karonadrummond

Because We Love Children

Spring Carpe Diem

I hope that you are enjoying some pleasant spring days. Go ahead. Answer Spring’s call You’ll be glad you did.
If you have kiddos in your life, get them outside in the spring, in the dirt. You’ll all be the better for it.

Here is a poem I wrote after enjoying a very satisfying spring Saturday:

Spring Carpe Diem
(Carpe Diem: Latin phrase meaning, “Seize the day.”

I might have been in the house with the clothes.
The washing and drying is endless, you know.

I could have been scrubbing the toilet and sink.
But I gave the toilet a flush and left with a wink.

I would have been up to my armpits in bubbles
Washing each dish and rinsing the troubles

Of the endless pursuit of a house clean and spiffy.
But Spring started calling. So quick–In a jiffy

I closed the clothes hamper. I shut a few doors.
I made a quick deal with the dirt on the floors.

I traded that dirt for another dirt calling,
“Come out! Come, dig in! Stop scrubbing! Stop stalling!”

“Get out here! Grab shovel. Grab gloves. Rouse a rake!
Find seeds. Find old shoes. Spring is at stake!”

“Today is a gift. It won’t come again.
The dirt will still be there when you go back in.”

So I dug. And I planted. I breathed in the breeze.
That day wasn’t wasted.

That day was seized.

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Plastic Eggs are for More Than Egg Hunts

Have you filled any plastic eggs lately? Egg hunting season is in full swing. Enjoy!

You can use the eggs for more than the “Big Day” egg hunts. Here are a few ideas for you. I am sure you will think of more.

1. If you’re a mom or teacher of young children, give your kids some eggs and containers to take turns having their own egg hunts for each other. Supply them with containers to put the eggs in. This can be done inside or outside.

2. Set up a big tub of uncooked rice or uncooked pinto beans. Place plastic eggs in the tub. Encourage your children to
fill, empty, hide and find the eggs in the tub.

4. Set up an egg number-object matching center. Put numbers 1-12 on a dozen eggs. Get something small, like uncooked beans. Have your child fill each egg with the number of beans on the outside of the egg.
For an edible version of this idea, use a small cereal pieces, such as Cheerios.

5. Have your child work on his/her color skills. Use pom poms. Your child can match the pom pom to the color of the egg. Have your child put the matching color of pom pom inside each egg. Then put unmatched colors of pom poms and introduce the word “mismatched”.

6. Make an edible version of the above activity.Use a small colored cereal, like Froot Loops.

7. After you do the Froot Loop activity with counting, involve the sense of smell. Have your chlid close her eyes or put on a blindfold. Can she identify the color of the egg by the matching Froot Loops’ smell? Open the eggs one at a time and “see” how it goes.

8. Next, let your child blindfold you. Can you identify the color of the egg by the smell of the Froot Loops
inside? “Waste not, want not.” You had better go ahead and eat those Froot Loops in the name of frugality. 🙂

9. Simple addition: After you do the number matching activities, try this simple addition activity: Choose 2 eggs with numbers on them and the corresponding number of small objects inside. If you add those two numbers of objects, how many will you have? Empty the contents of the eggs and check your answer.

10. For older children: Work on math facts with plastic eggs. Using masking tape, write a simple math fact on the outside of the egg. Write the answer on a small piece of paper and insert into the egg. Do this with as many math facts as you would like to work on for the day. (Example: all the addition 3s facts) Have your child say the math fact, then the answer. Have him open the egg to check if he said the correct answer.

11. To extend the above activity: Place all the answers to a set of math facts in a pile on the table. Give your child the eggs with the math facts that go with those answers. Have your child put the right answer in the right egg.

12. An oldie but a goodie: Fill a bunch eggs about halfway with rice. Tape up the eggs. Give each child (and yourself)
2 eggs to hold. Put on some happy music. Shake those eggs to the beat of the music! 🙂

Happy Easter!!

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Delighted by Dandelions


photo courtesy of Creative Commons: twowheelsblog.com

The next time I fill out a Secret Sister questionnaire at church, I have a new answer for favorite flower:
“Dandelion!”

Oh, I know. Even my third graders objected when I mentioned my love for the little yellow flowers.
“Weeds!” they declared. “Our parents don’t like them.”

