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Main Idea Lesson Plans

Thelma Said:

Help! I have to write a lesson fir the book The Catcher in the Rye. What should I do?

We Answered:

Go to this site. It'll give you summaries and some ideas for your lesson. And yes it is a great book.

Stephanie Said:

What are good, non-religious homeschool books?

We Answered:

K12 and Calvert are both secular.…

We've used K12 for over four years and LOVE it!!! While it is secular, there are a lot of good, moral lessons and virtues. William Bennett was one of the founders of the curriculum, so think _The Book of Virtues_ etc., and you'll know of some of the stories. The origins of the ancient, and current religions are discussed in world history and in art.

K12 doesn't start with preschool, but you could start their phonics at that age. I actually started my son in K12 while he was still in public preschool. He started with a Kdg/1st/2nd grade mix. Calvert does have a Pre-K program.

Calvert starts in K also, except with their curriculum, you can't mix and match grade levels like you can with K12. My son has five different grade levels of courses right now w/ K12. Their planning and progress tools are also dynamic, since they're online, unlike Calvert's.

Calvert is a "textbook/workbook" program, whereas K12 has the main delivery of lessons online, but with a good bit of projects and worksheets and offline reading/work added in. It appeals to all types of learning styles, which is a great fit for my son since he's a global learner.

Speaking of that, the first thing you want to do is figure out your child's learning style, then select curriculum that fits it. A great program for one child may be a totally different issue with the next child. This is even true about schooling options and is why I HS one child and have the other in public school.

Tonya Said:

What would be the best way to teach 6th graders about neurons?

We Answered:

How about having the students themselves form neuron chains?
Have one student be the dendrite, one student be the soma, two students be the axon, and one student be the axon terminal. Have the dendrite student pretend snatch information out of the air, hand it over to the soma student. The soma student should jumble it up and shoot it over to the the axon, who will shoot it to the axon terminal, who will pretend to toss it on to the next neuron chain. Adding little noises for each action would add to the excitement.

Derek Said:

Preschool Planning Web help?

We Answered:

You can do any theme you wish:

Here are some seasonal theme suggestions:

For a ton of theme ideas and lesson planning ideas check out this link:

How about Corn

Parts of Corn: bring in an ear of corn and talk about the parts of the corn.

Ways to cook corn: talk about the ways that the children have had corn.
Corn on the cob, cream style, corn muffins, corn tortillas.

Corn is a great part of a healthy diet, have the children try eating corn a variety of ways.

Vote and Graph it
Have the children vote for their favorite way to eat corn and graph the results.

Of coarse some ways are healthier than others. Talk about how to prepare corn in a healthy manner.

make two of your favorite corn recipes

Little Boy Blue
Little boy blue, Come blow your horn,
The sheep's in the meadow
The cow's in the corn
But where is the boy,
Who looks after the sheep?
He's under a haystack,
Fast asleep.

Try this song:…

Have the children make corn shakers by placing dried kernels of corn in a bottle with a lid or seal between two paper plates and decorate. Play music and have the children shake their corn shakers.

Print up many pictures of corn that are about the size of the children's feet. Cut them out, then place them on the floor with contact paper. Have the children hop from one ear of corn to another.

Print up pictures of corn that will fit on the blocks, attach the pictures with contact paper and have the children create a corn maze.

Print up pictures of farm related items that will fit on the blocks and attach them to the blocks with contact paper. Have the children pretend they are on a farm.

Social Studies
Ways corn is used: talk about all the ways that corn is used in our communities.

The corn discovery: Talk about how corn came to be used in the United States, talk about the history of corn.

Pick a couple of the activities from this page:…

Kernels in the Sand Table
Place popcorn kernels in the sand and water table. Supply the children with measuring cups, funnels, and other toys.

Bring in indian corn for the children to explore with a magnifying glass.

Planting Corn
Plant some corn seeds in little cups with dirt. Place in a window and have the children use an eye dropper to water each day. Check the seeds for growth and sprouting. Children can use a magnifying glass to inspect more closely.

Corn Sequence Cards
Make simple sequence cards for your child. Draw the different stages of a grown corn, planting the seeds, seeing the stalks that are short, tall stalks, then picking the corn.

How much is a handful? Graph
Have the children grab a handful of corn and count how many each child grabbed. Graph the results. To graph the results you can write each child's name and number on a small rectangle of card stock, then place them in order from least to greatest along the bottom of a bulletin board. If you have more than one child with the same number, you would stack them. To make it more interesting you can trace the child's hand, and write their name and number on the hand instead of the rectangle. Label the graph "How much is a handful?"

Kernel Jar
For older children. Fill a small jar with corn kernels or piece of popcorn. Ask each child to guess how many kernels are in the jar. Record each child's guess. Count the kernels.

Dramatic Play
Play Farm
Use play cows, pigs and other animals and a box for the barn. Have your child pretend with the animals.

Dress up Farmer
Supply overalls, straw hats, scarves, and boots to pretend to be a farmer.

Gardener play
Supply your child with plastic gardening tools, hats, gloves, seeds, flower pots, flower packets and watering cans to pretend to be a gardener.

Courtney Said:

How would you use the book "Stellaluna" to teach 2nd graders about finding the Main Idea?

We Answered:

Well first of all you would have to review the concept of a main idea with your students, preferably with another story and your guidance. Then you would read Stellaluna with the class and ask the students some probing questions about the story: Characters, Plot, Main Idea. As I recall, Stellaluna is about a small bat who loses her mother and winds up spending some time in a bird's nest living like a baby bird. Read the story and in the retelling of it, you will find the story's main idea/theme.

Victoria Said:

What do you think of this teen novel idea, and the main character?

We Answered:

Well... I think it'll be something of a chick-flick. But my opinion is that:
A) she's kind of shallow. "Yay, clothes! Yay, Paris! Um, NO I don't want to see my motherland!"
B) A good author looks things up before they write about them. For example: Ukraine isn't a farm. It was one of the most important parts of the Soviet Union. Kiev (the capital) is one of the oldest cities in the world.
So, now that my little rant is done... I think that the whole tampon/airport story is kind of... I don't know... it just doesn't make sense. If she's so rich, does she really need a quarter or two from her dad?

Discuss It!