September 30, 2015

Poppins Book Nook...will be delayed

It is the last week of the month and that means that I usually have a new Poppins Book Nook post up for you...but we are on our annual trip to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, which means I am not able to do my regular blogging. I really hoped I could have something up this week, but I don't see it happening until we get home mid-week next week! 

In lieu of my own post, please make sure you visit these other great bloggers to check out what they have put together for the theme of Newberry Medal Winners!

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September 25, 2015

Wonky and Tapple -- Games your whole family will enjoy! {Product Review}

Our family loves to play games. We have several favorite card and board games that come out pretty regularly at our house. It's always fun to find a new one to add to our family collection, so I was very eager to do my review for USAopoly of the games Tapple: Fast Word Fun for Everyone and Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game. I really hoped that these would be some more to add to our collection of games we loved to play!

Product Information

USAopoly has been making board games since 1994, with the goal to create something fun for family and friends to be able to come together for a time of laughter and fun! They have released a couple games lately which aren't your typical board/card game.

Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game
Price: $19.95
Ages: 8+
Players: 2+
Take stackable blocks with unfinished round sides, a set of playing cards, and add some reverse, pass, and wildcard plays and you have an idea on how to play Wonky! This fun game includes 9 odd-shaped blocks in three colors and sizes, and then playing cards! 
Each person is dealt a hand and when it's their turn they pick which card they want to play--if it's a block card, they pick a block and stack it on the tower--but watch out! These blocks have rounded corners and are a bit tricky to get to stay! If you make the tower fall, you have to draw more cards! Throw the next person in a panic by playing a skip or reverse card and let THEM be the one to knock it down! Be the first one to get play all your cards and keep the tower standing!
Tapple: Fast Word Fun for Everyone
Price: $19.95
Age: 8+
Players: 2-8
Tapple is a fast moving game that everyone will love! The object is simple--draw a card with a category theme. Hit the red button to start the timer and the game it off! Each person playing has to come up with a word that fits the theme--but it has to start with a letter on the Tapple wheel--and it can't be a letter already hit by someone else! If you can't think of a word that works within the time limit (10 seconds) you are out and the wheel is passed and the timer reset for the next person! The game continues until one person is left! It's a great party game and sure to make the level of excitement in the room rise!
We were given both of these games to review with our family.

How Did We Use the Product?

We were pretty excited to dig out these games when they arrived. The packaging was very bright and colorful and it greatly appealed to the boys who love playing games. I really loved how the Wonky game box was unusually shaped as it made it fun.
I opened up each game to get a handle on what was required and whether or not we could incorporate Baby Britches (Age 5) into the games. I noticed that the Wonky game appeared to be much simpler and was ready to be played upon opening. The Tapple wheel needed to have 2 AA batteries before it would work (for the timer).
We decided that we would investigate Wonky. When we opened the box we discovered that the blocks were in a very nice bright purple drawstring bag. The playing cards were neatly packaged. We took out the blocks and found them to be painted and wooden in bright colors. The cards were high quality playing cards.

The rules were very simple to understand and to explain to both boys. They go like this:
1. Deal the cards (7 ea). 

2. Tallest player goes first. They pick a card from their hand to play. They DO what it says whether picking a block for the tower, using a reverse card or using a pass card.

3. Next player clockwise goes and does the same. They can play any card as long as the block on the card is still available to be used. They stack their block on top of the beginning tower block. 

4. The tower must remain standing for the count of 3. If it does, play moves to the next person. If the tower does fall while they are putting their block on, after they put their block on or within the 3 count, they must take 3 cards from the deck. They then play an action card to move on.

5. The play continues until someone plays their final action card--it has to be a tower block card--and the tower remains standing.

Even my 5 year old was able to play this game--though he sometimes had issues with not being steady enough to place his block. Here are some photos from the towers we've built while playing the game!
So far seven out of nine is the tallest our tower has ever gotten! It's really fun to play and we look forward to playing it with my parents this coming weekend. Maybe we can get it to all nine blocks tall?!

