Simple Learning Ideas for April Holidays, Units and Famous Birthdays

Simple Learning Ideas for April Holidays, Units and Famous Birthdays

April is full of fun learning opportunities such as National Poetry Month, Arbor Day, and John James Audubon’s birthday. Here are some simple and creative ideas to use this month!

National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month is a great time to introduce children to the world of poetry. By starting with engaging poems, there is the greatest chance of lighting an interest in poetry so choose poems carefully.

  • Keep a collection of age-appropriate poetry books for children to read during quiet reading time, indoor recess or when they finish their work early.
  • Highlight a different poet each day by reading aloud a poem. If daily is too much, focus on a different poet each week and read a different poem by him/her each day that week.
  • Have children write their own poems. Depending on their writing level, have them write their own poem or do something simpler like an acrostic poem.

National Lawn and Garden Month

When spring arrives, everyone is ready to be outdoors! Help children understand the importance of gardening and encourage them to consider how gardening can be both fun and beneficial.

  • Grow something! If you need to start simple, plant beans in styrofoam cups or sprout them in a baggie with damp paper towel. Other plants that can be grown include sweet potatoes and grass. Each one will sprout and grow quickly.
  • Focus on flowers! Bring in a bouquet of flowers and discuss the various kinds of flowers, their unique characteristics, and how they are grown.
  • Explore fascinating facts with my Flowers and Plants Fun Fact Cards. Children love learning these little tidbits!
  • Have students design their own backyard gardens with flowers, vegetables and fruits. Have them draw a diagram of what they would like to grow and where.
  • Use my FREE Plants and Gardening Literacy Sampler Pack for additional ideas!

Arbor Day

While many teachers usually teach about trees in the fall, Arbor Day is a great time to get students thinking about the role trees play in the world.

  • Complete an Arbor Day KWL to get the learning started!
  • Celebrate the importance of trees! Make lapbooks about trees, highlighting their parts, how they grow, and the importance they play in the world.
  • Coordinate with a local nursery for each child to receive a tree to take home and plant. Include a handout that explains how to plant and care for the tree.
  • Create a “Trees are Important” bulletin board. Place a large trunk and branches on the board. Then have students write important tree facts on leaves that they then add to the tree.
  • Use my Tree Fun Fact Cards to explore all different kinds of interesting facts about trees!

Famous April Birthdays

Several important people were born in April. Take the opportunity to consider their contributions to the world.

Hans Christian Andersen (April 2)

  • Select several books with stories and fairy tales by Hans Christen Anderson. Make them available to the students to peruse when they have time.
  • Read aloud a few favorite stories. Have students illustrate their favorite.

Thomas Jefferson (April 13)

  • Introduce students to Jefferson and Monticello. Using a book or the internet, explore the beauties of Jefferson’s home.
  • Research Jefferson’s gravestone and what was engraved on there. Discuss why he wanted certain accomplishments on there and why others were left off.

William Shakespeare (April 23)

  • Discuss plays and why Shakespeare is still so popular after many years.
  • Show students a clip of a Shakespearean play so they can get a feel for the costumes and language.
  • Have older students prepare a short scene from one of Shakespeare’s works and perform it for the younger students.

John James Audubon (April 26)

  • Using a book with Audubon’s illustrations, discuss the importance of his accomplishments.
  • Explore why Audubon was so popular in Europe and was nicknamed “the American woodsman.”
  • Have students create a bird book of their own that features birds prominent in their area.
  • Learn more about birds with my Birds Fun Fact Cards!

Photo credit

Posted in Art, Crafts and Creative, Books, Early Elementary, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Holidays, Poetry, Science and Nature Study, Seasons, Spring, Third Grade | Leave a comment

Arbor Day KWL – Graphic Organizers for Arbor Day Unit

Arbor Day KWL - Graphic Organizers for Arbor Day Unit

It’s time to celebrate Arbor Day! Get your celebration off to a great start with this ready to go KWL! A KWL is a quick and easy way to help your students focus on the topic at hand and makes it easy for you to assess your students’ prior knowledge and determine what they have learned.

These easy-to-use graphic organizers provide a neat and professional presentation in your classroom or make a great addition to your child’s notebooking project.

KWLs are provided in both vertical and horizontal format.

I have many other KWLs available in a variety of topics! Please also check out my popular Tree Fun Fact Cards that children love!

Arbor Day KWL - Two Graphic Organizers
Arbor Day KWL - Two Graphic Organizers
Arbor Day KWL - Two Graphic Organizers
Price: $1.00

Posted in Early Elementary, First Grade, Graphic Organizers, Kindergarten, KWL, My Educational Products, Notebooking, Printables, Science and Nature Study, Second Grade, Spring, Store-All, Store-KWL, Store-Science, Store-Spring, Third Grade | Leave a comment

Trees KWL – Two Graphic Organizers for Tree Unit Study

Trees KWL - Two Graphic Organizers for Tree Unit Study

Get your tree unit off to a great start with this ready to go KWL! A KWL is a quick and easy way to help your students focus on the topic at hand and makes it easy for you to assess your students’ prior knowledge and determine what they have learned.

These easy-to-use graphic organizers provide a neat and professional presentation in your classroom or make a great addition to your child’s notebooking project.

KWLs are provided in both vertical and horizontal format.

