Wednesday, November 23, 2011

gratefulness co-op with internet links

Earlier this month, with the help of some great moms, I organized a homeschooling co-op on gratefulness and the first Thanksgiving. Our church generously let us use their facility and we had 83 kids join us ranging in age from 4-11. We had a great time! Here are a few of the things that we did . . .

At the beginning of our time together, I played a 5-minute video from Brain Pop Jr. about the First Thanksgiving. Haven't heard of Brain Pop Jr.? You need to check it out! Even if you don't homeschool, it's a great supplement to your child's educational experience. They cover every topic that your state standards cover, have more videos than you could ever imagine (and they are all funny), have easy/hard quizzes, games, art . . . and more than I can describe. My girls play it at least 3 times per week--and it's completely educational--which I, of course, love! You can do a free trial for a week. Your kids will love it!

After the video, I did a short object lesson on gratefulness. From here, we split the kids by age into 5 groups. They then rotated through 5 stations--each station was 15 minutes long. These are the stations we had:

1. How to write a thank you note. Each child wrote a notecard to whomever they wanted. I purchased notecards from the Dollar Tree.

2. An interview with a Pilgrim and a Native American. We had two moms dressed up (as a Pilgrim and a Native American) and a mom that interviewed them. They talked as if they were really there, back in 1621. One little girl later asked the Pilgrim, "So, were you actually ON the MAYFLOWER?" So cute!

3. A cornucopia snack station. A waffle cone filled with popcorn, Crasins, Chex mix and mini marshmallows. This was easy and a big hit.

4. A craft station. I had the older kids make these "Thankful Journals" from Oriental Trading and the younger kids made these "Tree of Thanks" also from Oriental Trading. Totally affordable and easy.

5. A game station. The mom who always does our games is fabulous! She had the kids go through an obstacle course and at each new "obstacle," they had to pick up another gourd or dried corn--all while holding a stuffed animal turkey between their legs. This game was great for all ages!

At the end of our time together we had a question and answer session and then we handed out these "Thanksgiving Stickers" from Oriental Trading. The total time of our co-op was 2 hours. The kids had a blast hanging out together and we moms snuck some learning in as well!

We sent home some ideas with the moms to further educate their kids on gratefulness and Thanksgiving. Here are a few great sites that I found if you are interested in taking this character trait and holiday one step further!

She walks you through 12 days of teaching on gratitude. Over the course of the 12 days you will make a lapbook to show everything you have learned! (When you go to this link, click on the “Printables Part 1” and “Printables Part 2.” You can also click on “Instructions for Folding Lapbooks” if you have never made a lapbook before.)

She has many different ideas, crafts and lessons to choose from.

She shows you each step of making her lapbook with lots of pictures and internet links to things she used in her lapbook. Super cute!

And lastly, I'll leave you with this cute hand holding moment I caught with Faith and her BFF.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family! And if you have a moment, sneak a thank you note under your child's pillow telling him or her what you are thankful for about them.

1 comment:

Christal and Craig said...

Nicolas and Vallarie made the "Tree of Thanks" at CBS. It was really cute and fun to see what they're thankful for. Looks like a lot of fun. No one wanted to set anything up for us so we just had a potluck lunch last week and played games in a gym. It was really fun and nothing too big for anyone to get stressed about. Sometimes it's nice to just play together.