Three Things Thursday: October 30

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*


I woke up early the other day, and the fog was so thick, the field behind our house was nowhere to be seen.


Homemade chicken noodle soup. Yum! :D


Time to get out the Boo Bowl and fill it up with candy for the trick or treaters! :D

And a bonus picture this week! Someone once mentioned that it seems Frank is always asleep. I thought I would provide some evidence to the contrary. ;)


Frank was a very good boy at the vet yesterday…he earned a very special hamburger treat. :D


So, what made you smile this week?

Our Week of Halloween School – Math

The Halloween-themed school week continues! Today I’ll tell you all about the math activities we’ve been doing/will be doing. :)

We started the week off with some equation stew. Grace had to solve equations to find the correct ingredients for the just-perfect stew. Here’s what she ended up with:


It doesn’t look very tasty to me, but her answers were all correct. :) You can check out that activity HERE.


Then we headed into some graphing review with this activity:


I was particularly fond of this one because it also included questions about domain and range and functions. You can have a peek for yourself HERE.


For more equation fun, we had this adorable owl-witch thing. This time correctly solving equations guided Grace to the correct colors to use for the color-by-number picture.

You can snag the cute owl HERE.


Moving on to a little spooky coordinate plane review (quadrants, distance, locating points, reflections across the x or y-axis):

This activity was actually set up to be a math center, but since Grace is my only student, I just let her write straight on the task cards. Available (for free) HERE.


This time, correctly solving equations led Grace to the correct details to add to a plain ol’ pumpkin picture. It ended up being Halloween-tastic. :D

This bit of fun can be found HERE.


We’ve also been working on some basic skills review (quick review activities for percentages and decimals and things) with this fun pack:


You can get your own HERE.


To finish out the week, we’ll complete the pack above and one more graphing activity:


I’m looking forward to this activity because there are lots of nice questions about slope and equations of lines to go along with it which I think will make a nice review. You can check this one out HERE.


And that completes our math-y Halloween fun for the week. :D I’ve been really pleased with all of the activities. I think it’s awesome that I was able to find so much equation-based fun since that’s what we’re currently working on…it was nice to avoid going wildly off topic. (Though, in the name of Halloween, I would have done it.) ;)

So, what about you? Do you remember doing those holiday-themed graphs in math class? (Once upon a time, they were just graphs…no questions about functions and slopes and slope-intercept form.) ;) Are there any Halloween-themed math activities that you love?

Want to check out our Halloween Language Arts plans? Check out this post from yesterday.

Check back tomorrow to see what we’ve been up to in Halloween Science. :D

Our Week of Halloween School – Language Arts

I’ve mentioned it a couple of times that Grace and I are doing an entire week of Halloween-themed lessons to celebrate one of her favorite holidays. I thought it might be nice to share a bit about what we’re doing…for your amusement or for your planning purposes (if you’re a teacher considering your own Halloween ballyhoo).

I’ve decided to go about this by subject. (I started a post earlier that was a walk through of our day yesterday, but it was turning into a lengthy and rambling mess, so I thought this might be a bit better.) :)

So, here’s our plan for Language Arts this week (click on any picture for a link to the resource):

A quick, simple review of parts of speech with Spooky Grammar.

A quick, simple review of parts of speech with Spooky Grammar.

A quick review of types of sentences...this is currently a free download on Teachers Pay Teachers, by the way.

A quick review of types of sentences…this is currently a free download on Teachers Pay Teachers, by the way.

Some creative writing with a Halloween Mystery. I did have to alter this activity a bit, but the story planner that comes with it is excellent. :)

Some creative writing with a Halloween Mystery. I did have to alter this activity a bit, but the story planner that comes with it is excellent. :)

More writing fun...we'll be working on this in the later part of the week. :)

More writing fun…we’ll be working on this in the later part of the week. :)

We've also been working on cursive. To fit the Halloween theme, I created worksheet with a one-sentence-at-a-time spoooooky story. ;)

We’ve also been working on cursive. To fit the Halloween theme, I created worksheet with a one-sentence-at-a-time spoooooky story. ;)

That last picture brings a question to mind. I recently discovered that Grace had no grasp on cursive writing…she can read cursive just fine, but writing it was totally beyond her. As the under-18 crowd doesn’t have much cause to sign things, it’s not something that becomes obvious often. Buuuut…the other day, Grace was supposed to sign something, and she didn’t even know where to start. Uh-oh. It’s never too late to learn, right? :) My question is this: Do you see any value in today’s students learning to read and write in cursive? Here, I’ll do a poll:

Of course, we’ll also be doing some reading, but I’ve squished that up with Social Studies for this week…and that is a post for later. ;)

So, what about you? Any Halloween fun planned for school…or just in general? Have you used any of the above activities before? If so, what did you think? When you were in school, did your teachers fall victims to holiday whimsy? If so, did it make school more fun?

