Monthly Archives: March 2014

History – SOTW, Vol. 2: Chapter 34

Divorced, Beheaded, Died Divorced, Beheaded, Survived!

Divorced, Beheaded, Died
Divorced, Beheaded, Survived!

Here we have Chapter 34’s slide show.  It covers Martin Luther and his 95 Theses, and how King Henry VIII took that idea and ran with it.


CH34 Martin Luthers New Ideas


Art – Cave Dragons


I wanted something quick and fairly easy to do after working on the Letter Sculptures, so I chose Cave Dragons from  Dynamic Art Projects for Kids, by Denise Logan.  Fabulous book for art teachers, by the way!

I gave the kids general directions on how to draw a dragon.  Some followed my every move, and some chose to do their own thing.  They all turned out magnificent.

In the book, it advises you to use purple carbon paper.  Do you know how hard it’s getting to find that stuff??  I’m sure you can find it online, but I procrastinated a bit on this project, so I couldn’t find any locally.  Instead, for the stalactites and stalagmites, I had the students get their paper good and wet with a light purple wash of color.  Then, they used more pigment to make dark purple areas.  Finally, while the paint was still wet, they sprinkled salt on the paper, and let them dry.  For the next class period, they brushed off the salt, and cut the stalactites and stalagmites out, and finished the project according to the book.

Creative Writing – Restaurant Review


Schooled in Love:  Restaurant ReviewKnow what’s great about teaching a class like this?  Restaurant Review Day!  It gives everyone an excuse to relax, take a couple of classes off, and… eat!


For this assignment, I perused the web, trying to find a restaurant review guideline that (A) I didn’t have to pay for, and (B) had the detail I was looking for.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find it, so it was back to inventing the wheel again.  (It’s below, if you need one for yourself.)  #homeschoolerproblems


Anyway, I called Applebee’s ahead of time to let them know we were coming.  Granted, a TRUE restaurant review would have been more ninja-like, but there’s a fine line between incognito and rude, in this case.  Having 15 people show up unannounced and during the lunch rush would not have been nice, AND we would have been waiting f o r e v e r for a space to seat all of us.  Calling ahead was beneficial to both of our teams.

I had the students take their Restaurant Review papers with them, so they could write as they went.  Having the prompts there was nice, because it gave them things to think about that normally wouldn’t have crossed their minds.

I had the students bring their own money, which included extra for a 15% tip.  Homeschoolers love real-world experiences!

Anyway, it was a great trip, and I can’t wait to do it again!

Here’s the Restaurant Review if you need one yourself.


History – SOTW, Vol. 2: Chapter 33

Schooled in Love:  Chapter 31 Slide Show

Make way for the conquistadores!

Here’s the slide show for Chapter 33.  I hope you get as much use out of these as I do.  They’re great for all that wonderful connective learning!

In this chapter, we discover the conquistadores, Cortes, and Montezuma.

CH33 Spain Portugal and the New World

Blood and Guts – Heart Dissection


How about another gruesome dissection, starring the 6th/7th grade Blood and Guts class?  Of course!

We started out with two cow hearts.  I love working with cow parts, because if you can only get one or two of them (like us), they’re nice and big enough for everyone to see, experience, and participate.



Then we started hacking away to find all the interesting heart-parts.  We took turns, because there are always ones who like to cut and get their hands in, and others who would rather be at home watching TV watch.


Here are the hearts, wide open:


And we even had time to play…

Schooled in Love:  Heart Dissection

Art – Bottle Birds


For this project with my high schoolers, we recycled wine bottles.  In order to get enough bottles, I just had to ask my co-op, and viola, they appeared.  Don’t judge!


They started out by filling the bottle with pea gravel to weigh down the bottoms.  Then, they stuck a long, heavy gauge wire into the neck, and all the way down to the gravel.  After that, they used newspaper and masking tape to make the neck, head, and beaks of the birds.  I told them they could design this bird any way they wished, and we had some very ingenious outcomes!  They were also allowed cardboard to make the wings or any other body parts they liked.

Schooled in Love:  Bottle Birds


Once they had the body, neck, head, beak, and wings formed, the students paper mached the entire sculpture to create the bird.

After layering it with paper mache, they let it dry, and then primed it.  I hate buying primer, so I make it by using a one-to-one ratio of white acrylic paint to white school glue.  Once the primer dried, it was time to paint the birds.  They turned out beautifully!  I am so proud of my high school girls!

Art: Letter Sculptures


This was a huge project (as most paper mache projects are), and it took f o r e v e r because of all our snow days!  that being said, the kids loved how they turned out.  If they’re proud of the finished project, that’s what matters, right?

Let’s get down to business:

First I gave each student two panels of cardboard that I cut from a box.  They also used a paper cup, a ruler, a pencil, and a marker.  They measured the widest part of the cup (the rim), and it was 3″.  Then, they drew their first name initial to the size of the cardboard.  With a ruler, they made the letter block-styled, keeping the width at least three inches.  Once they had the letter drawn out, I had them run the cup all through the letter just to make sure.  Finally, they used the marker to trace the line, and then cut it out.

Schooled in Love:  Letter Sculptures

For the next step, they were instructed to trace the letter onto the second cardboard panel and cut it out.  Then, I gave them a stack of cups and they glued them to the surface of the one of the letters, alternating the cups going up and down.  When they finished, they put glue (tricky!) on the tops of the cups, and laid the other letter on top.  It’s a good idea to lay something heavy on them, to keep the glue in contact with the cardboard until it dries.

Schooled in Love:  Letter Sculptures

The third step was to paper mache the dried letters.  This was described as fun, messy, gross, warm, and cold (depending on how fresh the paste was).  The best way I know how to make paste is to put all-purpose flour in a bowl, add some very hot water, and using an electric mixer, stir and keep adding water until you get the consistency of pancake batter.  Once it’s done, mix in about a tablespoon of bleach.  This way, if you need to keep it for the next day, it won’t mold.  I told the kids to criss-cross their strips of paper to build strength.

Once the letters were covered with paper mache, and they were good and dried, the kids added primer.  Now, I don’t like to buy primer paint, because I have so many kids, and it’s friggin’ expensive, so I make my own by mixing 1 part white acrylic paint to 1 part white glue.

At last the letters were ready to paint!  The students used acrylic, and if you’ve never tried the cheap paints vs. the good ones (more expensive), then you haven’t lived…  You totally get what you pay for!

Here are the finished letters!  Some students chose to paint it a solid color, and some chose to paint a pattern or a picture.  They all turned out great!