4/20/2009

4/27/2009 Spring break! no lesson

Backyard- 5/4, 5/11/2009

Review, end of year party 5/18/2009

The Draw Write Now series books 6,7,8 will be used occasionally. Many homeschoolers already have this set or another drawing curriculum on their shelves.
If you do not already own these you may be able to get them from the library or find an alternative animal drawing lesson online or from your own drawing curriculum those weeks.

Again this is subject to change due to snow days or sickness. I expect this to be the general plan though.

In the case of lapbooking graphics and templates I will attempt to point you towards a free online source when possible such as homeschoolshare. Some homeschoolers may already know how to make certain graphics or folds on their own.

A subscription to Enchanted Learning will be very helpful Also I will be using but it may be that only people with older children would need a subscription there or perhaps what I suggest may be found in their free materials.

Although this study has a specific start and end date you may start at any time, take breaks as needed and come back to the plan when it works for you. Just start back at the post number where you left off.

If you or your children have any questions please post them under the correct week and I will answer them.