Sharing My World – Week 42

*answering the fun questions provided each week by the fabulous Cee – check out her blog so you can play along, too!*

What is your favorite time of day?

Hmmm….I really like the morning when everything is still and quiet in the house. But I also really like the evenings when the house smells yummy of dinner and there’s music and babble and chaos. Oh, and I love night, too when it’s time to snuggle up with a dog and some yarn and a TV show and then the oh-so-delicious bedtime with the comfy jammies and down comforter. Of course, the afternoons are also lovely with their sparkly sunshine and science experiments and school swirliness. I guess my favorite time of day is the time that I’m awake. (Though I really like sleeping, too.) :D

What’s your favorite charitable cause and why?

This is probably going to be shocking for my readers, but I’m a big supporter of all causes educational. Things like the Literacy Council and Donors Choose and programs for students from low-income families get my love and support every time. Very few things are as life changing and door opening as a good education, and I want to see every single person have the opportunity to learn as much as possible in the most accessible and fun way possible.

How do you like to spend a rainy day?

Why, dancing in it, of course. ;) Rainy days in Summer are for running and yelling and splashing and laughing. (As long as there’s no lightning…there’s no need to be foolish about things.) Rainy days in Winter are for snuggling down with warm sweaters, a mug of coffee, and a fun knitting project. Oh, those days are also great for going out to little restaurants with warm smells and condensation all over their windows and drippy umbrella at the door. I love rainy days. :D

When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen?

It changes with my mood and my task. When doing math or lesson plans or recording grades, I prefer a pencil. When writing a letter or postcard or grocery list, I prefer a pen. When writing for the fun of it, it’s a whim thing. I am very particular about which pen or pencil I use though.

Yep, the pen has to be Dr. Grip (black ink, medium point) and the pencil has to be a Papermate Clear Point (7 mm).

Yep, the pen has to be Dr. Grip (black ink, medium point) and the pencil has to be a Papermate Clear Point (7 mm).

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

From last week, I’m grateful for the lovely amount of time John and I spent goofing around. I’m also really grateful for all of the yummy recipes available on Pinterest…we’ve tried several delicious new things this week. And while I’m thinking of food, I’m really, really grateful that we’re able to keep our cabinets stocked with yummy nutrition. Living in a part of the world that has such a variety of foods readily available on grocery store shelves (and having enough money to purchase said food) is truly something to appreciate.

In the week coming up, I’m looking forward to seeing Grace in her Halloween costume. I’m also looking forward to some more super-fun science activities for school. Oh, and I’m going to make apple cinnamon bread with honey butter tomorrow….yum! And I’m looking forward to the temperature falling back down to chilly. (These 80+ degree days in late October are just a wee bit silly, I think.)

Now, I do so hope that you’ll share part of your world with the rest of us. :D

Forensics Fun: Blood Spatter

I know I’ve mentioned Grace’s blood spatter activity for forensics in past posts. Now, as promised, I’m actually going to show you how it went. This activity (and all of our recent activities for forensics) have been taken from a most fabulous and amazing resource, Forensic Science by Tim Lowson (currently on sale at Teachers Pay Teachers for $7.95 and beyond worth every penny).

