#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Picturing America: Thomas Cole and the Birth of American Art: Hudson Talbott

SYNOPSIS: The story of an immigrant from England who arrived in America 200 years ago and – through his passion for art, landscape, and the Hudson River Valley and the Catskills – came to define America’s visual identity and set in motion an artistic legacy that continues to impact art and culture to this day. A major international exhibition of Cole’s work, organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, is now on view at the National Gallery, London.

Thomas Cole pictured for the world an America that would become known as “America the Beautiful.” Until then, there was not a clear succinct image of our country. In the process, he became a pioneering advocate for environmentalism, raising the alarm over industrial destruction of our landscape long before there was an environmental movement.

Hudson Talbott has written and/or illustrated more than 25 books, including Newbury Honor Book Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson, ALA Notable Book Leonardo’s Horse by Jean Fritz, and We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story, adapted into an animated film by Steven Spielberg, starring the voices of John Goodman, Jay Leno, and Martin Short, among others.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hudson Talbott is a resident of the Hudson Valley and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, NY. In many ways, Picturing America is a companion book to Talbott’s River of Dreams: The Story of the Hudson River, which was named the New York State Children’s Book of the Year in 2009.

MY THOUGHTS: There is so much to love about this book! For homeschoolers, this book touches on multiple classes. Art (of Course), geography, & history are all part of Thomas Cole’s story. Students will also experience a biography about an immigrant who worked hard for his success. Those who are looking to get into a career in art or excel in the subject will find Mr. Cole’s story inspiring and worth their time.

Younger students will marvel at the stunning pictures. Mr. Cole was beyond talented. His vision of American is one worth imitating. He found it beautiful and desired for the landscape to remain rural. This is the perfect resource to discuss the Industrial Revolution, immigration, and art history.

Brick-and-mortar students will definitely benefit from having a seldom discussed artist’s biography. It would be a unique book report and/or history project. Even parents/guardians will love this book. From the pictures to the story itself, this book is phenomenal and gets 5 stars from me.

*I received the aforementioned title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

**Pic & synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.

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#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Creative Adventures in Cursive: Rachelle Doorley

SYNOPSIS: Who knew handwriting could be so cool? Write with glue, string, markers, paint, and icing and develop a signature cursive style with TinkerLab’s Rachelle Doorley in Creative Adventures in Cursive!

Where has this book been all my life? From the moment I opened the first pages and saw the cursive warm-up doodles, I wanted to be a kid again.
Barbara Rucci, Art Educator, Founder of Art Bar, and Author of Art Workshop for Children: How to Foster Original Thinking with more than 25 Process Art Experiences

Creative Adventures in Cursive gives kids of all ages ideas for practicing writing skills, then guides them into cursive creativity. Doorley has concocted 22 fun and colorful ways to use script to make posters, present school projects, design monograms, create greeting cards, decorate book bags and t-shirts, ice cookies and cakes — writing in script with everything, including fabric markers, pastry tubes, string and yarn, and of course brushes, pens, and crayons. And as educators will attest, writing in cursive provides cognitive benefits in spelling, memory, reading comprehension, language skills, and overall academic confidence. Practicing cursive carries similar benefits when drawing; once you learn the basic shapes, you can play with it by creating your own personal style. Cursive is a wonderful means of self-expression and an essential form of communication—don’t let it be forgotten!

This guide to joyful handwriting takes the curse out of cursive and reconnects young writers’ hands with their eyes and minds. […] The nearly lost art of handwriting is recovered here with countless activities and exercises designed to excite and engage young learners.
Steve Seidel, Director of the Arts in Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

About the Author:

Rachelle Doorley is an arts educator, community builder, and founder of the popular creativity blog TinkerLab. She is also the author of TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors, published by Roost in 2014. Rachelle studied costume design at the University of California, Los Angeles, and worked on Hollywood films before finding her true calling as an arts educator. After teaching elementary and middle school art, she earned a master’s in arts education from Harvard, and then oversaw museum-based and education programs in Massachussets and California. Rachelle lives with her family in the beautiful San Francisco Bay area, where she teaches art, visual thinking, and creativity. She enjoys her sketchbooks, taking her kids on adventures, good friends, kawaii drawings, breakfast, hand-drawn letters, hikes in the woods, and ocean air.

