Attentiveness Unit – Week 3

attentiveness-week-3

As I mentioned last week, I switched my school schedule around to have some play/exercise time in the morning and school in the afternoon.  I wasn’t able to stick with this arrangement though (sorry, mom!).  I found that we were running very late into the afternoons and I would be rushed into evening chores and activities without any quiet or clean up time.  I’m back to morning (combined) school and now I just make sure the girls have had some sort of physical activity prior to 9 a.m.

We are still struggling with implementing attentiveness going into week 3.  The girls have memorized Bible verses and know what attentiveness means by heart, but it is not yet IN their hearts to behave that way.  There is still an extreme amount of chatter and interruption while we have school together.  I’m not sure how to tackle this yet, except to try and be as encouraging as possible when I see it take place.  This is not an easy thing for me to do, as I’m naturally one to correct behavior somewhat critically.  I’m hopeful though, since there are still many weeks left before we leave this character trait for the next one.

 

KONOS Attentiveness Unit Week 3 Resources

*This page contains affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy for more information.

 

books-i-used

Mole Music
Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin
Meet the Orchestra
Lives of the Musicians

Movie: The Music Man

My book list was rather short this week.  Mole Music was an adorable book that helped the kids visualize how our “private” actions can influence others.  This is a wonderful story to prompt discussion on the importance of random acts of kindness and how God always has greater things in store than we can see.

violinistZin! Zin! Zin! A Violin was a great introduction into musical instruments and words. For getting a better understanding of individual instruments and their families, I preferred Meet the Orchestra.  This book gave several examples into each instrument family and described their sound.  I read a portion of the book each day, stopping after completing an instrument and letting the girls hear each one from my phone (sources below).

Surprisingly, I had never seen The Music Man.  Even though I grew up watching plenty of musicals, my girls have not.  They were confused at first by all the singing. After awhile though they got caught up in the story and loved it in the end.  I always have them draw their favorite part of the movie after we finish watching and these pictures are such fun to see!

online-resources

Instrument sound samples 1
Instrument sound samples 2
Orchestra layout
Chopin coloring page and music samples
Zin! Zin! Zin! worksheets
Making a kazoo
Classical cello video
Modern cello video
Brahms coloring page and music sample (Brahm’s Lullaby)
Instrument cards
Tchaikovsky coloring page and music sample (The Nutcracker Suite/Nutcracker Ballet)
Prokofiev music sample (Peter and the Wolf)
Wolf craft

After introducing many instruments through Meet the Orchestra, I used the free printable instrument cards to have the girls match up the instruments to their names (I read them out loud so my non readers could play).  They really loved this activity and did a wonderful job at matching.  The Zin! Zin! Zin! worksheets also helped reinforce which instrument belonged to each family.

orchestra

I wanted the girls to understand that musical instruments aren’t always used to play classical music.  One of the best lessons for them was when I played the classical cello video and followed it up with the modern work of 2 Cellos.  They thought the performance of the latter was outstanding and were entranced by how the same instrument could be played so differently.

nutcrackerWe continued building our composer study where I read bios for each out of Lives of the Musicians.  The Nutcracker was a favorite and though we didn’t take time to watch the entire ballet, it was an excellent example for describing how music tells a story.  The same was true for Peter and the Wolf.  It was easy for the kids to hear the instruments and how each represented a particular animal or person.wolf

We also created a few of our own instruments.  The kazoos were incredibly noisy and they loved that!  I didn’t have an empty shoe box for creating a guitar, so I used a large, sturdy plastic lid and put several rubber bands across it.  You could hear the sound change as the the rubber band was stretched across the different lengths of the lid.  They had fun predicting how each would sound.

By far, this was our most successful week.  The girls thoroughly enjoyed learning about musical instruments.  My 7 and 5 year old were even able to recognize Franz Schubert without prompting (his picture was on my computer screen when they came into the room and they both started shouting “Schubert! Schubert!”).  I guess even through the chatter, they are listening.

