Catholic Schoolhouse Tour 1: Week 8

Catholic Schoolhouse Tour 1: Week 8

Welcome back to the CSH Blog!  I hope you’re having as much fun doing these things as I’m having writing about them!


  • Don’t forget about your Saint fun pack!  Pull out your Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Fun Pack and complete the activities for Week 8.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton -Fun Pack Printable

  • Check out this cool Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Feast Day post on Catholic Icing.  I know it’s for the feast day, but you could do these as you learn about her:

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Feast Day Ideas Post –


  • Students learn about polygons this week!   Create this cool Geoboard to practice your polygon making and naming!

Geoboard Polygons

  • You could also have a polygon scavenger hunt in the car as you drive somewhere (groceries, stores, Catholic Schoolhouse meeting?).  Give each student a list of polygons to find. The first to find them all wins!  (You’d be surprised how many you DO find- did you know STOP signs are octagons? Yields are triangles, and there are many quadrilaterals!)
  • Next time you’re at the dinner table together, challenge your students to make different polygons (and name them) with their napkins!  Let your students know they don’t have to be ‘regular’ polygons (not all the sides have to have the same length).

Here are some hints for napkin polygons:

Just a napkin is square or rectangle

Fold it corner to corner to get a triangle.

Fold two corners to the middle and you get a shape with 5 sides! A pentagon!

IMG_20140909_093408505_HDR (1024x800)

Fold the corners of your square in just a little (not all the way to the center), and you’ll get an octagon.

How many shapes can your students come up with while eating?

Language Arts

  • Do you have flashcards with words on them from back when you were teaching your 1-year-old what things were called?  I do.  They have pictures of airplanes, lions, teddy bears – all the sorts of words you want your child to have in his/her vocabulary.  Well, if you still have them – bring them out this week.  Grab two sheets of paper, and write “a” at the top of one and “an” at the top of the other.  Quiz your students by having them sort the cards according to the correct article. ( an airplane, a bear, an apple, etc.).  If you don’t already have the cards, I wouldn’t bother purchasing any, just write some words on paper pieces or note cards and you can still play the game!


  • If you enjoyed The Boy From Thuringia while we were studying Bach, you may want to consider adding Opel Wheeler’s Ludwig Beethoven and the Chiming Tower Bells.  It is written in a similar fashion:  a fun but educational book about a famous musician, that was written for children.  It even has sheet music in the stories! It’s a great one to add to your collection:

Ludwig Beethoven and the Chiming Tower Bells

(Using this link to purchase this book helps Catholic Schoolhouse)



  • The words to The Star Spangled Banner were written during the War of 1812.  Listen and learn the lyrics to the song.  If your students know/are learning a musical instrument get them the sheet music.  The younger ones can sing along as the older ones play it on the piano/guitar/recorder etc.  No musical instruments? Listen to and sing using youtube:  The Star Spangled Banner w/ Lyrics

Here’s some trivia for you: how many stars were on the Star Spangled Banner when Francis Scott Key wrote this poem?

  • Have your older students study the background of the Missouri Compromise.  Then have them choose a side and write a persuasive speech to support their side’s view.  Make sure your student clearly states what his/her side is (are you pro-Missouri being a slave state or against it?), and explain the reasons why.  For the older students, challenge them to consider what the opposing side would use as reasoning for their views, and add counterarguments to their speech.  Appealing to the emotions of your audience is key in persuasive writing.  If you have several students, see if you can get two to choose opposite sides.  Allow your students to give their speech to the family, and then ask at the end if the speech changed their minds.
  • The Trail of Tears is a long, long journey that the Cherokees traveled in their forced relocation by the white settlers.  One of the more used paths, has become a National Historic Trail, and there are several access points and parks along it.  If you live in Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, or Eastern Oklahoma, take a field trip to one of the many parks.  Walk the paths, read the info boards, and visit the stores.  Plan your trip using National Park Service Trail of Tears website.
  • The Erie Canal is a great way to introduce your students to how waterways have been adapted for shipping vessels to pass through.  Learn about canals, locks, gates, gate paddles, etc.  Momma’s learning corner has a great blog post already about the Erie Canal, with a book recommendation  The Amazing Impossible Erie Canal by Cheryl Harness, printable worksheets, and youtube videos of how canals and locks work.

Mommas Learning Corner Erie Canal Unit Study Post

The Amazing Impossible Erie Canal by Cheryl Harness

  • This week, it seems like other moms have already done the hard work- I’ve got another blog referral for you!  Check out Deceptively Educational’s blog post with an Underground Railroad quilt block game.  I haven’t personally read the book she links to, but the game looks great, it’s free, and your students will learn quilt blocks and that quilts were used to help slaves reach freedom in the Underground Railroad.  (We study quilts starting Week 10 in Art!)
  • I stumbled upon this fun site called Mission US There are 3 games available.  In Mission 2, you play the part of Lucy, a 14-year-old whose goal is to escape slavery.  It is played out like an RPG (role-playing game), where you are presented with various things to do and say.  If you make the right choices you may escape slavery.  I have played through it twice now and found it pretty entertaining.  Some of it is a little too real for your littlest students, and reading is required to play the game.  I would recommend it for your 3rd grade and up, and follow up the game with some good discussion.  I like that it presents (what I imagine to be) a realistic depiction of the struggle of slaves escaping, as well as teaches vocabulary.  To complete Mission 2 you will need at least an hour.  It is set up in 5 stages though, so if you want you can easily limit your student’s game-playing time by allowing only one ‘stage’ a day.


