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Abacus: “Spectrum”

Giants and Pilgrim “Abacus” is a creative home curriculum centered on a monthly theme. This month’s theme is Spectrum!
Read all about how to use this list and our heart behind this project here.

Below is our comprehensive activities list! Choose a couple to do with your kids to enrich the month or try to accomplish the whole thing!

Also, a few March Dates to keep in mind as you are scheming fun activities-

Pi Day = March 14th (3.14…)
St. Patricks Day = Mar. 17
First day of Spring = Mar. 20th

March: Spectrum

Listen:

Ludwig Von Drake – The Spectrum Song (disney)

Red Roses for Blue Lady by Jack Morgan

Our Spectrum playlist! (coming later this month…)

This podcast on Spiral dynamics (For adults – not kids)

Movies:

Any of these films with an intensely distinctive color palette: Amelie, any Wes Anderson film, Nanny McPhee, Hero
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For St. Patricks Day:
The Secret of Roan Inish, and The Book of Kells
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The Wizard of Oz (For its transition from black and white to color)

Science:

Play with prisms

Learn about plants and how they process light

Steve Spangler St. Patrick’s Day Science Kit (we bought this a few years back and now get it out every year. It was super fun. I would highly recommend it. We are needing a few refills, but mostly it lasts quite a while)

Bees, Ultra violet and other colors off our visual spectrum – we are hoping to take a field trip out to Illuman Apiary’s bee hives if it gets warm enough.

This Cool Density “rainbow in a jar” experiment
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Take a trip to the Denver Natural History Museum – specifically to play with their infrared camera body scan
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Learn about eyes – Anatomy, Rods/Cones, etc

Adventure:

Make a Treasure Map  – Participate in our Isles of Green Adventure at the end of this month! (Here is last years)
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Books:

Adult Reads:

Red: The Red Tent by Anita Diamont

Orange: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Yellow: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Green: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Blue: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Purple: The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Kids:
Older kids –
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Giver by Louis Lowry
Younger –
Mix it Up by H. Tullet, Do You Know Colors by Katherine Howard, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See? by Eric Carle, The Day the Crayons Quit by Oliver Jeffres
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Art:

Freezer paper “Favorite Color” shirts
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Paint Color wheels/Learn about color mixing/Spin art
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Find some where to do a color coded Trash art installation like this –
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Make dip dyed cloth or paper (or tie dye!)
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Make layered paper jewelry

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Garden/Outside:

Make Garden cold frames (or as I like to call them, “mini-greenhouses”)

Seed Starts
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Visit the Wichita Botanical Gardens

Play with this:
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Kitchen:

Make homemade play dough – recipe coming soon 🙂

Eat the Rainbow – this could make a fun grocery store trip that maybe helps convince my kids to try eating a few vegetables.
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Make these edible rainbows –
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Play with rainbow foam
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Sort all the things by color (oh wait, I do that already…)

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ABACUS: “Letters” Project Round UP

(Above image is from a Greeley mural created by Wes Bruce.)

The theme for this month’s Abacus project is “Letters” (ABACUS is our creative home curriculum centered on a theme). I am excited to share where we have been going with it!  To see the whole list of projects we came up with (and resources!) check out our original post, here.  It’s been a lovely way to spend February.

The first thing we did was to get out all sorts of lettering sheets and make a poster for the month with all our ideas and plans. We had a fun time experimenting with different fonts and styles. I got pretty into this too and had a great time addressing all our valentine envelopes with different fonts. Ridiculous, I know. But so fun.

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Here are a couple of awesome vintage charts I found that you could print out and play with. Ah, the lost art of lovely handwriting.
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Lucy wrote a letter to her first pen-pal.
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We haven’t had a chance to set up letter writing stations around town yet, but we’re planning on doing it soon! We are also still hoping to take a visit to the local Post Office and have a tour (we did go and pick out some stamps on our last etsy mailing errand).

We started illustrating our own animal alphabet book. Its destined to be a classic.

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Tim took a brisk alphabet-photo-walk with Lucy where they found all the letters in the alphabet.
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Speaking of photos, I have been loving participating in the annual Atlas photo a day challenge on instagram.
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Lots of mail has been made and delivered around here, thanks to these cute little mailboxes we picked up for $3 at target and customized.

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Been listening to lots of this album, as well as our ABC playlist (still to come).

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We started a little stamp collection by printing out some of these pages – http://stamps.org/userfiles/file/albums/2014-Issues.pdf and putting them in a three ring binder. Any time we got a letter this month with stamps on it we add them to our stamp “album”. Hattie (who’s 3) in particular has loved this.

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Lucy has been enjoying playing these typing games on the computer.