We decided to tackle Tapple next. The first thing I needed to do was add 2 AA batteries to the Tapple wheel so that the timer would work. I was please to see there was an on-off switch for the game. I also love that the cards for the game are stored in a little compartment next to the batteries under the wheel. This is great for storing the game itself!
The game of Tapple is simple. You pick a category from the game cards which are double sided. One side has more easy categories while the other side has more challenging themes. Once you pick a theme, the game begins.

1. The person with a first initial of their middle name closest to A goes first (silly huh?!). 

2. The category is read and then the red button is hit starting the 10 second timer. The first person has 10 seconds to name something that relates to the category--AND it has to begin with a letter around the wheel. Once they say their word, they push down the letter that matches the first letter of their word, and hit the timer to restart it.

3. They pass the Tapple wheel clockwise and the next person has 10 seconds to think of a word or idea that goes with the theme--again pushing down the letter that matches the first letter of their word. This process continues until either someone cannot think of something in their 10 seconds, or all the letters are pushed down.

4. If all the letters get pushed down, the next round continues by sliding over the yellow ring to release the letters. Now each person has to say TWO things that match the theme--and again has to be available letters on the Tapple wheel--within the 10 seconds. This continues as before until all the letters are used up or someone cannot beat the timer.

5. Last person standing wins the game.

We played this a few times. It took some help from me for the boys since their spelling isn't quite good enough yet to know what letters start their words at times. Baby Britches even did well--though we allowed him 2 pushes of the red button to come up with his word. I think we did the best with the categories: In the Fridge/Freezer, In the Jungle, and Animals

I can't wait to try this in a party setting with adults because I think it will be quite loud and exciting!

What Are Our Thoughts on This Product?

Both boys really like the games, though they say that Tapple is their favorite. They ask to play it A LOT! They like Wonky, but say they want to play it with more people besides us to make it more fun.

I agree that these games are fun! I think that they make great family games, but they make ESPECIALLY fun party games. I look forward to trying them out with just adults.

Both games are easy to play right from the box. Each game is made of high quality materials--especially the game cards. Both games are easy to store, even without their respective boxes. They are definitely able to be played by children younger than the proposed ages--with help. I love how colorful each game is as well.

I do have a "I wish it did" for the game Tapple. I wish that it was possible to just release the last button pushed down instead of all of the letters. We had some "whoopsies" where the boys accidentally hit the wrong letters, but we had to just keep playing because we can't reset a letter without resetting the whole wheel.

Would I Recommend this Product?

Yes! They are great family friendly games and good for even the kids to play. My only concern is the pricing. I think that $19.95 is a bit steep for these games--I think the $10 to $15 range would make them more reasonable for what you are receiving with them. But they are great games and they are worth the buy because they are just fun!

Want to Know More?

We reviewed Tapple: Fast Word Fun for Everyone and Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game from USAopoly. You have seen how we have enjoyed these games...but make sure you check out what the other crew members thought!

 USAopoly Review
You can stay up with all the events or releases going on for USAopoly through these social media channels:





We are heading to a beach house with family this weekend, and these two games will be going with us! I look forward to even bigger family game nights when we play with the grandparents and my brother! I hope to have even more photos to share later this week!
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September 21, 2015

Daniel Boone ~ Unit Study from YWAM Publishing {Product Review}

We love history--I've said that many times in previous posts. And lately, Little Britches has decided he adores biographies (Yay!). I was very happy to be picked to review one of the books from the Heroes of History series by YWAM Publishing and wasn't very surprised when Little Britches decided on Daniel Boone: Frontiersman. We DO live in Kentucky just 2 hrs east of Fort Boonesborough you know...LOL.

Daniel Boone: Frontiersman...a Unit Study product review

Product Summary

YWAM Publishing is known for their fabulous biographies on famous men and women throughout history. Two of their most popular series are Christian Heroes: Then and Now and Heroes of History.
The Christian Heroes series focuses on men and women who were instrumental for spreading the word of God throughout the world--people like Amy Carmichael, C.S. Lewis, D.L. Moody, Jim Eliot, William Carey and more! Heroes of History focuses on the famous men and women who shaped our world no matter what time period they lived in--people like Daniel Boone, Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Carson and many more.

The biographies are geared towards the 10+ age group and there are Unit Study Curriculum Guides available for many of them--turning these biographies into homeschool curriculum.

