Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009

1 Comment

Movie Wednesday – “The Revisionaries”

On account of a most wonderful upper respiratory…thing going through the family WIP Wednesday has been cancelled because we’ve been watching our fair share of movies.  Or at least I have.  My kids have been reenacting the battle of the Titans from Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series which I take as a sign that they’re feeling better.  Since it’s a bit difficult to recreate the battle of the Titans on a blog, I thought I’d instead share a movie with you instead.

Many Public Television stations have been airing this documentary lately (and may still be airing it in your area).  For those of us (like me) who don’t have access to broadcast television or cable, I’m happy to report that you can watch it online at the Independent Lens’ website.  It’s available until February 27th and will play on iOS devices.  I can’t remember if there’s an Airplay option, but it should work with mirroring if you’re so equipped.


More Resources on Drought and the Dust Bowl for Kids

I updated the Weather Unit page with the books and resources we used in talking more about drought as well as what we added to discuss the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.  There are a few resources we’ve used along the way that don’t always make it on to the page or that I may check out from the library to place on the book shelves at home.  To that end, here are some of the resources we’ve found helpful:

  • The National Drought Mitigation Center’s Drought for Kids pages (h/t to Linda @ Each Little World)
  • Droughts” by Louise Park
  • The Dust Bowl” by Therese DeAngelis and Gina DeAngelis
  • The Dust Bowl Through the Lens” by Martin W. Sandler – The photography in this one is poignant.  The author uses a two page spread to convey the facts about the Dust Bowl.  This is not a book that we sat and read together, but one that I checked out with the intention of my son looking through it on his own.  It has the right mix of interesting pictures to draw him in.  This is one of those things I think he could spend part of an afternoon looking over on his own.
  • Dust for Dinner” by Ann Turner –  This one is an easy reader.  It was much too simple for my son, but still a nice little story.  We checked it out from the library and my son read it to us on the way home.
  • The Journal of C. J. Jackson:  A Dust Bowl Migrant” by William Durbin – This one is unfortunately out of print.  It’s part of the A Dear America/My Name is America series and takes the journal/diary format.  I’m planning on using it for our next read aloud when our current one is over.  It tells the story of the Dust Bowl through the eyes of a young boy.  We picked this one up from the library (and it looks like someone’s dog ate it), but there are a number of inexpensive used copies available on Amazon.
  • Out of the Dust” by Karen Hesse – Newbery Medal winner tells the story of the Dust Bowl through first-person poetry.  This would be a fantastic for those families who use Poetry Teatimes in their homeschooling routines.


Weather Unit Modifications

Perhaps you remember how I said I was “done” with the weather unit?

Yeah.  Not quite and it’s all Linda’s fault.  I mean this, of course, in the nicest way possible.  She’s been very helpful in tracking down resources on drought this year.

It all began with the map from the New York Times.  Then there was this article on the Weather Channel about the Dust Bowl in the 1930s.  As much as I hate the idea of prolonging our weather unit…I’m going to.   Don’t get me wrong.  The issue is all mine.  My kids are having a blast and weather has literally taken over every part of our daily lives.  From school, to play, to our dinner table conversations.  I have mini-meteorolgists wandering my house – all three of them.

Did I mention that their new favorite show to watch is “Storm Chasers?”  They have picked up a surprising amount of weather terminology from the show even if you have to endure Reed Timmer shrieking like a banshee along with it.  It’s also provided us ample opportunities to talk about safety and making wise choices.  I’m looking forward to when the kids get to the episodes with Tim Samaras in them.  It would be nice for them to be able to connect a person with one of their books.

I’m caught between the things I want to cover before the beginning of the Fall Trimester and where the lessons are taking us.  Darn you interested based, connected to real life learning!  (I jest.)

So I think we’ll add in a mini-unit to further flesh out drought and make historical connections to the Dust Bowl.  There should be some interesting conversations as we compare and contrast this year and the 1930s.  I can bring in some ecological and economic connections to help round out the picture which should tie nicely into the section on climate change we’ll get to in a couple of weeks.  The plan will be to do so in an introductory, quick tour way because we’ll cover this particular period of history in greater depth when our history cycle spins that way.

