Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Summer School - Week #5

The First Vision – Forest Life

I don’t have anything from Learning Page this time. In a way – it makes this week easier to prepare for, and gives more time for additional crafts and movies. I’m open to suggestions on this, and any, lesson. And, as ALWAYS, full credit for this lesson goes to http://www.sugardoodle.net/.
I also want to say how exceptionally happy I am that the forests around my home that my kids will be studying are actually rain forests. We will be talking a lot about rain forests and preservation, and our tree studies will have a lot less to do with traditional coniferous forests and more to do with tropical forests. The vocab words I wrote are from a traditional forest, though, since that is the kind of forest Joseph Smith was in at the time of the First Vision.


- Start with a prayer.
- Recite the Pledge of Allegiance and/or family motto.
- Song, "The Sacred Grove" (pg. 87)
- Scripture - Recite and Memorize James 1:5.

Opening Activity - Have you ever met a tree? Have your children share different kinds of trees they have "met." (trees near their homes, climbed, picked fruit from, seen squirrels in, raked and played in the fall leaves, seen knocked over, are green all year long, biggest, smallest they've seen.)
Lead discussion to basic understandings that trees offer us many different things, from shade, to play, to shelter, to food. Trees, much like humans, are never exactly like another, and grow and change over seasons and years.

- What are some of the unique characteristics or features of trees?No two trees are exactly alike, just as no two people are just alike. Think about and share characteristics of some favorite trees.
- What are the tree's physical traits? (size; leaves or needles; shape, size; age and stages of life; and color of leaves and bark; fruit and/or nuts.)

- How do people use trees? (maple syrup, paper, eat nuts, enjoy flowers, collect leaves, burn wood, climb in)

- How to animals and birds enjoy the tree? (for homes; eat the fruit, nuts or seeds; eat bugs under its bark; play)

Art - Draw a picture of an animal or insect that uses the trees for their homes? (squirrels, birds, owls, rabbits, insects)

- Planting Popcorn. Plant popcorn kernels in a clear plastic cup and they can watch the seed grow into roots and a stem. Roll up a paper towel and place inside a clear plastic cup, making sure the towel lays against the sides of the cup with a hollow space in the middle. Put soil in the cup, in the space inside the rolled paper towel, so that it pushes the paper towel against the sides of the cup. Put about 3 kernels in each cup, point side down, between the paper cup and the towel. Water and watch. Have them guess how tall it will get or when you will first see it poke through the soil. You could even have them plant two seeds and grow one in a dark place and one with sunlight. Anything different? Or two seeds where one receives water and the other doesn't. Have them journal each day on its progress.

Reading - Read Alma 32 together or recount it to young children. It mainly talks about faith is like a seed but at the end of the chapter as the seed has grown in good soil it grew into trees springing forth into everlasting life.

Shannans Additions:
Vocab: I had to add vocab words to this lesson…you can use mine or choose your own . Mine are: sacred, grove, forest, raccoon, bear, vision, pine, maple, oak, trail, nature, possum, blue jay, butterfly, prayer. Copy onto 3x5 cards with pictures copied from clip art (at the end of the lesson).
Reading Suggestion: Today is a good day to read “The Tree in the Ancient Forest” by Carol Reed Jones
Journal: Imagine your dream tree house. Where is it? What is it like? Describe it and draw a picture.


- Start with a prayer.
- Recite the Pledge of Allegiance and/or family motto.
- Song, "The Sacred Grove" (pg. 87)
- Scripture - Recite and Memorize James 1:5.

History - Make a timeline of the events in Joseph Smith's life. Events you might include on the time line:
his birth / 1805 (GAK picture 400),
reading James 1:5 / 1820 (GAK picture 402),
the First Vision / 1820 (GAK picture 403),
Moroni’s first appearance / 1823 (GAK picture 404),
Joseph receiving the gold plates / 1827 (GAK picture 406),
translating the Book of Mormon / 1827–1829 (GAK picture 416),
the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood / 1829 (GAK picture 407),
the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood / 1829 (GAK picture 408),
building the Kirtland Temple / 1833–1836 (GAK picture 500),
Elijah restoring the sealing power / 1836 (GAK picture 417),
Joseph Smith’s martyrdom / 1844 (GAK picture 401).

Hang the time line on a wall. Put the first and last pictures up and tell a little bit about the birth and death of the Prophet (see JS—H 1:3–4 and D&C 135:1).
Conceal the rest of the pictures in a box or bag. Have a child from each class take a picture, tell about the event, and place the picture above the correct date on the time line.

