MLK Day with Dr. Seuss!

I have spent a lot of time considering how I was going to teach Bug about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. My reticence was in no way due to a desire to  hide the truth, but more to preserve the innocence with which she already adheres to the basic principles associated with the movement to which he dedicated his life.

Bug is very observant, and will occasionally point out things like a person with a cane, or an obese person in a mobile shopping cart. Once, much to my embarrassment, she loudly pointed out a rather large women in a pair of obscenely tight leggings. While she is curious (and lacks a good grasp on proper social etiquette), she is far too full of light and goodness to think less of such people. I also can not honestly recall a time when she has ever pointed out a persons skin (or even crazy colored hair) as something abnormal. Perhaps I can credit myself and her upbringing, or perhaps it is just the sweetness of her naturally gregarious personality. Either way, to Bug, all the people we meet are just friends waiting to be discovered. My warnings not to talk to strangers only lead her to endeavor to extend a greeting to every person she sees, in order to render them ‘no longer a stranger’. In a world such as we live in, this can (and does) lead to a lot of concern on a Momma’s part. However, it also brings a lot of pride, in raising a child who wants to bring a smile and friendship to everyone she meets.

This lack of judgement and friendly behavior has had a positive effect on my two younger girls, as they have never been particularly inclined to interact with the general public.

MLK Jr Day!

Despite all of this, I do think it is important not to teach children to be color-blind, but instead to teach children to appreciate each and every color as something special. Going foward, I will admit I am slightly terrified of the new questions/comments this new knowledge will illicit from my filterless child. At least I know I am playing an active role in making to world a better place… one less asshole at a time.

Sneetches

So what, you ask, does Dr. Seuss have in common with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? One word my friends. Sneetches. I would hope most of you would be familiar with this particular story that immediately transports me to my childhood. If, however, your literary past is lacking, allow me to educate you…

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The Sneetches are a race of yellow creatures that look like odd, flightless birds. They live in a remote area of Seussville which has apparently never heard of the Civil Rights Movement. Their society is segregated into two groups: One with a green star on their belly at birth, and one without. Now the ‘Star-bellied Sneetches’ think rather highly of themselves, and refuse to associate themselves with the odious ‘Plain-bellied Sneetches’, who have committed no crime but to be born star free. They have separate buildings, activities, and social circles.

One day,  a man comes in a strange truck and offers the plain-bellies the chance of a life time! For a small fee, he can use his revolutionary contraption to give them their very own belly star! How wonderful, you say! Equality for all! Alas, the original star-bellies are not pleased. How will they know now who is special and who is not? If they all look the same, they may accidentally invite a used-to-be plain-belly to their marshmallow roast! This won’t do at all. Once again, the new man in town has the answer: his star-off machine, of course! In go all the star bellies, and now suddenly it is fashionable to be without an offensive star upon your tum! So here come the Sneetches with recently

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A quick worksheet to think about the real world connections.

acquired, and even more recently unpopular, belly stars. They run through the star-off machine. Now the original star bellies, with no belly stars, are in need of stars to tell themselves apart once again. The madness continues, with everyone running in and out, and out and in of the star-on/off contraptions until no one has any money left, or any idea who started with what, or why some of them suddenly have 3 stars. The man rides out of town, but his visit has done some good at least. The Sneetches have finally learned their lesson. If the only way to tell each other apart is by something as silly as mark on their belly, then maybe they aren’t really so different after all!

This is of course all done within the pages of a Dr. Seuss children’s book, as well as an adorably engaging musical cartoon. I’d encourage you to read the original story, but definitely do not miss out on the musical fun! The songs will ring in your ears for many years to come, which isn’t really as bad as it sounds…

Here is a link to the YouTube video of Dr. Seuss’ The Sneetches:

And here is a link to the worksheets we used to talk about MLK and the connection we can make to one of our favorite short cartoons.

MLK and the Sneetches

 

Comment below to tell us how much you love Dr. Seuss and the Sneetches! Check back to see our other Learn with Dr. Seuss posts!

 

 

 

Edit:

BONUS!!!

I just found this fantastic FREE crochet pattern on Ravelry! Its a Star Bellied Sneetch! sneetch_smallHow freakin’ cute is that?? I definitely prefer to knit these days, but this one may be worth digging up the old crochet hooks!

Ravelry user KnottyNichole has all kinds of doll patterns, including a ton of Pokemon! Looks like those crochet hooks may be busy…

Learning with Pokemon!

Make Learning Fun with Printable Pokemon Games!

 

As the parent of children with very active imaginations, I have to be aware of what sort of characters they are ‘meeting’ through television and YouTube. My girls, Bug especially, have many imaginary friends, and will play out very elaborate scenarios and adventures with the characters from their favorite shows. These are occasionally wildly entertaining to listen to, but more often than not they are an excuse to run, flip and shadow fight in the living room.

Currently some of our more frequent guests include the antagonists from PJ Masks, the Octonauts, and a variety of Pokemon.

 

Now, I’d like to take just a moment to appreciate the longevity of the Pokemon franchise. I remember when my brother discovered Pokemon about 10 years ago and was shocked that I was cool enough to be able to recognize several of his favorite characters.  Now Bug is super into the show, and its characters. While I usually try to limit her exposure to violence, I do honestly feel that the way battles are presented in this cartoon are perfectly acceptable. She loves the idea of searching for rare Pokemon and training them to do battle with her.

Learning with Pokemon

As with her other interests, I try to tie Pokemon activities into our daily homeschool tasks, to make them a little less painful (for both of us!). This has proven a bit challenging. Considering how long the show has been running, there is very little in the way of educational games or supplements. I did manage to find some, however, and I have provided the links to some below.