The paperback biographies are available for $7.50, while the Unit Study Curriculum Guides cost $5.49 (downloadable) or $7.49 (physical CD). Beware though that they are phasing out the physical CD and moving to exclusively offering the downloadable--so you won't find the physical CD option for all of them.

We were given 40 biographies to choose from, and Little Britches decided he wanted to review Daniel Boone: Frontiersman, from the Heroes of History series. We were also given a physical CD of the Unit Study Curriculum Guide to review.

How Did I Use the Product?

I was eagerly waiting for this to show up, and when it did, I was happily surprised to see that the curriculum unit study came as a CD, as I was expecting a digital download! When I opened it up on my laptop (I use Windows 8 and didn't have any issues), I discovered there was a lot of information on the CD for my perusal, but it was very easy to find the curriculum unit study. I clicked on it and saw that I had the option to either open and print from the pdf, or download it to my computer. I opened the pdf and discovered it was going to be much easier to just print out what I needed and leave everything else to be perused as needed. The unit study was in two parts--the second part simply had the four pages of the appendix which was the maps.

Once I had everything printed I looked through it and noted what was to be done from the beginning, while the book was being read, and what needed to be done after the book was completed.

For this curriculum, I decided to simply begin with the book as a read-aloud and then work through the comprehension questions for each chapter. To keep track of our answers, we used a composition book .

It was suggested by the curriculum that younger students might do best with the first 3 of the 6 comprehension questions for each chapter. After looking over the questions, I decided this was a great idea and using the notebook, copied down the first three questions for each chapter before we read the book. The first question is always a vocabulary word from the reading--with instructions for them to look it up and then use it in a complete sentence. 

I had Little Britches use his dictionary since we have been following this method for our other vocabulary words. Some of the words had more difficult to understand definitions, so at times I had to translate what it meant--and give guidance for the sentence. We also found that if we re-read the sentence the term is used in within our chapter, this helped with comprehension. I appreciated having each vocabulary word's location noted on the question.

Once Little Britches recorded his answers for the other two questions, I encouraged him to orally answer the other three more difficult and open ended questions. This worked very well for us.

There were a few other activity pages--like a bio, timeline, and maps--which I chose to work into our study here and there. I decided to save the larger projects for later, possibly waiting until we finished the book before we did them.

After seeing the length of the chapters, I decided we would work through a chapter each day--and we worked on it 2-4 days each week. To begin with, I read each chapter aloud, but as we continued, I decided that the reading level was on par with where Little Britches was at, so I would have him begin our readings every time from that point on. He usually read 3 pages and then I would take over and finish the chapter. This system has worked well for us.

The first activity that we did, was to guide Little Britches through researching the details of a flintlock gun. We went to the library and did some research using the books and encyclopedias they had. He drew a diagram of the gun, labeling the parts.
Drawing the firing mechanism
The next activity we are going to tackle will be a craft stick fort. We aren't done with the book yet (but we are close) and when we are done we will work on the fort. It will really help that we have actually BEEN to Fort Boonesborough and have REAL photos for him to reference.

This was great since one of the ideas was to (if possible) take a trip to Fort Boonesborough, so we took a "visual" one and enjoyed looking at our photos again.

The original site of the fort right by the Kentucky River

The back entrance to the Fort Boonesborough replica...opens to the stockade

Front Entrance to the Boonesborough
As of right now, we are on Chapter 16. I think we will finish the book in a week or so.

What Are Our Thoughts on the Product?

Little Britches: "I loved learning about Daniel Boone and doing the projects, but I don't really like writing down the questions or looking up my vocabulary."

I think this is a very comprehensive history/literature curriculum. It would be easy to use these books and coordinating Unit Study as a full curriculum--if you purchased several of them for your school year. Our book has 19 chapters, and even at 2 to 4 chapters a week, has provided me with about 6 weeks of work! The program is very full and allows for you to add as much as you want--and to spread the learning throughout other subjects. There is so much information and ideas in the unit study--more than you would ever use with one child. It is NOT open-and-go which might deter some, but I am use to unit studies and know that they are giving you far more information than you would ever use so you can pick what will work best.

