Monday, July 26, 2010

SMMART MUSIC: "Good Things Utah" Video

Friday, July 23, 2010

SMMART MUSIC: (2)4th of July Band
Our family LOVES a good 4th of July Parade! Every 4th our community hosts a Patriotic Pancake Breakfast, complete with a children's parade. They hand out mini-American Flags, Flashy beads and Kazoos. Can't beat it! The kids love marching around the Historic Benson Grist Mill grounds, circling around the old cabins, barns and country store...playing their hearts out!

In Utah, they have the second largest parade in the country on the 24th of July commemorating the arrival of the pioneers into the Utah valley. Our family has started the tradition of staying downtown in a hotel the night of the 23rd and then walking over to the parade the next morning (hoping for a shady spot). We love the big bands playing and the beautiful, creative floats glittering in the July sun.

You can have your very own family or kid-neighbor parade too! Better yet, bring these unique instruments along with you to a community parade...and play along!

empty food cans
duct tape
paper and markers
stickers or glitter glue

Collect 2-3 similar size cans (peas, corn, beans for one size and tomato sauce cans to form a larger size). Open the cans, empty the contents and rinse the cans well. The bottom can will keep it's base, but you'll need to use the can opener to take the bottoms off of the remaining two cans, so you can see through them. Place the double-opened cans on top of the base can and duct tape your tower together. Be sure to use duct tape around the top can's mouth to protect little fingers from cuts.
Wrap your CANCAN in scrapbook paper, brown paper bag, or construction paper. Let your child use markers, stickers or glitter glue to decorate his very own CANCAN. Wrapping your CANCAN in paper will muffle the sound. If you wish to create a louder CANCAN, then be sure to take the can labels off of the cans and leave the metal can surfaces exposed.

If you create two CANCANs of different diameter and length, encourage your child to observe the pitch differences as you tap your CANCAN onto the floor or hit the bottom with a stick. The longer, wider CANCAN emits a lower-pitch sound.

Listen to the different sounds you can make with your CANCAN by hitting the bottom, top or sides with a stick, covering the opening with your hand, or tapping the CANCAN onto different surfaces.

Drop a few hard beans or small objects into the CANCAN and listen to the new sound you have created.

Check out this video of a group of students playing Venezuelan quitiplas (or CANCANs)

2 Craft sticks (popsicle sticks)
1 wide rubber band and 2 skinny rubber bands
1 straw cut into 3 1/2 inch pieces

Zzzzzzzz, Zzzzzzzz, the rubber band vibrates in this double-reed instrument (more like double popsicle stick instrument).

Wrap the wide rubber band longwise around the ends of a craft stick. Take one 1/2 inch piece of straw and secure it between the rubber band and the craft stick. Be sure to push it to one side of the craft stick, about a pinkie finger away from the edge. Secure another piece of straw on the other end of the craft stick.
Place the other craft stick on top of the rubber band and straws to create your double-reed instrument. Secure the ends of the craft sticks together with the skinny rubber bands (on the outside of the straws).

Optionally, you can slide a third piece of straw in the middle, above the rubber band to lower the rubber band into a slight "v" shape and help keep the rubber band from "sticking" to the top craft stick.

Now blow through the craft sticks or reeds, resting your lips on the edge of the top and bottom craft sticks.

You should be able to create a buzzing sound from your RUBBER BAND BUZZER.

Paper or plastic cup
Yarn or string
Paper clip
Piece of tape
Piece of paper towel and water (optional)

This funny little instrument sounds like a chicken clucking. So easy.

You need a paper cup or a can with a plastic lid. Poke a hold in the bottom of the plastic cup or in the middle of the can's plastic lid. (If you are using a can with a plastic lid, then be sure to use a can opener to open the bottom of the can. Wrap duct tape around the edge of the can to prevent cutting little fingers.)

Thread the piece of yarn through the hole and loop the end through a paperclip. Tie a knot in the end of the yarn around the paperclip and secure the paperclip to the bottom of the cup with a piece of tape.

Moisten the small piece of paper towel (doubled over for strength), reach up into the can as you wrap the paper towel around the string, and tug. Tug, tug, tug down the string.

The cup amplifies the vibration of the string and makes a chicken-like clucking sound.

