Monday, July 11, 2011

Simon Says Verbs

A favorite little game of ours is Simon Says Verbs.  I use it to teach my children and English students how to recognize an action verb.

The teacher plays the part of Simon and tells the students to...

or SLEEP, shhhh....
How long you wait before giving the next verb
after this one is entirely up to you!
As you play, mix in words from other parts of speech, like nouns, adjectives, and prepositions (it is advisable to avoid linking verbs like am, is and are).  Tell them, "Simon says to beautiful" or up or apple

Invariably, when you say apple, some too-smart-for-his-own-good person will do this...

Politely remind Mr. Smarty that he is eating and not "appling".  Then give him the stink eye. 

That should take care of it.

As you work your way through the list of words, have them yell "ACTION VERB" if they are able to do what Simon has commanded or "something else" if they cannot do it.  Alternately, they can cheer and sing the Schoolhouse Rock classic That's What's Happenin' for the verbs or boo and hiss at the impostors.

Adding culture and class to your school're welcome.

As you progress through the game, write each true action verb on an index card and tape it to a wall or pin it to a bulletin board.  For a few days after your game, have your children remain on the look-out for action verbs.  If they recognize one in everyday conversation, let them write it on an index card and add it to the verb wall.

Simon says...
Happy Learning!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Classzone: Additional Help

In my last post on Classzone, I linked directly to the world languages page.  I was trying to make things easy for my husband's students.  :)  If you are the parent of one of his students, you will find lots of study helps for Spanish I there.

For those of you who are more interested in math or language arts, click here.  You will be taken directly to Classzone's home page.

Once there, you will see a chart on the left side of the screen with subject and grade level options.  Select the the subject you want at the grade level most appropriate for your child.  Then click your state (if you're outside the US, you can pick GA).  Then click "go."

This will bring up all the Holt McDougal text books adopted by your state's public schools.  Click the book for your child's grade level and the page with games, tutors, and other helps will come up. 

The downside to this site is that the content is arranged to correspond with each text.  That's actually a plus if you're using the text.  However, I doubt most of you are, so you won't be able to select an exact skill to work on.  You'll have to do some clicking to find what you want.  I have found the "animations" and vocabulary flip cards most helpful.

Happy Learning!

My Favorite Resource This Week: Classzone

Favorite Resource This Week
Visit Learning ALL the Time
for more links to resources!

Classzone is a free website to accompany Holt McDougal publications.

My husband will teach Spanish from one of their publications, Avancemos, in the up-coming school year.  At classzone, students can practice Spanish grammar and vocabulary.  If your child is registered for Michael's class, you will find this site very helpful this year and can get a head start by working through the vocabulary games now.  You can also use the animated grammar, flashcards (what Michael recommends for summer prep), self-check quizzes, and the home tutor.

You don't have to be registered for my husband's class to find this site helpful, though.  There are pages for other world languages, like French and German, as well as English and math games.  You don't need a code or have to purchase one of their texts to use the site, either. 

Happy Learning!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

That's So Dawn: Episode One

You may remember reading Episode Two several months ago after I injured my toe. 

Why did she start with Episode Two and is just now getting to Episode One, you rightly wonder?  Well, because that is Just. So. Dawn

This episode has been in the queue, also known as the recesses of my mind, for almost a year now.  It all started in 2010 when Michael and I headed for Atlanta to shop for a new mattress during the big 4th of July sale and got lost in downtown for several hours!   

Getting lost in Atlanta...also so Dawn.  But not the point of this post either, so let's move along, shall we?

We finally made our way out of downtown that day and to the store where we bought a great mattress at a great price!  Two weeks later, the store delivered it. 

Now, I have some kind of a hang-up regarding home deliveries (and repairs).  I don't like strangers coming into my house and messing with my stuff.  Maybe it's because I'm an only child.  Maybe a delivery/repair man scared me in my childhood.  I don't know, but for some odd reason, when they come, I have to leave.

I spent the day running errands and visiting people while Michael waited for the scheduled 8 a.m.-5 p.m. delivery.  Throughout the day, I called and called and called and called Michael, hoping the guys would have finally shown up and gone so I could return home.

