A Mom's Quest to Teach is a regular column covering elements of teaching and learning (with an eye towards homeschooling), parenting, crafting, and all of the discoveries, joys, and daily roller coaster rides that occur while being a mom.
Over the course of twenty-six posts, I will introduce my own simple lessons for the letters of the alphabet. I will provide enough ideas and suggestions for a week's worth of activities. For the letter C, we focused upon Construction.
Our neighbors recently had their driveway removed and repaved, which prompted
my son to ask lots of questions about the equipment and construction in general
on our walk to the library. He went to the
library hoping to find books about Bob the Builder, but sadly our library doesn't
have any about this famous TV contractor. Our librarian did pull out a half-dozen books on construction including
Bulldozers by Jean Eick. My son looked
over the book selection and chose two (this one and One Big Bulldozer by
We both enjoyed Eick's Bulldozers book with the many
photographs, explanations, and definitions.
The book explores what constitutes a bulldozer, how they are used, the
different parts, and tools -- as well as how they are used worldwide.
Bulldozers teaches its readers several things in addition to facts about the construction vehicle. One can learn mathematics when Eick discusses the weight and height and
geography with the inclusion of the world map when reading "Where in the
world can you find a bulldozer?"
I would recommend this book to families of budding
contractors from preschool to early elementary-aged children. We will also be looking for the others in the
As so many construction vehicles have a rectangle as a base for the truck, practicing drawing rectangles this week is perfect.
For example, when I sketched a fire truck for my children to color, I used three rectangles along with three circles and a trapezoid.
Make a dump truck-themed cake to share. Your kids will love to help not only with the decorating but also with the eating of the cake!
My kids love Melissa and Doug puzzles. They received this construction-themed one for Christmas.
Painting with Trucks
Use some of your children's older trucks and cars to paint. Run the trucks through paint on a tray and have them make tracks on paper. If you use large paper, you can even turn it into wrapping paper for a party when it dries.
There are so many possibilities to teach children about colors. Here a few fun ones to try with your children.
I am reviewing the newest release from Heirloom Audio Productions which brings to life the story of G.A. Henty's Wulf the Saxon. It tells the tale of England before the Battle of Hasting and of the battle itself.
I love this! As a former teacher of history and a lifelong lover of all things history-related, I really appreciate a company that wants to bring history to its clients. The stories they have chosen to share provide us with examples of "virtue and valor, daring and determination, character and courage." Too often heroes and heroines have been removed from history books today.
Wulf the Saxon, written by G. A. Henty in 1895, tells the tale of a Saxon thane, Wulf of Steyning, loyal to King Harold Godwinson. The adventures of Wulf culminate at the Battle of Hastings.
Born in England in 1832, George Alfred Henty would live a life of adventure. He was a sailor, fighter, and war correspondent -- and traveled to India and America, among other places. Throughout his life, he would write over 120 books that would focus on the "moral values of loyalty, courage, honesty, and perseverance." (For more on Henty, see Heirloom Audio Productions' article, Just Who was G.A. Henty?) His stories make for great audio dramas for families with older children and teens.
I was very excited to see the cast of Wulf the Saxon. Brian Blessed, with whom I am familiar due to the Blackadder series and the movie, Flash Gordon, brings Henty to life in
this audio drama. Blessed engages the
listener much like Henty did his readers in his original tales.
It was also fantastic hearing Helen George portray a character
different from that of the midwife she plays on Call the Midwife in the early years of the series.Her Lady Edith was loving, generous, and
selfless; putting her kingdom before her own needs.
Audio theater is not just a reading of the book but similar to a radio play in that the story is told through acting rather than just reading. Joining the actors are sound effects and with your imagination the scenes come alive. You could almost feel the spray from the water when Wulf is sailing during the storm. Or see the sparks as swords clashed at the Battle of Hastings.
To help my fifteen year-old stepson place Wulf the Saxon in its place in history, we pulled several books from our shelves. We looked at pictures of the Bayeux tapestry, mentioned at the beginning of the audio drama, as well as photographs of spears and axes that were popular weapons of the day.
I asked my stepson some questions after he completed listening to disk one: What do you think it might feel like sitting in the middle of the night waiting for an attack? Should they attack the castle without the approval of their superiors? What would his recommendations be to the men scouting the castle? What might explain their feelings about fighting women?
The end of disk one leaves us on a cliffhanger. Personally, I couldn't wait to see what happened next in the story. Would they storm the castle? Would they be cautious?
After listening to disk two, my teen and I discussed Lady Edith's sacrifice and what we could learn from her willingness to put England before her own happiness. We also talked about Lady Edith's ability to find Harold at the end of the audio drama. The idea that love is something that binds people together is a wonderful concept to be able to discuss with my teen.
The music, the sound effects, and the acting are superb. I would recommend Wulf the Saxon to anyone whether they are a fan of history or not.
If you enjoyed the Wulf the Saxon audio theater, then be sure to check out the Live the Adventure Club. A club membership includes three 2-CD sets shipped to you, access to over 500 old-time radio shows, educational and teaching resources, and more!
What a wonderful image this conjures up. God so loved his
people that He protected them from the ten plagues – from waters that become
blood, frogs, lice, flies, diseased livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness,
and the death of the firstborn. He then helped them escape through a sea.
I once viewed a documentary that attempted to explain
natural occurrences for each of the ten plagues. While this is all very
interesting, I find that – even if everything can be explained scientifically, it
does not take away from the wonder of the ten plagues. God still presented the
Pharaoh with multiple opportunities to see why he should let Moses and his
people go but the Pharaoh chose not to do so. These events are still wondrous
as the Israelites escape Egypt.
While the book's real focus is Fire Safety Week, it also provides lots of information regarding the different animals in the classroom and their reaction to danger.
I think my daughter's favorite pages were those that discussed primary versus secondary routes because there was a map with a legend. She wanted to find each location on the map before we continued the story.
The book talks about pandas, elephants, birds, alligators, flamingos, proboscis monkeys, koalas, hognose snakes, pigs, octopi, and three-banded armadillos. For example, the author provides details on how the koala howls and wails when they are upset and startled pigs run and hide when they are frightened.
Among the fire safety tips included is that of "Stop! Drop! and Roll!" My children enjoyed us taking a break from reading the book and acting it out on the floor.
Flamingos are really interesting birds due to some unique features. They are not born pink but instead gain the pink color to the feathers due to the food they eat. The pink color comes from beta carotene, a red-orange pigment, that is found in high quantities in the food that flamingos eat: shrimp, algae, plankton, and larvae found in the wetlands.
Another unique feature is the design of the flamingo's beak. The curve of their beak and neck allows them to dip their beak into the water and mud scooping up water, mud, shrimp, algae, and other possible foods. They have a built in filtration system which allows them to remove the water while keeping the food in their mouth. They are filter feeders similar to whales who use their baleen to capture shrimp in their mouths. The flamingos use their lamellae, thin platelike structures, to filter their food. These structures are found lining their mandibles.