Wednesday, January 27, 2010


We've been talking about dinosaurs this month in my class. We have learned so much about our prehistoric friends. Its amazing how much the film industry has tainted our vision of these magnificent creatures. Do you realize that many of the dinosaurs did not all live in the same time period? Did you know that the idea of cavemen running from dinosaurs is all fictional? There were NO cavemen (or any other men) on Earth while the dinosaurs were roaming around! What's more amazing is when you take the height or length of these creatures and compare it to things in today's world.

Did you know that the great Woolly Mammoth weighed 3 tons? That is as much as all the steel and concrete in the Washington Space Needle, a full grown adult hippo, or a HUGE truck! It was as tall as many trees (15 ft. tall) and as long as a Morey Eel or a Hammerhead Shark (11 1/2 ft. long). I wouldn't want to see him in a dark back alley! LOL But then, none of the dinosaurs were very small. Even the Pteranodon had a wingspan of up to 33 feet! That is bigger than the width of my classroom.
But I think what is more amazing to me is the size of their brains in relation to their body size. One of the largest dinosaurs, the Stegosaurus weighing in at 6,000 pounds, 30 feet long and 9 feet tall had one of the smallest brains! The brain was only the size of a walnut! Imagine having to function, let alone live with a brain that small when your body was so huge! I imagine that they would not know much more than pure survival instincts--how to eat the plants around them and how to move as fast as they could when a carnivore was in the area!
As usual, we've come up with some really cool crafts to go along with this unit (I apologize to those of you with young children for not keeping up with the past months of crafts we've done). Of course, if it weren't for the awesome folks on the web and other teachers and mothers, I would not have found these neat things to do. I'd like to share a few of them here that we've done (and the links back to where I found the original ideas if I can find them again!).

Ok, so I have scattered them within the post again as opposed to putting them all at the end--breaks things up a bit that way!
1) The picture at the top of this post was simply done with sponges and dinosaur stamps. The dinosaur stamps I got from Oriental Trading Company--they have a big supply of ready to do crafts and "junk gifts" for kids or parties.

2) The picture of the Triceratops was done with an outline of the Triceratops that I found in a children's coloring book. I put the outline on construction paper and then covered the entire area with glue. I then used colored sand to sprinkle over the glue. Shook off the extra sand and allowed to dry. Warning: The construction paper will begin to curl as it dries, so using a tag board probably would have been better for this project.

3) The picture of the Great Woolly Mammoth (yes its hard to tell that's what it is) is a picture of a skeleton a man somewhere in the northwest has. I had seen an idea that utilized glue and paint. I wasn't real sure how it would work--but it turned out (in person anyway) really cool. We covered the skeleton with glue and allowed it to dry overnight. The next morning we took tempera paint and painted over the entire thing. The paint showed darker on the areas that weren't covered in glue--and brighter on the glued areas.
4) Our Stegasaurus came from an idea from a stay-at-home mom and her idea for teaching dinosaurs to her toddler. It was a spur of the moment idea for this mom at No Time for Flashcards . Instead of using clothes pins, we used craft sticks that we painted and cut/broke into varying lengths and glued to the back. We finished it off with a googly eye glued to the head.
5) Tyrannasaurus Rex came from the DLTK's Crafts for Kids dinosaur section. It includes the templates to print out and color. We sponge painted ours and glued the templates to tag board. We used craft sticks in between the front and back to keep it stiff. I guess we kind of goofed by only putting one leg on the bottom of it, but it just didn't look right to us with both on there! Oh well!
6) The Pteranodon was one of the last projects we did; but it was also one of our favorites. This is definitely a craft that will take lots of supervision of younger children and may take lots of adult help as this craft is made from two milk jugs and hot glue! Danielle at Danielle's Place has so many neat things to see and do. We use her ideas many times throughout the year. But for our lessons on dinosaurs this was an awesome art project. She provides the templates and shows just how to draw it on the milk jug and how to put it together.
My assistant, Micki, and I hope that you have enjoyed seeing our projects. And if you need more information on dinosaurs, go to Enchanted Learning--they have many more craft projects and fact sheets on SO MANY more dinosaurs than we even knew existed!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Drama, Drama, and More Drama!

First let me apologize to my followers for not keeping up better than I have! There has been so much going on in my family that it seems I just haven't been able to catch up! And it doesn't seem to be slowing any--if anything, the month of January has sped things up to the nth degree!
As you can see, my daughter had her baby in September--and what a cutie he is!!! She was the maid of honor at her sister's wedding January 15. We had everyone here except for one son--he had just made 2 trips in December to come to Mississippi (once for Christmas and once for his Dad's wedding), and couldn't come on such short notice again in January. There is another grandchild due in March--Dave's son's wife is pregnant. So that will be 3 little ones added to the family in a year! The youngest (and tallest) of the children will be graduating in May from high school. Oh and let's not forget that baby Austin and his mom moved to Utah right after her sister's wedding--then called and told me she had gotten married!

In the mean time, I've been trying to get things sewn--including the crib bumper guard railing (which unfortunately I don't have any pictures of), a larger than baby size quilt for Austin, curtains for the house, a couple of dresses for my granddaughter and 18 tunics for a local high school band, complete with trim and fringe.

So you wonder why I haven't been blogging much? There just don't seem to be enough hours in the day. That doesn't mean that I haven't been keeping up with all of you. I may not always comment, but I do lurk and read through what you all have been keeping busy with.
To all of my dear blogging friends in Australia--Happy Australia Day!