When I checked in at 5 p.m., they had just left the store in ATL and would be at our house in an about hour.  Finally, at 7 p.m., Michael called to say the mattress was in place and the delivery guys were gone.  I came home, exhausted from running around town all day, and plopped down on the new, cushy, cloud-like piece of heaven where I remained in a comfort-induced pseudo-coma until Michael pried me from the bed two hours later so it could be made. 

I fumbled through the linen closet until I found a clean set of sheets.  Still in a daze, I stretched out the fitted sheet and tucked it around the corners on my side of the bed.  Then I plodded over to Michael's side and tugged.  It wouldn't reach, so I tugged harder.

Pop...came loose on my side, so I sauntered back over to tuck it back in.


It came loose on Michael's side now.

Back and forth I went, tugging and yanking, until Michael walked in and stopped me.

Um, Dawn dear, this mattress is deeper than the old one.  I think we need new sheets.

I'm glad he's smart like that.  Otherwise, I might still be tugging away at the old ones.

I grabbed my measuring tape...

Okay, you got me!  Actually, I grabbed a piece of notebook paper because I could not find my measuring tape or ruler and carefully measured estimated the depth of the new mattress.  Then I took off for Wal Mart to find sheets that would fit so I could go. to. sleep.

After walking the bedding aisles for what seemed an eternity, I finally found the right depth sheets but could not find the right color.  Because the predominant color in our quilt and curtains is country blue, I wanted white.  I feared any color other than blue would clash and blue would just be too much, well, blue.

I had to get some sheets that night, though, so we could go to sleep.  I kept looking and found a nice pink set that would have coordinated with the quilt.  Alas, they didn't have any in the right size.  I'm not too sure Michael would have been thrilled about sleeping in pink, either.  My other options were black, chocolate brown, red, purple, and gold.  Ugh...none of those would work.

Determined to get to sleep, I did what any rational person would do.  I pulled out all the gold and black sets and stacked them on the floor around me.  Finally, way in the back, there they were. 

One king set in a really lovely shade of blue. 



They weren't country blue like my quilt and really were a pretty shade.  I hoped they would compliment the existing blue nicely without making my room look like a piece from Picasso's blue period.  However, at this point, I really didn't care.  They weren't gold or black and would cover the bed so I could get to sleep.  So I bought them.

Now, Michael cannot sleep on anything scratchy and I have a thing about germs, so I threw them in the wash as soon as I was home.  An hour later, the sheets were dry.  It was way past bed time at this point, so I made the bed at record speed and hopped in.  The new mattress was so NICE!  I slept like a queen for three nights...

...until I noticed something. 


Um, hello, Dawn!

Those "lovely BLUE sheets" are SAGE GREEN!!

Seeing how I had washed them and slept on them for 3 nights, it was too late to do a return.  I've had a 1970's two-tone bed for a year now.


I'm planning on buying new curtains soon.  I hope to buy some in a neutral tone, like beige.  Perhaps I'll come home with fuchsia instead.

:) Dawn

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What would you do?

Imagine that late one Saturday afternoon you realize no one had checked the mail for two days.

You slip on your Crocs (the only shoes that provide comfort and keep your sciatica under control) and walk down to the mailbox.

You flip down the door and fumble around inside until you're able to grab hold of the massive contents and pull the big bunch of envelopes and fliers out.

You turn and head back to the house and as you walk you begin to sort.

There's a movie from Netflix.

An appointment reminder card from the dentist.

A credit card offer.

And an envelope that looks like an invitation.  Excitedly, you rip the invitation open. 

But, it's no invitation!

Inside, this is what you find....

What would you do?

Exclaim, "What in the world?!?" loud enough for the neighbors down the street to take notice?

Stand frozen on the sidewalk in front of your house for 3.4 minutes while your friends drive by and honk (and wonder what is wrong with you)??

React in such a way that your eyes nearly pop out of your head and your jaw nearly hits the ground???

Well, yes, I did a little of all that. 

After I snapped to, I switched into Nancy Drew mode and inspected the envelopes very carefully.  There were lots of clues!  My little magnifying glass was lighting up red all over the place.  (If you play the PC games, you know what I mean!)

First, the three one-hundred dollar bills had been neatly tucked into a cream envelope and addressed to "Mike-Dawn Our Last Name".  It was stamped but did not have a postmark.  Our last name was misspelled, too.  Ours is a common American surname that is spelled uncommonly; most people spell it the common way. 

