As I mentioned last week, we are temporarily homeschooling my 2nd grader. #thanksCoVid  So, this year, I'll be blogging about our 2nd grade homeschooling adventures.

Today we finished our first official week!  We've been reading Frog and Toad together during our literacy time.  So today, we did a STEM challenge in honor of Frog and Toad and the #cancelled Olympic Games!

My 7 year old son has been obsessed with folding paper airplanes!  He has this book he got for Christmas and LOVES it!  So, I decided to find a foldable frog we could make as a craft because he also loves to do any kind of crafts.  

When I was looking for an origami book that had a frog in it, I found this one from our local library. (We LOVE that they do curbside pickup right now!)  When I saw it was a *jumping* frog, I knew we had to do a STEM challenge!

That's where the Frog and Toad Origami Games STEM Challenge was born!  SIDE NOTE:  Have you watched any of the marble run games on YouTube?  We have loved those during the CoVid Quarantine and no live sports!  And it was another inspiration for this challenge. :)

We followed the super easy step-by-step directions in the origami book.  And then we added googly eyes!

Then, we were ready to let the games begin!!

Event 1: Frog Races

First, Cooper took sidewalk chalk and drew a *short* track for the frogs to race.  FAIR WARNING: These frogs jump, but not high and not far!  So a short track is best! :)

Then, we took turns racing and timing Frog and Toad.  Frog went first!

We recorded our times on the recording sheet and each took 2 tries to race.

Event 2: Frog Hurdles

For the next event, we used bendy straws to make 3 hurdles.  Because our frogs didn't jump as high, we made an easy, medium and hard hurdle!

Frog and Toad each got two tries to jump each hurdle.  Toad only jumped the easies hurdle once, but Frog jumped the easy AND the hardest hurdle. (Frog had help from the wind!)

But neither Frog, nor Toad, made it over the medium hurdle!

Event 3: Long Jump

Last, we set up our long jump event.  Because our frogs jump on a smaller scale, we made a smaller scale long jump area.

Frog jumped 5 lines, but Toad only got 1 line for his farthest jump! :)

You can find all of our literacy lesson plans and STEM challenge plans and pages here!

Welcome to 2020.  The year of the pandemic.

And the year we decided to temporarily homeschool our 7 year old.  Homeschool was the right decision right now for us because it came down to the LRE--the least restrictive environment.  It's a term we use in public school for our special needs children.  And it was the idea that we kept coming back to as parents.  Which environment--in person, all virtual, or homeschool--will give Cooper the least restrictive environment.  And the answer every time was homeschool.

Since my 7 year old boy LOVES legos, our homeschool classroom theme became obvious!  And I think it turned out adorably.  Take a look at our lego classroom space!
{This post contains affiliate links which go to support my chocolate and Dr. Pepper addiction! :)}

Our upstairs playroom has the perfectly sized window jut-out area.  It has great natural light and is just the perfect size for a homeschool classroom.  

2nd Grade Lego Sign

The first thing we did is make our "2nd" grade sign for the window sill.  I grabbed these paper mache letters online since I wasn't going in stores, spray painted them black and hot glued random, extra legos to it.  The 2 is a 12" letter and the N & D are 8" letters.

The rest of the window holds our books we are reading that week.  Clearly, this week, we will be enjoying some Frog and Toad!

Lego Head Painted Jars

I ordered rainbow drawers to keep our supplies organized, but I also wanted a few supply jars out.  These lego jars were perfect!

I found a few extra small mason jars.  These are the 8 ounce sized jars.  First, I decided to use craft paint.

You can see that clearly didn't work well.  The paint peeled, and the more coats I tried to add, the worse it got...

So I bought some spray paint and problem solved.  It was so easy and soooo much faster.  I wish I would've done this earlier!

Then, my handy husband cut a 4" cube for me from a left over post scrap he had in his shop.  I did use craft paints to paint this blue and it worked great!!  It took 2-3 coats to get the coloring right.  I wanted it to look like one of the lego heads had a blue shirt lego block and I think it works well!

Aren't the adorable?  I had fun painting the faces and letting my 7 year old paint too! :)

Lego Drawer Pull

In the middle of a work-from-home, school-from-home pandemic, desks are a hot commodity!!

After 2 desk ordering fails, I finally found this desk and this chair at Walmart for under $50.  It's simple and basic, but that's what we needed for this kid space anyway!  (Rainbow drawers are from Amazon.)

I decided to add a drawer pull to it to tie it in to our theme.  

Cooper built a lego droid drawer pull (can you tell his other love is Star Wars??).  We used hot glue to attach it to the drawer, but that didn't last long.  Right now, it's stuck with Gorilla Super Glue.  Fingers crossed this lasts longer!

Lego Bulletin Board

If you have followed my blog for any amount of time, you know I LOVE a good anchor chart.  So having a place to post our learning this year was crucial!  I ordered this cork bulletin board and covered it in black fabric.  Then, I hot glued mega blocks around the border.  I bought this set of mega blocks and I had less than 10 left over so it worked perfectly with this size board.

I drew and cut out the light bulb, and made and printed the text for our big idea.  This is our big idea for the first nine weeks.  I've planned out 4 big ideas for the year!  If you have any of my integrated units, you know I'm a believer in a big idea to connect across all subject areas.  Homeschooling will be no different!

I love how this board turned out!  Soon it will be full of anchor charts and learning.  Follow me on facebook or instagram to see the progress! 

If you love this bulletin board, you can find templates, for 3 lego themed inspirational quotes in this bulletin board set.

I really love our little space and hope it makes for a successful year of 2nd grade!