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Attentiveness Unit – Week 2

attentiveness-week-2aSince Labor Day took up our Monday, we moved our schedule to start school on Tuesday and go through Friday.  This usually isn’t an issue since I reserve Fridays for “around the house” time anyway.  The girls were better this week (less resistance) but I think my 2 year old has caught onto us and has lost some interest in what we are doing, unless we are actively crafting or coloring.

It is the second week in our attentiveness unit and though I’ve been successful at teaching them all what attentiveness means, we are still working on how to show it.  My girls struggle with waiting their turn to talk and listening carefully to instructions before starting a project.  I also have a very fidgety 7 year old that cannot sit without having her hands on something.  After discussing the matter over with my own mother, she suggested I engage the girls in physical activity prior to sitting down for “class” time.  I attempted switching my schedule around the last two days of the week, having class in the afternoon after a morning of play and light exercise.  I did notice the girls were much more eager to participate in the afternoon, so I’ll give it another week to see if this change is worth keeping.

 

KONOS Attentiveness Unit Week 2

*This page contains affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy for more information.

 

 

books-i-usedMagic School Bus in the Haunted Museum: A Book about Sound
Bats
Magic School Bus Truth About Bats

Alexander Graham Bell
Out and About at the Orchestra
Don’t Forget the Bacon
Ah, Music!
Lives of the Musicians
The Very Cranky Bear
Beethoven Musical Pioneer
Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

Movie: The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (1939)

 

brown batThis week we spent some time learning about animals, particularly bats, and how they process sound and use it in their everyday survival.  This topic was especially personal to us, as we have literally had bats in the attic of our old Victorian house.  I wish I could say they stayed in the attic, but many found their way into our home in their search to get outside and hunt.  The book Bats, by Kerri O’Donnell, was an excellent resource for bat info.  The book was easy to understand and gave well-laid out details about bats that fascinated the girls.  We also read Truth About Bats (Magic School Bus), and since this was a chapter book, I divided it up over 3 days.  That one wasn’t quite as exciting to my 5 year old and most of the information was already covered in the previous book.

The Very Cranky Bear is a book we already own and one of the kids’ very favorites.  I love this book with its pictures, rhyming and adorable ending.  We were able to use these worksheets to go along with the story.  We discussed how each animal tried to please the cranky bear and how sheep “paid attention” and finally found a solution.

Alexander Graham BellIn our study of listening, we read about Alexander Graham Bell and the telephone.  I would not recommend the book mentioned here if you want an in-depth look at his life.  This book was very choppy and mostly listed brief facts on each page.  The pictures were great, but the text just wasn’t enough to keep the kids interested.

I chose to have the kids watch the 1939 movie of Alexander Graham Bell instead of opting for cartoon versions on youtube.  My oldest followed along well but the other two didn’t always understand what was happening on screen and though I stopped it frequently to explain, the movie didn’t excite them.  The movie did show scenes of Alexander courting his soon-to-be wife, Mabel.  They giggled through those parts and so I imagine for boys it might be even less desirable to watch!

 

online-resourcesAll About Bats for Kids video
Bat Craft
Handel coloring page and music sample: Hallelujah Chorus
Whale Song video
Classical music description
Mozart video bio, coloring page and music samples
The Very Cranky Bear worksheets
Beethoven coloring page and music samples (Moonlight Sonata, Fur Elise)
Beethoven According to Peanuts video
Schubert coloring page and music samples (Unfinished Symphony, Ave Maria)
Timeline for composers

I think it’s very important for the kids to see lessons in action as well as hear them.  I opt for plenty of youtube videos to help the girls visualize subjects we study.  The bat video was fun to watch and they loved seeing the little mammals in action (not that they haven’t seen them live in our own house!). As well as studying echolocation for bats, we also briefly discussed whales, dolphins, and elephants, each of which have their own unique methods of communication.

dolphins-whales-elephants

We’ve also had great success using youtube to hear different samples of music by each composer we study.  I showed the choral version of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus which gave me an opportunity to talk about the different voice classifications (simple): soprano, alto, tenor, and bass.  The video demonstrates these very well and I had the girls listen for the ranges and raise their hands when they heard a new voice come in.