 

Pokemon Endless Cards

What a great idea! There is a small learning curve for putting these together, but it is totally worth it. These Pokemon endless cards by Hattifant and Red Ted Art are awesome, and great for keeping little hands busy! Be sure to check out our printable page for 3 Giggling Twirls own endless cards.

 

Pokemon Optical Illusion Toy

This is a 20th century optical illusion game that has been modified for the pokemon lovers out there. I originally got the idea from a blog post I saw on Pinterest, but I went a little farther with the idea, and made it suitable for a color printer, and added Bug’s favorite characters. We used a glue stick to sandwich a paper lollipop stick between the two layers and then played by rolling the stick quickly between our palms, but they could easily be used in the traditional manner.

Printable Pokemon Toy

 

 

Pokemon Action Cards

ANDNEXTCOMESL is a great website for ideas and advice pertaining to Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, and Hyperlexia. She has a great idea to have kids read and react to Pokemon Action cards. We loved this ides, and used her free printables for a while, and then I decided to make my own version with the characters and actions that appealed to Bug (and the other two!). Check them both out, and make sure you have plenty of open space to get moving!

Edit: In my rounding up of activities, I forgot about the well done Camp Pokemon app. camp-pokemon-gallery-6If your kid is into screen time, this is a good app for them to play in their down time. Its not exactly educational, but it is way better than a lot of other apps they could be playing! The app is free and available for both Android and IOS. I also know about the super popular Pokemon Go app, and I’ve read some things about it being an asset in one way or another for home schooling families. We do not have any personal experience with it, however.

So now you have a couple ideas, and there are more on my ‘Learning with Pokemon‘ Pinterest Board. Now get out there and try ’em all!

 

Let us know what works for you, or if you have found any other cool ways to make Pokemon a part of your homeschool…

Animal Research Adventures!

A New Year

2018… apparently is shaping up to be one hell of a year. Went to bed last night with three snotty, coughing children (one of which gagged, vomited down the back of the top bunk, and went back to sleep) and a bit of a queasy stomach myself, even before the whole top bunk fiasco. Woke up this morning to a 54 degree house and an outside unit that makes enough noise to wake the dead when I attempt to turn it back on. Awesome!!

So here it is, 7:22am and I have piled blankets on the sleeping children, layered up and grabbed my robe, made the coffee, and texted a family friend in a desperate plea for his expertise in the matter of furnace mutiny. Despite the cold day, inside and out, today is the day that life officially gets back to normal after the holiday season. As always, the end is always bitter sweet. There will no longer be an excuse for eating cookies for breakfast, no more sneaky spy elf to carry tales of misbehavior to Santa,  no more pretty sparkling lights. However, when all of these Christmas decorations go back to the attic, and we reinstitute the ‘no toys downstairs’ rule, I may actually get my living room decently tidy!

 

Animal Research Day

Even though we don’t really go with the public school schedule around here, we have had our winter break and it is definitely time to get back on track and back into good morning routines. Today was to be the start of 2018 in our morning binders, the start of our Fish, Amphibians and Reptiles animal kingdom units, and a good solid math review. Unfortunately, our school room is in the basement that is already about 15 degrees colder than the upstairs on a normal day. Sure, we have a kitchen table and various other locations that could easily accommodate school work, but Bug doesn’t work so well upstairs. Too many distractions.

So on to Plan B:  A day of sneakily educational TV under warm blankets.

 

Today’s marathon of choice will be anything involving animals, mainly Wild Kratts, with some Magic School Bus and BBC Documentaries thrown in to keep it interesting.

Bug has long since decided that she wants to be a vet when she grows up. She wants to travel around the world helping animals who need her (as opposed to Boo, who just wants to catch them for an unspecified and most likely nefarious purpose). This love of animals led Bug to her current favorite show, Wild Kratts. The show is about two adult brothers that help animals. It has both live and cartoon segments, all filled with facts and information about the episodes chosen animal. Chris and Martin Kratt are fun, engaging and knowledgable. They also have a few other shows, including Kratts Creatures and the original Zaboomafoo. These shows have been great for Bug since she has such good recall of things she sees and hears, especially when it is a fact or other interesting information. These two men, traveling and helping animals, have now become the embodiment of what Bug would like to do in life. She shall learn everything there is to know about animals, and then she shall set out to travel the planet in search of creatures that need her help. She figures this ought to be able to happen by the time she is 10.

 

Oh boy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the true spirit of our semi-child driven homeschool, we took this opportunity to create our very own Wild Kratt Animal Research Journal. If one is going to learn everything about animals, then there needs to be a place to record all of this knowledge!

Our ‘Research Like A Kratt’ Journal

This notebook holds several printed copies of a simple Animal Research page, a list of animals she would like to add, and a zip up pouch with vocabulary words. I am currently toying with the idea of making a binder section for random knowledge; yesterday in the car she spent 5 minutes telling me the science of bioluminescence and it’s 3 main uses.

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Our notebook with extra pages and a zip pouch for vocab cards!

 

 

Our first entry into our awesome notebook somehow managed

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Our first Shark page. Believe it or not, Bug’s handwriting has improved a lot this year!

to be the Tube Nosed Bat.. which very little is actually known about. After that, I guided the animal choices a little more. It has been a very successful venture so far.  So much so that Bug often wakes up and comes downstairs asking to do some animal research. She even willingly writes down 90% of the information she finds! That, my friends, is huge. Bug does NOT like to write. Far too much sitting still and concentrating for my little fireball. However, she is determined to learn all she can before she turns 10 and begins her grand adventure. For now I will take any motivation I can get.. and I’ll deal with the fallout in about 3 years.

 

 

 

If you want to grab a copy of the Animal Research paper we are using, you can click the link below.

Wild Animal Research DL

Feel free to leave me a comment with an idea for an interesting animal to research, or a good show/YouTube channel to learn more about animals!!