I think that this book on Boone is more graphic in the descriptions of conflicts with Indians than others for children/teenagers--as it does talk about lightly the type of torture done when someone was captured. I think it was done..tastefully (if I can even use that word) where it brings it out without dwelling on the gruesome aspects. But it does let the reader know these things happened. I didn't have a problem with reading it aloud, though we did do some extra talking about it.

I appreciate that this curriculum is on a CD, so that I don't have to download anything to my computer. I like that it has some extra links where you can learn more about Daniel Boone or Boonesborough online.

So will we continue to use this program?
I have every intention of finishing this book, continuing to use the unit study guide papers for our comprehension questions and projects. I think it's a great unit and I plan on saving it for future use.

Would I Recommend This Product?

Yes, I would recommend this product. I would especially recommend it if someone is looking to combine subjects AND teach multi-age levels. I believe that this product allows you to do that very well. If you follow all the areas of the unit study, you will have social studies, arts and crafts, science and more! It is easily adaptable for different ages making it a cost effective option.

I do think this product is definitely for the recommended 10+ age group with its more advanced story and information (like the less than nice aspects of indian and settler relations). I would put the book at a 5th grade+ reading level.

Want to Learn More?

We reviewed Daniel Boone: Frontiersman book ($7.50) and Unit Study Curriculum guide ($5.49) from the Heroes of History series by YWAM Publishing. You have seen how much we have enjoyed it, so why don't you check out what books the rest of my review crew explored?!
YWAM Publishing Review
You can always stay in touch with YWAM Publishing on these social media sites:



Now that we have explored the life of Daniel Boone, we are eager to make the trip back to Fort Boonesborough again to see it through new eyes! It will mean so much more to us, as we walk the fort, see the artifacts, and stand on the ground that Daniel Boone once stood! And I was happy to note that Little Britches STILL wants to read a biography about Daniel Boone on his see what THEY have to say. It also made him eager to dive into his biography he has from the library on Simon Kenton--another famous explorer who unbeknownst to us was a friend of Daniel Boone too! I love it when our curriculum spurs on the love of more learning!
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September 20, 2015

Mini Peel & Play Sets with Ready-To-Go lessons

I love finding new resources to help make school fun. I also love finding things that we can take on the go with us in the car! The Mini Peel & Play World Map Set is a great tool for doing just that!
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Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!
Geography Lessons - Educents Blog
World Maps are so exciting to explore. The best way to engage a student learning about the world, is to ask them to label it. The Mini Peel & Play World Map Set on Educents provides students all the materials they need to explore and label a world map. Better yet, the map is small enough to stick onto the car window while you're traveling. It's also easy to move the map from room to room in your house - the map has a safe adhesive that allows students to stick the map to a surface over and over again.

The Map In Action

Check out the Mini Peel & Play World Map in action during this video.

Activity Ideas

Looking for ways to make the Mini Peel & Play World Map interactive? 
Use these activities:
Label the oceans - use the labels to point out oceans around the globe. Ask your student to match the sticker with its continent. What does your student see in that continent? What is the climate there? Is that continent above or below the equator? After your student has placed all the sticker labels on the globe, s/he can refer to the map while responding to these writing prompts:
  • Name all of the oceans in the world.
  • Locate your home on the map. If you wanted to visit Australia, which direction would you need to travel?
  • How would you travel to Europe - by foot, by boat, or by plane?
  • Which direction does a ship need to sail to travel from South America to Africa?
You can get the Mona MeLisa Mini Peel & Play world map for 40% from now thru September 30th! Make sure you also check out some of the OTHER sets from this great company!

About the Sets

Mona MELisa Mini Peel & Play Sets go beyond the World Map. Learn about all the themes and ways to use the sets in your lessons. Peel and Play Educents

Theme options: Math, science, geography, spelling, counting

Great for: all ages, visual learners, kinesthetic learners (kids will love touching the pieces and moving them around from place to place), auditory learners (sets can be combined with verbal instruction) 

Parents: Stick your sets to a car window, on any wall at home, or on your child's bathroom mirror to practice counting while brushing teeth. 

Teachers: This tool will save you hours preparing any of your lessons. The labels are made and ready to go! 

Homeschoolers: Provide hands-on lessons for your students! Visual learners will love the colorful map, and kinesthetic learners will enjoy sticking and unsticking parts of the map. 