At the end of the week we put together a timeline for the composers we have studied so far.  I created my own printable composer pictures that we could cut out and paste on the timeline along with names and dates of birth.  I scattered the composer pictures and had them pick out the correct one when I named them.  This was effective and successful in helping them recognize faces and names (the coloring pages were most advantageous for building up to this project).

empty bottlesOur science project included taking 5 empty (beer) bottles and filling them with different amounts of water.  We took turns blowing across the top to see how the bottles produced different sounds depending on how much water each contained.  The girls loved this version of “making music” and had fun predicting the sound that would be made.

There were a few science projects that I ran out of time to do but I’ll mention them here since I definitely think they would have been fun.  The first was setting up a couple of empty paper towel tubes and a tin pie plate to replicate echolocation.  Read about the project here.

The other was taking apart and examining an old telephone.  We might still find an opportunity for this project, as I think the girls would find it very interesting.

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Attentiveness Unit – Week 1

attentiveness-week-1a

Our first week back at school started with a pretty rough Monday.  I usually don’t like to take such a significant break from homeschooling.  In fact, I’d prefer to take off a week here or there throughout the year than take months off.  But the remodel on our house has brought chaos to a level I never thought possible. Now that I’ve decided to teach all the girls together, we’ve temporarily moved into the dining room while we (yet again) rearrange the room I originally designated as the school room.

We had a lot of chatter and distraction the first day.  I chalk this up to the kids feeling excited/apprehensive about what to expect this year from school.

We started each day defining attentiveness: what it meant and what it looked like. Then we recited the Bible verse for the week (Proverbs 4:20) and prayed.  Below I’ve outlined the books and online resources I used to teach this first week.

 

KONOS Attentiveness Unit Week 1

*This page contains affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy for more information.

 

books-i-usedI Know That! Sound
Inside the Ears
Nobody Listens to Andrew
Sound and Light
The Listening Walk
Can You Hear a Rainbow
Lives of the Musicians
Sebastian: A Book About Bach

Movie: Miracle Worker (story of Helen Keller)

 

Inside the Ears was an excellent text for learning about the ears.  It was colorful and very easy for even the younger ones to understand.  I highly recommend this series of books (called Super Simple Body) and have already purchased Inside the Eyes for use in a few weeks.  It also provides easy science experiments, with many items you already have around the house.  One of these experiments was the tin can telephone, which didn’t work out as successfully as I had hoped.  The younger ones didn’t understand the importance of keeping the string taut and kept walking around the house in an attempt to hear the other person!

Tin Can Telephone

My girls really enjoyed The Listening Walk.  During spring and fall, our family takes many evening walks after dinner.  This book helped teach them that walks don’t have to be filled with talking and that listening for different sounds can be quite entertaining.

Can You Hear a Rainbow was a different read for us since the girls are so used to hearing fictional stories.  This book was told from the perspective of a deaf boy.  They were intrigued by how different his life was and the small things we take for granted.  After reading this book and watching the movie, Miracle Worker, I taught each of them how to spell their names using the deaf alphabet.  They loved this so much and my oldest even went on her own to learn all the letters so she could spell things to me the rest of the day!

Over the course of the week we watched segments of Miracle Worker.  The whole movie is on youtube and since I don’t own the DVD, we watched it via our Wii.  I haven’t seen the older versions of this movie, but we thought this one was very well done.  It showed only a small portion of Helen Keller’s childhood and I had hoped it would go further into her young adult years.  I should have picked up another library book prior to the movie to help the kids understand who she was and how she was an important woman in history.

*UPDATE*: I found this free resource after we finished the Helen Keller study.  This looks like an excellent follow-up to the movie.

 

online-resourcesEar Song
Ear diagram

Middle Ages music description
Hildegard Von Bingen coloring page
Hildegard von Bingen music sample: Canticles of Ecstasy
Renaissance music description
William Byrd music samples
Baroque music description
Vivaldi: music sample, coloring page, craft for Four Seasons
Bach: music samples (Air, Toccata/Fugue), coloring page

 

We absolutely LOVED the ear song and will definitely use this youtube channel for other body part songs.  The catchy tune was easy for the kids to follow and sing along.  We listened to it every day and by the end of the week they knew most of it by heart.

