Wednesday, June 7, 2017

South Carolina Stories

I am teaching South Carolina History this year and have been compiling a list of some books about South Carolina. I wanted to find some books that will help kids enjoy the history and rich culture of their state. Here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order.
You can click on the picture to view the book on Amazon. (affiliate link)

Palmetto: Symbol of Courage
Why is the Palmetto Tree on the South Carolina flag? What is so important about it? This book tells the story of how the Palmetto Trees helped the colonialists during the American Revolution. 

Dave the Potter
This is a beautiful story about Dave, who was a poet and craftsman, but also a slave. He would engrave lines of his poetry into his pots, and some are on display at the State Museum. 

Let My People Go
This is a longer book, and one that doesn't sugar coat the terrible reality of slavery. Each chapter starts with a story of a freeman and his daughter. As she asks questions about the injustices she sees, and wonders about the way life is, he brings her to the truth found in the Bible. Don't forget to read the author's and illustrator's note on this one. They both offer some valuable background that make you appreciate the story more.

The Story of the H.L. Hunley and Queenie's Coin
After reading this book, be sure to check out the replica of the H.L. Hunley at the State Museum! It starts as a story of how the Hunley was created, but then ends on a more factual note as it shares how the submarine was finally recovered!

Freedom Ship
While the family in this story is fictional, the story of Robert Smalls daring journey to freedom is very much true! Also check out Seven Miles to Freedom for a story that shares more of Robert Smalls' story!

Carolina Shout
Listen to the sounds of Charleston street vendors in this wonderful book! A little girl takes a walk around Charleston shares all the sounds and sights. 

Hey, Charleston!
The true story of Daniel Joseph Jenkins and his orphanage band. These kids helped to start "rag" music and traveled around the US and to Europe sharing their music and helping to raise money for their orphanage!

First, You Explore
The laser display at the State Museum makes so much more sense after reading this story! This story definitely encourages kids to explore their world and ask questions! Charles Townes was always interested in the world around him and inventing new things. His most famous contribution was the laser, which has certainly impacted our lives today!

Let Them Play
Kids who love baseball will especially connect with this story of a group of little league boys. This is an important story that will help kids see the injustice and inequality African American's faced and how terrible it was. But as they make their way to the Little League World Series, they do find support with the fans. This is a story that will help kids see that while laws and decisions in South Carolina were very wrong, they can make a different choice.

A Sweet, Sweet Basket
This is a sweet story that celebrates the impact the African American culture has had on South Carolina and how important it is to learn the traditions and pass them on. Sweet grass baskets are everywhere in Charleston and this story gives a glimpse of the work that goes into them.

This story is set on Sullivan's Island where several boys are digging for buried treasure in their backyard. Instead of treasure they uncover some chains and with the help of their neighbor, learn about the painful truth behind them. It discusses the cruelty of the past, and how we need to combat that with kindness and goodness.

The Pink House
A story that celebrates family and the way South Carolinians like to spend their vacations at the beach! Its a fun read and makes you want to head to the beach immediately!

P is for Palmetto
A great overview of all things South Carolina! You can read the simple rhythmic text, or take time to read the paragraphs on the side that offer more information about each letter.

Net Numbers
Count your way through South Carolina and find out lots of interesting facts in the mean time!

Charley's Columbia Backyard
This is a fun book to read to make sure you experience all the fun things Columbia has to offer! 

Rosebud Roams Charleston
This is a fun one to learn more about the city of Charleston through a horse's perspective.

Books for Babies:
We can't forget the little ones! 
Here are two sweet board books you can read with little and not so little kids!

Little South Carolina
This one is full of fun riddles that teach kids about some of the state symbols.

Good Night South Carolina
Wake up with the shrimp boats and say good night in the Blue Ridge Mountains! Travel around South Carolina in this sweet board book.

If you are looking for chapter books, I would check out Idella Bodie. She wrote a whole series about famous South Carolinians during the Revolutionary War, along with several other books that take place all around the State!

Any great ones I missed? What are your favorite South Carolina books?

Monday, May 8, 2017

Graduation Books

It is hard to believe the year is almost over and Alex will be headed on to first grade! I had seen this idea on pinterest of having all the your child's teachers write notes in a book for them, that you then give to your child on graduation day. Then I had the opportunity to write in one last year and realized how much I loved the idea. 

