Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving 2019

I hope you are having a wonderful day.  The kids and I made 5 pies - apple, cherry, chocolate, pecan and pumpkin.  I'm so grateful for my family!

 Apple Pie

 Cherry Pie

 Chocolate Pie

 Pumpkin Pie

And Pecan Pie!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Last Day of CoOp 2019

E's artwork

Friday we attended the last day of our weekly homeschool CoOp for this year.  It's always bittersweet for me.  I am excited about having a break and for the time we will have to pour into other classes and activities but the kids and I also miss the classes we are involved in.  It will be great when we meet back together again next January.  E has been taking an art class for one of her hours and she brought home her portfolio for the semester and showed me her artwork.  I am so impressed.  She is doing amazing and I love looking at her work and having her explain her pieces to me.  I think my favorites are her pumpkin and lizard.

 E's lizard

E's pumpkin

I hope you are having a fantastic week!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

LitWits Kits from LitWits Review

We are a book-loving family!  I was so excited to checkout LitWits Kits from LitWits!  They have so many fantastic options to choose from.  We choose to start with the LitWits Kit for Meindert DeJong's The Wheel on the School.

This digital lesson planning resource is ideal for students ages 8-12 but can be easily adapted to fit your needs and the ages of your students.  There are even suggestions to help you do this for both classrooms and homeschools alike.


First, what is a LitWits Kit?  It is a web page chock-full of unique activities and downloads, along with teaching points and printable resources for specific literary books.  There's a handy dandy PDF version included for easy peasy printing.  Basically, these kits have done all the legwork for you!  The great thing about these kits is that you can choose the parts that work for you and your kiddos.

Our LitWits Kit on the Ipad and our The Wheel On The School book.

If I'm going to share with you about our kit, you need to be a bit familiar with the story of The Wheel on the School.  Even the kit includes a summary.  The story takes place in the fishing village of Shora in Friesland.  Lina wants to know why storks no longer come to nest there.  Her teacher encourages the whole class to investigate the question as they work to bring storks back.  Before long, the entire community is working together on their project!  It's a great book. 

Our LitWits Kit for The Wheel on the School contains:
  • sensory prop suggestions
  • creative projects and activity ideas
  • takeaway topics
  • research and audiovisual links
  • great quotes from the book
  • printable templates, activity prompts, creative writing handouts, etc.

There are many sections of our kit - welcome, overview, prop ideas, hands-on fun, bookbites, takeaways, handouts, learning links, great quotes and copyright usage.

We absolutely loved all the hands-on, fun suggestions as we experienced this book.  The kids made storks in a salty storm.  They love art so this project was super fun for them.  We used our watercolor crayons and white feathers.  Our kit told us the supplies needed and gave us directions to make this project.  It also provided the stork template for us to use.

 All of our storks...

 E's stork

D's stork

 C's stork

 B's stork

 And A's stork

We played with dominoes just like the children of Shora.  We used smaller dominoes so they fell often and the kids could see the effect of only one.

One of our domino chains...

We also made a stork, candy tin using cut out pictures of Dutch art.  

We even filled out tin with hard candies as a bonus treat.

In the bookbites section, we tasted the story as we sipped on hot chocolate (a few had milk!) and ate donuts, just like the community of Shora did during the storm!

Enjoying the story through food and drink.

LitWits Kits help kids in fun, hands-on, and meaningful ways.  They really give great ideas to help teach great books.  With bookbites ideas you taste what the characters ate.  With creative project ideas you make what the character made.  With kinetic activity ideas you can do what the characters did.  You can even hear and see what the characters' world looked and sounded like with audiovisual links.

We will be diving into our LitWits Kit for Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth next.
I really like the looks of the chromagraph activity and the Norton and Jules project.

We were so blessed to receive LitWits Kits for Meindert DeJong's The Wheel on the School, James B. Garfield's Follow My Leader, Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth and Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.  I'm really looking forward to using our other kits as the kids and I dive into these rich stories together.  We are familiar with these books so I chose these titles to really make the stories come to life with the kids.  We are going to have a blast!