Ear Diagram Activity

The girls with their ear diagrams.

KONOS starts out this unit of attentiveness by studying the ear and its parts, as well as introducing kids to different styles of music.  KONOS does not teach chronologically since the main focus is character trait development.  To help kids understand the order of events, we will be creating a timeline, starting with the composers we plan to study.  I didn’t follow the curriculum book on the composer lessons. To make things simpler, I put the music styles chronologically myself and taught them about the first three: Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque. We listened to samples of each music era and talked about the instruments available to musicians at the time.  The girls looked forward to the coloring pages of each composer (though I couldn’t find one for William Byrd) and I plan to have them create a composer book with their pictures once this unit is finished. They had the most fun identifying the different music in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.  This kids guide was an excellent resource!

Overall the week went well.  We did have a few hiccups along the way and can see the benefit to dedicating 15 weeks to the character trait of attentiveness. I also want to encourage the kids to be attentive to the needs of others and lend a hand when they are able. I’ve asked that they be looking for ways we can pray for their friends and other families and relatives.  Attentiveness is more than listening with your ears and seeing with your eyes…it’s about opening your heart to the hurts and struggles of other people and finding out how we can be a blessing in their lives.

 

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Planning Our School Year

Planning our school year with KONOS was a little more difficult than I’d anticipated.  KONOS curriculum has three teacher volumes, with each book designed to take you through two years of homeschooling. We’ll be opening up our school year with the unit of attentiveness.  This unit is 15 weeks.  I was surprised at the amount of content related to the subject of being attentive and how easily this character trait is taught with science and history.

Planning Our School Year with Konos

*This page contains affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy for more information.

There is quite a bit of preparation involved in this curriculum, which is completely unlike my past experience. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time tracking down updated or similar versions of books that are recommended for study.  Since this was written in the 1980’s many of the books are either outdated or not at the library anymore.  I can be frugal about money, so only when I think it is absolutely necessary for the unit will I purchase a book.  We have a very good home library of books and I will add to it if I find that a library borrow is worth the extra expense to have that book on hand permanently.

The first thing I did was organize a daily schedule.  I put my day into (loose) time slots.  I have discovered over the last 7 years of teaching homeschool that I am unable to follow a tight schedule.  Inevitably, crafts or other lessons go longer than intended and I’ve had to let go of my personal agenda to allow my kids the freedom to learn on their own timetable.  Here is a brief overview of my schooling days:

9:00 – 12:00 > KONOS
12:00 – 1:00 >  Lunch
1:00 – 2:30 > Individual math and English (30 minutes per child)
2:30 – 3:15 > Quiet Time
3:15 – 4:00 > Clean up chores
4:00 p.m. > Free time

This schedule is for Monday through Thursday.  I reserve Fridays for field trip days, “homemaking” activities, or catching up on stuff around the house.

Konos lists dozens and dozens of activities per unit of character trait study.  The idea is to not feel overwhelmed and that you must complete them all, but to provide plenty of choices when choosing the right activities for YOUR family.  I felt comfortable assigning 1-3 of these activities every day.  Here is an example of my planning “form” to help me organize my week. Pinterest also make it incredibly easy to find supplemental or substitute lessons for the occasions of exploring a subject in more depth. There are numerous boards to follow that are specifically geared toward KONOS curriculum.

I will be teaching a 5th grader, 1st grader, and kindergartner, although these are are just labels for me.  I don’t really keep track of what grade they are in, but just go along with their interests and abilities as they grow.  This has been a process for me and wasn’t something that happened overnight.  I’ve had to adjust my attitude and focus on not feeling threatened by the social perception of how school “should be taught.”  I favor more on the side of “unschooling” but if I don’t set up specific teaching times, I myself get distracted and miss opportunities of teachable moments.

The girls will be taught math and English on an individual bases. For English, I use Rod & Staff, beginning with English 2: Preparing to Build. (I teach reading in first grade using Reading Made Easy.)  I’ve been very happy using this English series and so far have experienced no difficulty with application and comprehension.  The teacher’s manual lays out clearly how to teach each lesson and the amount of practice is very reasonable.

