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The United States of America

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The new school year is here.  Our first week of the new year will be dedicated the study of The United States of America, the 4th of July and an introduction to our month long unit of Princesses & Knights.  Much of the inspiration from this unit came from the book, A is for America, written by Devin Scillian and illustrated by Pam Carroll.  This is by far one of my favorite children's book about our country. It's packed full of information with beautiful illustrations.

English/Language Arts
Uppercase & Lowercase Tracing Cards & Sorting
Each month during this new school year, Bulldozer and Princess will be learning how to write four letters of the alphabet. This month they will be learning how to write letters:  M, A, T, & S.  I've printed out specific letter cards to be used for tracing and writing practice.  The two kiddos will also be reviewing the sounds of each letter.  They will sort objects by letter sound.  Objects selected for this week are from events, places and people in the history of the United States of America.
Source:  The free uppercase alphabet printable is from Homeschool Creations.  Click HERE for your own!  The free lowercase alphabet printable is also from Homeschool Creations. Click HERE for your own!  The cards that are used for letter sorting were created by me.

Bob Book Set 1 Book 1 Activity

One of Bulldozer's & Princess' goals for the new year is to make it through Bob Book Set 1.  I absolutely love this reading system.  Dinomite has made it through Bob Book Set 3.  It is so simple, perfect,and easy for my kiddos.  I would recommend it to anyone who has a young one ready to learn to read.  Even more exciting is that there are now wonderful free printables to go along with each book.  Six groups of bloggers teamed up to make amazing and absolutely wonderful activities to go along with each book.  The best part is there are so many activities to choose from, depending on the needs and ways of learning that work best for your kiddos.

The kiddos will complete the worksheet shown above, identifying the words used and then practice reading their first Bob Book.  I'm unsure if they will be able to do so by the end of the week, but I am very hopeful.  I've only planned for one Bob Book each month, however if the kiddos progress faster, I will move more quickly.  I'm unsure of what to expect from Bulldozer and his autism.  Princess suffers from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome of Affect (she was adopted). We've been told reading will be very difficult for her, so... We'll see how they do!

Source:  I selected a free printable for Bob Book Set 1 Book 1 from Royal Baloo.  Click HERE for your own and many more options!  We have our own Bob Books, however they can be easily purchased at a book store, Amazon, or borrowed from your local library.

Sight Words Beginning with A
Last week we started our new sight word practice.  As part of our calendar time, instead of a letter and number of the week to memorize, we're doing sight words.  Last week's sight words started with the letter A.  I found these fabulous packs of sight words at our local dollar store that fit perfectly as part of my calendar.  I have purchased two sets of each, so I can use them on our calendar and on our shelves.  Each week we'll do a new set, matching our letter of the week that Bulldozer and Princess are learning how to write.

This week's words include:  always, around, all, am, ate, at, are, and about.  The kiddos will use our mock movable alphabet (purchased from our local dollar store) to practice spelling their sight words.  Hopefully as we go through them each day together, they'll learn to identify them on their own and feel fabulous because they're so smart.   Dinomite will also be required to write each of the sight words as he spells them out.  I'll be using an erasable crayon, broken in half to encourage the use of proper grasps.  They can't use their whole hands if there's not enough room.  (Bulldozer's OT from a couple of years ago taught me this trick!)

The Number 4
Bulldozer and Princess are working on writing the number four this week. I thought this was a cute little maze to help them learn to recognize the number among other numbers.  I'm using glass red beads as markers.

Source:  I found this printable as part of a pack at Gift of Curiosity.  Click HERE for your free copy.

50 Stars
Bulldozer and Princess will be learning to count to fifty this month. They are fabulous at counting to thirty, but get lost after that.  To help them along, I've developed  this activity with a patriotic theme.  I printed out an American Flag, cropping out the stripes.  The stars are numbered from 1 to 50.  There are also cut outs of numbers 1-50.  The kiddos will draw a number, find it on the star, and mark it with a white pony bead until all 50 stars are covered.

