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    What a great first day! Today we read Mr. Gumpy’s Motorcar. We discussed kindness and serving others (Galatians 5:13). For geography, we tossed a globe and practiced identifying the United States and England. The kids talked about making preparations for a trip in a car. Our lesson continued with vocabulary: squash, churn, and heave; we acted out each one. I introduced the idea of time sequence in stories. This concept went above their heads, but got them thinking and using logic in a new way! The kids even expanded upon my lesson and had a great discussion deciding whether or not this was a true story. We practiced listing and identifying all the characters which led into a math lesson counting by 1’s and then doubling and counting by 2’s (we used our skip-counting song and blocks for manipulatives). Next, we looked at old-fashioned cars and talked about how they have changed today. (I used and Eye-Wonder book about cars to aid the lesson) To continue some science, we discussed how different clouds can tell us about the weather. (Also aided by a book) We pretended to be water droplets rising into clouds and falling as rain or snow. Finally, we looked at the techniques the illustrator used to create the shining sun and cross-hatching. I then gave the students time to create a picture of their own using those techniques.
    This week, I encouraged each of them to practice using kindness and to serve their family and friends. You may want to practice using their vocabulary words. Also, if cars or clouds peaked their interest it would be a great opportunity to learn more.
    Thank you for sharing your sweet kids we me!


    Today we read The Salamander Room. This book was a conversation between a mother and her son about how he would care for the salamander he brought home from the woods. He had quite imaginative solutions!

    We discussed how God is our Heavenly Father who wants to have conversations with us. The same way the kids talk to their moms and dads all day long, God wants to hear from us all day long as well.

    Next, I introduced parallel construction for balance in story writing. We used a balance scale and pennies to illustrate the balance of questions and answers between the boy and his mother in the book. The kids did great using self-control and patience waiting their turn to put pennies on the scale!

    For some math practice, we worked as a team to count all the creatures hidden in the book’s illustrations…99! Since we were so close to 100, we added the creatures in the room reading the story and ended at 105.

    We continued by learning more about salamanders. They are amphibians under the vertebrate classification. We sang and acted out the vertebrate song from cycle 1 that named fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds. I then read to the students about the life cycle of salamanders. They all could identify the similarities to the life cycle of a frog and we talked about how they are like “cousins” and the similarities come from both being amphibians. The students each had an opportunity to put index cards containing the 3 life stages in order before acting out the metamorphosis of salamanders. Finally, they had the opportunity to draw and write each of the life cycle stages themselves.

    Next, the kids helped me write a list of all the things the little boy imagined bringing into his room to make the salamander happy. They had great memories! Using that list as a reference, I asked them to draw their own salamander room.

    Lastly, we discussed fiction and non-fiction books, made up stories and facts. Within our fiction story, the illustrator hid pictures of a non-fiction book about salamanders that the boy found all his knowledge and ideas. I brought non-fiction books from the library about all different subjects and gave the students the last 10 minutes of class to read or look through them. They enjoyed reading in “caves” under the tables!

    Thank you for allowing me to teach your wonderful kiddos again this week! You can encourage them to talk to God all day long thanking Him, tell him about their joys, frustrations or fears, and asking Him for help in all things. They may enjoy learning more about salamanders using non-fiction books, or use a non-fiction book to learn about another favorite animal and imagine how they would take care of one in their home. Finally, many of them did not have the opportunity to finish their “salamander room” drawing. I encourage you to have them finish that this week and retell the story to you or dad in their own words.

    Sorry again this is late…on only week 2! Thank you for your grace!


