{sharing sunday}: guided journal pages

journal2 - ourschoolathomeblog-wordpress-com

a simple share from our school to yours (or to your home!) — enjoy!

this share: guided journal pages we keep easily accessible in our writing center. asking the author some open ended questions, reasons to explore some and write some and simply enjoy the process.

journal1 - ourschoolathomeblog-wordpress-com. . . . . . . . . . 

our downloadable pdf daily journal page can be found here

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our downloadable pdf guided journal pages (a set of six) can be found here


this moment

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{this moment} – a friday ritual. a single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. a simple, special, extraordinary moment. a moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

inspiration from soulemama

if you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

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this moment - 07262013 - ourschoolathomeblog-wordpress-com

{gluten-free} blueberry muffins

blueberry muffins - ourschoolathomeblog-wordpress-comit’s the time of year … for fresh blueberries! maybe it’s in the act of picking that makes them so desirable, these little sweet blue globes. but, we emerge from rows of blueberry bushes at our local spot with purple-stained fingers and full-bellies and buckets of sweet, early summer goodness.

while the child in this home only prefers her blueberries ‘just as they are’, I am a dedicated blueberry muffin gal, through and through. (well, and a blueberry buckle gal, a blueberry pancake and a blueberry compote gal … but we’re here for muffins) since we’re also a gluten-free home, learning how to modify recipes has been a good challenge.

however, baking with small ones need not be some grand adventure — we need a go-to recipe that allows us to combine everything in one bowl and return some pretty great results! last winter we started using Pamela’s baking mix for a much-coveted gluten free rendition of a favorite pumpkin loaf and it was fabulous {so much so, we often don’t tell folks it’s GF!}. so when it came time to figure out a good blueberry muffin recipe, back to the baking mix we went.

these muffins are not sweet — which is what was desired — but are full of flavor, are moist and one of the quickest recipes I know for making 12-16 muffins.

:: gluten-free blueberry muffins

blueberry muffins 2 - ourschoolathomeblog-wordpress-com

  • 3 cups Pamela’s baking mix
  • 1/2 cup sugar {I use a vegan cane sugar}
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup water
  • healthy dash of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 {healthy} cup blueberries
  • 1 mashed overripe banana (the secret in this recipe!) 

{I bake by ‘feel’ and this recipe is no different — as you’re mixing use your “feel” to use more or less mix, more or less water, add in some applesauce instead of the banana, raspberries along with the blueberries … and enjoy!}

blueberries should be picked over to check for firmness as well as any odd stems still attached. rinse and dry.

preheat oven to 350*F and line your muffin tins with liners (or grease and set the pan aside)

add all (all!) ingredients into one bowl  — have your young helpers assist with the measuring and even cracking the eggs. mix until combined well.

fill the muffin tins about 2/3 to 3/4 filled and bake for about 15-18 minutes — but do watch them for done-ness and adjust your baking time appropriately. remove from oven, let sit in baking pan for a cool on a wire rack to cool until cool enough handle, then cool to room temperature on a wire rack (or eat one warm … yum!).

these muffins freeze very well but we often don’t have the chance for that since they’re usually gone before I get the chance to freeze any {which is a good problem to have!}

this recipe yields about 14-16 muffins — enjoy baking these with your small helpers and sharing one or two of them together!

make a craft: {the good food restaurant}

restaurant - ourschoolathomeblog-wordpress-coma restaurant is born! 

five star it may not be, nor is jamie oliver stopping by anytime soon {we think!} for the dishes we’re preparing, but it’s a space created wholly by observing and interacting in the natural play this space affords us. dramatic play kitchen areas so naturally lend themselves to this type of cooperative and interactive play that creating some simple props to assist in this play {as well as augmenting with some purchased “real” props}, our restaurant was created … and is in non-stop use!

so, how did we go about this?

here’s the general steps:

:: I spent a couple of days intently observing and listening to the conversations happening in this area — who was doing what, how were they doing it, what questions and conversations were happening. I interjected some terms here and there {“do you have a daily special?“, “can I take this order to-go?“, etc} to add another dimension to the play, but this was my time to just observe and understand.

:: our first order of business? a restaurant name! the conversation was guided by “what do you serve?” and so, {the good food restaurant} was born. and, who doesn’t want to eat “good food”, right?!

:: a menu was next on the list! the guiding question was “what do you serve?” elicited many responses but the consensus came back, time and again, to items enjoyed but also ones they felt were decadent (I adored the addition of cake and lemonade!).  as we talked about the food, we talked price: “what do you think someone would pay for this?” and numbers were kept easy and often the children would compare prices as we wrote all of this out (I took the role of transcriber as the discussions happened naturally, cooperatively and collaboratively).

good food restaurant menu - ourschoolathomeblog-wordpress-com:: next, I took a laptop to the children and we chose the menu format and each clip-art. each menu is printed on an inkjet printer on card stock and I printed double sided  for ease
(do you need the template? send an email and let me know! contact form at the bottom of this post)

restaurant 3 - ourschoolathomeblog-wordpress-com

:: from there, our menu on the wall evolved — as well as a pocket to place the menu’s in. the menu contents was printed, cut and placed on a 12×18″ piece of construction paper, the pocket is a piece of cardstock folded into a pocket and attached to the construction paper with clear packing tape.

