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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Timing our learning ... for FUN

Our fun-loving 5 year old started his homeschooling routine this week. I am working on creating engaging, fun activities to make him excited about learning in all subject areas! He likes to feel like everything is a game, so I am incorporating that "feeling" to our activities as much as possible. He loves for me to "time" him doing all sorts of things. Sometimes he wants me to challenge him to complete an activity or task in a certain amount of time, and sometimes he wants to race the clock to see how quickly he can complete a task. The choice is Mama's and depends on whether or not it is a task that allows for racing the clock. I don't want to sacrifice the quality of his learning to race the timer, so I've created a few strategies to prevent that.

His favorite part has now become choosing which timer to use, and my favorite part has been deciding how long the task should take. I aim to set the clock for a little longer than I think it will take him (based on his typical completion time). He loves beating the timer, and I love that he's feeling motivated to work. We have conversations about how he should do his very best on his work, or beating the timer doesn't "count" as a win, and so far he seems to get it.

I'm not affiliated with the included links and they are not sponsors of mine. These are just the timers that we love to use to increase excitement in our routines. I hope some of you find some motivation in using them as well.

Our favorite site is Classroom Timers because there are so many fun choices! TC's favorite is the rocket timer, but there are a lot of fun options! Here are a few images of his favorites:



TC is also into music so he loves using the ClassTools timer because you can choose to have a soundtrack play while the timer is on! This is the timer we use for more hands-on-activities and tasks, since he loves to have the Star Wars or Avengers soundtracks on!

Last but not least, there is the adorable Timerland timers! There are two options here- one where you set the timer and by the time it goes off the "farmland" is full of bunnies, and the other where a planet makes a complete rotation around the sun. We love this one for the longer activities we do.

I hope you and your own little loves have some fun with these timers too!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Back to School Giveaway!!


Welcome to the Back to School/5 Year Blogiversary Giveaway

Hosted by: Tots and Me

Back to school time is here! 

The summer, once again, just flew by and now it is time to think about school books, schedules, and learning. No matter how your children are schooled, there are plenty of goodies in this prize pack to stimulate those brains and get them learning. 

Let me introduce you to the wonderful sponsors of this giveaway.


One winner will win this entire Back to School Prize Pack valued at approximately $370. The winner will receive:

Winner's Choice FunBites Cutter for some kitchen fun. You can choose between triangles, squares, and hearts.
(Read the review here)


Rock 'n Learn Learn a Language DVD to begin learning a foreign language (or Winner's Choice of a Rock 'n Learn DVD)
(Read the review here)


Crazy Legs from Endless Games for some get-up-and-move fun. Great for phys. ed. time.
(Read the review here)


Korner'd from Endless Games for those times you want a challenge and some family fun.
(Read the Review here)


Pencil Sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies, because we have to keep those pencils sharp to get the work done.
(Read the review here)


Battle Sheep from Blue Orange Games for family fun and sharpening your strategy skills.
(Read the review here)


The Reading Game- The fast action memory game with picture flashcards and story books, to help your child learn to read.
(Read the Review here)


1 Year membership to ABC Twiggles for multi-sensory ABC Learning Fun
(Read the review here)


Winner's Choice of 1 Learning Activity Kid from Fundanoodle. 
Choose between I Can Build Upper Case Letters! and I Can Bead, Lace, Rip, Trace!
(Read the review here)


A set of 3 Fascinating World of . . . DVD's from BrainFood Learning. Learn about Insects, Mammals and Birds.
(Read the review here)


1 Year Access to the News-O-Matic app from Press4Kids- The Daily News Experience, Just For Kids.
(Read the review here)


The Well Planned Day 2014-2015 Family Homeschool Planner from Home Educating Family Association (hedua)- To keep your day organized
(Read the review here)


A 1 Year subscription to Math World from 10Monkeys.com- For math fun for children in K through 3rd grade.
(Read the review here)


A digital/eBook copy of both the Wild at the Zoo Adventure Pack and Bugging Around: Insects from KidQuest Science Adventures for more science fun.
(Read the review here)


A Cooking Box from Raddish to encourage learning in the kitchen.
(Read the Sponsor Spotlight here, and stay tuned for the full review which will be coming in the near future, as I only just received the product and we haven't had a chance to use it.)


All you need to do is enter in the Rafflecopter form below. There are only 4 simple mandatory entries, with the remainder of the entries being optional. Remember, you do not have to do the extra entries, but they will increase your odds of winning.

This giveaway is open to US residents 18 and over.
The giveaway runs August 18th through August 31st.
All entries are subject to verification.

Thanks for stopping by, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Tots and Me received the above mentioned products for free in order to conduct thorough reviews.  Tots and Me  received no further compensation. This did not in any way influence her reviews. As with all her reviews, the Back to School reviews reflect her own honest experience and opinion. She only recommends products or services she use personally and believes will be good for her readers. All opinions are her own. The participating bloggers did not receive any compensation and are not responsible for shipping any prizes. Tots and Me is only responsible for shipping The Fascinating World of Insects DVD from BrainFood Learning, all other prizes will be shipped from the sponsors. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Engaging My Learner: Science

Our summer months are usually filled with late nights, and even later mornings. We have been staying up past our bed times, so we decided to turn it into a learning experience. Here is what we're getting into for some Science FUN ...