    Our book for today was Make Way for Ducklings, a sweet story about two mallard ducks finding a good home for their ducklings in Boston.
    We started class by copying Luke 17:16 and discussing gratitude. One of the ten lepers returned to thank Jesus for healing him. We can thank God and others! They all had so many things they were thankful for to God! I challenged the kids to identify the part of the story where gratitude is expressed.
    We started to read the story, but then the glorious rain began to fall so we decided to get out some wiggles and jump in puddles before finishing. A discussion about good parents followed the story: Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, parents in the Bible and their own parents. For language arts, we first talked about 3 new vocabulary words: Molt, incubate and cozy. I asked the students to act them out and they did great! Next, we talked about rhyming words. The eight baby ducklings had names that rhymed so we went around the room and took turns trying to rhyme words…they were very creative and followed the author’s lead to make up words or names. Finally, I introduced personification, giving objects human characteristics. We discussed why ducks don’t have the same love and feelings as people because while they were created by God they were not made in his image like humans. The author gave them language, names, and feelings over instincts. For some math practice, I brought base ten blocks in sets of eight to skip count food to feed our baby ducklings. We practiced skip counting 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s. The kids really enjoyed these manipulatives, so I gave them 5 minutes to build and experiment with them. We then looked at images of mallard ducks and made our own hand-tracing duck. I shared what I learned about feeding ducks in the park: bread is unhealthy, but peanuts, birdseed, oats, brown rice or vegetables are good options. The kids each made a bag of duck food to feed ducks! Finally, I played mother duck while the kids lined up and followed around the campus in a “duck parade”. They did so well obeying and staying in line!
    This week, encourage your kids to practice saying “thank you” to God and others. You may also want to take a trip to the park to feed the ducks the food we made. Enjoy reading more about ducks!

    Thank you,


    Hello Parents,

    Today we had a great class! It was encouraging to see the students engaged and truly enjoying such a fun book. I challenged them today, but each one rose to the occasion with great success and no frustration or complaining! (That’s always a win in my book!)

    We began class copying John 13:35 and talking about how showing love to others shows God’s love to the world. Next, I read Truman’s Aunt Farm. I think this was the favorite book of the year thus far; the kids were captivated and eager to know what would happen next. We talked about aunts in their family. Next, I introduced homophones, words that sound the same but have different meanings. They had fun talking about different pairs of homophone words and how silly it would be to mix them up. (We don’t feed our hair, but we do feed a hare.) Truman has written and mailed letters to his Aunt Fran, so we discussed how mailing a letter costs money and we show our payment by putting a stamp on the envelope. We counted out the pennies for a $0.02 stamp and then a $0.49 stamp and calculated the cost for our class to each mail a letter. They all agreed they would rather pay $0.08 instead of $1.96. It only made sense to next write a letter to our own aunt! This was the great challenge for the day, but the kids did great copying a letter with perseverance! Finally, we made our own ants by tracing circles to create the head, thorax and abdomen. We discussed how they have 6 legs and 2 antenna which classifies them as insects.

    This week, I encourage you to learn more about ants if this topic interests your student. They are hundreds of different types of ants to explore. You may also want to mail their letter to their aunt!


    Hello Parents,

    Today we concluded the block with the book Andy and the Lion. Our copy work was Galatians 6:7 with an emphasis on, “A man reaps what he sows.”

    I read the story to them and we discussed how good stories can make you feel like you are a part of them. I then read Aesop’s Fable, The Lion and the Mouse. With a little prompting, the kids were able to see the common theme of showing kindness and receiving kindness in return.

    For Language Arts, we discussed some new vocabulary words. We looked at the author’s technique of leaving sentences unfinished make you want to turn the page. We also discussed how the beginning and ending tied together.

    I introduced some basic circus history. We looked at a book that showed how posters were glued around town to advertise and how parades were used to excite the audience. They had many questions and were very concerned about chains on the animals, so we discussed the importance of taking care of and protecting God’s creation. They enjoyed pretending to be circus lions

    Next, I showed them a photo of the Lion sculpture outside the New York public library. They had an opportunity to recreate this sculpture from clay. There was lots of fun and creativity on display!! Finally, I introduced step by step drawing using basic lines and shapes to create a Lion drawing. This was hard for some of them, but I was very proud of the way they all kept trying and did their best!