What's included?: The Mini Peel & Play sets are fabrics with a safe, adhesive backing. They sets measure 11 by 17 inches. Bonus!! You can download ready-go-to lessons to accompany the Peel & Play sets.  Check out the World Map Teaching Guide.

I am most excited to get my hands on the World Map and the Human Body sets for our classroom...which of the sets would YOU get first for your family?

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September 19, 2015

Random Five for Friday...on Saturday 9/19

Here we are with September in full swing! We are staying busy here on the farm...fortunately it HAS eased up since summer ended since our heaviest work is during hay season. Now we can slow down and catch our breath for a bit. We do love autumn around here...
The Pebble Pond

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Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

1. Summer is in NE Kentucky, the summer is lingering. We get these wonderful fall days or mornings, and then it becomes hot and humid again with 90 degrees. I can't wait until the weather officially switches over. I'm so ready for fall.

2. Fall means menu change. We embrace fall by welcoming it with chili, casseroles, and soup. Mmm. My mouth waters thinking about the tasty meals we have ahead of us. I make quite the mouth happy chili and oh how we adore our beef barley soup recipe. It also means bread season.

3. I will start making bread again. I love fresh baked bread, don't you? I have been debating on whether or not to replace our bread maker this fall. Ours went out at the end of bread season last year. I wasn't even using it completely. Just for the dough setting at which point I would take it out and bake it in the oven. So I may not replace it and just "do it the old fashioned way". But if I do replace, I'm looking at either this Oster 2-pound Expressbake or the Cuisinart 2-pound Programmable one. Both have excellent ratings...biggest difference is the price.

4. School is going great! I haven't really had many posts on here about how school is going. I was thinking of maybe starting a weekly wrap up post to share every weekend...So we've kicked off My Father's World Kindergarten as part of our Kindergarten work and have 3 weeks under our belt. Baby Britches is rocking it and loving it. He also already completed the first Singapore Math Kindergarten book (120+ pages)...yikes! LOL. He just loves math which is so weird for me. But I have the next book ready to go and the next level if he gets this one out of the way quickly as well. Little Britches is doing well too. We are reviewing a couple products and they are actually working very well for us. The biggest excitement is our work on Phonetic Zoo, a spelling curriculum from Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) which is one of our review products. I can't wait to share that review with you...but it won't be until end of October.

5. We are looking forward to taking a little trip soon to the beach for some much needed family time. My folks and brother are flying down to meet us and we will share a house. It's going to be lovely and we will get some awesome family time. We also plan on touring a few museums which will get me some nice "field trips" into our schedule.

Have a fabulous week! I will have another review for you this week, so make sure you stay tuned and check back in!
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September 15, 2015

Super Teacher Worksheets: One Stop Destination for Educational Printables (Product Review)

I have always loved having an online worksheet resource where I could find supplemental activities to go with our core projects. I typically have to use something like Pinterest to find what I want, and that requires a lot of scrolling and searching. I was very interested to do a review to learn about the Individual Membership available for Super Teacher Worksheets where I could find worksheets covering the full run of subjects and grades without having to jump around!
Super Teacher Worksheets: Product Review

Product Information

Super Teacher Worksheets Review
Super Teacher Worksheets is a website devoted to helping teachers by offering quality classroom printable resources all in one place. For one low price, a teacher can unlock thousands of printable activities and educational worksheets, covering a full range of subjects and grades (Pre-K to 5th). 

The website is filled with worksheets and activities for the following areas:

Reading & Writing
Phonics & Early Literacy
Spellings Lists and Worksheets (Gr. 1-5)
Social Studies
Puzzles & Brain Teasers
Teacher Helpers
Pre-K and Kindergarten
Make Your Own Worksheets

The worksheets are also clearly marked with their common core alignment, making it easy to add them to any of your lesson planning activities. There is also the ability to translate some of the worksheets into Spanish, which while not available for all, is clearly marked on the toolbars for the printables.

Super Teacher Worksheets offers an Individual Membership for just $19.95/year with unlimited downloads of all their printables and activities. If you are a school, there is also a Building Membership, granting access to all teachers within the school for $300/year.

