Friday, January 21, 2011

DNG's Magnificent Moon Review

This week we have been learning all about the Magnificent Moon. True to form, this Download N Go is just packed with information. You could easily use this unit for several weeks. That is one of my favorite things about Download N Go. You can absolutely expand on the topics or use it just as it is and have a wonderful week of learning.

If you remember my other reviews, you know that these Download N Go units are geared to children K-4 but could easily be expanded to use with older children. Planning and Preparation is so easy because all the work is done for you. Everything you need is included – websites, videos, fun activities, and lapbook pieces. I spend about 30 minutes over the weekend looking over the unit, printing, putting books on hold, and cutting lapbook pieces. (I always cut them out ahead of time and sort them by day.) Some might think there is a lot of printing but you can print as much or little of the materials as you decide. Just as the name implies- you just download and go!

Click on the images below to see some samples from Magnificent Moon.

Here are some of the topics covered in Magnificent Moon.

What Exactly is the Moon?
Getting to Know the Moon
The Story of the Moon
Science Secrets of the Moon
Cool Things about the Moon

Geography, History, Art, Science, Vocabulary…it’s all in there! We spent time learning about the Apollo missions, spacesuits, gravity, Issac Newton and Galileo and so much more. Each day you will learn about an astronaut as well. There are also lots of games and recipes to try! One of our favorite parts of this study was the art study of Astronaut Alan Bean. Fascinating!

We also took some time to learn about moon phases and how the moon controls the tides.

I loved the video of the lunar astronauts as they began to read....In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Mom got a bit choked up *smile*

My future astronauts!!!

Here are a few shots of our completed lapbook.

Front & Back Cover

Inside front

Inside Back

There are some great specials and contests going on over at the Download N Go Blog.

Magnificent Moon Blog Tour

The Cabin Fever Fun Pack- which includes Magnificent Moon, Winter Wonders, Hoppin Popcorn, & Expedition Canada is on sale until 1/31/11 for only $20. (reg. $28)

There will be a Moon Map Giveaway beginning on Jan 24th. Enter for you chance to win!

Check out all of Amanda Bennet’s Unit Studies here!

***Disclaimer Statement: We were provided a copy of this product, free of charge, for the purpose of writing an honest review her on my blog. The opinions expressed here are those of my children or myself.***

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

Winter Wonders Download N Go Review

We have enjoyed spending this week enjoying all of God’s Winter Wonders! One of the greatest things we’ve learned this week was to enjoy the small things. We knew this of course, but this week has been a wonderful reminder!

In case you are not familiar with Amanda Bennett’s Download N Go series, they are a comprehensive unit study geared toward K-4th grade students but could easily be used with older children as well. Everything is organized and prepared for you. It includes videos, websites, activities, and lapbook components. You don’t have to spend a lot of time doing research, all the work is done for you. There is a comprehensive book list included for each unit. I usually spend 30 minutes to an hour reading over the material, printing, and putting books on hold. Some might think there is a lot of printing but you can print as much or little of the materials as you decide. I print all the lapbook pieces and some activity pages and the rest we work on orally together. It works out perfectly for our family.

Here are some of the books we used for this study.

Take a look at what is included in Winter Wonders. Each day is broken down into 5 days/Objectives:

1. What is Winter?
2. Science Secrets of Winter
3. People and Places of Winter
4. Time for Tips and Treasures of Winter
5. Goodies and Gadgets of Winter

Click on the picture below to take a look at some sample pages.

Each day is filled with plenty of interesting videos and activities as you learn all about winter, snowflakes, hibernation, winter safety, the Iditarod Race, “Snowflake Bentley”, and so much more. There were also lots of fun recipes to try and the favorite around here…science experiments!

Here are a few that we tried this week:

"When Does Water Float? " We learned about density and how water becomes less dense when it freezes.

This experiment helped us to understand why we use salt on our sidewalks and roads during the winter.

Their hypothesis was correct. The ice cube with the salt melted much more quickly.

Almost on queue, the snow begin to fall and we were able to catch some snow crystals to examine. I love it when a plan comes together! *smile*

Snowflake Bentley we are not but we were able to get a pretty good look at some individual flakes.

We made some Hot Chocolate with one of the recipes included in the unit. Noah said, and I quote, "It was the best hot chocolate in the world!" and thats saying alot coming from him!

So we decided that Snowflake Tortillas would be the perfect snack to go along with our hot chocolate.

And it would be even better served on our snowman dishes.

We were right!!!! YUM! A perfect way to spend a winter afternoon.

We also made lots of snowflakes to decorate the windows.

One of the days, we were studying about an artist that does winter paintings named Robert Duncan. Imagine the kids surprise (and moms) when we discovered on our very own wall some of his art work!!! Love his stuff by the way, combines some of my favorite things- kids, animals, and snow.

After looking at alot of his winter scenes, we thought we would give it a try.

Micah hard at work.

This is Noah's. It's a little abstract but if you look closely you can see row upon row of bare trees.

I was very impressed!

We had such a great time with this study. So many different things to try. I love the opportunity to have this quality time with my kids and these units make it so fun and easy.

Here is a shot of the outside of our lapbook.

I would gladly recommend these Download & Go Units to anyone. You can order Winter Wonders here. Great product for a great price!

You can learn more about the Download N Go Series and all the titles they offer here.

You can also check out the DNG Blog for all the latest information and specials.

Check out the
Winter Wonders Blog Tour and see what other reviewers are saying.

