Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mail from...Home? (Iowa)

You would think that teaching about the place you are from would be an easy piece of cake.  I found out last week that that is definitely wrong.

In 6 years my kids have been to Iowa more than a dozen times.  They love it winter their when they get to stay in a cabin with all their cousins.  They love summer there because it means fresh sweet corn and swimming.  I wanted to try to stay away from teaching them generic stereo-typical things about my home state, but in the end, it's what they already knew and we decided instead to just dig a little deeper.

For some reason, learning about the Iowa state bird is a vivid memory from my childhood.
I guess my boys are turning out like me after all...
The rest of our lesson focused on farming and what crops/livestock are so important in Iowa.  My parents were not farmers, but we were always surrounded by the neat rows of corn and soybeans and that's what my kids see when we go there.  I found a great interactive video/game that teaches about corn specifically.  Check it out here:

And then we made barn and grain bin spinning wheels to show what types of items you might see and use in both.  The printables for that plus other activities are here:

And even though we didn't use it this time, I was very excited to come across the Iowa DNR website, which has a great resource page for teaching all kinds of science and nature related topics...

A lot of times I think Iowa gets a bum wrap as just another one of those flat midwestern states.  I always joke that anyone who has driven through Nebraska would never call Iowa flat.  It's beautiful with rolling hills and green, green, green.  I loved growing up there and I love taking my boys back there.  It was fun helping them understand a little more deeply the things which they've already seen!

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Little Library Love

Can I share with you one of the cutest books my kids have found at the library recently?

Boy and Bot

It's a super simple story of two friends playing and watching out for each other, and in this instance, the simplicity makes it very touching.  The illustrations are equally unassuming, but draw you in.  My boys LOVE looking for all the hidden robots and think it's so funny how the road between Boy and Bot's home  is connected.    

Be warned, though.  It's impossible to read this book without automatically switching on your best robot accent as you flip through the pages.

Do you have a favorite recent library find?


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