I was given the Individual Membership to Super Teacher Worksheets to use in our homeschool.

How Did We Use the Product?

The Super Teacher Worksheets information arrived by email and I easily logged in and was ready to go. This is definitely a quick access website. From the time you log-in you have access to anything they offer. I appreciated that the website has a menu separated by subject, with an EASY to spot search option. Clicking on any item in the subjects opens a new menu showing you all the available printables or activities. 
The menu that comes up when you click "Greater Than, Less Than" in the math menu
Each printable has the recommended grade noted, as well as the little blue toolbar to allow you to explore the printable before downloading it. This includes whether or not it's common core aligned, a language translator, and the option to file it.
You can view the pdf, check the Common Core alignment, change the language to Spanish phrases, preview the printable or save it to your files

I typically clicked the magnifying glass to see what it it was, and if I liked it, I clicked the title to view the pdf and printed it. Every worksheet comes with an answer key, so you don't have to guess on the answers. 

If I wanted to file it, I clicked the little file button. At the top of the website, there is a big blue "My File Cabinet" icon. When I click it, I can see a list of all the items that I filed for reference later. This saves trying to remember where you saw a printable or activity you were interested in. I can easily delete them from this menu, should I decide I don't want it saved any longer.
The files currently in my file cabinet that I have saved for reference later
Over the course of the review period, we did several printables and activities from this website. I picked between the grade levels to find items for each boy AND I tried to check out the different subjects. 

I also made use of the multiplication worksheet generator! 
With this generator, I can print off a page of problems custom made for what we are studying. Right now we are reviewing the 3's, so I isolated the worksheet to be just for X3 problems! So helpful!

I have used science worksheets, geography worksheets, reading comprehension worksheets, spelling list worksheets, and various math worksheets for Little Britches--choosing ones that were geared for 3rd-5th grade. 

For Baby Britches, he is really enjoying the mini-books which give short little stories to match a letter of the alphabet. We are working through each letter book, and I let him decide which ones we will do. 

Here are some photos from the items that we used...
Doing a graphing plot to create a picture

Doing Money Memory Match

Working on his J mini book

Practicing counting coins

Counting Coins Story Problems

Latitude and Longitude Practice
These are only a fraction of what we explored. We also did some Greater Than, Less than work, a science worksheet on the human body, more mini-books, a unit of a spelling list, reading comprehension worksheets, facts vs opinions, and more!

What Are My Thoughts on This Product?

I think this is a great resource for ANY teacher and for an EXCELLENT price! I had previously used another popular website, but I was limited to how many things I could print and I didn't really LOVE the worksheets it provided enough to buy a membership---NOT SO with this website! It is FULL of an excellent variety of educational worksheets and activities! I love that there are games, puzzles, coloring sheets, and cut n paste included in the activities for ALL the grade levels. 

I have been able to find a worksheet or activity to go with any of the items we were doing in any subject!

If you are a schoolteacher needing to note common core alignments for your lesson planning, this website makes it very easy to do. Do you need some Spanish translations? Several of the worksheets even have this option--simply click the language and it's put into a Spanish version! How helpful is that? Another major pro for this website is that they include the answer keys to EVERYTHING--even the worksheets YOU generate! I greatly appreciate that all the worksheets are in black and white to save costs in printing. 

I love that it will save my files where I can access them later--my one suggestion would be for them to make it possible to have them separated by grade if possible, but I am happy to just have them saved for later at this point!

So, will I continue to use this website?
Absolutely! I have plans to use it VERY heavily over the upcoming year as I have found things that will expand things we are studying. I also DO see myself purchasing a membership for the next year after this one runs out. I think it is absolutely worth the cost. I have loved having these worksheets to help "fill in some gaps" when it comes especially to math. The activities are fun (like the memory games), and there is cut and paste, even for the older grades.

Would I Recommend This Website?

Absolutely! I think it is a "must have" for any teacher in any school. It has just thousands of high quality printables and great activities. The $19.95 yearly membership with unlimited printing is so reasonable for any teacher budget! 

The worksheets are noted when they are common core aligned, but honestly, that doesn't bother me at all because it's really just a way for the public school teachers to know where and how to document their use of these great activities.