***Disclaimer Statement: We were provided a copy of this product, free of charge, for the purpose of writing an honest review her on my blog. The opinions expressed here are those of my children or myself.***

Thursday, January 6, 2011

2011 Reading Challenges

I have decided to join a couple of Reading Challenges this year. If you know us well at all, you know we are a family of book lovers! I was able to read 101 books last year and it was a wonderful experience! These are the 3 I have decided on for this year. I will be keeping track (or trying to) of all the books we read on this post. I want to keep a running list of the books I read myself and also the books I read to the kids. This last one should be easy this is hands-down my favorite genre! I am going for Severe Bookaholism (20 Books) These selections will be marked with ** If you are interested in joining me, click on the links above. As always, so many great books--so little time! Books I've read:

1. Love Brought Me Back -Natalie Cole

2. Choosing to See - Mary Beth Chapman

3. A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School - LaNier

4. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Alan Bradley

5. Almost Heaven-Chris Fabry

6. I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy-Angie Smith

7. Passing by Samaria-Sharon Elwell Foster **

8. The Lake of Dreams-Kim Edwards

9.The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag-Alan Bradley

10. The Confession-John Grisham

11. Inconceivable- Carolyn & Sean Savage

12. The Cellist of Sarajevo-Steven Galloway **

13. Jane-April Lindner

14. Room-Emma Donoghue

15. Chains- Laurie Halse Anderson **

16. Forge-Laurie Halse Anderson **

17. The Secret Life of Bees -Sue Monk Kidd

18. Half Broke Horses-Jeannette Walls

19. Hunger Games-Suzanne Collins

20. Still Alice- Lisa Genova

21. Over a Thousand Hills I Walk with You- Hanna Jansen

22. Sally Hemmings-Barbara Chase-Riboud

23. The Good Daughter: A Memoir of my Mothers Hidden Life- Jasmin Darznik

24. MockingJay- Suzanne Collins

25. Catching Fire- Suzanne Collins

Books I've read to the kids (chapter books):

1. A Heart Strangely Warmed - Louise A. Vernon **

2. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever- Barbara Robinson

3. George Washingtons World-Genevieve Foster

4. Strawberry Girl- Lois Lenski **

5. Magic Tree House Research Guide-Knights and Castles -Osborne

6. The Mistrel in the Tower-Gloria Skurzynski **

7. Dr Jenner and the Speckled Monster-Albert Marrin

8. Mary Jones & Her Bible-Mary Ropes **

9. Castle Diary-Richard Platt **

10. The Tales of Robin Hood-Usborne **

11. The Door in the Wall- Marguerite de Angeli **

12. Great Expectations-Charles Dickens **

13. The Cricket in Times Square

14. Banner in the Sky -James Ramsey Ullman

15. The Apprentice

16. Abraham Lincolns World-Genevieve Foster

17. The Singing Tree- Kate Seredy**

Books I've read to the kids (picture books):

1. The Snow Speaks -Nancy Carlstrom

2. It's Winter - Linda Glaser

3. Animals in Winter-Henrietta Bancroft & Richard Van Gelder

4. The Story of Snow -Mark Cassino

5. When Winter Comes -Nancy Van Laan

6. Snow Sounds -David A Johnson

7. What Happens in Winter - Sara L Latta

8. Snow is Falling -Franklyn M. Branley

9. Winter - Kay Barnham

10. Snowflake Bentley - Jacqueline Briggs Martin

11. Winter is the Warmest Season -Lauren Stringer

12. Winter Lullaby-Barbara Seuling

13. Snow, Snow, Snow - Lee Harper

14. The Snowflake-A Water Cycle Story- Neil Waldman

15. Knights in Shining Armor - Gail Gibbons

16. Castles -Usborne

17. Maps & Globes - Jack Knowlton

18. Saint George and the Dragon-Margarret Hodges

19. Take Care, Good Knight-Shelley Moore Thomas

20. The Knight and the Dragon-Tomie DePaola

21. What is the Moon Like - Franklyn Branley

22. The Moon Seems to Change- Franklyn Branley

23. A Picture Book of George Washington- David Adler

24. George-isms-George Washington

25. Cells are Us- Dr. Fran Balkwill

26. George Washington:Farmer, Soldier, President-Pamela Hill Nettleton

27. Enjoy Your Cells-Fran Balkwill & Mic Rolph

28. What if You Met a Knight? - Jan Adkins

29. Take the Lead, George Washington-Judith St. George

30. Lets Explore a Castle-Nicholas Harris

31. Ireland-Libby Koponen

32. Marguerite makes a Book-Bruce Robertson

33. Planet Earth-Leonie Pratt (Usborne Beginners)

34. Catch the Wind! All about Kites-Gail Gibbons

35. Kites Magic Wishes that Fly up to the Sky- Demi

36. Lets Fly a Kite-Stuart J Murphy

37. Kite Flying- Grace Lin

38. Michaelangelo - Diane Stanley

39. Good Queen Bess- Diane Stanley

Our New Years Eve Celebration 2010 Edition

We always try to do something fun for the kids on New Year's and this year was no different. For the last several years we have done New Year's bags (see here and here) but decided to switch it up a bit this year.

We all made our own pizzas!

The boys made Cheese and Pepperoni

and some people just ate the ingredients

or entertained everyone

Mom & Dad made White Pizza.

My all time favorite! Yum!

Next it was time for everyone to bundle up and go outside for some fireworks. It was a mere 4 degrees at the time. Brrrr!

Can you feel how cold it is???

Josh doing "Mr. Roboto"

Rider waiting patiently for Icecream Sundaes!

The kids love making their own sundaes.

Last but not least, Sparkling Grape Cider to ring in the New Year

Watching the ball drop

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011!

Bring it on!!!!!


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