Second, the envelope had been wrapped inside a piece of notebook paper with such precision that the paper edges lined up perfectly and then it had been placed in a larger outer envelope.  It was addressed exactly as the inner envelope, like it had been copied directly from it.

Third, the outer envelope had been postmarked in Spakane, Washington.

What a mystery!  Because..., my husband never goes by Mike.  The only people who call him that are those who presume that because his name is Michael he must go by Mike.  This is something we always politely correct.  He's not a fan of the shorter version of his name (nor am I).

Two, why the hyphen between our names?  Why the matching envelopes with the stamp on the inner one?

Three, why Spokane?  We know absolutely no one in that part of the country. NO ONE!

Nancy Drew has a few hypotheses.  Would you like to hear them?  (insert Nancy Drew PC game theme music here)
  • One of the Korean families I tutor wanted to give me a bonus but didn't want to give it to me in person.  Perhaps they hyphenate husband-wife names like that in their culture???  They mailed it to an acquaintance in Washington who was to put the stamped envelope in the mail, but misunderstood them and put it in a second envelope.  It was wrapped in the paper with such precision because Koreans are, generally speaking, conscientious, precise people.
  • Local friends wanted to do something nice for us anonymously.  They wrote the hyphenated names, used "Mike", and misspelled our last name to throw us off their trail.  They sent it to family or friends in Washington so it would not have an Atlanta postmark.  I don't know why a second envelope was used or why the first was wrapped in paper in this scenario.  Perhaps those are red herrings intended to keep us confused, too.  We have also considered a family member could have done the same.
  • International terrorists have devised a scheme to weaken the American economy.  They have printed huge quantities of counterfeit money and are mailing it to unsuspecting citizens.  As the funny money circulates, the American dollar will be further devalued, leading to the collapse of Western society.  (This is also when I began to worry about it being laced with Anthrax.)
  • A blog reader from the Spokane area, who has been blessed by my work, decided to bless me in return.  She found my address and used two envelopes just to make it more interesting (because she reads my blog, she knows how overactive my imagination is and knew it would lead to a somewhat humorous post).  
I've gone round and round on this, trying to figure it out but can't come to a definitive answer.  I did take the money to the bank to have it tested.  Fortunately, theory number three has been disproved.  I guess I've watched one too many espionage movies.  :)

Nancy Drew can't figure this one out, folks.  However, I have decided that I am not supposed to.  Instead I recognize this as a provision from God.  (It just-so-happens that we spent $400 on an unexpected repair the day before this money arrived in the mail.  If we had remembered to check the mail the day before, we would have had it the exact day of the repair.  There was no way anyone could have known we were going to spend the money in that way.) 

If you are the one who sent the money, we understand your desire to remain anonymous.  We want you to know, however, how much we appreciate what you did.  It was so very nice of you, and we are grateful.

Nancy Drew wants to say thanks for the mystery, too!  Although there is no final scene to this one where I connect the dots and say, "Ah HA!  It was you!!" I have had fun trying to figure it out.  :)

Thank you.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Strange Things are Afoot at Blogger

I was surprised to open my inbox this morning and find an email from Olive Plants.  It was a post I published way back in February.

I did not pull it from the archives yesterday.  I did not set it to republish.  I didn't even look at it.

If you received it too, please accept my apologies.  I don't have a ghost blogger, so I'm not sure what's up.

I've had a lot of blogging trouble in recent months and am now concerned that someone has hacked into my account and may be having some fun at my expense. 

If you receive anything unusual in your inbox from Homeschool Dawn, Olive Plants, or Birders for Life, see anything unusual on this blog or Birders, or receive a blog comment from me (Homeschool Dawn) that seems not-like-me, please contact me about it.  homeschooldawn (at) gmail (dot) com.

What I really did publish (over at Birders for Life) yesterday was my Tweet and See list (which incidentally has not emailed out to subscribers).  We had a great birding month and took lots of pictures.  If you like birds, it's worth the click

Once there, you can subscribe to B4L so you can (hopefully) receive all my bird lists, pictures, and bird-watching tips.  I've published about half of a series on teaching children how to bird watch.  My fellow Birding Chick, Heather, has also published some great tips for attracting birds to your yard.

One of the many birds we saw last month: the Killdeer!

If you have any ideas on why my blog is publishing for me, please comment.  Otherwise, I'm off to change my security settings!