Life of FredMath curriculum has been a major struggle for us.  When I first started homeschooling, we were using Singapore Math.  Despite its excellent ratings, we were unable to make it work for my oldest daughter.  We bounced around various other math books, which has resulted in a significant delay in her math knowledge for 5th grade.  Last year we started Life of Fred, which she took to immediately.  This program does not teach basic math skills; however, so I plan to supplement with Mathematics Power Learning for Children.  I’ll keep you posted on how this is working out for us.

I do have some trepidation about teaching all the kids together.  One of the main reasons I chose this route was because I was unable to sufficiently occupy the children who weren’t schooling to avoid constant interruption.  And I mean constant.  I tried quiet boxes, computer, structured play time, etc. Everything failed.  I expect interruptions from my 2 year old and manage those as best I can, but generally she is happy to sit in on whatever activities I’m doing with the other kids. I will be taking frequent breaks since we are in the midst of potty training.

In a few days I’ll share with you how our first week of schooling together went.  Hopefully I’ll still have all my hair and there won’t be an empty wine cabinet staring me sadly in the face.

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Our Journey of Character Development

I am not a quick decision maker.  Just ask my husband who’s been sitting in the car waiting while I’m assigned the job of picking out a dessert at the grocery store to bring to a friend’s dinner night. (I usually try to make something at home, but honestly, with four kids underfoot I am lucky to get 3 meals on the table everyday.)  I’ve been hemming and hawing about this for awhile…deciding on whether to start a blog on this site. I admit upfront, I LOVE the Burgess books.  They are such a delight to read to my kids.  There is something about Thornton’s writing that is so captivating.  His characters are funny and mischievous and he creates many opportunities to teach important life lessons and encourage character development.

OutdoorsI hope that you take a chance on these books and apply some of the fun activities we list for each one in our available lessons section.  I wish I was an outdoor enthusiast who could write endlessly on exploring nature and North American wildlife, but the truth is, I love reading more.  I also spend large amounts of time with my four girls since I homeschool.  A few months ago, we started a series of posts about character traits, with book and activity ideas for teaching these traits to your kids.  We’ve had such a huge response, specifically from the patience post, that it got me thinking about parenting and that we all have areas of struggle.  I want to offer you real examples of what character building is like.  Oftentimes, blogs can give the sense that life is blissful and sweet for everyone else.  Up to this point, the only things you know about me are on the “Who We Are” page.  But I think I’ve made my decision…and I’m ready to get personal.

 

Character Traits Journey

 

More about meI am a (stressed out) mother of four girls, ages ranging from 2-10.  A few years ago, my husband and I took a leap of faith, left a secure job in Austin, TX, and relocated our family to Missouri.  This wasn’t totally unfamiliar territory to me, since I grew up in St. Louis.  We live in a smaller town closer to the Kansas City side of the state now, in aIMG_3677n old Queen Anne Victorian house built in 1891.  We bought it as a fixer upper while we continue looking for a small farm to call our own.

In the meantime, amid all the remodeling, we run a woodworking business from our house and I homeschool.  This year I made the decision (albeit, not quickly) to change my curriculum to one where I can school all the children at once (except for subjects like math and English).  Instead of following a typical, chronological history, the curriculum I chose focuses on units of character traits and applying history, science, geography, literature, music, etc. to each.  The curriculum is called KONOS. (I am not affiliated with this company in any way.  This is my own personal experience and opinion.)

I haven’t started school yet for this year.  I’m actually waiting on our roof to be re-shingled this week since the chaos of footsteps and scraping from the ceiling could prove to be a bit of a distraction for the kids.  Speaking of which, the opening unit is on attentiveness, which is appropriate since you certainly want kids paying attention while teaching.  I’m going to write about our journey through the character traits: what books we read, what activities we do, what worked, what failed, and how the kids are (hopefully) learning something about themselves and how to treat others.