Yes, I suppose a lot of people would like to eliminate dandelions from their yard. But according to http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com, dandelions are a good source of pollen to bees and an excellent source of vitamins and minerals to humans. Quite a weed, aye?

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(That’s me in shadow, out on my walk.)
As I was walking on a late winter’s day in Texas, bare trees stared down. Brown grass stared up. But out from the
monotony popped bright circles of pure sunshine, alongside sky-reaching stems topped by snowy orbs made of tiny potential parachutes. Drawn into the game, I playfully kicked the white orbs and watched as the parachutes lifted onto the wind, on their way to start the game afresh.


photo courtesy of Creative Commons: lookatmyhappyrainbow.com

I figure maybe I’m in good company with my love of dandelions. Robert Fulghum, in his acclaimed book of essays, All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,(www.robertfulghum.com) remarks that if dandelions were endangered, plant nurseries would  charge $14.95 a plant and start dandelion societies.

Young children know the joy of dandelions. They pick them by the handfuls. They blow the magical tufts aloft,
wishes soaring.


Image courtesy of Creative Commons: seenobjects.org

Bring some dandelions inside. Drizzle some yellow paint on a few paper towels. Let your kids make dandelion prints.
When the prints dry, the kids can add faces and other details with crayons or markers.

Complete the dandelion fun with a good book or two.

Dandelions: stars in the grass shows the remarkable life of the dandelion plant with crisp, colorful illustrations.

Another picture book: The Dandelion Seed by Joseph Anthony tells the story of a lone dandelion seed reluctant to face the world. It is a story of courage. The illustrations are gorgeous.

Tonight, when I pillow my head, I will pray to be a bit more like the dandelion: a bright spot in a weary world, persevering in the face of adversity, a source of nourishment to the sojourner. And when the time is right, please lift my hopes, dreams, and plans. Please send them soaring to the place they are meant to be.

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Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Banana?

We are studying fruit in botany these days. Yesterday, my third graders and I had a wonderful time exploring oranges.
We started by guessing what was in a closed bag (oranges, of course). Then each child estimated the weight.

When the bag of oranges were revealed, I asked the class: “If we know the weight of the whole bag of oranges, and we know, the number of oranges, how can we determine the weight of one orange?” Ahhh… long division in action.

I partnered the kids into pairs. While we played music, the kids rolled , then tossed the oranges, promoting friendship, cooperation, and fun.

Next: We studied our oranges:
geometry: What shape are oranges? (spheres) What other spheres can you think of? (balls, the Earth)
geography: We imagined the orange was the Earth. We found the stem of the orange. That was like the North Pole. We found the navel of the orange. That represented the South Pole. We took our oranges and rotated them in the same way that the Earth rotates.

We looked at real globes and found the Equator. We drew the Equators on our oranges. We named the Northern and Southern Hemispheres We noted that we live in the Northern Hemisphere. We found the International Date Line on the Globes. We drew it on our oranges and discussed the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.

We drew rough shapes of the continents.

geology We peeled an orange and compared the peel to the Earth’s crust.

We also explored orange buoyancy. We found that an orange will not float in a large, shallow, tub. I asked the class how we could get the orange to float. They said, “Add more water!”

“That might work,” I agreed. “But we can make it float without changing the amount of water.”

“Hollow out the orange!” the students suggested.

“That could be fun. And it might work,” I said. “But we don’t have to change anything about the orange to get it to float. What do we need to change?”

“Put it in a different container!’ the class decided.

With that, I poured the water out of the shallow tub and into a tall, cylindrical container. The orange floated!

We wrote orange adjectives, like: juicy, orange, sweet, round, fruity, bumpy, nutritious, and delicious.

Finally, we feasted on our oranges.

By the way, I do like bananas. But that is a blog for another day. 🙂

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Venus Flytrap Snap

Ahhh…what could be lovelier than a beastly meat eating plant? Actually a fly-eating plant. “Way cool!” say the kids.
I must agree. But as intimidating as the picture may seem, the Venus Flytrap is actually quite small. Perhaps you saw them in the stores last month. If you and your kids are studying botany, give the little Venus Flytrap a go.