    This week, you may enjoy learning more about lions, circus history, or stories of people who showed bravery and kindness.



    Hello Parents,

    We had such a wonderful day back to start off Block 2! We began with 1 Corinthians 10:31 and discussed how we have an opportunity to honor God in everything we do by being kind, respectful and diligent.
    Our story today was Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton. The kids really seemed to enjoy this wonderful book! We talked about machines we have seen that looked like Mary-Ann (the steam shovel) and the kids concluded construction back-hoes must run off gasoline instead of steam.
    Next, we talked about what steam is: heated water that turns into gas. I boiled water and attempted to use it to turn a pin wheel, but unfortunately the pin wheel got damaged in transport and wouldn’t turn. Nevertheless, the kids understood the illustration and observed the heat coming from our demonstration and understood how a steam shovel could be used to heat a building above.
    We covered a few different topics in language arts today beginning with the parts of a well written story. We talked about setting and I had the students “become“ steam shovels. Then, we acted out the rest of the story and in doing so they were able to feel the conflict, climax and resolutions within it. It was exciting to see them identify what different characters were feeling during the conflict, climax and second conflict! Next, we revisited personification. I was happy to see they remembered learning it before. We looked at the different faces of Mary-Ann that showed human feelings. Then, they each had an opportunity to describe the car they ride in and tell us what they would name it in a story. Next, I introduced the idea of character descriptions. We *attempted * to describe our classmates and found there’s a lot of room to grow in this concept! Finally, we discussed the meaning of our vocabulary words: canal and cellar.
    We “rolled a skyscraper” for some basic math. The kids took turns rolling a dice and putting that many floors or stories on our block skyscraper. Next, we looked at the different techniques in drawing trees in the illustrations. I gave the kids time to draw a tree and personify it with human features. Lastly, everyone practiced their digging skills! They were given a tray of chocolate pudding and a spoon And the task of digging a cellar with “four straight walls and four corners neat and square.”
    This week, the kids are welcome to finish their drawings or copy-work. Please encourage them to practice diligence like Mike Mulligan and Mary-Ann in their schoolwork our other responsibilities at home to honor God!


    Hello Parents,

    We had a lovely morning. Our class began by copying Psalms 139:14 and discussing how God made each of us different and unique for a special purpose with different gifts and talents.
    Our book today was Lentil, the story of a boy who learned the harmonica when he couldn’t sing or whistle and used his talent to save the day when Old Sneep prevented the band from playing to welcome home the town hero. After the story, the kids told us each of their special talents. Oh, their sweet hearts! We then talked about the jealously that Sneep portrayed. They did a good job of telling me what this sin looks like and we discussed how thankfulness and being happy for others are ways to fight a jealous attitude.
    For geography, we looked at a map of the United States. Micah made the observation that our country is a big one made up of lots of little ones… exactly! We found Arizona and then Ohio and used the compass to help us figure out which direction to travel from one to the other. The kids named many creative ways to travel across the country. Collectively, the favorite was by train.
    Next, we move into social studies. We discussed the monument to soldiers and sailors in the story, the importance of honoring and remembering those who have served, the job of the military and the upcoming Veterans Day holiday. We had a couple veterans sitting in the room who showed us the correct way to salute as a special treat! To show our patriotism, we made an American flag and discussed the symbolism in each component: 13 stripes and 50 stars.
    We used lemons today to help introduce fractions and the idea of breaking a whole into equal parts. Each student received 1/5 of a lemon to taste and “suck” like old Sneep in our story. They all had pucker faces like the band members!
    Then, we had our first recess. At this age, taking 10 minutes to play outside has so many benefits. The students quietly marched out and used their lemons as instruments. They had fun rolling lemons down the slide!
    Once back inside, we did a taste bud experiment. Different areas of the tongue taste different flavors: sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. I used q-tips to place flavors on different parts of their tongue and they told me where the flavor was strongest.
    Finally, each child received a harmonica of their own like Lentil from our story. We listened to “She’ll be coming round the mountain”, the song he played to save the day. The students had fun playing along!
    I hope you all enjoy Veterans Day next week! I encourage you to visit the Veteran Memorial in Anthem or any other favorite place to remember and honor those who have served to protect our freedom!