at our local office supply store, “guest check” pads were purchased for a small nominal amount. we re-purposed some smaller-sized clipboards to hold the pads, found a cup to put pencils in and even a stray calculator to aid in adding up the bill. a small hook was added to the play kitchen to hang the clipboard and aprons were sourced from other areas in the school and clearly have become the ‘uniform’ of choice when playing the role of waiter/waitress.

restaurant 2 - ourschoolathomeblog-wordpress-com

each prop and item has created a space guided completely by the children’s imagination. the play is so intentional, so meaningful and incredibly cooperative and collaborative. it is a joy to see the play evolve, the conversations and questions, the smiles and the heaps of laughter that seem to easily erupt in this space.

:: where will your play take you today? can observing and allowing your presence to be a bystander, and a recorder, allow the creation of a new space?

interested in having the menu template sent your way? be in touch below:

this momentt

. . . . . . . . .

{this moment} – a friday ritual. a single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. a simple, special, extraordinary moment. a moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

inspiration from soulemama

if you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

. . . . . . . . . .

this moment 07192013 - ourschoolathomeblog-wordpress-com

make a craft: flower word families

flower word families - ourschoolathomeblog-wordpress-com. . . . . . . . . .

our writing corner is a popular space at our school. it is designed specifically for one person and is a language rich space to do some journaling, explore words and language, or simply take out a white-board and create what you need to.

recently we’ve been adding words and “word families” to the repertoire of sight and spoken words, specifically for our older children to incorporate into their journaling, but for everyone to experience. we find ourselves singing many “rhyming words” with claps, stomps and often much laughter. we find the rhythm of rhyming in our stories and poetry read during our days together, in our songs and chants during many chances to sing and dance.

Reading Rockets (a program of WETA) has a wonderful article on Phonelogical Awareness as well as the importance of the pre-reading skill of Rhyming Games. So why go through all this chanting and rhyming and general silliness over words like rat, hat, cat, mat, {and} pat? Well … it’s so vital and so important! Reading Rockets nicely states: “Developing a child’s phonological awareness is an important part of developing a reader. Young children’s ability to identify rhyme units is an important component of phonological awareness. Research shows that students benefit from direct instruction on rhyme recognition paired with fun activities that target this skill.”

and, so, we chant and march, we rhyme and clap … and we sing often very off-key (and enjoy each moment!) …
and we make flower word families together! 

:: make a craft: flower word families

:: brown paper bags
:: paper in varying colors (I used card stock and vellum because I had it on hand)
:: wooden popsicle sticks (I used ones 6 3/4 x 1/16″ found at a craft store)
:: scissors
:: markers
:: glue

how to: 
:: I used a 3 1/2″ punch-cutter for the flower center (it’s quicker than I can cut on my own) and free-hand cut the petals
:: I asked the children to help the assemby of the flowers — using tape to adhere the petals onto the flower, using markers to color the popsicle stick stems while I quickly cut flower-pot shapes out of a grocery store bag
:: once the flowers were assembled, I marked each with “_____ xx” for our word family “base” (in our case, we used “__ed” “__ap” “__op” “__ug”) and then asked the children to listen to the sound of the “base” and then asked if we could start rhyming (and entered each word spoken on the petals)

:: what language rich activity can you do today? have you marched and rhymed today? (try it … it’s such fun!) 

it’s christmas in july!

barefoot books - ourschoolathomeblog-wordpress-com

whenever a box or bag arrives at our doorstep (or when we’re lucky enough to head to their Concord, MA studio), the Barefoot Books logo brings such excitement in our school and with our children (and adults!). the stories draw you in and expand your imagination, the illustrations are engaging and capture the minds of young and old alike. and if you’re lucky enough to have your story read on an accompanying cd … watch out! I can’t tell you how often I’ve gleefully sat and listened alongside the children to the “Jack and the Beanstalk” story, expertly narrated by Richard Hope. and when he gets to the spot where the giant flies off the beanstalk with a giant “boooiiiinnngggg!” I join the children in fits of laughter every single time!

‘our school at home’ proudly partners with Barefoot Books and uses many of these award-winning and inspiring books in our themed curriculum.

barefoot giant turnip - ourschoolathomeblog-wordpress-com

like “the gigantic turnip” – we’ve been reading it again and again during our theme of “things that grow“. the story is wonderful, cumulative, rich … and hysterical! how these characters all work together to get this gigantic turnip out of the ground is both wonderfully collaborative and downright funny (look at the cow helping out … he’s the first of many animals that will hop on board to join in the fun!)

want to learn more about Barefoot Books or ‘our school at home’? are you local in the greater-Boston area? we’re having an wonderful “Christmas in July” gathering this Sunday, July 21st in the afternoon where you can shop for books, tour the school and see what we’re all about.

interested? send us an email at ourschoolathome@icloud.com and we’ll share more — hope to see  you there!