Thanksgiving STEM Challenges
Fall, Free Printables, Freebies!, Homeschool

10 Thanksgiving STEM Challenges

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Feeling a little burnt out from homeschooling with the days leading up to Thanksgiving? Don’t want the kids sitting in front of the television for hours while they are home from school? Don’t worry, this the perfect time to change up the norm and give your kids a few Thanksgiving STEM Challenges.

Why STEM Challenges?

STEM Challenges (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) are an excellent way to integrate various learning skills and styles into one activity. They also work well when you are working with multiple ages/grades simultaneously or when you want to get your kiddos from in front of electronics.

Thanksgiving STEM Challenges

Introducing STEM

When I was growing up, we made it our best effort to stay out of sight on the days leading up to Thanksgiving and especially on Thanksgiving Day as our mother was hustling and bustling about preparing for dinner that evening. We resorted to watching the classic Thanksgiving Cartoons and the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

At this point, most kids are familiar with the term, STEM. The question is, “how do you get your kids to willingly do a STEM challenge when they are off from school?” My best technique for getting my kids to do work (I mean have fun) over the holidays is creating a STEM Exploration BasketsThe basket consists of various items that can be used to build and create such as popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, balloons, toothpicks, and more. I also include the directions to each activity that explains a variety of challenges for the kids to complete. Task Cards are great for providing both guidance to complete a task and independence for kids to explore. Check out items for your Exploration Baskets and grab three Task Cards below!

FALL STEM

Finding STEM Challenges

Finding STEM challenges is super easy. The internet is filled with STEM challenges for all reasons and seasons. Take a look at these 10 Thanksgiving themed STEM Challenges to get your kids exploring!

Candy Corn Catapults–  Great way to use up the candy corn and get their minds moving. 

Hand Turkey Geometry – Sneak in a little math over the holidays with this classic hand trace activity

Butter in a Jar What a great way for the kids to help get things ready for Thanksgiving and learn a little science.

Taste-Safe Cranberry Slime Find out what happens when you mix the fun of slime and yummy cranberry sauce in this slime-tastic stem activity.

Turkey Balloon Rockets The stem challenge is a great activity for all your kiddos regardless of age.

Easy Fall Sink or Float Your littlest scientist will enjoy making hypothesis and experimenting to see which of their items sink or float.

Turkey Egg Drop– a fun twist to the classic egg drop is a great way to keep the kids busy while dinner is cooking.

Turkey Lego Build Lego’s are a great way to keep the kids thinking and engaged for hours. Toss in a turkey and you will have them building for ever!

Candy Pumpkin Buildings Explore engineering strategies using these tasty treats and see how strong your structure is.

Thanksgiving Dinner Table Who knew paper could be so strong? Test your building skills to see if your dinner table is ready for your feast!

 

I hope you enjoy these STEM Challenges. Thanksgiving is such a wonderful day to come together and reflect on the past and look to the future!

CHIME IN: Do you have any other STEM Challenges or ideas to keep the kids engaged?

Click the link to grab some items for a STEM Exploration Baskets

>>Download STEM Exploration Basket Task Cards Here<<

 

Looking for a way to introduce your kids to Random Acts of Kindness?

Fall, Freebies!, Homeschool

FALL WRITING PROMPTS

FALL WRITING PROMPTS

As the season is changing, so is the energy level of my kiddos. It seems every year when November rolls in, my kids begin to anticipate the holiday season and try to slack off of their work. This year, I made a decision to be prepared! I have created a variety of Fall Writing Prompts and activities to complete when the days get a little bit chaotic or I notice their attention span fading.

After completing my Review of Evan-Moor Daily 6-Trait Writing, I know I need to make writing a priority in our studies. These fun and engaging Fall Writing Prompts will give my children a change of pace over the month of November. I think they will be a great way to incorporate the techniques and skills learned in our writing workshop.

The Fall Writing Pack comes with:

  • 2 write and draw activities for younger children
  • 1 “I am Thankful for…” writing prompt for younger and older children
  • 1 Blessings Worksheet
  • 4 Story Starters
  • 1 Cinquain Poem Activity

Take a Peek

      

It really is my hope that as my kids work through these writing prompts they will not only develop their writing skills, but will also begin to think about some of the things they are thankful for. We also plan to use these activities in conjunction with the Random Acts of Kindness Calendar.

Head over and grab your copy!

 


 

Are you also looking for some fun, hands on activities for your little ones?

Click the picture below to snag some FUN Fall Learning Activities for the preschool and kindergarten kiddos.

 

 

Take a look at some fun Fall Activities & Books on Amazon!


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Fall, Freebies!, Homeschool

FREE Random Acts of Kindness Calendar

Random Acts of Kindness Begins

Last night I abruptly woke from my sleep after finally dozing off only minutes before. The realization that November was finally here shook me to the core. As much as I absolutely love this time of year, the realization that the year is almost over had me thinking of all of the things I still needed to accomplish. For the past few years, our family has made it a point to incorporate service learning into our home school. (Read more about how in my guest post here).

This year, we decided November would be a time for our children to make their large scale service ideas a little more intimate. My husband and I decided we would create a calendar with 30 Random Acts of Kindness for our children to complete throughout the month.

 

 

Having a large home school family can sometimes lead to the kids getting easily frustrated with one another. There is often constant bickering and arguing over the smallest things. It is our hope that this Random Acts of Kindness Calendar will give our children a chance to find ways to love on one another, as well as, spread kindness in the world around them. Each act included on the calendar is something that even our younger children can take part in. We really are looking forward to a great month!