  • Do you live in or near Raleigh, North Carolina?  The North Carolina Museum of Art has an exhibit of J.J. Audubon’s Birds of America on display.  If you live nearby or are planning a trip anytime this year that takes you near Raleigh, be sure to stop by and see his work first hand!


  •  How is your quarter collection (recommended in the Week 7 post) coming?  If several families in your program are collecting quarters, you could use some time before or after meeting to trade quarters for the ones you ‘re missing!
  • This might be obvious–but, if you live in the Southeast-Take a field trip!  Go to one of these Southeast Features.  Fall weather is perfect for the outdoors, especially the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains.
  • I don’t know if you use much of the Leap Frog branded stuff, but I like all the products I’ve gotten from them so far. (I’ll warn you they can be pricy–ours were birthday gifts!) If you already have a Leap Frog Tag Reader Pen, you should invest in the Interactive United States Map.  These types of interactive educational ‘toys’ have really come a long way in the last few years.  There are two sides to the map, one side is a regular map with only the capitals of each state labeled.  You can play a game on this side to ‘race’ and find the states and cities.  The other side is the really cool one.  It shows the state names, landscapes (mountains, plains, forests etc.), and cute little pictures for each state that have additional information about that state.  For example, Georgia has a picture of a peach and when you touch the peach it says ‘Georgia is famous for growing peaches, It’s even called the Peach State.”  It also has games you can play.  In the game, an example of what it’ll say is “In the California Gold Rush, many people traveled west to California in covered wagons – find the covered wagon and drag your pen to the gold and pick-ax.”  The covered wagon is in Missouri and the pick-ax and gold are in California, so your student has to start at the wagon and drag across the US, through the plains, and over the mountains to get to California.  There’s a lot more to this product than I’ve described (like more games and things to learn about), but hopefully, this mini-review can help you decide if it would be a fun addition.  I love that my child thinks she playing (even though she’s learning) and randomly tells me things like “Cars are made in Michigan!”

Here are a couple pictures of our Tag Reader US Map:


My daughter thinks it’s fun to use tracing paper to draw the states.  I guess that’s an added benefit to having a sturdy cardboard map. Sorry, I don’t have a picture of her actually using the Tag Reader Pen.  Of course, it’s used all the time except when I’m trying to get a picture of it!

All the Green Circles with stars in them are games you can play.  The “Kids Like Me” teaches what type of music, food, games, and lifestyles are in the different regions of the US.  The “Let’s Explore” was the game that the California Gold Rush example was from.


  • I know it’s nowhere near winter yet (in fact, it’s 95 degrees F outside here, right now), but you can think chilly thoughts as you make paper snowflakes while learning about precipitation this week.  Take a coffee filter, and fold it in half.  Now fold it in thirds along the radius,  so you keep one end pointy and the other is the outside curve (pictures below to help).

(Folding on the red dotted lines)


Then take some scissors and cut the curve part off.  (for a prettier snowflake you could start at the ‘corners’ of the curved part and cut inward. Next,  cut little triangles out of the sides.  Unfold and you have a snowflake!


We like to stick these to our windows in the wintertime.  If you want them to lay a little flatter, you can get them wet, spread them on a table and let them dry.   Here are our snowflakes!

IMG_20140909_093144628 (639x1024)

Just a side comment: When I was in school (a long time ago) we made these by folding copy paper in half and then in half again- there’s nothing wrong with that.  But if you’re making paper snowflakes, folding them as I described above gives them 6 sides which is characteristic of a snowflake ice crystal.  The reason we used coffee filters is because they are cheap, already the right size, they’re round, and they’re sort of translucent in the window, which I like!

  • Have you ever noticed how snow falls softly and rain seems like it falls fast and hard? Try this simple experiment at home to understand how rain falls differently than snow.  Drop an un-folded flat piece of paper- watch how it falls.  Now crunch that paper up into a tight ball, and drop it again.  Did it fall faster?  Did it fall in a strait line?  Did the flat paper fall in a strait line?  Ask your students which example is like snow and which is like rain.  Why do they fall differently?  (Surface area! The snow flake/flat paper has more surface area which slows it’s decent.  The rain/ball of paper, has less surface area, so the air doesn’t have as much to ‘push’ against as it falls)

Have fun this week, and as always, thank you for reading!

Did you miss week 7? Find it here!

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