Snack - Make dirt in a cup. Make "dirt" (a snack!) using chocolate pudding, Cool Whip, crushed Oreos and gummy worms. There is no "wrong" way to make this. (I use three boxes of pudding and one tub of Cool Whip. After making the pudding, I mix some of the pudding with cool whip to create a light brown muddy color. Have them layer the light colored "mud," the darker colored "mud" and the crushed Oreos in clear plastic cups. They top each cup with a gummy worm.

Math - How can you tell how old a tree is? Count its rings. The space between the rings indicates how much water it received or didn't receive in a given year. Click here to download tree ring worksheet.

Drama - Act out different animals in the forest. (a game of charades is good, here)

Shannans Additions:
Vocab: Copy vocab words (print and cursive).
Additional Art: Do “Joseph in the Sacred Grove” Diorama craft (see end of lesson)

Additional Fun: Watch a Joseph Smith movie (Living Scriptures)
Journal: Tell the story of the First Vision in your own words


- Start with a prayer.
- Recite the Pledge of Allegiance and/or family motto.
- Song, "The Sacred Grove" (pg. 87)
- Scripture - Recite and Memorize James 1:5.

Story - Act out The Carrot Seed by Ruth Kraus. If you don't have this book, try and rent it from your local library, or a similar book.

Letter Recognition - Click here to print out this letter recognition worksheet. This worksheet only contains the letters found in the word "forest". Color and laminate if desired. Cut out the letters on the second worksheet and have the child find its match on the first worksheet. You could put magnets on the pieces making them stay easier. (this is not my favorite activity…but it might work for you. We’re going to discuss rainforests here, and why they are important.)

Writing - For this activity you will need various fruits and vegetables. Use whatever you have around your house. Don't be leery of using your fruits and vegetables. It doesn't have to go to waste. You can either cut a little of each item off for them to try, or you can put the items in baggies and put them in the fridge when you are finished.

1. Cut open 1 fruit and 1 vegetable. Ask: What is inside this fruit and this vegetable that is the same? (seeds)
2. Discuss with your children that a new plant will grow from a seed. Seeds are found in the fruit of the plant.
3. Cut open other fruits and vegetables (apples, cucumbers, oranges, pears, green peppers, and plums). Place each different fruit's and vegetable's seed on a paper plate labeled with a picture of that fruit or vegetable.
4. Ask your children to tell you about each seed's color (e.g. white or brown), size (big, small), the shape (flat, round), and the feel of the covering (smooth, rough).
5. Have your children count as many seeds as they can on each fruit/vegetable. Have them record their answers to questions #4 and #5 in their journals. If they can't write yet, have them draw their results.

Shannans Additions:
Vocab: write vocab definitions, drawing pictures where appropriate
Additional Fun: Watch Fern Gully
Journal: Have the children write about the above activity, listing all the fruits and vegetables we looked at and describing them


- Start with a prayer.
- Recite the Pledge of Allegiance and/or family motto.
- Song, "The Sacred Grove" (pg. 87)
- Scripture - Recite and Memorize James 1:5.

Story - Print out the following: Sister Simon's Saints for younger children and Then Sings My Soul for older children. Have them practice reading it. If you have both older and younger children, have them each share their stories with each other.

Cooking - Tree cones - I made a dozen cupcakes. I took the cupcakes and cut them to size and put inside an ice cream cone. The kids then frosted their "tree" with white frosting made green with food coloring. We also took some coconut and colored it green and dipped the cone in to resemble leaves.

Construct - Make your own cabin like Joseph lived in either with Lincoln Logs or pretzel rods. "Glue" the pieces together with icing (royal icing would really hold it well).

Royal Icing Recipe
· 4 egg whites
· 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
· 1 teaspoon lemon extract
Beat egg whites in clean, large bowl with mixer at high speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar and lemon extract. Beat at high speed until thickened.

Game - Squirrel and Nut. One child is chosen to be "it" and is given a nut to hold. The other children form a circle, sitting on the floor. They extend one hand and close their eyes. "It" tiptoes around the inside of the circle and puts the nut into one of the outstretched hands. The one who receives it jumps up and chases after the other until he catches "it". He/she then becomes "it" and the games proceeds as before. The children open their eyes as the chase begins.

(Optional - Prepare tomorrow's snack by cutting and placing celery in the fridge so it will be ready to go.)

