Friday, April 13, 2012

Human Body: Review Activities

This post wraps up our human body unit! It has been a fun year of learning about the various systems in our body and how they all work together to keep us alive! What a marvelous creator we have! If you are interested in this course, scroll down to the bottom to enter a giveaway for an Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy & Physiology book, plus either a junior notebooking journal or a regular notebooking journal.

The Immune System:

I was gone for this lesson, so my class got to sit in with the older kids. The older students were testing for bacteria and fungi. Each student got a cotton swab and rubbed it on various surfaces. They noted which surface was swabbed and then rubbed the cotton swab on agar in a petri dish.

My class did this too. They didn't record anything, but I knew they could handle observing what was going on in the petri dishes. 

Yes, lovely isn't it? One student swabbed the inside of a dog food dish and this is what grew. All the kids brought their petri dishes back after a week and we observed what grew. It was kind of gross but very informative!

Anatomy Review:

I pulled out our human body magnetic board. We reviewed the organs and the names of the bones. This board also comes with flashcards, so we reviewed with those too.

I placed all the organ cards face-down on the table. I also gave each student a print-out of the human body and a tub of Play-doh.

A student would draw a card, name the organ, and then all the students would create that organ out of Play-doh on put it in the correct place on the print-out. I left up the magnetic pieces so they could use that as a reference.

We worked hard this year learning the names of some of the bones in our skeletal system. For this review, I used the flashcards in the same way as above, but all the kids worked together to create a Play-doh skeleton.

I've enjoyed documenting and sharing this series with you! If you want to see what we covered this year, check out my Human Body Unit pages.

Thanks to Apologia, one reader will win a Human Anatomy book plus the notebooking journal of their choice!

 Enter the giveaway via Rafflecopter below.

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Disclosure: I was given a set of an

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Apologia Anatomy Notebooking Journals

A label-it page from the Anatomy Noteboking Journal by Apologia

As you know, my children have been working through Apologia's Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy book this past year in our local co-op (See our Human Body Page for details.) One of the options available is a notebooking journal that goes along with the book. Since many families are starting to plan their curriculum for next year, I thought I'd share my opinion on this component.

 The journal comes in two formats: a junior version and the regular version. I purchased the junior version to see if it would work for my K-1 co-op class. The majority of my students were kindergarteners who were beginning writers and readers. 

- wonderful coloring pages
- primary writing lines
- personal person project
- everything already printed out and bound

- still too much writing for my young kindergarteners
- as a co-op group, I would not be utilizing many of the pages due to time

According to the Apologia website, this junior journal is perfect for:
  • Younger students that have not yet mastered handwriting
  • Older students that are delayed in handwriting mastery
  • Older students with learning disabilities
  • Students that are new to written narration
 I think the ideal age-range is 1st - 3rd for this book. If my students would have been a little older, I probably would have used this option. You can view samples of the junior anatomy notebook and get an idea of the types of pages that are included.

I also purchased the regular anatomy notebooking journal for my 9 year old daughter.

In fact, we had our whole older anatomy class (3rd- 6th) purchase the notebooking journals.

When the teachers and I looked through the journal we were impressed by the quality and the variety of pages that were included. We had considered piecing together notebooking pages like we did before Apologia came out with these journals, but once we saw the format, we knew it would be an ideal resource for the kids and for us.

- no need to make copies so we saved on ink and time trying to find pages
- no loose pages; everything is bound which makes a wonderful keepsake for the year.
- narration pages
- copywork pages
- diagrams
- review pages
- mini-books (nice that it wasn't all journaling/narration)
- experiment procedure sheets
- personal person project

- would have loved some older kid versions of the coloring pages too!

Personal Person Project
The coolest component is the personal person project. While learning about the body, students made their own model. Transparent overlays were used showing the different systems. I love that it was all included in the book. All the students had to do was cut out the overlays and glue them on.

I think having the journals in this class was a time-saver and helped the students learn and retain the information that was taught. I am thrilled with the quality of the journals. Of course you could teach this class without the journal, but I sure wouldn't! It is a very valuable teaching tool. Apologia has sample pages on their site for you to check out for yourself.

Check back tomorrow (Friday 4/13/2012) for a chance to win your own anatomy textbook plus notebook journal!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Human Body: The Skin

Our class was fascinated to learn that the largest organ in the body is skin! This was just one of the many facts we learned about our integumentary system.

We used this skin label-it worksheet from File Folder Fun to learn about the different structures in skin. This actually is a file-folder game but we used it as a skin diagram. The students cut out the labels and glued them into the right boxes after looking at the main teaching sample.

After talking about the layers of skin, we joined the older elementary group for some experiments. The older kids were just getting ready to do a skin sensitivity experiment. My kindergarten group decided to watch them do this experiment.

