New Book Released!

I know I normally share great reads for boys- but this new book caught my eye.
Heroine in Deaf History or just a Humdrum girl from the 1800's.

As a Sign Language interpreter, I get approached often by homeschooling moms who would like me to introduce their children to American Sign Language.

I have LOTS of college text books about the history of ASL and how American Sign Language began, but there is slim picking when it comes to children's books.

Before 2017 there was only one picture book. MY HEART GLOW, and it is a pretty picture book. But homeschooling families like more meat. A STUDY OF ALICE COGSWELL is a non-fiction that gives the reader the option to decide for themselves- if Alice is a heroine in Deaf History or not.

On the authors website- readers can vote!

I just wanted to share- 2017 is American Sign Languages 200th Birthday! It is interesting to learn how this language came about.


Capital Mysteries Series


Reading Level: 2.5
Each book is less than 100 pages- GREAT for Reluctant Readers!

I stumbled upon these books at the Library and instantly fell in love!
(It might have a HUGE soft spot for Washington D.C.. I grew up a mere 25 min metro ride from our Nations Capital so I relate to romping around the monuments and museums in these stories!)

Meet the Author: Ron Roy has his own site!

Each book would make a great field trip of its own.

Book 2: Kidnapped at the Capital would make a great field trip to the Air and Space Museum

Book 3: The Skeleton in the Smithsonian is suspenseful and sure to peek interest in visiting the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall.

Other books include plots at the Lincoln Memorial, The National Treasury, The FBI building, Washington Monument and National Zoo.


May Magic by Ron Roy

Our first book club for the summer! (2014)

When I saw three books in The Calendar Club series by Ron Roy offered at our scholastic flyer- I contacted all the kids in my sons cub scout group and invited them to buy the set- and join our book club for the summer.

As it would turn out- only one other boy was interested.

(And that is actually perfect for my little guy- he is a small group kind of guy. Really quiet in crowds.)

I hadn't read the book- but was pretty sure "magic" would be a great activity to include in our book club. so a few weeks in advance- I booked a magician. (I asked my older boys if they had any friends who knew magic tricks. Without hesitation - one of my sons knew a friend who would be willing to come and show our book club some tricks.)

He was great!
He did a few card tricks and one trick with a handkerchief.

The boys were delighted!
Next: I had prepared some book club questions.
(questions written in markers and the answers written with white crayons.)

The boys read and answered the questions and then revealed the answers with watercolor paint.
(It worked just like "magic"!)
We made English muffin pizza's and used our "magic" slushy cup to make drinks.
(that didn't work so good.)
Over all it was simple and fun.
The boys started talking about things to do at our NEXT book club- and that is always a good omen.

Other books in this set: June Jam & July Jitters
This whole series is fun.
 (I've used other books in this series- click HERE to see!)

Book Club Ideas: Summer in the Woods by Steven Smith

Summer of the Woods by Steven K Smith.
142 pages

Since we don't have woods by our house here in Utah, I thought I would send them on an adventure- through our neighborhood!

Our book club boys love to be sent on treasure hunts- or scavenger hunts. I set them off with a clue- and they run around the neighborhood following clues until they get to the final destination,
 that  has a treat to share.

It works great!
It gets them answering question about the book, gets them running (expending some energy) and when we get back together- they are ready to sit still, talk about the book and enjoy a snack.

The boys in this group are also 11 year old scouts. While not yet ready to work on Boy Scout Merit Badges, I thought this book introduced coins and the value of coin collections so well.
 Here is a link to BSA Coin Collection Merit Badge

I thought I would help jump start them in their own coin collections!
(A requirement they need to do- if they want to eventually earn the Coin Collection merit badge.)

I pulled out our coin jar.
This is the jar I toss any loose change- I find.

 It was like a treasure hunt- in my coin jar!

 Some of the boys were able to find a complete set. For the BSA coin collection requirement they had to pick a coin (penny, nickel, dime or quarter) and find the year they were born, and every year after.
I offered up all my pennies for this activity.