I love teaching young kids about the 10 Commandments.  I believe it gives us a framework to talk to kids about what is right and wrong and to talk about some really difficult, but important topics, like murder and idols.

Here are a few of my favorite activities to do with kindergarteners to help them understand the 10 Commandments more.

Tablet Water Painting

For my little Sunday School kids, I love using the first 15 minutes or so of our time doing exploration stations.  This gives kids play experiences to help them build a framework to understand what we are talking about.

One of my favorite exploration stations for the 10 commandments is tablet painting.

All we did was choose some flat landscaping rocks. (I borrowed one from my in-laws!)  I just get enough materials to be used for 2 or 3 kids in a station.  But you could certainly get one stone for each kid and do it as a large group activity.

I keep the laminated commandment cards at the station along with paint brushes and cups of water. 

Kids can do one of three things.

They can just free paint the tablet.

You can prep the stones by writing one commandment on each stone with a white crayon or sharpie.  Then, let the kids use the water to "paint trace" over the commandments.

Finally, they can look and trace by drawing a card and using their water and brush to copy the command onto the tablet.

We have so much fun with this activity!

Bean Bag Toss

I use this as a review game!  I print each commandment card that we have learned so far out and lay them out on the floor.  If we've only learned 3 commandments, only 3 cards get put out.  If we've learned all 10, all 10 cards go down on the floor.

The kids take turns tossing a bean bag.  Whichever card they land on, they have to share one way to follow that commandment.

Another version is to have them share a way to NOT follow that commandment.  This is great review and practice understanding of the 10 commandments.

Sorting Cards

Sorts are some of my favorite activities for primary kids.  Preschoolers and kindergartners need lots of opportunities to make sense of a concept by understanding what it is and is not.  Sorting is perfect for that!

During our 10 commandments unit, we have 2 sorting activities.

When we learn about idols, we sort things that help us grow closer to God and things that do not.

When we learn about murder, we talk mostly about how killing is a terrible reaction to anger.  During this lesson we sort activities that are healthy ways to handle anger and unhealthy ways to deal with our anger.  

This is an important discussion that deepens their understanding of a commandment that can seem unrelatable.  Not many of our kids will grow up to kill others.  But most, if not all, will struggle dealing with anger...which is the seed that can grow into murder.

Fill a Shape

One exploration station that is in every kindergarten Bible unit is fill a shape.  It help kids attend to an important shape that goes with our unit.  It's great fine motor practice.  And it's just another opportunity to let them "play" and experience something related to our big idea.

During our 10 commandments unit, we fill a tablet with stones!

10 Commandment Boogie Video

I found this video and we absolutely LOVE it!  It's great movement for the littles and really does help them remember each rule!

Want to find all of the materials to use with this unit, plus a full lesson on each commandment for kindergartners?  Boogie on over and find the full, 10 week unit here.

Some of the questions I get from teachers all the time are, "Can I use your powerpoint resources in Google Classroom?" or "Will the powerpoint resources work in Google Slides?"

YES!  Absolutely!  If you have a powerpoint presentation or interactive slides that you use whole group in your classroom, you can use those in Google Classroom as assignments for your students.  Let's talk about the super easy steps to uploading PowerPoints to Google Classroom and important things to know and do to use them effectively.

Step 1: Upload Your PowerPoint to Google Drive

Go to your Google Drive by logging in (or setting up a google drive) here.

Find the folder you want the powerpoint file to be in and click the large plus sign "new" button in the top left.

Scroll down and click "File upload."

Now your powerpoint file is in the Google Drive folder.  You know it is still a powerpoint because you will see the powerpoint thumbnail to the left of the file name.

Step 2: Convert the PowerPoint file to Google Slides

Now that your powerpoint resource is uploaded to Google Drive, you will want to convert it to Google Slides so that you can easily assign and use the resource in Google Classroom.

Double click on the powerpoint file to open it up.  Then, click "Open With."

In that drop-down menu, click "Google Slides."

This will open up this resource in Google Slides.  At this point, your file is still a powerpoint file, but it is open is Slides.  (Notice the orange .PPTX box in orange after the title below? That tells you it's still a powerpoint file!)  You want to SAVE it as a Google Slides file so that you can use it in Google Classroom.

To do this, go to "File" and then "Save As Google Slides."

Step 3: Assign in Google Classroom

Now that you have a Google Slides file, you are ready to assign it in Google Classroom.

Log in to your Google Classroom account with your gmail account.  Then, choose the class you want to assign the Google Slides resource to.

Click on the "Classwork" tab at the top of the screen.

Choose "+ Create"... the big blue button in the top left.

This will open a drop down menu.  Choose "Assignment."

Type in your title and description.  Then, Click "Add."

Choose "Google Drive" to add the Slides resource you've converted.  (Note... if you just want to upload a pdf or another file from you computer, you can do that here to by choosing "file."

Now you want to make a copy for each student.  This will allow them to edit the assignment and it will also make sure that they can only edit their assignment--and not everyone else's! :)

It's time to assign!  Click the blue "Assign" button to assign it immediately.  Or click the drop down arrow beside "Assign" to schedule it to be assigned later on.

Woohoo!! You're PowerPoint-turned-Google Slides resource is now assigned to your students to digitally complete using Google Classroom!

I have many powerpoint resources in my store, like the phonics unit that is shown in the photo examples, that can easily be converted to Slides and you can find those links below.  

NOTE: any animation or timers will not convert correctly to Slides. 

Phonics Interactive Powerpoint: FREEBIE Calendar Math Wall: Kindergarten, 1st Quarter Digital Number Talks FREEBIE

Want to use your powerpoint file in a different app or platform?  Use this blogpost to help you find exactly how to do it!
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