My sister, Melissa, who is my co-contributor to this site, will also write in when she can.  She is a homeschooler of three kids, ages 3-7.  Even though she still lives in Texas, we talk (and when I say “talk” I mean text) every day about everything imaginable…but mostly about parenting.  We are going to be honest about our experiences and let you know how we are surviving this crazy train called life.

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The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse

The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse Teaching Guide

*This post contains affiliate links.  We receive a small commission when you purchase items through our site.  This helps support the website and enables us to continue providing you quality information and product recommendations.  Please read our disclosure policy for more information.

The Book: The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse

The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse was written by Thornton W. Burgess in 1915.  Danny Meadow Mouse isn’t happy with how short his tail is, but soon realizes the benefits as he narrowly escapes encounters with Reddy and Granny Fox, Hooty the Owl, and Redtail the Hawk.  Peter Rabbit and Danny have a lot in common and find ways to lend each other a hand when they each have troubles of their own in the Green Meadows and Farmer Brown’s Orchard.

We are in the process of putting together an ebook which will include a question guide to help reading comprehension and prompt discussions.  Once the ebook is available for purchase, we highly recommend using the guide side by side with the website.  Below you will find some other resources available to help you teach the moral lessons from this story, as well as online activities and book suggestions.

Visit us on Pinterest for more ideas and crafts!

CharacterTraitsHeader

Thornton W. Burgess not only filled his stories with scientific knowledge about animals, he also gave his characters attributes and situations that help us teach about moral character.  Each book contains a variety of traits that can be turned into discussions about proper behavior and attitudes.

Visit our character traits page to learn more.

ActivitiesResources

A meadow mouse is also known as a field mouse or meadow vole.  Read more about this rodent here.

Paper plate mouse craft
Mouse coloring pages
► Make a mouse bookmark
► Read Mouse Count and follow up with this activity or sensory bin idea
Predator and prey animal game
M&M predator and prey game
Animal survival adaptation lesson and activities
Paper plate owl craft (for Hooty the Owl)
Handprint owl craft
Letter M mouse craft for preschool
Chocolate kiss mouse craft
Fox and mouse group game
Games to encourage attentiveness to others’ needs
Camouflage activities for kids

more mice crafts and lesson ideas

Teach with other mouse characters

More mouse books

More ideas for mouse-themed play-

More mouse toys and games

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Honesty

Honesty shows up consistently throughout the Thornton Burgess books.  Characters play tricks or lie to get what they want or keep out of trouble.

Honesty is not only telling the truth but also includes the ability to be fair, sincere, genuine, and respectable.  Honesty often is associated with trust because when someone is caught lying, we consider them to be untrustworthy.  A few examples of this trait include:

  • Old Mother West Wind (Chapter 10): Sammy Jay steals Happy Jack’s nuts and doesn’t admit that he did it.
  • The Adventures of Peter Cottontail (Chapter 16): Reddy Fox lies about how he got hurt.
  • The Adventures of Chatterer the Red Squirrel (Chapter 6): Peter Rabbit snoops to find out where Chatterer’s new home will be.

Kids learn to lie at an early age.  Many times it’s a lie to avoid getting into trouble.  As a parent, sometimes it’s difficult to know when a child is being honest, especially if you weren’t there to witness the situation or if you are told different stories by multiple children.  Who do you believe?  How do you instill the importance of honesty without dampening the spirit?  Let’s admit, whether lying or telling the truth, if trouble was caused there will be a consequence.  Teaching honesty and sincerity BEFORE, IN BETWEEN, and AFTER those situations arise is the best way to ensure your child is listening and learning.  In the midst of the moment, anger and defensiveness can block the eyes and ears from experiencing truth.

Teacher and parent resources and activities for the character trait of honesty as taught in the classic literature stories of Thornton W. Burgess

*This post contains affiliate links.  This simply means that we receive a small commission when you purchase items through our site.  It helps support the website and enables us to continue providing you quality information and product recommendations.  Please read our disclosure policy for more information.

 

Honesty Activities

Below we’ve listed activities, links, and books that will help teach the character trait of honesty. We’ve also included several books as teacher/parent helps on this subject.