MY THOUGHTS: Cursive writing is fast becoming an art like calligraphy. Most curriculums, that I am aware of anyway, aren’t including it. But, honestly, it is a beautiful form of writing. I love the idea of utilizing it to make special creations. Sending greeting cards is also becoming a lost form of communication so I love the included activity of making cards featuring cursive.

This is the ideal, rainy/snowy day book of activities. Any one of the designs can be altered to accommodate even the littlest hands and who doesn’t love homemade gifts? If you are looking for ways to incorporate cursive writing or fun, mess-free art classes into your homeschool day, gift yourself a copy of this book. These are also ideal, inexpensive Sunday School/VBS projects. Suggest a copy to your Children’s Minister, too.

I highly recommend it for its fresh ideas and ease of use. 5 stars.

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Mason Jar Science: Jonathan Adolph

I RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING TITLE IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE MINE.

SYNOPSIS:
Overflowing with 40 dynamic, slimy, and super-cool experiments, this fun guide encourages budding Einsteins ages 8-12 to use a mason jar to explore the wonders of chemistry, botany, biology, physics, and earth science. Mason jars are the perfect containers for all kinds of experiments, and unlike expensive and fragile beakers and cylinders, they are affordable and durable. With a jar as a little lab, readers will learn how to create miniature clouds, tiny tornados, lava lamps, squishy, colorful slime, and much more!
From the kitchen counter to the classroom or science fair, Mason Jar Science will pique a child’s love for scientific exploration and uncover­ing the mysteries of the world — no lab coat required!
MY THOUGHTS: Fantastic! That’s the best way to intro this book- it’s fantastic! If you’re a homeschool parent who has trouble with either a reluctant learner or with coming up with fresh ideas, you’re problem is solved. Even students who dislike the subject of science will love doing these experiments. I’ve yet to meet a kid- boy or girl- who didn’t like things that were ‘squishy’ or ‘slimy’. Let’s be honest: kids love anything messy.

As a mom, what I love most about this book is the wide variety it brings to the classroom. There are so many genres of science covered here. Not to mention 40 experiments! That’s a whole lot of learning in one book! Inexpensive tools, captivating lessons, and non-stop learning- what more could you ask for in a science book? To me, it’s a must-have in your homeschool classroom.

If you’re an educator at a brick-and-mortar school and teaching the 8-12 year old range, then you can absolutely benefit from this book, too. Let’s get kids excited about learning. I have to give this one 5 stars!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jonathan Adolph developed hundreds of “stealth learning” games and kitchen-science activities in his 20-year career as editor of the award-winning FamilyFun magazine. He specializes in making technical information fun for kids and is an adjunct professor of journalism at the University of Massachusetts. He lives with his family in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Mason Jar Science
136 pages; 7″ x 10″
Full-color; photographs and illustrations throughout
$14.95 hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-61212-986-0
Available May 2018
*PIC & SYNOPSIS BELONG SOLELY TO THE AUTHOR/PUBLISHER

S.T.E.M. in Action With Stomp Rocket

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S.T.E.M. or Science, Technology, Engineering & Math, is an integral part of most curriculums. If your family homeschools & you’re looking for an interactive way to teach S.T.E.M., consider ‘Stomp Rocket’.

What I like most about the rocket is that it’s kid-powered. They step on the ‘launchpad’ causing the rocket to fly. I’ll say they go a bit further than I thought they would! In fact, Buster ended up fetching the rockets for us. Needless to say, this is a good activity to tire out the younger ones (& parents). While I highly recommend using them outside, if you have a sizeable playroom or basement, you can probably use them there too. Unless you have a ceiling fan or low hanging lights.