Source: I created this activity.

Stars & Stripes Addition
The week of the 4th of July just wouldn't be the same without some type of flag activity.  Dinomite is reviewing his addition facts this month.  I loved this activity when I saw it.  The kiddos will roll the dice (I love the idea of keeping them contained!), add the two numbers, and place that many markers on their flag in the proper spots.  When the flag is complete, they will be finished.  I'm using my red, white and blue glass beads as counters.

Source: I found this activity idea at Moms Have Questions Too. Click HERE for your free printable.

13 Original Colonies
The kiddos will be introduced to the 13 original colonies as the very start of the United States of America.  They will be given state puzzle pieces to put together to make the 13 original colonies, using a map as a control.

Source:  The map used as a control can be found for free at Free Kids Coloring.  Click HERE for you own copy.  The puzzle was one given to us a few years back.

Immigrants from Europe
The kiddos will learn about the immigrants who made this country the way it is today, and where they came from.  The kiddos will draw a puzzle piece and match it to the country on the map of England. When there is a match, one can drive the boat across the ocean to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, the first thing many immigrants saw upon arriving to the United States of America.  The kiddos will also learn about their Great Grandmother and her travels across the ocean from Czech to her arrival in New York and her first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty.

Source:  The map of Europe came from Montessori Print Shop for minimal cost. Click HERE for more details.  The map of the New York State was a coloring page I found online.

Past & Present Monarchy vs. Democracy
The theme for the month of July is Princesses & Knights, however with the first week of the month is dedicated to the study of our country. To bridge the two topics together, and so the kiddos can learn more about how the USA became a country, I created this activity using the royal family of the United Kingdom/England and the President of the United States of America.  The kids will sort cards of past and present kings, queens, presidents, and first ladies.  They will also place them with the home they lived or live in. Lastly the kiddos will learn the progression in a royal family. 
I accidentally switched my castles around in this  picture.  King George III lived in  Windsor Castle. Queen Elizabeth II works out of Buckingham Palace.  Sorry about that. :)
You will notice I have placed Princess Diana next to Prince Charles. This is only to demonstrate the family tree and succession of parent to child.  You will note on the cards that I have stated the two are divorced and she has died.

Source:  I created this activity.

Famous People in United States History
There are many famous people in the history of the United States of America. I have selected eight, specifically mentioned in the book we're basing our theme off of this week.  The kiddos will match the famous person with an object that represents why they are famous.
Source:  I created the printable for this activity. The United States of America Symbol Nomenclature Cards are a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, be sure to follow the directions at the bottom of the post.

United States Landmarks & Symbols
The kiddos have learned about the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell, and the American Flag, but that's about it when it comes to our nation's landmarks and symbols. Hopefully after doing this activity they'll know a few more.
Source:  I created the printable for this activity. The United States of America Symbol Nomenclature Cards are a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, be sure to follow the directions at the bottom of the post.

Animals of The United States of America
One must include animals in the study of any nation.  The kiddos will place animal cards under different habitat cards found within the USA.  They will then match the animal figures to the animal cards.

Source:  My husband created the printable for this activity. The American Topography and Wildlife Printable is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, be sure to follow the directions at the bottom of the post.

The Bald Eagle
We will be studying the bald eagle this week as our main animal.  (I'm trying to do an animal a week for Dinomite.)  Along with books we'll read, we will make a craft. 

Source:  I found this craft at Mind Games.  Click HERE to take a look!

Visual Arts:
Norman Rockwell
Norman Rockwell is our artist of the month for July.  Besides this activity where the kiddos can examine some of his works, I have found a fabulous book with LOTS of his paintings.  I'm just waiting for it to arrive at our local library.

Source:  I created the printable for this activity. The Norman Rockwell Printable is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, be sure to follow the directions at the end of this post.