Tim spent a morning teaching the girls about addresses. I later received this sweet, sweet letter. Keeping it forever 🙂

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A “letters” tie in that I had not anticipated has been my set-design work for Frontier Academy elementary school. One of my close friends asked me to design the set for their show called “Knights of Dawn” (its from one of the Magic Treehouse books). We did a literary theme by constructing the whole thing from oversize pages of the text and old books. Lots of “letters”! 🙂 The girls have loved it.
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Finally, we did a whole “Secret Spy” day that was pretty epic. It involved “lasers”, a spy course, and a top secret code. Read about the whole thing here.
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Share your projects on our facebook group!

– See more ideas at: http://s28969.p27.sites.pressdns.com/abacus-letters-a-creative-curriculum-list-for-february/#sthash.l90fvSMi.dpuf

If you want more info about this whole Abacus project, start here.

To jump in and connect with other families and share what you are working on, join our Abacus facebook group.

Or, to connect see our whole list of Letters project suggestions and resources list, head over here.

Introducing Giants & Pilgrims ABACUS: a creative home curriculum centered on a monthly theme!

I’m so excited to introduce one of Giants & Pilgrims new projects for 2015: ABACUS
Creative home curriculum centered on a monthly theme.

Isn’t that a fun word? Abacus. One of the things I have wanted to do for a while is to come up with a list of themed activities to center our home study/projects around. As a stay at home mom, I feel like our lives and days can get so scattered. Just this morning, in the course of 10 minutes I was asked 53 different questions. I seriously started counting. Can I have chocolate milk? Can I have two cereals? I want a cup! Can you pick me up? It’s amazing how much of an energy-drain parenting can be at times. Sometimes just getting everyone dressed and fed uses up all the energy I have. Trying to come up with creative engaging activities in addition to the normal chaos of life can feel like too much.

But, we want to live “the good life”. I want to tell a better story with our days. For me, ABACUS will be about focusing our projects and days into a cohesive journey. It’s about tying all the little bits and pieces together to create something beautiful.

The second inspiration for this project was my sister, Katie. She and her beautiful family, who we love so much, live in Canada- way too far away to visit as often as we would like. She is homeschooling her kids (Luca 5, Rose 3, and Remi 1). We wanted to find a way to connect as families and sisters by sharing our activity experiences. So, the idea of Abacus was born.

Essentially, the plan is this. Each month we will pick a theme and then create a whole list of activities that correspond to it – which will also coordinate with our Almanac theme. This first month’s theme is “Mountain.”

As we brainstorm our whole list of activities that correspond to the theme – hopefully you’ll add ideas as well on our new facebook page. We will publish a whole list for you to use however you see fit. For our family, we will be hanging a poster of the list with check marks in our family room. As we need activities to focus our days, we will choose projects off the list. No need to try to do everything, and they do not need to be completed in any particular order. Essentially, these are meant to be project “sparks.”

Finally, as an explorer of the world. I want to come along side my kids. I want to get excited about what we are working on and playing with together. So, within this list are some items and things that are for me (and parents). I’ve included books like “Into Thin Air” and “Born to Run” on our Mountain curriculum for myself, which have been on my reading list for a while. I plan on reading these during the month as my own little “Mountain” study.

Another piece that as a teacher I believe is very important is the journal. We’re calling these Adventure Logs! Starting this month, we bought simple blank sketchbooks for the kids. I keep these separate from the rest of their collection of notebooks and papers, because they are special. Any time we do something off the list, I try to incorporate a journal activity or reflection. So far its looked like sketches of mountains, Lucy’s visual interpretation of “the hall of the mountain king”, and a sketch of her pattern for a mountain pillow. Harriet’s has a page of practicing drawing “J’s” for “January. We make sure to date each entry. My hope is that these will be great pieces to come back to and remember our adventures by.

Oh, and one last thing. I made a sweet pinterest board to keep track of some of the fun, Mountain-themed projects I have come across in my research.


Ready to get started? Here is the first list –  
January 2015 “Mountain”

Abacus: Mountain – Creative Curriculum List for January

Read all about how to use this list and our heart behind this project here.

And, here is a sweet pinterest board I put together with lots of project ideas and inspiration

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“Mountain”

Movies:

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Sound of Music

The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Mountains from Planet Earth

 

Music:

In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg

Rocky Mountain High by John Denver

America the Beautiful

Crescendos

Yodeling

 

Sciences:

Rock Collecting/ identifying rock-types

Making Egg Geodes

Breaking Geodes

Volcano Making

Elevation Maps

Examining rocks under a microscope- sugar vs salt, etc.

 

Art & Craft:

Plastic wrap and tape mountain paintings

Build Mountain Shelves

Mountain Pillow Sewing

Painting mountains

Torn Paper mountain Range Stencils

Carving rock stamps

 

In the Kitchen:

Haystack cookies (we’ll call them Mountain cookies!)

Books:

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Online:

Listen to our Mountain spotify mix

Download our January desktop wallpaper

Writing:

Mountain Shaped Poems

Journal Keeping/Adventure Logs

 

Here is a printable pdf of our little chart we made for ourselves: 

Mountain list