Launching the rocket demonstrates trajectory, force & gravity. Science in a book is great; science in action is better. There’s a reason scientists like Bill Nye are popular. Plus, it can turn into a full-blown phys ed class. All that running, especially if your dog won’t fetch like Buster did, is great cardio.

Being that each rocket comes equipped with an LED light, students can utilize it outside when their day is done. LED lights are environmentally friendly. I learned via Stomp Rocket that LED lights are more efficient than either fluorescent or incandescent bulbs. For older students, the LED lights can become a lesson on light and the launchpad can be a lesson on air-power. Believe me, I have an 8th grader who had a blast shooting the rockets. I did too. It was definitely a fun way to talk science.

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Assembly was super easy. Actually, our 13-year-old put it together without the directions. My only concern for little ones & animals is the bolt that attaches the hose to the stand. If you don’t think your kiddos are old enough, save a hassle & put it together yourself. The bolt could scrape their hands if you aren’t careful.
img_0270The rockets themselves will cause no harm. They’re soft like a Nerf dart and even when they’re descending, they won’t cause any pain. I can say this because we both got caught on the receiving end of the rocket. Do be careful if your dog is a chewer. If we hadn’t got them immediately back from Buster, he’d have eaten them for sure!
The lights really add something special. Maybe it’s the kid in all of us who just likes things that light up. Regardless, it looks really cool in the evening when they fly through the air. With the Ultra LED Stomp Rocket Kit, there are 4 rockets included so if you do it fast enough you can have a light show of sorts!
img_0284 I’m not sure about the life of the Launchpad. It seems to lose some strength if stomping becomes overzealous. We definitely put a dent in ours & we really weren’t abusing it. I’d recommend not letting the kids get too rough with it or you may need a new one.
You can purchase Stomp Rocket at your local Dick’s Sporting Goods Store or visit http://www.stomprocket.com to see the wonderful awards Stomp Rocket has earned and find out full product line info.
*Pics belong to Stomp Rockets & DMO3, respectively. We received the aforementioned product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

7th Grade Math Helps: Discounts

To determine the percentage of a discount, use the formula:

amount of discount                         N
__________________ = ______________
Original cost                                          100

If a store sells a supply for a regular price of $47.50 and it is discounted to a price of $39.25, what is the percent of the discount?
1) Find the amount of discount:
47.50-39.25= 8.25

2) Fill in the equation:

8.25 =          n
____ _______
47.50          100

3) Cross multiply to get:
47.50N= 825

4) Divide both of the numbers above by the original cost, in this case, 47.50.
47.50n / 47.50 = N
825/47.50= 17.4

5) N= 17.4% so the amount of the discount is 17.4%

Thanksgiving Resources for Kids from PBS LearningMedia

PBS_LM_logoWith Thanksgiving almost here, PBS LearningMedia has sent along some great resources to enhance learning for the Holiday.

· Crash Course with John Green: Colonizing America

John Green teaches you about the (English) colonies in what is now the United States. He covers the first permanent English colony at Jamestown, Virginia, the various theocracies in Massachusetts, the feudal kingdom in Maryland, and even a bit about the spooky lost colony at Roanoke Island. What were the English doing in America, anyway? Lots of stuff. In Virginia, the colonists were largely there to make money. In Maryland, the idea was to create a colony for Catholics who wanted to be serfs of the Lords Baltimore. In Massachusetts, the Pilgrims and Puritans came to America to find a place where they could freely persecute those who didn’t share their beliefs. But there was a healthy profit motive in Massachusetts as well. Profits were thin at first, and so were the colonists. Trouble growing food and trouble with the natives kept the early colonies from success.

· Thanksgiving Vocabulary Word Search

Learn the vocabulary of Thanksgiving with this fun word search from All About the Holidays

All About the Holidays: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a day for us to remember what we’re thankful for. Uncover the history behind this holiday!