Grace actually completed this activity much later in the day than we would normally be having school, but we wanted to wait for her BFF to get here and join in the merriment…that’s why you’ll see that it’s nearly dark in some of the pictures. :) That just adds to fun, right? :D

Luckily, this is a fantastic time of year to be buying fake blood. I wanted to make sure that Grace and Lauren could have all of the blood spatter fun they could handle, so I bought lots. :D


The girls headed outside to the picnic table and got straight to work. They had their instructions: Follow the directions of the activity first…then we can create blood spatter mayhem. They did a great job gathering data about blood dropping from different heights and how blood spatter looks when going from left to right or right to left:

I thought this activity would be even more awesome if we added a bit of chaos (always!), so, in preparation, I used thumbtacks to attach large pieces of poster board to a tree. This is what happened:

By this point, it was getting quite dark, so we decided to call it quits…with the intention of creating more bloody messes the next evening. As with so many intentions, though, it never came to be…we stayed at Discovery Place (getting our science on) so long the next day that we didn’t get back in time to put dinner in our bellies and play with fake blood before dark. Ah, well…maybe next time Lauren is here, we’ll be a bit less busy.

So, how did the actual assignment part of this all turn out? I’ll share some of their final products! (There were also questions to respond to and whatnot, but I’ll just show you the papers with spatter.)

So, what about you? Have you done any activities with learning about blood spatter? Have you ever had to analyze blood spatter yourself? Are there any specific topics in forensics that you want to see us tackle?

A Ghostly Date Night

I’ve told my lovely readers before about the fantastic public library system in our county. Well, their awesomeness continues!

Last Monday, they had a program called “Carolina Ghost Hunters.” Two speakers, one from the Charlotte Area Paranormal Society and one from the Union County Area Paranormal Society, gave an interesting presentation about ghost hunting.

John and I thought this all sounded very interesting. Just add dinner, and we had an instant date night. :)

So, here’s a bit about what we saw at the talk (mostly in pictures):

Our speakers talked a bit about their thoughts on what “ghosts” are. One took a more spiritual view, while the other took a more “scientific” stance. (I put scientific in quotation marks because there are some big, gaping holes in the science of it all…which she fully admitted, and I like that.) :)

And then they each shared some pictures of odd things they’ve spotted while out in the field. I’m going to put some of those pictures in a gallery for you…if you click them, you should be able to see a larger version. Please keep in mind that these are pictures taken of pictures shown in a slide show with other people sitting in front of me…during a presentation where I was trying to be non-disruptive and whatnot…because I’m a grown up and stuff. ;) Okay, enjoy!

While I thought the pictures and the equipment and the talk itself were very interesting, there wasn’t much there to convince me to change my stance. The only thing that caused me to truly consider that something strange was going on was a set of pictures from two different cameras showing the same ghostly image…one of the cameras was one of those nifty infrared dealies and the other was just a plain ol’ digital camera, but they clearly showed the same image of….something. Interesting. Very interesting, indeed.

So, what are your thoughts on pictures of ghosts and ghost encounters? Ever had anything spooky show up in a picture? (I have, but I chalked it up to oddities in lighting or dust…interesting that it did happen while John and I were on a ghost walk in Wilmington.) ;) Are you doing any fun ghost-themed activities for Halloween?

P.S. – Dinner was also awesome. :D It was a fantastic date night!

Neil Diamond, Maple Donuts, & Fond Memories

Today is my mom’s would-be birthday. Well, I guess October 26 is still the day that she was born, so it will always be her birthday, but she’s not here with us to celebrate it anymore.

But we don’t let that stop us.

My mom adored Neil Diamond. Adored. So, though he’s not our usual musical fare, we took in some smooth Jazz Singer tunes at dinner tonight.

She was also a big fan of maple glazed donuts, so guess what we had for dessert? Yep, we skipped the chocolate-y goodness we would normally indulge in when we have dessert, and, instead, indulged in maple-y goodness.

And then there were all of the awesome memories of my mom. She was a fantastic mother…even if she was a bit of a nut. ;) I wouldn’t have it any other way. :D

She was a silly goof even when she was so, so sick...this was at a hospice/nursing home "beach" party. :)

She was a silly goof even when she was so, so sick…this was at a hospice/nursing home “beach” party. :)

The anniversary of her death was last month, but I try not to focus on that. I’d way rather focus on the positive memories than the sorrow-soaked nightmare that was the last few months of her too-short life, and so, in some way, we celebrate her birthday every year.

Why don’t you celebrate a bit with us and enjoy my favorite Neil Diamond song…

So, what about you? Favorite Neil Diamond song? Do you celebrate the birthdays of loved ones who are no longer with you?