I have many other KWLs available in a variety of topics! Please also check out my popular Tree Fun Fact Cards that children love!

Trees KWL - Two Graphic Organizers for Tree Units
Trees KWL - Two Graphic Organizers for Tree Units
Trees KWL - Two Graphic Organizers for Tree Units
Price: $1.00

Posted in Early Elementary, Fall/Autumn, First Grade, Graphic Organizers, Kindergarten, My Educational Products, Notebooking, Printables, Science and Nature Study, Seasons, Second Grade, Spring, Store-All, Store-Fall/Autumn, Store-KWL, Store-Science, Store-Spring, Store-Summer, Summer, Third Grade | Leave a comment

Free and Deals on Kindle Books – April 16

Kindle 4-16

Kindle books worth checking out…

Slow Cooker Cookbook: 200 delicious, simple and nutritious one pot recipes that cook themselves FREE

Vertical Gardening: Grow Your Garden Up to Harvest Beautiful Fruits, Vegetables, and Plants in Small Spaces (Garden in Urban Locations, Small Spaces, Anywhere Else Using Vertical Gardening) FREE

Canning and Preserving Book for Beginners: Easy Canning Recipes and Supplies to Jump Start Your “How to Can, Preserve and Survival Food Storage” FREE

How to Crochet Vol.II. A Complete Intermediate Guide with More Patterns, Stitches and Squares Also Includes Step-by-Step Instructions with Pictures: Intermediate Guide, With more Advanced Stitches FREE

Jane Gets Ready for Easter: An Easter Picture Book for Kids (Ages 4-6) $0.99

Bell’s Big Move FREE

Posted in Free Kindle Books, Living Simply and Frugally | Leave a comment

Free Books from Amazon – April 11

One of the things I love about my Kindle Fire is that I can try out so many books for free! There are several free Amazon Kindle books worth checking out today! Just remember that some of them go to pay only when a certain number of free ones are downloaded so if you see something you want, download it before it isn’t free!

Posted in Free Kindle Books, Living Simply and Frugally | Leave a comment

All of Life is a Learning Experience

 

SB-Facebook-Cover-Spring'14

This evening I have a new header tagline on my website. Why? I’m integrating and simplifying.

If you followed me on my long-time blog (A Quiet Simple Life), I’m closing down that blog and redirecting it to Sallie Borrink Learning.

The way our family lives life is so integrated that it really doesn’t make sense for me to try to maintain two websites. Every part of our day is a learning experience. Whether we’re working or reading or praying or watching a DVD or taking a drive in the country or studying math or doing yard work… It’s all a part of our family’s approach to life. To try to keep the learning part on one site and the rest of our life on another site… It’s just not working for me. We don’t live life that way and so it feels artificial and wrong. So this website will start including other topics that are more broadly life related.

I’m going to also be talking about parenting, home, simple living, faith, etc. All things I’ve always written about since I started blogging in 2005. But it will still include plenty of posts about education, learning, my product development, etc.

I’m very excited about this and I hope you will enjoy the changes. :-)

Posted in Home Education/Homeschooling, Learning and Homeschooling | Leave a comment

Bake a Cake from Scratch to Teach about Work and Rewards

Three Girls Making Cupcakes In Kitchen

Teaching your children to work hard for their rewards

One of the great opportunities we have as homeschooling parents is showing our children how to balance work and play as well as teaching them to be responsible and industrious. As children grow older, we can begin to help our children understand how they are responsible for their choices in a variety of areas. And part of that is learning how to remain diligent and work for the things they want.

Opportunities abound for learning these lessons and it’s important we are on the lookout for them. We can sneak these activities into anything — even baking a cake. Rather than baking a cake and serving it to our children, we can take the time to include them in the process so they understand the work and time it takes for something as simple as a cake.  Have them see all of the steps that are involved – reading the recipe, assembling the ingredients, measuring carefully, and following the instructions. By going through the process with us, they discover that it takes time to get what we want. There are trade-offs. Instead of playing, they are baking a cake. Cakes don’t magically appear. Someone has to take the time to make them.

If you don’t consider yourself a great baker, the Parenting Edition of eHow.com has a starter’s guide to teaching your children to bake. An important key is starting with a simple, healthy recipe. Angie Browning, winner of the M&S Everyday Chefs baking challenge, came up with a delicious recipe for Lemon and Poppyseed Drizzle loaf cake — a quick and easy cake that you and your kids can work on together, even on busy days.

While baking a cake, you can also incorporate mini-lessons about proper portion control, fractions, and the many health benefits that different ingredients can have. It’s an excellent way to teach them to be mindful of the things they eat, plus they also get a tasty treat once the cake is finished!

Teaching our children to bake is a great way to do school and have fun at the same time. As we go along, our kids might want to start experimenting with recipes, adding their favorite ingredients into well-known dishes, and even searching out new things they’d like to try to make! Imagine all the reading that takes place and opportunities to discuss math while looking through cookbooks or cooking websites! The BBC also suggests that deciding what to cook and shopping for ingredients together can be a great opportunity to talk to your kids about being responsible in their food choices. As you pick out ingredients, you could also tell your child what other dishes can be made with the ingredients, giving them ideas of what food to cook with you next. Learning how to both follow recipes and adapt them to make them their own are great learning opportunities for homeschoolers.

Posted in Home Education/Homeschooling, Math, Science and Nature Study | Leave a comment