If you are a school and want a member, the $300 yearly fee for unlimited printing from all your teachers is an awesome price as well. 

Want to Know More?

We have been using the Individual Membership to Super Teacher Worksheets ($19.95/year) and have really enjoyed all they have to offer. We have only scratched the surface of the activities and printables available, so we hope that you will go visit some of my other crew members to see how they used the site!
Super Teacher Worksheets Review
You can stay in touch with Super Teacher Worksheets on these social media outlets:

I am so happy that this website provided me with a "one-stop destination" for all these fabulous printables and activities! I look forward to exploring it even more over the upcoming year and I know you will see photos of us incorporating them into our curriculum!
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September 10, 2015

Our Kindergarten Curriculum for 2015-2016

This is the first year that I am "officially" teaching two students. Little Britches is in fourth grade and Baby Britches is officially a Kindergarten student. Now if you've been following my blog, you also know that Baby Britches has been doing oddball school things with me for the last two years, but this year, he wanted to do "big boy" school. So I embraced the request and put together an official Kindergarten curriculum for him...but unlike Little Britches did five years ago when we were just getting started, Baby Britches has a lot more "extras" and variety! New plans!
Our Kindergarten Curriculum for 2015-2016

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Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

It was rather difficult to make my final decision for Baby Britches first "official" year of school, but I have whittled it down to the following selections. I know that what we end our year with will probably be different from where we are right now, but these are in the plans for us as of now!

Our Core:

I love this program and I debated a lot about whether or not to use it the like I did with Little Britches. I wasn't sure that it would work for him, because he's been doing "school" for awhile and is beyond the basic bare bones beginning of phonics and math. But as I evaluated it some more, and pulled out our work from when Little Britches did it, I knew that I really wanted to experience the program again through new eyes with Baby Britches


Because Baby Britches can already identify his numbers, can count to 20, and can do most of what is part of beginning math for Kindergarten, I knew I wanted to get an actual math curriculum for him. He is totally different from his brother in how he does school, so I knew he'd be most likely a good candidate for Singapore math which I really liked--but Little Britches didn't. I found these Kindergarten level books to prepare him for Singapore 1A and we will be working with through them at HIS pace whether 1 page or 8 pages a day.

Language Arts:

We reviewed First Start Reading earlier this year and Baby Britches did really well with it. I plan on using this program to go with the phonics that is part of MFW. He is so close to making the reading connection that I look forward to this year and seeing if we can make it happen!

Social Studies:

We will be doing this fabulous geography curriculum as a joint class with Little Britches. I am excited because I've eyeballed this program for a long time, and think it's going to be the perfect one to do together.

We will be also using Story of the World as our joint history class. We used this curriculum a couple years ago, but I am going to it back this year so we can do it for both boys. I have always liked this curriculum and I'm glad to be getting back to it. I plan on adapting it as needed for Baby Britches and we may do a lapbook to go with it. We are using the text and activity book for our class.


This was another one that I reviewed earlier this year and we enjoyed it. I like what is included in the program and think it's a great addition to our year. 


We are in the process of reviewing this product right now (will post 9/15), and I know that we will continue to supplement with it.

This is the science curriculum that Little Britches is using and I am letting Baby Britches sit in on it and do the projects. He's enjoying doing it with big brother. MFW has a great science portion, but I know he'll enjoy doing more with his brother.

I plan on including Baby Britches in our once a week art project that we will do together. We have two of the ARTistic Pursuits books and I will be going between them for our lessons.

Various review goodies
As part of being on the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we will be having products to try throughout the year which I will cycle in and out, so I know we will be doing all sorts of other things as we go along!

So there you have it! It might look like a lot, but understand that each of these things only fills up a small part of the day and Baby Britches is a child that demands school! He gets plenty of play time, but because he wants to be doing school when his brother does school, I had to come up with something to make that happen!

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Graphic Images designed by the fabulous Prettygrafikdesign

September 1, 2015

Fresh from the Bookshelf: Blessing by Lyn Cote {Book Review}

I am not usually interested in Quaker or Amish series when it comes to books. I don't know why. I guess they just aren't my type. But I stepped out of my box after reading the back cover for a new book from award winning author Lyn Cote...her book Blessing is book 2 in her Quaker Brides series and I hoped that my experience and love of her other books would make this one an excellent summer read.