Now go march around the kitchen with your kids...Make some music!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

SMMART READING: Letter Matches

The Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival hosted by Science@home is for anyone, because we are all teachers and learners all the time. This month our theme is “English”, including Speaking, Listening, Reading and Viewing. I think our bloggers have covered all of these and there are lots of resources and game ideas, plus a giveaway. Please read through to the end to find links to the other participating blogs.
Do you have some of those little letter magnets? Foam letters? You can even write small letters of the alphabet on a piece of paper and cut them out into little letter squares. Whatever you have will do for this activity.
On a piece of paper, write a few words that you would like your child to read and spell. This activity works GREAT for practicing "spelling words". (On a simpler note, you can just write a few letters on a piece of paper and let your child match letters as they say the letter sounds.)
Pour out your pile of letter and have your child cover each letter of the written word with a magnetic, foam, or paper letter. Have her sound out each letter as she matches.
After she's matched all the letters of the word, let your child read the word that she's spelled.
This extra attention to each word helps awareness of which letters are needed for the correct spelling, and which letter sounds are needed to create these words (Especially when spelling words with tricky letter combinations ("ck", "th", "gh"...)

This is also a GREAT activity for children learning a foreign or a second language!

Visit Science@home to find out more about the Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival.

Please take the time to visit the other participants and check out their posts on “English.”

  • Monique at Your Cheeky Monkey has written about why her family thinks storytelling is so important, some storytelling ideas, and a few of their favorite books.
  • Julie at Works For Me Homemaking is encouraging sound play with preschoolers and not just for fun. It is an important tool to develop sound awareness skills and enhance early literacy development.
  • Staci from Teaching Money to Kids reminds us that sometimes language and interaction need to be explicitly taught and practiced, and has some ways to teach the language of sharing.
  • Leechbabe from Stuff with Thing asks what happens when your child interprets everything said to them in a very literal way? How do you aid their understanding of the funny things people say?
  • Squiggle Mum was reminded recently that you don’t have to be a literacy specialist to know how to read aloud to a young child. After all, it ain’t rocket science…
  • Lisa at SMMART Ideas has a LETTER MATCHING activity to help you practice spelling words, or even foreign language vocabulary.
  • Deb from Science@home has a giveaway to help you go on an expedition on your bookshelf.
  • Colin Wee at Super Parents is teaching his kids to argue by learning how to create a reasoned argument for English creative writing and the OREO Acronym.
  • The Planning Queen from Planning With Kids had her own bookclub when she and her son read the same book. It was a great experience to have a book discussion with her son where she hadn’t been reading the story “to him”.
  • Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori agrees with Maria Montessori that young children have a natural love of learning. Thanks to matching Montessori sandpaper letters with small objects, her son decided as a toddler that learning to read was just a fun game.
  • Amanda at HomeAge posts that we all know The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but Eric Carle has so much more to offer to young readers, particularly those interested in the natural world. With bright, beautiful artworks and simple, repetitive stories these books are a wonderful way to entice the young “reader”.
  • Miss Carly from Early Childhood Resources has steps and advice in creating a literacy rich environment for children of all ages.
  • Christie at Childhood 101 points out that the process of sharing stories through oral storytelling is an age old tradition amongst families, but does it have a place in our busy modern day family life?
  • Sarah at Bringing up Baby Bilingual describes her public library’s Writing Buddies program where high school student volunteers lead groups of at-risk fourth and fifth graders through a series of outer-space-themed writing activities. Writing prompts and resources included in the post!
  • CatWay at Adventures With Kids asks What is phonics all about? Is this something I should know more about to help my child learn to read and write?
  • Narelle from A Bunch of Keys has some simple suggestions for making your own literacy resources for children at home. Includes ideas for books with simple rhymes, books with puppets, books about family trips and making felt boards.
  • Zoe at Playing By the Book has gone fishing for words in illustrated dictionaries to support her early reader.

Thanks for visiting our carnival, we hope you enjoy some of these posts and have found some interesting blogs.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I guess this is kind of a sharing month of PATRIOTIC learning resources that I LOVE!

Robert Sabuda...a master of the pop-up book...I need not say more.

Take a look...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

SMMART MUSIC: Patriotic Music

I love JULY! I love going to the parades, the pancake breakfasts, the family reunions...and dressing my girls up in darling red, white and blue attire!

Teach your children the classic, traditional songs of freedom!
This "Litttle People" CD is a great collection of songs for the month of July..and all year long, really.

My favorite song is #12. It puts the PREAMBLE to music. It's catchy and will play in your child's head so they can learn this part of the Constitution quickly.


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