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· Thanksgiving History
Throughout history, people have given thanks – sometimes in joyful celebration, often in solemn, even prayerful, ceremony. The United States, over hundreds of years, has come to observe a national holiday for giving thanks: Thanksgiving. This set of primary resources containing images and documents provides a window into this time period, as well as a Teacher’s Guide with historical context and teaching suggestions.

· Federal Holiday: Thanksgiving

In the United States, Thanksgiving is a time for tradition and sharing. People gather with family and friends on the fourth Thursday in November to enjoy a traditional meal and to give thanks for life’s many blessings.

· Activate Turkey Power! | Wild Kratts

Chris, Martin, and the gang check out a wild turkey close up and learn about its special characteristics. Aviva programs a new creature power disk with turkey powers, and the Wild Kratts kids encourage Martin and Chris to activate their new creature powers!

All info, links, & pics belong ONLY to PBS LearningMedia.
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Friends and Heroes Giveaway

This giveaway will run from now – 8/30 at 11pm Eastern Time.

It is open to US residents ages 18+

1 winner will receive the Friends and Heroes Homeschool Unit Study #1

Friends and Heroes Giveaway Sponsored by Friends and Heroes

Hosted by Pea of Sweetness

Friends and Heroes Giveaway

Friends and Heroes award-winning adventures and Bible stories on DVD accompanied by an exciting, cross-curricular Homeschool Unit Study – easy-to-use, hands-on, attractively designed, colorful and FUN! The material is highly adaptable and may be easily incorporated with your other homeschooling activities to provide two to four weeks of learning. Ideal for students 7 to 11 years of age.

Emilee from Pea of Sweetness has used the Friends and Heroes Homeschool Unit 1 with her two oldest children. They enjoyed the Friends and Heroes Homeschool Curriculum and including it in their homeschool curriculum. See what she thought in her full Friends and Heroes Bible homeschool curriculum review.

Special Promotion!

Friends and Heroes is currently running their BIG Summer Promotion!

This promotion includes:

  • 10% off any purchase of $50 or more
  • 20% off any purchase of $125 or more
  • FREE USA shipping on orders of $25 or more

This is an amazing promotion that they only run occasionally, so you definitely don’t want to miss it! Check out the Friends and Heroes Promotion now! This offer runs through August 31, 2015.

 

*Giveaway!!*

Would you like the chance to win a Friends and Heroes Homeschool Unit Study? One winner will receive the Friends and Heroes Homeschool Unit Study #1! The Friends and Heroes Homeschool Unit Study #1 includes:

  • Friends and Heroes DVD Episode 1- Long Journey – which serves as stimulus material for cross-curricular studies
  • All teacher and student’s materials – included on CD-ROM – printable and reusable
  • Learner-centered, self-guided Unit Study manuals
  • Teacher’s Guide – with learning goals, background details, answer keys, internet links
  • Certificates of Achievement and binder covers

Unit Study #1 covers:

  • History/Geography: The Romans; Roman Trade; Roman money; Roman import and exports
  • Creative writing: Journal writing; Written expression and narration; Copy writing
  • Bible study: Daniel and the lions’ den and Jesus and the miraculous catch of fish; The Early Church
  • Science: Silver; Sand and cement; Greek and Roman discoveries
  • Crafts: Sculpture; Paper weaving; Pottery
  • Discipleship: Trusting others; Pride; Worries

This giveaway runs through 8/30/15 at 11:00pm Eastern Time and is open to US residents ages 18+. Winner is subject to eligibility verification and will have 48 hours to confirm before a new winner will be drawn. For any questions/concerns please email emilee.roberts (at) peaofsweetness (dot) com (consider adding this email to your “Safe List” as winning email notification will be sent from this email). Please refer to the full terms and conditions in the Giveaway Tools.

 
Disclosure: Emilee at Pea of Sweetness received free product in exchange for an honest review. Pea of Sweetness and any participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment.

 IF THE GIVEAWAY FORM DOESN’T SHOW, CLICK THE WORDS ‘ENTRY FORM’. A NEW TAB WILL OPEN.