    Thanks so much,


    Hello Parents!

    We had a lovely class today. We began with our copy-work writing Psalms 69:30 and discussed praising God with thanksgiving. Ayla then led us in our opening prayer.

    We read Cranberry Thanksgiving, an exciting story about thanksgiving dinner on a cranberry bog, a secret recipe, and invited, lonely guests. Afterwards, we discussed why judging people by their appearance is wrong and could lead to problems.

    Next, we looked at a map and found New England, the setting of our story. The kids did a great job identifying the conflict, climax and resolution! I introduced definitions for some vocabulary words from the story: darted, aura, exquisite and bog.

    For art, we made a cranberry wreaths. Super fun and super messy (sorry!). While the kids worked, we talked about family thanksgiving traditions. Next, I asked them about manners for a fancy holiday dinner into a placemat weaving project. We talked about warm colors and cool colors. They thought the warm colors looked like fall.

    “Maggie darted about like a black-stockinged bird,” was the simile at the beginning of our book. We practiced making similes off our own about different objects and our classmates. “Everything cooked with crispy edges and tender centers,” was the alliteration we identified in the book. The kids listened to me recite this line with their eyes closed and heard the “k” and “e” sounds repeated. To practice this skill, I read a silly poem called “Bleezer’s Ice Cream” that has many alliteration ice cream flavors and then gave the kids ice cream drawings to color. I walked around the room and helped reach of them write flavors of their own that all began with the same sound.

    I did introduce silhouette drawings from the illustrations in our book today, but we ran out of time to create our own. I encourage you to let your kids use warm colors to create a background and a black marker on top with a silhouette they draw or you can trace their shadow. (I’ll send a text with a picture of the illustration.)

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Sent from my iPhone


    Hello Parents,

    Today we kicked off the Christmas season in Pre-Grammar! We began by copying a portion of 1 Timothy 1:15 and discussed why we celebrate Jesus’ birth and why He came to earth—to save us from our sins!

    I read to them today “The Legend of the Candy Cane.” It was a story inspired by the history of the candy cane. At the end of the story, the author gave the factual history and we discovered the candy cane dates all the way back to the Middle Ages! It has changed over the years into the iconic Christmas treat we know today, but the truth of the Savior it represents is something to be shared.

    Next, we did candy cane experiments. The first one included making a hypothesis or guess about which liquid would dissolve a candy cane the fastest: hot water, cold water, or vinegar. The kids all guessed correctly…hot water! Then, we made “fizzy candy canes” using baking soda and vinegar to create a chemical reaction.

    For language arts, we looked at an alliteration the author used twice: watched, wished, waited and wondered. They identified the common “w” sound at the start of each word. We also revisited onomatopoeias. The author used two of them to describe the sound of a hammer and saw. I brought some tools of my own and used them to make sounds, and the kids had the job of creating an onomatopoeia to describe the sound they heard. This was a fun activity that they seemed to really enjoy!

    While the kids put stripes on candy canes of their own, we discussed different relational elements of the story: Lucy displayed kindness and bravery and some of the students thought it was mean or selfish of the townspeople to watch someone work so hard and not offer to help him.

    There is a really great poem telling the gospel story through a candy cane that we read and worked on memorizing today. I sent home a copy for each of the kids to memorize over the next 2 weeks. We also used teamwork in class to tie a little poem to candy canes as a gift for our friends. We will be reciting this poem and handing out the gifts at symposium on December 16.

    This week, enjoy the Christmas season! Also, please recite with your kids at home our poem to practice for the symposium performance.

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