Catholic Schoolhouse Tour 2: Week 4

Catholic Schoolhouse Tour 2: Week 4

I hope you’re getting into the school grove by now! How are your youngsters doing on their memory work?

Memory Work

Musical Memory work

Pull out the drums, sistrum, or make the tambourine (see below) this week to help you memorize.  For each syllable in a memory sentence, beat your drum, shake your sistrum or tambourine.  If you have no instruments have your students clap or stomp for each syllable.

Note: Being able to differentiate between syllables is an important pre-reading skill.  Include even your littlest ones in this activity so they can start to learn how to break words up into syllables.


For the next three weeks, our saint focus is on David from the Old Testament.  There are so many great stories about David, from his defeat over Goliath to his kingship and building up of Jerusalem.  The fun pack this week touches on a few of these while practicing reading, writing and skip counting!

David Fun Pack

  • This week memorize the beginning of the Bread of Life Discourse.  Did you know the gospel of John does not describe Jesus blessing the bread and wine at the Last Supper? But it does express the Eucharist through the Bread of Life Discourse.  We read these words every year in Mass between Easter and Pentecost.  Practice and memorize better with some handwriting practice.

Bread of Life Discourse Handwriting


  • Are your kids tired of jump roping to skip count? Switch to drawing hopscotches in chalk on the driveway.  Draw a different hopscotch for each skip counting sequence we’ve learned thus far.
  • You can check out my silly ideas for practicing your skip counting on the Tour 1 Week post also.

Language Arts

  • Go for a pronoun hunt in a book, magazine or newspaper.  Set a timer, have each student pick a different pronoun, and see who can find the most in their magazine or newspaper!  Have them circle or highlight the pronouns when they find them. Easily turn this into a group activity by having teams.  The “HE” team, the “SHE” team, the “HIM” team.. etc.


  • Music Notebooking Page in case you don’t already have a bunch printed! Fill it out for the tambourine!
  • Tambourines are the focus in music this week! A lot of kid music ‘kits’ come with tambourines and if you have one make sure you pull it out this week. Otherwise get your crafting supplies out and make a tambourine using some paper plates and jingle bells or bottle caps.  This is by far my favorite home-made instrument so far!

You will need:

  • Two paper plates with a lip (see picture) the super cheap wrinkly ones won’t work
  • Bottle caps/ metal washer/ jingle bells/ other noisy trash-type items
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Hole Puncher
  • Ribbon (optional)
  • Hammer and nail if you use bottle caps

First (an adult should) pound the bottle caps flat with a hammer, and poke a hole in them using the nail and hammer. I did this on an old wooden cutting board.

bottle caps

Next, tape the bottoms of your two paper plates together.  (I used packing tape, rolled it into a loop with the sticky part outside, and stuck them together)

tape the plates together

Using your hole puncher, punch holes in the paper plates across from each other.  Thread your pipe cleaner through the hole in one plate, thread on two of your bottle caps/washers/noisemakers, thread through the other plate, and wrap and twist them around themselves.  Repeat this as many times as you have supplies or patience. If that made no sense, just try to make it look like this:

thread bottle caps pipe cleaners

Punch one last hole in your paper plate and tie on your ribbons!


Make some music!

I will go ahead and warn you against looking for a good tambourine youtube video- there are many of them that are belly dancer videos.  I looked for one for you, but alas I don’t have a good one to share. If you happen to know of a good educational one let everyone else know in the comments!


Print these Latin cards two-sided and play a game of memory.  Or you can print pages 2 and 4 two-sided (flip on the long side) and use them as flashcards!

One last way to use these, have each student hold a different Latin word. Play the song and see if they can sing just the word they’re holding at the right time.  It could get silly!


  • Don’t forget about the notebooking page, you can use it each week!

History Timeline Notebooking Page

  • Before Hammurabi, people had no established ‘permanent’ law.  The laws changed as rulers and moods changed. As you teach about Hammurabi’s code this week, try this experiment.  Have your students choose a board game to play.  After getting it out, let them know they get to decide how to play it– they don’t have to play using the rules in the rule book.  Also anyone can make the rules, and you can change them even after you start playing.  Watch and see how this game goes.  When it ends (either in a ‘winner’ or everyone quitting with grumpy faces), ask why it did or didn’t work. Then ask if everyone thought it was fair.  This was life before Hammurabi.  He was the first ruler to create a rule book.  Can you imagine if all of life were like this game you just played?  What if there were no rules or consequences at home? Or in our country? People would get away with terrible crimes, or the punishments would change and no one would know what to expect.
  • A short video about Hammurabi’s code: It’s a little dry but short and informative.
  • Cuneiform was the written language of the ancient Mesopotamian.  It was made by pressing a small tool into wet clay, which produced a triangular tapered shape in the clay.  Different numbers and arrangements of these triangles meant different letters.  Print this cuneiform alphabet and get some modeling clay or play-doh.  Then make your own cuneiform instrument using the end of a pencil (yea its that easy!).  Holding the pencil at an angle, press it into your clay/play-doh to form triangles.  Have your students write their names in cuneiform!
  • Read the story about Joseph in your Bible or Children’s Bible this week.  It starts at Genesis Chapter 37 and finishes up the book of Genesis. In case you can’t read all of that to your students, you could just read Genesis Chapters 37-45. Or if you’re looking for a picture book consider Joseph by Brian Wildsmith.  It tells the story and has a lot of great pictures to go with it.  After reading the story of Joseph (in whatever form you choose), have your students complete a writing activity.  “The moral of the story is…”  You may be surprised at how many different directions this could go- God has a plan for everyone, You should forgive your siblings, Always be helpful, Trust in God.. etc. I’m not sure there are any wrong answers (except maybe ‘you should sell your siblings into slavery’) Have them back it up with references to specific parts of the story.
  • The timeline this week also dives into the development of bronze for weapons.  You could have a learning experience with your kids just in your house.  I’ve found (at least with my young kids), they don’t know iron from steel from, well, any other metal. Collect some items and label what kind of metal they are (you have more than you realize- pots and pans are often stainless steel, cookie sheets are steel or aluminum, nails, screws, door hinges, air vent covers, aluminum foil in your pantry is an easy one, cast iron skillet, gold and silver jewelry). Then discuss how people in ancient civilizations did not know how to mine and refine all these types of metals.  Bronze itself was a breakthrough, and then iron was a great advancement.  Your older students can research what metals are mixed to make bronze.  Metallurgy is a pretty interesting field!
  • If your kids love the Egyptian activities and crafts, you can keep going with them this week.  Here are a few more ideas to keep the Egyptian fun going:


  • Find the European Peninsulas on your world map of course, sing the song as you point to each one.
  • Print this simple worksheet and circle the European Peninsulas!

European Peninsulas


  • Seed dispersal is fun to see in action.  Go to a park with plenty of trees.  Have a picnic and see if you can spot some squirrels burying seeds.  What kind of dispersal is that?  While you’re there find some dandelions and blow them (my kids love this).  What kind of dispersal is that? See if you can find an example of each type.  Have your kids draw them in their nature journals.
  • For your little ones there’s a charming story by Eric Carl called The Tiny Seed (The World of Eric Carle).  
  • Draw different types of seeds and seed dispersal in your nature journals this week!
  • If you need something to keep the kids entertained, The Magic Schoolbus, Season 3 Episode 10, “Gets Planted,” would work nicely into what you’re teaching this quarter.  It’s free if you have netflix!
  • If your students like Magic Schoolbus, check out The Magic Schoolbus Plants Seeds.

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