school days: winter, winter!

we just wrapped up our february's unit study last week (yes, i know last week was the start of march).  given the whole new baby thing, we didn't do too bad at getting through most of the stuff i planned out.

per emma's request, we did a unit study on winter.  this is a HUGE topic, and unlike our last unit study there wasn't really pre-made unit study on winter that i could use as a primary source for teaching ideas. so i put some things together myself.

our winter themed books (for emma and gibson):

katy and the big snow by virginia burton
stranger in the woods by carl sams and jean stoick
the big snow by berta and elmer hader
the mitten adapted by jan brett
time to sleep by denise fleming
snow white a tale from the brothers grimm
look-a snowflake by janet craig
if you were a penguin by florence and wendell minor
snow bear by miriam moss
snow by uri shulevitz
baby penguins by quinlan b. lee
hibernation station by michelle meadows

we did a winter lapbook which emma titled "winter is fun." (personally, i would disagree with the "fun"part and replace it with "cold" or "freezing" or "mostly miserable for someone who is originally from the tropics"...*ahem*)
 lapbook contents:

  1. a winter-themed memory game which was fun to play together or alone 
  2. winter clothes layer book, which emma did all by herself (since baby cash decided he was very hungry the minute we started)
  3. winter is here minibook
  4. our memory verse for the month (colossians 3:23)
  5. a maze which i laminated so she could do it multiple times
  6. animal layer book (based on the animals from the mitten)
  7. weather observation sheet, which was a side activity that she wanted to include in her lapbook. 
  8. the water cycle - the cards were laminated and i used velcro so she could do the activity more than once.
i had wanted to do a little more with the water cycle (had this little "experiment" involving a cotton ball and water planned out), but didn't quite get to it since baby cash made an early appearance. 

on the back side of the lapbook held animal cards in a little bag, which we made based on the animals in the mitten, which we used to practice sequencing.  gibson liked the cards too and was able to identify each one by the end of our unit.  another little bag held our water cycle cards.

other lessons/activities we did for this unit:

we used emma's wooden dress up dolls to kick off our winter unit by finding cold weather clothes to put them in.  gibson wanted to join in the fun and did his own version of dressing them up (which involved his little red car).  this was a good opportunity to talk about the different seasons and how we would usually dress depending on the weather outside (e.g. *most* people don't go out wearing shorts in the middle of winter).

we viewed a few video clips from national geographic of some of the animals that were mentioned in our list of library books (penguins, polar bears, geese) and also some other arctic/cold weather animals (seals, mountain goat, narwhal).  i found the short clips helpful in starting some brief discussions about these animals along with reinforcing the hibernation/migration lesson.

i brought snow inside to play with and that was a huge hit!

i made a little nature booklet for emma and we went on a little family walk to look for some of the things listed in the booklet (squirrel, flying birds, tree branch, pine cones, etc.). 

we made paper garlands using old newspapers in the shape of hearts and mittens.  we used a heart stencil to make a little red heart in the middle of each paper shape.  this was also a great opportunity to talk about patterns, and i had emma arrange the hearts/mittens in a pattern of her choice.  then we hung them up across our window just in time for valentine's day (sorry, there's no photo of the finished product, but they did turn out cute)!

resources i used for creating the lapbook and the winter unit:

homeschool share's the big snow.

mitten/hearts paper garlands idea was inspired by this site.


Fresh Mommy said...

Loving the snow inside idea. I am going to use this myself Thursday. Great meeting up with you. Loved meeting you and your family in person.


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