Book Review of Blessing by Lyn Cote
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Blessing by Lyn Cote, follows the story of Blessing Brightman a Quaker widow and Gerard Ramsay, a handsome wastrel from a wealthy Boston family. The setting is 1848 when the two hottest topics in America are women's rights and abolition. The two of them meet while Gerard is attempting to save his cousin from a supposed promiscuous gathering...a WOMEN'S suffrage meeting. He discovers his cousin is in the company of a well-bred young lady and her friend, Blessing. Knocked on his heels with the radically unconventional discourse he has with Blessing right from the beginning, Gerard resents her independent spirit and desires nothing more than to get back at her...for she is for everything he ISN'T. And she's thinker! (Gasp!)

Blessing is intrigued by Gerard, but he takes a place on the back burner, because she has more important things to deal with...her rescuing of the abused and neglected on the docks of the shady side of Cincinnati, OH and her covert role on the Underground Railroad. Everything starts changing the day that Gerard shows up in Cincinnati and keeps popping up everywhere she goes.

Gerard doesn't know why, but he can't get Blessing out of his head. He determines to push her aside in his thoughts as he attempts to start a new life for himself now that his hard-nosed father has cut him off without a cent. Determined to extract revenge on his father by being everything his father DOESN'T want him to be, he sets out to involve himself with men of less than stellar reputations as he tries to get interest in building a racetrack in gambling loving Cincinnati.

Enter a series of crazy events and Gerard finds himself caught up in Blessing's business of rescuing the lost souls. Will her secrets about her previous dangerous marriage prevent her from allowing herself to seek love? Will Gerard's conflicting thoughts about a woman's role in society allow him to accept Blessing for who she is? Will they even have a chance to love when the city's racial tensions threaten to destroy any chances they have?

What Are My Thoughts?

I honestly couldn't put it down! I read it all in one day because I HAD to know what happened next! Neither character is a typical "romantic" novel figure. Each had dreadful baggage that threatens to eat them alive. Blessing fights love because she knows how much she had to surrender and how it destroyed her in her previous marriage. Gerard fights EVERYTHING as he struggles to learn who he really is away from his domineering father. Gerard isn't your normal classic honorable figure either. We see him drunk as a skunk in a gutter, we see him thirst for revenge, and we see a dreadfully abhorrent past.

I think it was these imperfect aspects of the characters that made it intriguing. And to make it even better, it wasn't even resolved until the last few pages of the book, so you had to read it all the way to the end!

I was a bit bummed to learn that this was book TWO in the Quaker Brides series, after I had finished the story. I hate to read books out of order, because I fear I will miss important things about the characters in the story, but I am happy to say that I never felt this way about this book. The plot was flushed out well and the characters were very well developed and stood on their own. I am curious though to go back and read book 1 Honor which is about Blessing's mother to learn more about her. There is also a book 3 coming out called Faith which will be released in April 2016.

How Would I Rate The Book?

This book held my interest from beginning to end. It was an excellent book and I liked it a lot! I loved that it was full of history relating to the time period prior to the civil war in Cincinnati, OH. This is because Cincinnati is just 2 hours away and I love learning more about its background. There is a lot of information where I live about the Underground Railroad, since Kentucky was the last state to cross for many to get into free Ohio. It made me want to go visit the Underground Railroad museum in Cincinnati even more!

Blessing (Quaker Brides)
by Lyn Cote
ISBN: 978-1414375618
Available as Paperback and Kindle

About the Author

In 1997, Lyn Cote's first book, Never Alone, was chosen for the "new" Love Inspired romance line. Since then, Lyn has had over thirty-five novels published. In 2006 Lyn's book, Chloe, was a finalist for the RITA, and her book Her Patchwork Family was a finalist for the Carol Award in 2010 and Her Healing Ways won in 2011. These are two of the highest awards in the romance genre. 

Lyn's brand "Strong Women, Brave Stories," always includes three elements: a strong heroine who is a passionate participant in her times, authentic historical detail and a multicultural cast of characters. Lyn also features stories of strong women both from real life and true to life fiction on her blog {taken from her Amazon bio}

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