Pipe Cleaner Sparklers
We will be going to a fireworks display this week, weather permitting, but I thought it would be fun to make some of our own. I love how these turn out!

Source:  I found this activity at Make & Takes.  Click HERE to see the directions up close.

One of my goals this year is to incorporate more music into our learning time.  This week we'll be learning and singing the two songs below.  I've found that the kiddos do much better with visuals, especially video, than without. I absolutely love the videos I chose as they show pictures and clips of other places, people, and items we're learning about this week.

I also want to teach the kiddos some music history. This week they'll learn about Jazz!

Practical Life:
We have a lot of practical life activities on the shelves this week.  They are by far my kiddos' most favorite trays.  Since I'm introducing a few more subjects on the work shelves, I wanted to be sure they had enough incentive to keep going. :)
The zipper was created in the United States.  Zipping is something that none of my kiddos can do. Perhaps by the end of the week one will.  I can only hope.

Tweezing Red, White & Blue Pom Poms
The kiddos will tweeze individual pom poms into the star ice cube tray.

Pouring Red, White & Blue Beads
The kiddos will pour the beads back and forth between glasses.  The goal will be to not spill any.

Red, White & Blue Droppers
My kiddos LOVE any activity that involves water. We've done one color before. We've done two colors before.  This week we'll try three. It takes great concentration to make sure one puts drops into the correct jar.

Red, White & Blue Flower Arrangements
Bulldozer loves flower arranging activities.  This one is for him!  The kiddos will arrange the flowers, as they press them into the block provided.

Stringing Red, White, & Blue Beads
Kiddos will string beads onto pipe cleaners. The clothes pin will be used to clip onto the end so beads don't fall off as kiddos try to string more.

Spreading Peanut Butter
Peanut butter was an American invention!  This week we'll practice spreading it on a piece of bread, in hopes that by the end of the week perhaps one of the kiddos will be able to make their own sandwich.
And for those, like Bulldozer, who have a peanut and tree nut allergies, we'll use Sunbutter.

Tying Twizzlers
I saw these in the store around Memorial Day and couldn't resist picking some up for a learning time activity.  The kiddos will peel apart the Twizzler strands and then attempt to tie a knot in each of the three different colors.  This will be the first step towards them learning how to tie their own shoes!

Seeing Flags
I thought this activity was so neat when I saw it. The kiddos have cards with four cards printed on them. Each card has the flags arranged a different way. The kiddos will use their sight and problem solving skills to place the flags in the correct positions.

Source: I found this activity at Gift of Curiosity.  Click HERE for your free printable flag cards.

Tootsie Roll Taste Testing
Tootsie Rolls are an American invention.  The kiddos will each taste flavors of Tootsie Rolls and express which one they like best, least, etc.  (Green is missing because of a limited number in the bag we purchased.)

This year we're adding Spanish to the curriculum.  Right now we're just focusing on the very basics.  In order to learn Spanish, the kiddos must here it.  I've selected the song below for us to sing each day when we sing our other songs.  It's pretty cute I must say.

As you can see we have a busy week planned!  I'm hoping it will be a great kick off to the new year!  You may have noticed we've added more activities and more subject areas. I'm not quite sure how to divide them up into different posts, or if I'll keep them all on one very long post each week.  Still coming are our specific plans for the year as well as our classroom organization.  I will also be writing one post each week dedicated to Tot Activities, as my almost 2 year old can no longer be patient when her older siblings are doing such cool things. She wants her own!  Oh boy!  Here she comes!

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  1. These are some really great ideas that I can't wait to try out. I do have a question with the trays. Is it your expectation that the trays will be repeated more than once by the same child? Thanks!

    1. Almost all trays are repeated at least once during the week by the same child. The more they practice the activity, the better they master the skill. :) The kiddos always complete the activity on each tray once, and from there, they usually select activities that they find the most interest in. I hope this helps. Princess, age 3, LOVES addition and subtraction so almost every day she chooses that activity first.