Check out the short video below to see how these kits are like taking a field trip of the book you are reading!  It even shows you a few examples of activities from the LitWits Kit for My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George.

Be sure to click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews of LitWits.

LitWits Kits {LitWits Reviews}

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Timberdoodle's Hey Clay Bugs Review

Hey Clay Bugs

Timberdoodle sent us Hey Clay Bugs to review!  This is super fun as C's name is Clay and he loves clay creations.  This set is recommended for ages 3 and up so everyone in our family can enjoy it.

Inside our box of Hey Clay Bugs.

There are 10 bright colors of air-dry clay in 18 small cans.

There are 3 pink, 2 dark green, 1 orange, 3 red, 1 light green, 2 blue, 2 purple, 1 white and 3 black.  I love the vibrancy of the colors.  Of course, you can also create your own colors by mixing the above colors together creating even more options.

Hey Clay is soft and stretchy!

Hey Clay is soft and stretchy and even a bit spongy feeling.  It's also bright and light weight.  This modeling clay is fun to hold and work with.  It is not super sticky so it won't stick to hands or other objects.  It's also nontoxic and both wheat and gluten-free.

Hey Clay Bugs App

Here you see the 6-eyed spider, caterpillar, praying mantis, snail, ladybird (ladybug) and dragonfly.

There is a free App but you will have to pay for or use a code to unlock the instructions for all six bug characters - snail, dragonfly, ladybird or ladybug, spider, mantis and caterpillar.  The snail instructions are free to everyone.  The Hey Clay Bugs set comes with a code for the App.  This App is really great because it gives you detailed step-by-step directions on how to build the bugs - what colors to use, what shape to make, how to press and mold each shape, where to place it, etc.  I love that the instructions are easy to follow and help the kids make creations that they can be proud of.

Here you can see the mantis instructions are locked.

Inside the mantis instructions after entering our code.  You only have to enter the code once to instantly have access to all the instructions.

A was the first one to use our clay and she made the snail.

I love how intently F is watching.

Adding the pupils to the eyes.

A's finished snail.

I thought it looked fun so I jumped in and made a baby snail to go along with A's snail.

After we made our snail creations we let them air-dry.  The air-drying process takes about 24 hours and once complete, your creations are ready to display or even play with!  The creations become harder but not rock hard if that makes sense.  They are still somewhat pliable.

C made the spider next!

 Here is a peek inside the App.  It shows you exactly how to make these legs.

C's spider at this point.

 Voila!  C's finished 6-eyed spider.

 And a close-up...

 F and I made the caterpillar together.  He came out so cute!

 D made the ladybird or ladybug on her own.

And a close-up...

 C also made a praying mantis.

Front View

B made the Dragonfly.

If you can't tell, the kids and I are huge fans of Hey Clay Bugs.  It helps encourage fine motor skills and strengthen creativity and artistic ability.  I love that the clay creations don't have to be perfect and can show a lot of personality in their imperfections.  I also want you to know that after creating all six bug characters, there is still plenty of clay left over for your own creations.  As I mentioned previously, your creations need to air-dry for about 24 hours and then they are ready for display or play.  The kids created a game called Bugville using our new friends - how exciting!

A glimpse of Bugville

There are a variety of other Hey Clay sets available including aliens, birds, animals, monsters and dinos.  How fun!  These kits are great additions for your budding artists and would also make awesome gifts.

The only thing that I personally would change about this kit is the name.  Of course, the kids do not agree with me at all - they love the name just as it is.  To each their own I guess 😃.  I think it is the zoologist in me!  Snails are really mollusks not bugs and spiders are really arachnids.  Although, the spider doesn't really bother me as much because most people truly think of them as bugs.  It's really the snail that seems out of place to me.  If it were me, I would change the name of this kit to Hey Clay Invertebrates - just my two cents!

Hey Clay Bugs is part of Timberdoodle's 4th Grade Curriculum Kit.

Disclosure:  Huge shout out to Timberdoodle for selecting me as a Timberdoodle Blogger.  Timberdoodle sent my family the Hey Clay Bugs in exchange for our honest review.  All opinions are my own.