If you go to mycarnivore.com, you’ll find a wealth of information on Venus Flytrap care, as well as care of other carnivorous plants. You can also order seeds and supplies.

Here’s a little poem I made up about the Venus Flytrap. If you want a tune for it, try the “Adams Family” tune. Happy fly snapping! 🙂

Venus Flytrap Snap
by Karona Drummond

I’m a Venus Flytrap
I am green and tiny
Bristly and spiny
A Venus Flytrap!
(SNAP! SNAP!)

If you are an insect
Come on in and inspect
My sweet, enticing smell
I betcha can’t tell
That I’m a Venus Flytrap
A Venus Flytrap!
(SNAP! SNAP!)

Come in if you dare
And touch two tiny hairs
You’ll be in my lair
“Cause I’m a Venus Flytrap!
(SNAP! SNAP!)

Please come on in
I need nitrogen
That’s my vitamin
I’m a Venus Flytrap!

“Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……”

SNAP! SNAP!!

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A Horse, of Course!

Imagine. You are cowboy. It’s your birthday. Your friends throw you a party. Sounds great so far, right? your freinds give you a saddle. The saddle bears a tag with 2 simple instructions:

1. Find a horse.
2. Enjoy the ride.

You have just two problems. You have no idea what a horse is. And you have no idea where to find one!

In Andy Rash’s rootin’ tootin’ picture book, Are You a Horse?, that’s just the scene. you get to follow
Roy the cowboy through deserts, jungles, and grasslands in search of the mysterious animal known as “horse”.

This book is a hilarious read-aloud. Put on your Texas drawl. (Or in my case, just amplify it 🙂
Try it. You and your audience will grin.

I have used this book with my third graders in science class. While this book is playful and surprising, it can also be useful for teaching. As Roy goes on his quest to find a horse, he learns to classify. He learns that a horse is a living thing. Then he discovers that a horse is an animal, not a plant.He finds out from a snake that a horse is an animal with legs. An owl instructs Roy that horses do not lay eggs. And so it goes until Roy’s persistence pays off.

The ending is a whinny! Have fun with this book!

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Simple Sunny Summer Science

 

 

The summer sun continues to beat down, day after day. I dwell in my cave (my home) with the front shades closed and thank God for the inspired soul who invented the air conditioner!!      The summer blaze will burn on for at least another month…or two. So why not make some use out of it? It’s time to teach our kids a little about the power of the sun.

For starters: If you have young children and a sidewalk or some concrete outside, try this: Take paintbrushes of different sizes and some containers of water outside. Then let the painting begin! Let them paint the sidewalk, the fence, the trees, the house, and themselves. Then watch as the water marks evaporate quickly. You may also try bringing out shallow container of water large enough for your kids to step into (barefoot). The kids walk across the concrete, watching the footprints they made. How many can they make with just one trip into the water container? How long does it take for the water to evaporate? Try timing the evaporation time on different surfaces and in different locations. If you’re feeling really industrious, and have children old enough to read and write, make predictions on paper. Then write down you actual results. Take photos and make a poster. It’s simple sunny summer science!

How many of you have access to a clothesline or drying rack? Have the kids help you take freshly laundered clothes, hang them up and put them outside to dry. Again, you can make predictions on how long it will take for the clothes to become completely dry. Try drying some clothes on a drying rack inside while other clothes are drying outside. What is the difference in the drying time? We dry our clothes outside on drying racks most of the time during the hot summer. We put the clothes into the dryer when they are just still a little damp and fluff them. It helps out when the summer (ouch!) electricity bill rolls in.

Finally, how about a lesson in the sun’s ability to melt…chocolate! Get a glass baking dish. Pour some healthy, crunchy unsweetened or very lightly sweetened whole grain  cereal in the dish.  Add plenty of semi-sweet chocolate chips.Cover the dish with a transparent cover such as plastic wrap. Set the dish outside in direct sunlight. In a few minutes, the chocolate chips begin to melt. How long does it take? Take the dish back inside. How long does it take for the chocolate chips to harden again? What happened to the chocolate after it solidified (good vocabulary word)? After you have experimented and documented your results, it’s time to eat your experiment… with a tall glass of ice cold milk or on top of ice cream.

Mmmmmm…Maybe that ol’ summer sun ain’t so bad after all. 🙂

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