Forts & A Summer Read-A-Thon

As the summer reading program at the library comes to a close this weekend we needed a Read-a-thon for a final push to get us to our goal.  The “little guys” had a goal of 100 books and my eldest daughter needed 20. My goal was four books, because it was for the gas card; which we all made our goal.

group photosFor our read-a-thon the older girls (13-15 years) built a structure outside to house our reading event.  It took them about 45 minutes to build the structure for all of them to fit (4 teenage girls, three younger siblings).  We used four kits (Discovery Kids 72-piece build and play construction for set), sheets, laundry clips, pillows, and blankets. This made it very comfy.

I did not tell them how to put it together.  I was having them explore how to put the fort together.   My only requirement was it all needed to connect together (I only had a few sheets).

This was the outcome:

  • They worked together and compromised
  • They communicated
  • They shared
  • Problem solved when they ran out of pieces but still need the structure to stand
  • Helped each other out
  • Learned what worked and what didn’t (there were failures)

It is important in education to let students explore because, “One advantages of the exploration phase is that it provides students with a shared experience” (1).  The girls learned how to build a fort using the materials and they were excited when they were done.

Afterwards, they read in the fort all morning long (2 hours).  The benefits of having the girls spend a solid chunk of time reading were:

  • Having time to dive into a book and have no to limited interruptions
  • Getting to read whatever book you want
  • Promoting reading at their own pace and their level
  • Having natural discussions about their choice of books (not teacher directed)

Then of course there were the cookies and water that were provided.  This is a must for keeping teenage girls going.  There were also animals crackers involved.

After lunch (in the fort) the girls played Spot It and Go Fish. This was a fun way to finish up the afternoon before taking down the fort (15 minutes).

The girls really enjoyed the chance to build their fort and to read. They look forward to doing this again.  Please enjoy our video.

 

Artfully,

Mrs. Berry

1.    UTAustinX: UT.IITL.11.01x Classroom Strategies for Inquiry-Based Learning
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Berry-Fantastic Art Making

Christy Berry

Strawberry by Christy Berry

There is an upcoming strawberry festival in the town next to us this weekend and we are excited to go.  Of course there are lots and lots of strawberries to purchase; it has been a very good year.  Our small berry patch has given us many tasty treats; however, not enough to freeze and make our pies.  We also go for all the arts, crafts, and entertainment.

So this past week I have had my eldest daughter and her friends, along with my middle daughter create strawberry paintings.  They were so focus you could hear a pin drop.  First time all week they were quite.  A couple of days ago we observed strawberries. One of the friends had never eaten a strawberry before.  I asked her mom and she said it was ok for her to try it. I didn’t want and food allergies to emerge all of a sudden. She took tiny bits and thought it was good.

All of them learned about runners and how to take pictures.  They then sketched out their ideas first and practiced.  Today they drew out their plans, applied sharpies and paint.  They also reflected on the processes.  They had a blast making their strawberry paintings.  My six year old was first to be done but she stayed focused for more than an hour; this was her second painting.

For anybody who would like purchase a copy of this lesson actually geared in a classroom setting click here.

Enjoy our Berry Art Video!

Artfully,

Mrs. Berry

Summer Adventure 2016

It’s the beautiful time of the year when students stay home and parents have their turn.  Well, I’m a parent and I had an idea wiggle into my brain that I would have my daughter and her friends read, do a bit of math, and art projects.  Well, today was day one.  I think I already need a nap.

The day started off early when my daughter’s friends showed up an hour early.  Yep and hour early.  Ok, so we were still in our jammies and needed to get dressed and eat breakfast.

The first thing I had the girls do was to put their names on their workbooks.  We also went over the calendar. There will be three months of dedicated sleepovers, movie nights, reading, math, practicing of band instruments (I should probably apologize to the neighbors in advance), science experiments, gardening, theater/zoo/museum visits, and lots of art projects.

Summer Reading

Summer Reading

So today was actually the first day of sign up at the library for their reading program.  It’s free; so that is what we did.  We signed up in our respected grade levels.  My daughter is going for 20 books in six weeks, and the other three will have 100.  Granted that means I’m reading 100 children’s books.  We will be busy.

Afterwards, we headed home and had lunch and read a bit.  After the little ones went down for a nap we headed outside and started to tie-dye shirts.  The girls had a blast.

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Tie-Dye Mania

Tye-Dye Shirts

Basic Steps for unpredictable results

  1. Get a t-shirt in your size and tie-dye kit
  2. Fold, wrinkle, ball up your shirt (we just go for it)
  3. Put rubber bands around the shirt to hold your folds
  4. Put gloves on (use the rubber bands in the kits like a bracelet to hold the gloves on so it doesn’t slip-make sure it’s not too tight)
  5. Sometimes it helps to have ones for the feet too-it takes about a week to come off skin
  6. Add water to the dye bottle and shake
  7. Apply dye to shirt
  8. Wrap in Saran-wrap and let it sit for 6-8 hours
  9. Spay with garden hose to get extra dye off
  10. Rinse in large bucket to get extra dye off
  11. Unwrap rubber bands
  12. Rinse again to get more extra dye off
  13. Wash separate from other clothing to get extra dye off
  14. Dry
  15. Finally wear your amazing shirt

We have done tie-dye shirts at the beginning of summer so we can wear them all summer long.  This year they are doing them so I can keep track of them when we go somewhere.

Artfully,

Mrs. Berry

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