We have decided to "chase" the moon each night. TC is excited to learn about all of the wonderful sights in the glorious night sky. We have been taking a night time drive throughout the neighborhood (usually in our PJs). Once we spot the moon, I pull over and he places his clipboard on his lap and sketches his sights on his moon chart. This is just the start to our fun unit on the Moon.



Here is our process...

1) Chase the moon each night.
2) Sketch the moon (or make a note when it's "missing" behind the clouds).
   **If we can't "find" the moon we look it up here.
3) Discuss the moon phase.
4) Make predictions for how the moon will look the next night.
5) Do it all again the next night!

TC thinks it's the most fun nighttime routine! 



We are planning on ending this routine on September 9th which is the date of the last Supermoon of the summer. 

We will spend that night discussing the moon and what a Supermoon actually is, all while having a small backyard bonfire with roasted marshmallows! Yum!

We will follow up on September 10th by doing a little family research to answer the following questions. You could also do this the night before, but TC is pretty visual, so we thought it would be better for him to experience the supermoon first. 

-What is the definition of a supermoon?
-What is the scientific name for a supermoon?
-How much brighter than a full moon can a supermoon appear to be?
-How much larger than a full moon can a supermoon appear to be?


Other parts of this FUN learning experience:



We are a Netflix watching family and we like to watch shows that connect to what we are learning about during the day. We are watching these two shows as a connection. LeapFrog is really more Math based, but it's a good excuse to review!

On Netflix

On Netflix






I am also a NEW Usborne books representative! The books are gorgeous and can be found to support so many lessons! Here are the books I have picked out to support this MOON activity! You can shop for these and more at my site ------> here! (You could also host an online party and earn free DOUBLE books this month!)

Buy It

Buy It

Buy It

Buy It



If you are just joining us, check out our post Engaging My Learner: Geography ---> here!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Meet The Teacher Linky Party!


I'm joining tons of other teachers in the Meet the Teacher Blogger linky! So let me start by introducing myself...

I am Christina. I have always been passionate about education and learning. I spent childhood summers playing "school" and never let go of that passion. After spending 8 years as a public school teacher, I have now taken my love for learning and I'm using it to homeschool teach, tutor and to create curriculum for my students. Wish me luck on this journey!

I'm a wife and a mama. TC is our little love and he will be homeschooled this year. We are both super excited about all of the fun learning lessons we're going to get to experience!

I'm also starting to spread my love of literacy by working with Usborne Books & More! I'm excited about all of the amazing things they are doing to promote literacy across the globe!



 THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS...

Rainy days. Good books. Painting. Creating. Cooking. Shopping for all things on sale. 
Learning. College (Can I go back and be a student for life?). Dance parties with my son. Nights out with great friends. 

 IF YOU WEREN'T A TEACHER, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO BE?
I've always wanted to be a teacher, but as I grow I learn so many new things about myself. I would love to be a professional journalist, writer, or artist. I'd change the world with my words and my art. I know this is something so many dream about, and do. 
THREE LITTLE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE YOU.
Loyal. Empathetic. Stubborn.

 
FINISH THE SENTENCE, "________,  SAID NO TEACHER EVER!!"
"I love to answer to parents for politicians decisions...said no teacher EVER!!"
 

Q: IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY AND YOU CAN INVITE ANYONE {DEAD OR ALIVE} TO THE PARTY. WHO ARE YOU INVITING?
I know it's a little surprising, but I'm not inviting anyone living this time. ;) 
Albert Einstein, Henry David Thoreau, Eleanor Roosevelt and my Great-Grandparents.

Q: IF SOMEONE WROTE A BOOK ABOUT YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD BE THE TITLE?
Deeply Rooted


 Q:YOU GET TO PICK ONE SUPERPOWER. WHAT IS IT?
 
Water Generation! I'd generate water for all of the world! I can't fathom the thought of living in a place where water is scarce and difficult to come by. I would eliminate that struggle for all living beings!

Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE OR SAYING?
"Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will BE." -Sonia Ricotti
 
Q: IF YOU HAD TO SING ONE SONG ON AMERICAN IDOL, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
 "Dog Days Are Over" - Florence & The Machine
I love her soulful sound. Luckily for the world- I'll never attempt to sing ANYTHING on American Idol.

 
 Q: ARE YOU A MORNING PERSON OR A NIGHT OWL?
I'm a night owl! I start to come alive and feel productive around 4pm each day. I've always been that way!
 
Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE RESOURCE THAT YOU'VE CREATED IN YOUR TPT SHOP?
I have had amazing results with my Multiplication Math Mats and I always get great feedback on my MLK: I Have a Dream Too activity!


Q: SHARE SOMETHING WE MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU! 


I am extremely shy and introverted! It's always tough for me to ease my way into new situations.

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You can join the linky party too! 
Link up here!