 

We hope you enjoy!

Christel “Chaos Coordinator”

CHIME IN:

How does your family incorporate random acts of kindness?

What random acts of kindness should we add to the calendar next year?

 

 

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Evan-Moor Daily 6 Writing Trait
Fall, Freebies!, Homeschool, Review

Review: Daily 6-Trait Writing (Homeschool Writing Tips)

This post may contain affiliate links. Affiliate links use cookies to track clicks and qualifying purchases for earnings. Please read my Disclosure Policy, Terms of Service, and Privacy policy for specific details.

 

“Where is this story going?”

“Your essay doesn’t sound like a 7th grader.”

“You have way too many topics in this narrative.”

Within two weeks of our 4th year of homeschooling, I found myself completely frustrated at the quality of writing samples my 7th graders were producing. I couldn’t understand what was going on. Then it hit me! I realized we had spent a tremendous amount of time on core subject, such as math, reading, science, and history, but failed to integrate formal writing skills and techniques into our academic studies. My oldest children became reluctant writers and were now not strong writers. I wanted to find a gentle way to develop their skills without bringing added stress to them or me.

In my search for writing curricula, I came across many outstanding programs. However, as a large family, cost was something that had to factor in my decision. I was given the opportunity to review Evan-Moor Daily 6-Trait Writing Grade 7 Teacher’s Edition (e-book). It ended up being the perfect fit for our family!

 

 

What is Evan-Moor?

Evan-Moor was conceived in 1979 by two friends and colleagues. Joy Evans and Jo Ellen Moore, who desired to create educational materials for struggling students in their classroom. After being rejected by several publishers, they decided to independently publish their first six titles and eventually begin their own publishing company. Their passion for quality and affordable educational resources has led to over 500 titles, as well as digital resources, e-books, center kits, RTI resources, and an interactive learning platform for 1:1 learning model.

 

A Little About Daily 6-Trait Writing

Before receiving a copy of this book, I was stumped on how I would incorporate another subject into our school day and had no idea when I would find time to plan the lessons for my 7th graders. Upon opening my e-book, I was delighted.

Daily 6-Trait Writing is comprised of:

  • 25 weeks of mini lessons divided into 5 units.
  • 5 lessons/unit that build upon the previous lesson. The units focus on the essential writing traits, Ideas, Organization, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, and Voice.
  • Consistent weekly format for each lesson that focuses on 4 days of a specific skill within the trait and a writing prompt on the 5th
  • Detailed and well written lesson plans to explain each writing trait
  • A Scoring Rubric to give teachers and students clear guidelines on writing expectations.

 

 

 

How We Used Daily 6-Trait Writing

I decided the best way to introduce writing to my children was to allot time for a writing workshop in our home school schedule. I scheduled 20 minutes of instructional time 4 days a week. Using the scripted lesson plans, I was able to go over each section of the lesson for the day with my children. I also used this time to give them a chance to ask questions and collaborate with one another. I found this set up, reduced the amount of anxiety they had over writing. They were able to share ideas and thoughts with one another, which helped strengthen their skills.

We also made sure we went over the assigned page at the end of each writing workshop. This was done to help me make sure my children really grasped the concept taught.

Having only a 4-day school week, I thought my children would never complete the Day 5 Writing Prompt. To my surprise, they eagerly made their corrections and turned in their work on our scheduled Exploration Day.

Incorporating Younger Students

Somewhere around the 3rd week of reviewing the materials, I decided to incorporate my 4th grader in our writing workshop. Although we did not have a copy of the 4th grade Daily 6-Trait Writing. I felt he would benefit from the same consistent format the material provided. I managed to adapt some of the questions for him in advance. The well thought out lesson plans and easy to follow student pages made this transition a seamless process. I did, however, allow my 4th grader to verbally respond to several answers during our writing workshop. To my surprise, this had very little impact on his final writing sample.

 

A Few Last Thoughts!

I always was familiar with Evan-Moor products but never took time to see if they were a fit for my family.  I found the Daily 6-Trait Writing to be an excellent resource and tool to develop and strengthen my children’s writing skills. In addition, being able to have an open and go format and a scoring rubric for assignments made me feel more confident when teaching my children. It also gave my children a well-defined guide when writing. As a mommy who lesson plans from the bed sometimes, having an e-book format made planning so much easier.

Daily 6-Trait Writing was such a blessing to be able to review and incorporate in our school. I am looking forward to continuing this program throughout the year!

Check back HERE to stay updated!

 

CHIME IN:

What steps have you taken to incorporate writing skills into your home school?

 

 

Looking for a way to keep the kids engaged?

Try The Never Bored Kid Book Series

The Never-Bored Kid Book, Grades 3-4 - Activity Book

Yours Truly,

Christel “Chaos Coordinator’

 

 

Fall, Freebies!, Homeschool

Fall Freebies for Preschool and Kindergarten!

These Fall Freebies are a great way to help your little learner gain valuable skills.

 

Pumpkin Alphabet Match is a hands on matching game that helps little ones work on uppercase and lowercase recognition.

>>>> Download Pumpkin Alphabet Match <<<<

 

 

 

Pumpkin Count is a self-paced board game that focuses on number and number word recognition. 

>>>> Download Pumpkin Count <<<<

 

Looking for literacy activities for older kiddos? Click the picture below!

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