Shannans Additions:
Vocab: Use vocab words in a sentence
Additional Fun: Watch another Joseph Smith movie, if appropriate
Journal: Tell about a trip to a forest or jungle (real or imaginary)


- Start with a prayer.
- Recite the Pledge of Allegiance and/or family motto.
- Song, "The Sacred Grove" (pg. 87)
- Scripture - Recite and Memorize James 1:5.

Coloring Picture - The First Vision Color by Number. Click here to download this picture (pdf file).

Meet a tree - Choose a tree in your neighborhood or at the park. Have each of your children answer the following questions in their journals. If your children are younger, ask them these questions and answer them together.
- Is the tree young, grown up, or old?
- Do your arms reach around the tree?
- Stand back from the tree. What is its shape?
- Are the leaves flat or broad? Or narrow or needle-like?
- What color are the leaves? Are they still on the tree? Have most of them fallen?
- What color are the smallest twigs?
- Is the tree alone, or near other trees?
- Are there seeds or fruit on the tree? Flowers?
- Look for plants growing under or on your tree. Record what kinds [lichen, moss, mushrooms, grasses]
- Look for insects, birds, and other animals on your tree. Record your observations.
- What is special about your tree?
- If you could interview the tree, what questions would you ask it?

Craft - Make a bird feeder using a pine cone. Spread peanut butter all over it and sprinkle on bird seed. You can take it with you on your nature walk (field trip) and leave it in one of the trees as a treat for the birds. (Don't forget to use some yarn or string so that you have a way to hang it from the tree once you are done).

Shannans Additions: Since pine cones can be kinda hard to find in Florida – try cutting a honeydew melon in half, Remove the seeds and scoop out most of the flesh. Poke four evenly spaced holes in the rind and thread hemp cord or yarn through the holes. Knot it at the top (think of suspending the melon from a tree branch and you’ll figure out the right way to do it). Fill the rind “bowl” with bird seed (try using the stuff for the wild parrots…they LOVE the melons!!)

Snack - Make a forest of celery trees. Scrub and clean the celery you want to use. Cut each rib into sections about 4" long and make several slits in one end of each celery section. Place the sections in a large bowl, cover with water and refrigerate for several hours. The cut sections will curl so that each section looks like a little tree. At serving time, spoon a small amount of peanut butter on each plate and stand one or more celery trees in the peanut butter.

Optional Field Trip - Go on a nature walk. Collect different leaves, pine cones, etc. Make etchings of the leaves with different colored crayons. Or make a collage. Classify the different leaves etc. into piles. Look up in a nature book (or internet) what type of tree it came from.

Shannans Additions:
Vocab: Spelling Test, vocab recognition
Reading Suggestion: Read “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstien
Journal: On top of the Journal activity in “meet a Tree”, have the kids write their testimonies about Joseph Smith

Additional Fun: We're also making terrariums today (see below)
Field Trip: Would actually be a good time to go to Big Cypress National Preserve, but we’ll see how bravely I feel about battling the mosquitoes. If we go – the “Meet a Tree” activity (above) would be great to do there.

Extra Activities-

- Joseph in the Sacred Grove craft (use a shoe box) Work in this activity on Tuesday
- Parts of a tree cards. See this activity
- Discuss why some trees have needles all year round and others loose them in the fall.
- The Giving Tree (children's book by Shel Silverstein). What are different ways that the tree helped the boy? What could we do to help someone else? Click here to go to Shel Silverstein's website, click on Shel's books and then "The Giving Tree" and you can read it online together. On Thursday or Friday
- Discuss what gives the leaves and grass its color.
- Eat broccoli for lunch one day and talk about why broccoli is sometimes referred to as 'trees'.
- Who is in your family tree? Find pictures or make pictures to make your own family tree chart. - Rain forests have different levels or topiaries. What's unique about a rain forest? Fern Gully is a great video about saving the Rain forests. Jan Brett has a wonderful book entitled "The Umbrella" that would go with this theme too. Watch this movie on Wednesday

- Shannans Additions: Make terrariums...use a wide mouth jar. Layer a handful of rocks/pebbles, a handful of sand, a handful of mulch (dried leaves work fine), and a handful of soil. Plant small ferns or herbs. Add a small amount of water (just a VERY small amount...enough to make dirt "moist"), and screw on the lid. Terrariums should keep for months, recycling the water and nutrients in their own little "world". Place in an area with light, but not DIRECT sunlight. Enjoy!!

(We did this activity to meet Brownie Girl Scout AND Webelos activity requirements)

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