It was a fun book club.
I really enjoy being able to tie in scouting when I can.
The BSA has such a great quality program- their activities are always worth while and not "busy" work. My boys hate busy work. They like doing activities, and it is more satisfying when it "counts" for something. Are your boys the same?

My boys stop enjoying whimsical about the same time they become teenagers.
It's sad.
But I respect that they want to spend their time being productive.

Summer of the Woods by Steven Smith was a great adventure.
It would be a wonderful read-aloud as well.

Here are some examples of questions you can use in your book club discussion:

1. Derek and Sam had just moved leaving friends behind. Exploring the woods behind their new home, helped them be excited and less homesick. Have you ever moved? If so what helped you be excited about your new home? (This was great- because our neighborhood is a new housing development. All the kids in our neighborhood just moved in!)

2. What was Derek and Sam's first impression of Henry, Alex and their dog "bear"?
What can we learn about first impressions? Are they always correct?
Why do you think Derek and Sam misjudged Henry and Alex?

3. What would you do with $10,000 reward money?
(assuming your parents let you spend some of it. lol)


Thanksgiving Story time

 To Start off our book club- we made some turkey hats. My kids love crafts!

They cut some simple shapes out to construct these turkeys- complete with google eyes.

Then we read some silly and traditional thanksgiving books.

I really liked this book- because it shows through illustrations not words what the lifestyles were like for the pilgrims and Indians during this time period. The children loved looking and comparing the two. (What little pilgrim children did- compared to life as a Native American.)



Pumpkin storytime

There are so many cute books with pumpkins- This is one story I read for our pumpkin story time. This is the cute craft we did. You can look tomorrow on my preschool page HERE to see the other activities we did with pumpkins.

We also played a cute modified Trick or Treat game.
To prep: You need a trick-or- treat bucket, strips of paper and Halloween candy.
On the paper you write TREAT on a few, the rest you write different "tricks".
"Tricks" could be, BARK like a dog, HOP like a frog, do 5 Jump-N-Jacks, WINK at your neighbor, BLINK 5x, Meow like a cat, etc...  (just think of silly tricks they could do.)

Then place the papers in the trick-or-treat bucket.

Play the game by sitting in a circle and passing the bucket around. If they pull a TREAT paper, you give them a piece of Halloween candy. If they pick a TRICK, they have to perform the trick.

Over all- a very fun Story time.


Community Helpers Story Time

This is an adorable book that came in my monthly curriculum box from Funshine Express.
I have never seen it before- but it truly is adorable!
I read it aloud, then added this puzzle Melissa and Doug to our Preschool stations-- you can change the heads, torso and lets of these community helpers and mix them up.

Funshine provided a bunch of cute crafts to go along with this theme.
 Fireman Hats!

 police badges

 traffic lights

and I even made a game:  I drew out a "community" on a poster. I drew different buildings like; post office, library, bank, hospital, fire station, police station, etc... Using images of different community helpers (that were provided by Funshine Express). we took turns drawing a card- and then the children were able to put that "helper" at the right building.



Still learning about Nocturnal Animals in preschool- Funshine Express had a bunch of cute activities to go along with this theme.

Any owl books or book about forest animals that have owl characters will do.

I am a sucker for head/hat crafts!
This is another adorable craft from Funshineexpress.
They have the cutest projects for my preschool group that enhance our theme and story times.

Here is a game they provided.

Apple Day!

There are lots of cute books about Apples- this is a family favorite of ours. (Good for counting, easy reading, and silly.)

Today in preschool we focused on Apples!
One of our preschool buddies has a few fruit trees- so we took a walking "field trip" to his house.

We were able to pick up apples- and use the bruised and undesirable eating apples for our craft.
Not very creative- but the kids loved it all the same. I mean what is not to love? Painting, stamping, and being able to play with food!
I used the craft supplies from one of my Funshine Express preschool curriculum craft kits- to embellish our apples prints and make ... Apple Trees.

We of course- had apple slices for snack and some popcorn I had found- Carmel Apple flavor. Very fun and simple activity to celebrate Autumn.


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