Friday, September 9, 2011

Show & Tell: MFW K—A-a Apple and N-n Nest

We've been having fun, fun, fun in Kindergarten this year!  I've been doing a terrible job of keeping up with weekly posts, but here are some highlights from Millie's A-a Apple and N-n Nest units.  :)

A-a Apple

Millie couldn't wait to get home and watch the VRRROOOMMM: Apple Farming movie we checked out from the library.  We stumbled upon it when Hannah was in kindergarten, and it has made its way home with us several times in the past three years. 

My kids absolutely adore this movie, as well as the other three in the series.  They're loaded with great information, but it's all presented in a very kid-friendly way.  We saw how apples are planted, picked, packaged, and even prepared!

We learned that apple trees have to be kept healthy if they're going to bear fruit, and that helped us understand our special words for the week:

If I stay in Jesus, I will have much fruit.

We learned that God doesn't give us fruit like apples and bananas, but instead He gives us fruit like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  We discussed how if we don't spend time with God, our spirits are unhealthy, and we won't have much fruit at all.  But if we do spend time with God and try to honor Him with our lives, our spirits are healthy and we will produce a lot of this wonderful fruit.  We made a little fruit basket and hung it on the kitchen counter, along with pieces of fruit that had the fruits of the spirit printed on them.  Every time we observed one of the fruits of the spirit, we would add that fruit to our basket.

Don't let this picture fool you!  I think we only had three legitimate pieces of fruit in our basket by week's end!

(If you want to make your own Fruits of the Spirit fruit basket, feel free to download the file here.  All we did was print it, cut it out, and staple the basket to brown construction paper.)

For our fun projects this week, we made apple cupcakes (which didn't turn out nearly as cute as the ones I found online, but we had fun anyway!) ...

... cut an apple in half to see the "star" inside ...

...stamped apple prints onto our Special Words to Remember page ...

... made an apple tree with a handprint trunk and fingerprint leaves ...

... and baked some apple pie to take to the Durhams' house for Hannah's United States party! 

We had planned to have an apple taste test so the kids could see that each apple has its own unique flavor, but we still haven't gotten around to that.  (I have a sneaky suspicion, though, that our eating habits are gonna have to change significantly after all these desserts, so I think an apple diet is in the very near future!)

N-n Nest

This unit was actually not just about nests, but about all different kinds of animal homes.  We did spend most of our time focusing on nests, though, because learning how well a mother and father bird care for their eggs and chicks helped Millie understand her special words:

God takes good care of me.

I remember when Hannah did kindergarten, I was amazed to learn that when a bird builds its first nest, it has never seen it done before, yet it knows exactly how to do it.  God has created birds so that they know not only how to build a nest, but how to build their particular kind of nest.  (Not all nests are built the same way.)  There is no explanation for this other than God-given instinct:  Birds are created with specific knowledge given to them by their Creator.

Millie and I obviously weren't given this knowledge, which was quite clear when we attempted to build our own nest.  :)  First, I told her that we were going to pretend to be birds and fly around and gather materials we would need to build our nest.  I never expected her to take me literally, but I heard a "tweet, tweet, tweet," and when I looked up, this is what I saw:

She did a good job of "flying around" and gathering supplies.  By the time she was finished, she had found some pine needles, some leaves, and a piece of string.

After she collected her supplies, she went and got the watering can and some dirt and mixed the two in a bowl to make mud ... you know, just like the birds do!  ;)

The she carefully formed a nest shape ...

... and tapped everything into place ... literally!

Next, she added the mud to hold it all together.

It's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it!

We let it dry overnight.  When we went out to look at it the next day, we saw that all the mud had settled at the bottom and dried, making it rock hard

It wasn't exactly the soft place we had envisioned for our eggs, so Millie added some grass to it.

Aaaaah, much better!  At this point, I considered the project finished and was ready to toss it, but Millie insisted that we put it in the azalea bush in case some bird was looking for a place just like it to move into.  :)

I remembered seeing a bird's nest in our Japanese magnolia tree, so I showed it to Millie while we were outside.  It really didn't look that impressive.  Just a bunch of sticks, really.

Millie remembered reading in one of our library books that birds often use their nests for the spring and summer, then abandon them, so she asked if we could take it down.  It was much more impressive when we got the bird's-eye view!

What fascinating little architects they are!
For our fun projects, we made peanut butter and chocolate bird's nests with the Durhams ...

I forgot my camera, so here's a morning after shot.  :)

... colored some pictures and matched up animals with their homes ...

... made a tree, complete with a bird's nest and bird ...

... and watched our Kindergarten caterpillar grow, grow, grow!

We also learned that it takes approximately 5 weeks for grapes to turn into raisins.  Remember these babies from our S-s Sun unit?!

And we had a very sweet day today when the girls' subjects overlapped and Hannah read Millie a book.  Part of Hannah's writing lesson was to be able to identify plot, characters, conflict, and setting.  Millie still needed a fiction book for the day, so I told Hannah we could all read the same book and she could tell me the literary elements when she was done.

