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Hands-On Activities

On this page we plan to pass on hands-on activities,  resources, and websites that we’ve discovered.  

Websites for ideas for practicing sight words:
Simple ideas to practice sight words
Practice sight words at home
3) 30 fun sight word games and activities
4) Also, type "free sight word activities" into the SEARCH at

Have you ever played a card game called Authors?  It is played like Go Fish.  A commercial set of Authors is available for purchase on the following website:
www.amazon.com but our family had fun making our own game.  Make a game:
1) Think of nine authors who have written at least four books; write a list of authors/books.  An example from our set: 
Laura Ingalls Wilder:  Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Prairie, On the Banks of Plum Creek, On the Shores of Silver Lake.   
2) Cut eighteen 3 x 5 index cards in half to create thirty-six 3 x 2 1/2 inch cards.  Write the name of each of the 36 books at the top of a card; write the name of the author below the title. 
3) Then draw a simple illustration for each of the authors; draw this illustration on each of the four cards for this author.  An example:  We drew a simple outline of a house on each of the cards on which a title of a Little House book was written.
4) Under the illustration, write three titles of the books by the author.  Example:  The card the had Little House in the Big Woods written at the top had the following titles written under the illustration:  Little House on the Prairie, On the Banks of Plum Creek, On the Shores of Silver Lake.

When your cards are finished, play Authors.  The goal is to collect as many sets of Authors as possible.  (I believe that most people know how to play this game; e-mail for directions if you don’t know how to play.)  After you’ve created this basic game, it has many possibilities:  More authors may be added.  Make this a summer project and then feature one of the authors each month during the following school year.  During the author’s month you could research biographical information about the author on the Internet or at your local library.  You could also check to see if the author has a website with activities; you may want to try to contact the author and tell him/her what you are doing.


One of the authors we included in our Authors game is Jan Brett.  Some of the books by Ms. Brett that we enjoy are:  Gingerbread Baby, Annie and the Wild Animals, Beauty and the Beast, The Mitten, The Hat, The Umbrella, Town Mouse Country Mouse, On Noah’s Ark.  We met Jan several years ago when she was in Duluth promoting On Noah’s Ark.  Ms. Brett provides a fantastic website; she invites people to e-mail or write her.  Check out the activities pages, coloring pages, recipes, murals + much more: 


Would you like to get your students excited about making their own map of the seven continents?  Try the following activity; you may want to use this with a coop so students can be exposed to the great variety of ways the assignment can be completed:
Directions:  Create a map of the seven continents, but don’t draw it flat on a piece of paper (like a regular map) and don’t draw it on a sphere (like a globe).  Some examples follow:  The continents can be drawn with a permanent marker on a garbage bag that has then been filled with crushed newspapers, drawn with permanent marker on a plastic wastebasket, fashioned with frosting on a cake, painted on a wooden container in the shape of a book that was purchased at a craft store, fashioned with yarn glued onto cardboard, or drawn (with fabric markers) on a t-shirt.  You may choose to present ideas like the ones I’ve given as examples, but encourage new thoughts and creativity -- you may want to give a small prize to the most unique “map” in your family or coop group.


The following actiivity can be used as a review exercise with any book that mentions a number of objects.  The example described below is included in the guide for The Boston Coffee Party*.
*Note:  This book is now out of print, but readily available at libraries.  If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the study guide, e-mail me at:  cnsroe@gmail.com

Directions for the teacher: 
Prepare a review activity:
1) Cut a fist-sized hole in the side of a cardboard box.
2) Tape the top of the box shut.
3) Gather the following items:  a bit of sugar in a sandwich bag sealed with a twist-tie, an old key, coffee beans in a sandwich bag, the pine-tree shilling your student made earlier in this study (or some coins).
4) Place these items and any other you may choose* in the box.

Your student(s) should put his or her hand in the box, pull out an item, and explain the significance of this item in the story.  Continue the same process with all the items.

*Other possible items:  Berries in a bag if they are available, sewing supplies, an egg (or an egg shell).
1) An older student could prepare the box.
2) A student(s) who worked on this study could be asked to locate one item for the box (the teacher would place other items in the box).  That student could be asked to explain the significance of the item he or she chose.

The following outline is found in the America:  An Integrated Curriculum.  It is designed as a brief review of 30 important dates in American history.  Obviously more dates could be added;
I chose five important dates for each time period.  In our home school, we wrote the first three outlines on one side of a piece of paper and the last three on the back.  We laminated this sheet and used it frequently as a review.

The information can also be adapted to fit a number of games:  Concentration and Categories (Go Fish).  An Old Maid game could be created:  A “30 Important Dates” card could be created for the Old Maid card.  Five date cards could be matched with the dates in each outline (i.e., five 1492-1787 cards could be made; any of these cards would be a match for the following cards:  1492, 1620, 1730s-1740s, 1754 to 1763, and 1775-1783).  The person would only be able to count it as a match if he/she could tell the significance of the date. 
Thirty Important Dates in American History
I.  1492-1787
      A.  1492-Columbus sailed to an island; he named it San Salvador.
      B.  1620-The Pilgrims arrived in America.
      C.  1730s to 1740s-The First Great Awakening occurred. 
      D.  1754 to 1763-The last of the four French and Indian wars was fought.      
      E.  1775 to 1783-The Colonies and England fought in the Revolutionary War.

II.  1787-1837
      A.  Mid 1790s to 1840s-The Second Great Awakening occurred.
      B.  1803;1804-1806-U.S. bought land from France (Louisiana Purchase); Lewis & Clark led their                                           famous expedition.
      C.  1812-1815-The War of 1812 was fought against the British.
      D.  1820-The Missouri Compromise helped delay the confrontation over slavery.
      E.  1823-The Monroe Doctrine told the world to stay out of the western hemisphere.

III. 1837-1860
       A.  1840-Samuel Morse was granted a patent for his telegraph.
       B.  1843-Many people moved west (the Great Migration).
       C.  1846-1848-The U.S. fought a war with Mexico.
       D.  1848-The California Gold Rush began.
       E.  1857-1859-The Third Great Awakening occurred.

IV.  1860 - 1900
        A.  1861-1865-The North and South fought the Civil War.
        B.  1865-1877-Reconstruction occurred in the South.
        C.  1870-1900-The Industrial Revolution, which began in the U.S. in he early 1800s, peaked.
        D.  1876-1899-Dwight L. Moody ministered to multitudes. 
        E.  1898-The U.S. and Spain fought the Spanish-American War; this war marked the                                            emergence of the U.S. as a world power.

V.  1900-1940
      A.  1905-1914-World-wide revivals prepared many people for the trials of World War I.
      B.  1890s-1930s-Billy Sunday preached to millions of people.
      C.  1917-1918-America fought in World War I.   
      D.  1920s-Many changes occurred in American society during the Roaring Twenties.
      E.  1929-1930s-People throughout the world experienced financial hardships during the Great                                      Depression.

VI. 1940-2001
       A.  1941-1945-The U.S. fought in World War II.
       B.  Late 1940s-Tension, called the Cold War, existed between the U.S. to early 1990s and the                                      Soviet Union.
      C.  1954-The historic Supreme Court decision — Brown vs. Board of Education — mandated that                      schools be integrated.
      D.  1957-1973-The U.S. was involved in Vietnam.
      E.  9/11/01-Terrorists used jets to “bomb” the World Trade Center Twin Towers and the                                           Pentagon.


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