There are lots of great books to choose from, but I settled on Only One You by Linda Kranz! It is a sweet book filled will lots of beautiful advice. 

I made an attempt at some rhyming ;) and added a letter to the envelope that holds the book.
Click on the picture to grab a copy. There is a girl version and boy version! :)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Around the World in a Month

Our homeschool academy has two days left before a long break until after the New Years! I am excited for the change of pace for several weeks, but it is a little daunting to think of the long days at home, and Will comes home later now because basketball has started. So, what will we do to fill our time?

This summer, as we planned our unit days, we decided to do Holidays Around the World for December. It is a perfect inquiry study for the break because we will have lots of time to study! 
This evening I asked the boys what countries they wanted to learn about. I told them to pick from the flags that are hanging up (from the Olympics still! ;) ) plus a couple of others not up. I love that even Liam is recognizing the flags and countries since they have been up since the summer, so maybe its a good thing they never came down! 

They picked Italy, Brazil, Japan, Kenya, and India! The plan is that each week we will focus on a country, read some books, and try out the food. 

Here are some resources and ideas if you want to plan country studies for your kiddos at home or school:

Give your Child the World is an AMAZING resource! We did a book club with it this summer, and it is definitely a resource that I will keep coming back too. I went through and made a list of some books to put on hold at the library. 

For food options, I am going to check out some recipes from Global Table Adventure. A family has made recipes from every country in the world and blogged about it! How cool is that?! I think it would be fun to try out some different restaurants, and I will ask some friends for their favorite recipes too! 

As we learn and do some research, I think we will try out these books that I made. I am not sure we will use all the pages, but I do want Alex to record some of what he has been learning! There are currently 11 books in this set, but I am going to be adding 3 more soon! You can read more about suggestions on how to use it here, or check out the resource on TPT by clicking on the picture!

Don't forget to buy a map so you can keep track of the countries you learn about! We add pins to the countries that we read about, and we refer to the map often when we are talking at the table. The world is so big and the kids need a visual to help them understand where they are in relation to everything else!

Once we get started, I will try to share our activities each week! I need to catch up on some things that have been going on in third grade too!

What countries would you want to study?

Friday, September 2, 2016

Pizza, Pizza!

Child-led schooling is very easy when you only have one child to worry about! :) As a parent, I can start the inquiry and learning, but then I really enjoy letting Alex help decide where it will lead! I also love having the flexibility to do that in Kindergarten. I feel like my job this year is really to foster a love of learning. 
A couple of other moms and I have decided to have an inquiry/unit day each month where we get together and do some fun learning activities. While at home, we carry out the unit in a variety of ways. So we celebrated the end of August with a pizza party! This unit really leant itself well to a math focus, so in my process of planning I created a math pack with lots of fun and engaging math activities that we can continue to use throughout the year. I tried to make it really versatile, but even in the process of using it, Alex and I have come up with some new ideas for the games included!

Alex wasn't really interested in drawing the card and counting pizza toppings, so we added in a die and the first person to get ten toppings won. We also used the 2 sets of toppings to figure out the different ways to make 5. We also used these to help us answer some of the story problem cards! 

We first used this set of counting cards to count the number of toppings. We were ordering them from least to greatest and then Alex thought it would be fun to play memory with them...
So that's just what we did! 

We played with some sequencing cards too. It was interesting to listen to Alex's thought process on the order he chose. It's a good reminder, that instead of just saying something is wrong, to have kids explain their thinking. His thought process was a little bit different then mine, but it still made sense!

Here are some great book choices to add. Lots of fun books that are engaging and so funny!Dig InSecret Pizza PartyPete's a PizzaPizza at Sally'sGrandpa and MeThe Pizza That We Made, and Pizza Counting (affiliate links) are all great!

It was very fun to gather together with our friends to have a pizza themed day! We read books, played chefs (the packet comes complete with menus, order forms and receipts), made some bar graphs, and ate lots of yummy pizza!

Have a pizza party day! Your kids will thank you! Just don't forget to have dessert pizzas too! ;)

If you want to check out some of the math activities we have been doing click on the picture!

And now I am starting to put some books around the house for our new unit. Can you guess what it might be? Stay tuned!