  • Honesty curriculum: free downloads and videos
  • Choose a story to read to your kids.  Afterwards let them sum up the story to you in their own words.  Then tell them it’s your turn and exaggerate the details of the story you just read.  Ask them if that’s truly how the story was told.  Explain how exaggeration can also be a form of dishonesty.
  • Read The Boy Who Cried Wolf and discuss with these guided questions.
  • Honesty is the Best Policy lesson plan (for middle school)
  • Honesty printable worksheets
  • Honesty games for kids
  • Choose a card or board game to play with your child.  Discuss the importance of following the rules and what happens when someone cheats to win.
  • Role playing different situations is a great way to get kids to understand and problem solve when it comes to matters of telling the truth (cashier gives the the wrong amount of change, a classmate says they have the answers to a test, a library book is damaged, etc.)
  • The Lie Monster lesson
  • Discuss the difference between fiction and nonfiction books. Help your child sort some books into these two categories.  Talk about the differences between pretending and lying.
  • Discuss the importance of reading or watching the news (to find out what’s happening locally and around the world, weather, sports, etc.). Ask whether we should always believe this information. (This is a good opportunity to explain the importance of the source and understanding there are often two sides to every story.)
  • Read A Penny’s Worth of Character. This is a chapter book that will take several settings to read.  It’s an excellent story about a boy who wants his favorite treat from the store, but is dishonest in how he gets it.
  • Teach preschooler’s about honesty.
  • Talk about how Jesus dealt with Peter when he lied.
  • Classroom resources for teaching honesty (lesson plans, activities, and worksheets)
  • Memorize Bible verses about honesty (Proverbs 12:19 and Proverbs 12:22 are good ones to start with)
⇒ Check out our Pinterest page on honesty for more books and lesson ideas! ⇐

Honesty Books

Honesty Help

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Obedience

“I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands.” Psalm 119:60

Obedience is something we are taught early on. Adults and children alike must obey. Obedience is being able to follow the rules or recognize someone’s authority and respecting others. It would be a chaotic world if no one chose to follow rules or each other. Animals can be taught to obey, and there are plenty of opportunities to see obedience (or disobedience) in the Thornton Burgess books! A few examples of this trait include:

  • The Adventures of Prickly Porky (Chapter 6): Peter Rabbit obeys Mrs. Rabbit when she tells him not to tell anyone his story.
  • The Adventures of Reddy Fox (Chapter 21): Reddy Fox doesn’t listen to Granny and finds himself in big trouble.
  • Old Mother West Wind (Chapter 5): One of the Merry Little Breezes doesn’t come when Mother calls and is left behind.

Teaching children to obey can definitely be challenging. The moment they are able to explore the world around them, they also begin testing rules and boundaries. Having consequences in place for when rules are broken can be a good way to be prepared for teaching obedience, because rules WILL be broken!

Explain to your children that even we, as adults, have to obey as well. We obey rules when we are at work or driving a car. Ask your kids “what would happen if” questions. There are many stories about obedience in the Bible that we can teach. Jonah and the Fish (Jonah),  Samuel listens and obeys (1 Samuel 17: 12-20), Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:19-28), Daniel obeys God (1 Daniel), and Noah builds the Ark (Genesis chapters 6-9). Obedience comes from God, out of love. Help your children know obeying is an act of love, a way to honor God.

Books on Obedience

*This post contains affiliate links.  We receive a small commission when you purchase items through our site.  This helps support the website and enables us to continue providing you quality information and product recommendations.  Please read our disclosure policy for more information.

 

Obedience Activities

Below we’ve listed activities, links, and books that will help teach the character trait of obedience. We’ve also included several books as teacher/parent helps on this subject.

⇒ Check out our Pinterest page on obedience for more books and lesson ideas! ⇐

Obedience Books

Obedience Help

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The Adventures of Chatterer the Red Squirrel

Homeschool and Classroom Activity and Lesson Ideas for The Adventures of Chatterer the Red Squirrel by Thornton W. Burgess / Moral Lessons for Kids / Children Stories with Morals / Character Traits

*This post contains affiliate links.  We receive a small commission when you purchase items through our site.  This helps support the website and enables us to continue providing you quality information and product recommendations.  Please read our disclosure policy for more information.