No kids were harmed during this experiment :)
 The older kids had to see which body parts would be the most sensitive. This experiment involved paperclips bent to different widths. The parts of the body where the student was able to tell that two things were touching him when using the smallest width paperclip are the areas most sensitive to touch. Full instructions are in the Apologia Anatomy book, pg. 212. Of course my younger group wanted to see what it felt like too, so we did try it. We just didn't stick around to do all of the steps. :)

While the older kids finished up their experiment, we went ahead and took fingerprints. After each student had their fingerprints taken, we looked at them closely. Did they all look the same? Who's had an arch? a loop? a whorl?

A similar idea is to have a piece of clear tape/packing tape. Have your student press a finger down on the sticky side. What is left on the tape? Skin cells. 

We watched a short YouTube video on the skin

Then our class reviewed what we learned by coloring in our Human Body coloring book.

You can see past lessons by visiting the Human Body Page

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Writing with WriteShop (plus other cool stuff)

I have a love-hate relationship with writing. While I generally like writing, I have a hard time teaching it to my kids. This past year I realized that what I was using as writing curriculum for my older two children was not going to work for my then 9 year old. I needed to find a curriculum that would be comprehensive so I knew I wasn't skipping concepts, a curriculum that walked my daughter through the process, and a curriculum that was easy enough to implement and teach. I turned to WriteShop Junior Level D to see if this would work for us. {There is a fun announcement, a freebie, and a giveaway at the end of the post! Scroll down to see}

There are several components that make up this curriculum:
Teacher's Guide
Student Activity Pack: includes brainstorming sheets, forms, and other worksheets and the Level 1 Fold-N-Go Grammar Pack
Time Saver Pack: ready-made props for many Book D activities. This is optional, but I loved that I didn't have to stop and make anything for the lesson.

These are all available in either print or e-book versions.

Getting Started with WriteShop Junior Book D:

What is the age-range for WriteShop Junior Book D?

Book D is recommended for 3rd, 4th, or reluctant 5th graders. Each WriteShop book can be used independently. You do not need to complete previous levels in order to start Level D.

When I received my new curriculum, the first thing I did flip through the teacher's manual. The front portion of the book explains how to schedule the lesson, various lesson components, and what you will need for each lesson (Don't skip these pages! They explain what will be going on in future lessons.) I used a Post-It note to highlight pages I would need to refer to often (like the editing page). Once I understood how the lessons were structured, I spent some time gathering and organizing materials.

There are 10 units in the curriculum, which is a full year's worth of lessons. I made a folder for each lesson and then filed the student pages and any time-save activity pages in the correct folder. This way I'm not searching around for papers when I start the lesson.

I also set up a writing center bag. This houses all the materials needed for my daughter to write plus the Grammar Folders (both the ones we have completed and the ones we still need to complete).  You can click on the link above to see exactly what is in our writing center bag.

The Lessons:

Each unit contains an overview, materials needed, and eight activities. A unit can be completed in two weeks or three weeks, depending on which writing schedule you choose. The teacher needs to read through the lesson before starting.You do need to have a general idea of where the lesson is going before starting. I thought the lessons gave me enough information, examples, and verbiage on how to present the topic to my daughter. You can find examples of the lessons here: WriteShop D examples.

What We Thought:

We have completed 2 units so far in WriteShop D. No tears have been shed during the teaching of these units by either me or my daughter. :) My daughter is enjoying writing. Each lesson is broken down into just the right amount of information for her to digest. Having games and brainstorming sheets has helped her not be afraid to write. We both like the approach to grammar via the grammar folders. During each unit a grammar folder is made which then becomes a reference tool.

As the teacher, I thought the curriculum does a great job helping me teach. Once I got everything organized, it was easy to implement.  I love the various brainstorming sheets and checklists for the students, games and hands-on examples. WriteShop presents writing as something that can be fun!

WriteShop offers writing curriculum for all ages-- kindergarten - highschool. I am planning on having my other children transition to WriteShop for next year.

Some Freebie FUN:

WriteShop is going to be having a Twitter Party and you are invited! Join @WriteShop on Tues. April 17th at 9:00 pm EST for some prizes and fellowship! Follow the hashtag #WriteShopParty

Here's a special party favor just for you! Print out a 4x6 photo prompt for some creative writing inspiration! (Lego scene created by my son.)

You can collect the other three writing prompts by visiting: In Our Write Minds, Wonderfully Chaotic, and Bowmania.

That's not all...

We're hosting a pre-party giveaway! You can win your choice of WriteShop Primary Level Writing Curriculum A, B, or C ( e-book version). Enter via Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was given WriteShop D to review. Opinions in this post are mine.

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