While I figure that out, I thought you might be interested to see a video of a song by Woody Guthrie from the time period called “Great Dust Storm Disaster:”


It’s Official! I’m Done! (Sorta)

The weather unit is no longer a work in progress.  I have all of my plans laid out and I will be resisting the temptation to add anything to it because I really do need to finish our Earth Science studies (for this go round) by the end of the summer.

Now I can get back to focusing on Life Science (and biomes in particular).

Did I mention that nothing’s ever really done around here?


More Updates to the Weather Unit

I’ve posted more updates to the Weather Unit over yonder.   I have added more lessons on severe weather as well as added lessons for seasons and the water cycle.  There are a couple of additional books I came across that we’ll probably add in at least as it concerns the water cycle.  It is, as always, a work in progress.

I’d like to also cover a bit on climate change before covering the R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey unit on air.  After that we’ll wrap everything up with a short unit test before heading into geology for the last half of our summer.  I anticipate following that particular unit more or less as written, but time, of course, will tell.


Video Morning – Garden of Imagination – Mr. Rogers

This one’s done by the same guy who does the Symphony of Science videos (melodysheep on YouTube).  My kids each have their favorite Symphony of Science video and there are times this year that we watched them over (and over and over and over) again at the dinner table.  Then again, we’ve watched some of the same documentaries he pulls from on Netflix so I guess it kind of makes sense.

Watching this video with the kids this morning led to a Symphony of Science morning (just click here keep clicking on one of the related videos on the right).  Good times!

Weather Unit, Part Deux

While I prefer to have things planned in advance, this time I’m a bit behind.  I was about three lessons into the demonstrations from our main spine when I decided that I really needed to supplement things a bit.  It didn’t seem like it was enough nor as systematic as I typically like to do things.  What can I say?  I can’t leave well enough alone.

The first post was basically a resource dump.  From those resources and my rough sketch, I’m working on laying out the specifics of what we’ll be doing each day.  I’m hoping to get caught up a bit these next few nights because I also need to finish fleshing out the geology portion (the early earth, plate tectonics, volcanoes, the rock cycle, rocks, minerals, soil, etc) of The Summer of Earth Science.  Thankfully the fall trimester’s work is already planned out.

The last few nights I’ve been a bit on the antsy side so there’s still quite a bit for me to finish.  Tonight I’m celebrating the fact that I have tomorrows plans done.  Small victory and not much comfort given the HUGE stack of books that I’ve had to hide from the kids so that they don’t end up spread from one end of the house to the other.  I hate to do that, but I’ll never get my plans done if I let the kids have free reign.

Any-whooos-it…I’m sticking all of our plans on a page up at the top called “Current Unit” so that it doesn’t get lost.  I’ll try to remember to post an update on the blog as I get more of it done.


Weather Unit

I learned something very important today – the online catalog for our library system only allows you to have 35 book requests at one time.  I’ve never gotten close to the limit before, but this can only mean one thing…time for a new unit!

Science (and art) last year took a backseat to history, math, language arts, and phonics.  We were just too busy getting all of that in to make it through more than our study on the universe, its origins, our solar system, and a brief foray into String Theory.  I had fantastic plans that included getting to the origins of life on our planet.

Yes, it is distinctly possible I planned far more than any reasonable person could have covered.  Yes, my son loved every minute of our journey through the universe and the solar system.  Still, I don’t feel like we covered “enough” which means that the summer of 2012 is…cue dramatic music…The Summer of Earth Science!  You also need to hear that read with a deep, booming, echoing voice for the most dramatic effect.

I’m just saying is all.

Like many homeschoolers I start with the spine and fill in around it with other resources.  I’ll include things like labs/demonstrations, notebook pages, looking up vocabulary, copywork, and maybe even a few art projects.  For our Summer of Earth Science I’ll also add in some cross-disciplinary topics as time allows.

To that end, here’s what we’re using for our Summer of Earth Science:


Additional Labs/Demonstrations

Non-Fiction Books



Videos (free online)

Scholastic Lesson Plan for “The Magic School Bus Kicks Up a Storm”
Scholastic Online Game – Adventures of Weather Lizard
Climate and Weather (from National Geographic)
How Stuff Works Earth Science Videos
Interview with a Meteorologist (Virtual Field Trip)

More Videos (check your local library)

Field Trips
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois – Science Storms

Other Resources that You May Find Helpful