The Book: The Adventures of Chatterer the Red Squirrel

The Adventures of Chatterer the Red Squirrel was written by Thornton W. Burgess in 1915.  Chatterer is a curious red squirrel who becomes careless and finds himself in a trap set by Farmer Brown’s Boy.  He finds that over time, nothing (not even food) can take the place of his freedom.  Trust and friendship evolve as Chatterer dreams of running free along the old stone wall again.

We are in the process of putting together an ebook which will include a question guide to help reading comprehension and prompt discussions.  Once the ebook is available for purchase, we highly recommend using the guide side by side with the website.  Below you will find some other resources available to help you teach the moral lessons from this story, as well as online activities and book suggestions.

Visit us on Pinterest for more ideas and crafts!

CharacterTraitsHeader

Thornton W. Burgess not only filled his stories with scientific knowledge about animals, he also gave his characters attributes and situations that help us teach about moral character.  Each book contains a variety of traits that can be turned into discussions about proper behavior and attitudes.

Visit our character traits page to learn more.

ActivitiesResources

Creative squirrel crafts
Squirrel coloring pages, crafts and printables
Squirrel sensory bin (based of off of the book Acorns Everywhere!)
Make squirrel sugar cookies
Free squirrel lapbook
Homemade squirrel feeders
Squirrel FAQ’s
Craft based off the book Scaredy Squirrel
Squirrel number matching game
► Make a squirrel puppet
Scripture lesson on “minding your own business” (Chapter 6)
Corn crafts and activities
Corn husk doll
Learning corn parts
Ways to prevent and help homesick kids
► Teach about freedom: Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad
Tips for teaching kids to be kind to animals
Teaching kids to care for animals

More squirrel crafts and lesson ideas

Teach with other squirrel characters

More squirrel books

 

More ideas for squirrel-themed play-

More squirrel toys and games

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The Adventures of Prickly Porky

Homeschool and Classroom Activity and Lesson Ideas for The Adventures of Prickly Porky by Thornton W. Burgess / Moral Lessons for Kids / Children Stories with Morals / Character Traits

*This post contains affiliate links.  We receive a small commission when you purchase items through our site.  This helps support the website and enables us to continue providing you quality information and product recommendations.  Please read our disclosure policy for more information.

The Book: The Adventures of Prickly Porky

The Adventures of Prickly Porky was written by Thornton W. Burgess in 1916. In this story we are introduced to Prickly Porky who is new to the Green Forest. His arrival in the forest also brings a mystery, when Peter Cottontail is frightened by a headless, tailless, legless creature that comes rolling down the hill. We learn about friendship and standing by others as the animals try to discover who this new arrival really is.

We are in the process of putting together an ebook which will include a question guide and vocabulary list to help reading comprehension and prompt discussions.  Once the ebook is available for purchase, we highly recommend using the guide side by side with the website.  Below you will find some other resources available to help you teach the moral lessons from this story, as well as online activities and book suggestions.

Visit us on Pinterest for more ideas and crafts!

CharacterTraitsHeader

Thornton W. Burgess not only filled his stories with scientific knowledge about animals, he also gave his characters attributes and situations that help us teach about moral character.  Each book contains a variety of traits that can be turned into discussions about proper behavior and attitudes.

Visit our character traits page to learn more.

ActivitiesResourcesPopsicle stick porcupine craft
Coping with being the “new kid.”
What is the difference between being a bully and being mean?
Teaching children not to bully
Anti-bullying activities and lesson plans
Make a prickly porcupine
Quills and Thrills free porcupine activity worksheets
Porcupine song
Free folktale genre poster set
Teaching tall tales
Tall tales: Paul Bunyan
Hyperbole lesson plans
Porcupine word game puzzle
Nocturnal animal crafts
Powerpoint guidance lesson on how to deal with fear
Fear in a Hat group exercise

BooksGamesToysFun porcupine stuff!

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