See this?  Reason No. 5,692 why I love to homeschool!  :)
In math, we spent some time over the past two weeks working with unconventional methods of measuring length and capacity.

We measured a flip-flop first with blocks ...
... then with paper clips.
And we measured the length and width of the kitchen table with popsicle sticks.

Finally, we measured water using a variety of cups and bowls and compared their capacities.

And in reading, Millie's still plugging away at her Hooked on Phonics lessons.  Sometimes I think she does better with her sight words than she does with her blends.  She understands the idea of blending, but she still usually has to make each sound before she can say the word.  She did tell me the other day that she wants to go to Chuck E. Cheese's for her Reading Reward Day when she finishes this level, so she's very motivated right now and she's working really hard!

Oh, and before I forget, someone had her first day of ballet this week.  This morning I was greeted to the sound of a bedroom door opening, little feet dancing down the hallway, and a high-pitched squeal followed by a very excited voice saying, "I get to go to ballet today!"  :)

I've already shared with you two sets of Millie's special words to remember in this post.  Now I'll leave you with some of my special words to remember.  :)  Millie was playing in the living room one day, and she looked up at me and said, "Mom, I really love my kindergarten!  I bet Christopher loves it, too!"  Melt. My. Heart.  I love, love, love, love, love this child! 

Feel free to visit the My Father's World Weekly Highlights or Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see what others did this week!  :)


Conner Academy said...

You make MFW look like the perfect curriculum! I love all your projects!

Chucki said...

Looks like lots of fun and learning going on.

Carrie said...

She is so precious!! LOVE the nest collage picture - cute!!

Miss you guys!! We need to look at the calendar and find another time for you to come! :)

Mary said...

I used MFW K with my youngest and we had so much fun!!!

Mom said...

I love the fact that the girls learn so much and get to do so much! I know they have an awesome teacher:)

My name is Tiffany said...

I am considering MFW for my family, however I am not 100 percent sure. Can you tell me were these activities suggested by the curriculum or were these just ideas you used to enhance the learning experience? It looks like you had a great week!

Jennifer said...

Tiffany ~ A little bit of both! :)

I added the cupcakes, apple pie, apple stamping, and fruit basket with fruits of the Spirit in the A-a Apple unit and the edible birds' nests from the N-n Nest unit. HOWEVER, for every idea that I added, there were also ideas in the teacher's manual that we didn't get around to doing! There's a lot to choose from in the teacher's manual, plus ideas in the books you check out of the library for book basket, plus ideas you see online. We've used MFW from the start (this is our second time for K), and we truly love it! :)

Monica said...

Wow.. I'll bring the peaches YOU bake the pie. Lots of fun desserts going on down South. Oh and the ballet joy... yup Marissa is a new star student as well. Cute pic on the couch.

Kattie said...

You guys do a lot of fun stuff! I am looking forward to doing MFW K with my little ones when they are ready!

Unknown said...

Hi Jennifer,
Trying to print Special Words to Remember Pages and wondering if there is a special trick to it once i get on the 4Shared page. Concerned about virus's and if I need to sign up with this company to download your sweet printables.
Thank you for your time! Robin

Pauline said...

Wow! I have no idea how you have the time to do 2 different curriculums AND live to blog about it ;) Looks like you guys are having a great time!

Jennifer said...

Robin, I completely understand your concern! I was hesitant the first time I downloaded files from the site, as well. :) No, I don't think you need to be a member. You should just be able to click on the link, wait 20 seconds since you're not a member, then download it. As far as viruses ... I've never had an issue with it, but I do have virus protection software on my computer. (I think you really just have to these days!)

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Kim said...

Hi!!! Well with my blog I was trying to be all hip and bloggy and gave my kids pseudonyms - but I keep forgetting to use them and their art shows their real names so oh well! LOL I called my daughter Milli from Umizoomi :) LOVE the handprint tree and the peanut butter, chocolate nests, and the apple pie - your treats are too yummy NOT to try!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jennifer, this is such a great blog and I've been following along with you as I teach MFW K to my kids. I'm just wondering when you'll be able to update your blog again or if you could tell me where you get all your great craft ideas?
Thanks, Carleigh

Leslie said...

Thank you so much for blogging about your MFW K experiences! We will be starting MFW K soon and I love to see what others are doing (and to get ideas of course!).

Amy Stricklin said...

I am having a lot of trouble downloading your lovely caterpillar from 4 share. Would you be willing to send me the file. I am thankful to have found your great ideas for MFW K. I am not so creative and these look fun and doable. Thanks so much.

Jennifer said...

Amy, can you please leave your email address so I can send you the file? Thank you! :)

Amy Stricklin said...

Yes its thanks so much! So excited to use this!

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li said...

Hi, I am having trouble printing your says I didn't select any pages, even after I did. Do you have this in Word? thanks!!

amyo said...

Hi. I am having problems downloading your kindergarten caterpillar that goes with the biblical principles for MFW kindergarten curriculum. Also, I cannot download the Biblical principle posters. Can you E-mail to me at: So thankful to have found your website.