Monday, September 22, 2014

American Girl History Club: Julie Albright (1970s)

So, I have been a fan of the American Girls Series since I was 11 years old. (I know, a little old to start the series, but that's when I found them.) With finding the 2 newest historical figures, I decided I wanted to start a year long (10 month) series using the girls.
Since I've been floating around Library land and different branches this past year (my home branch is under renovations, but I'm going back in about 3 weeks!) I decided to try my American Girl History Club again. This time, it was a HUGE success. This time I had about 28 girls attend (with a sign up of 35) and each girl made 3 crafts.

Craft one: Flower/Daisy crown. I cut several flowers out of pink, blue, yellow and light green cardstock and green bands to go around each girl's head. The girls then picked the colors they wanted for their crowns and glued them on.

Craft 2: CD Wall flowers
I found the idea for this craft in Cool Crafts with Old CDs by Carol Sirrine. The book called for 8 Cds, a permanent marker, glue gun/hot glue, 4-foot long ribbon, small gems and adhesive wall hooks. What I actually used was: 8 Cd's, permanent marker, long ribbon and GLUE STICKS. (I wasn't about to have 7 year olds use a glue gun and there weren't enough adults to help out, so GLUE STICKS worked very well.)
The permanent marker is used to mark where each cd goes before you glue them together. The girls LOVED making cd wallflowers and it got rid of a lot of old cd- roms, so this was a win-win proect!

Craft 3 was probably my favorite: Make Your Own Daisy Barretts.
For this project, the materials needed were: artificial daisies, medium size barrette, Ailene's Craft Clue or a hot glue gun, and glitter, I used glitter glue that I found for $1 a bottle.

I went to Michael's (our local craft store) and bought a huge daisy chain (which was on sale!), and 2 packages of medium size hair barrettes. I took each daisy off the daisy chain and plucked several leaves off as well. Then I glued a leaf and daisy to the barrette, held it until it adhered to each other and then decorated it with glitter.
I think this was the favorite craft of the program.
 Another craft idea is one I used from the first time I did an American Girl: Julie program.
I grabbed some old c.d's (most of them from AOL) and started breaking them apart with a pair of kitchen shears. I cut different shapes and sizes and set them aside in a plastic baggie. Then I cut a sheet of  foam board in half and cut a hole in the center that was big enough to frame a 5 x 6 photograph. (roughly 7 x 8 for the boarder). I then glued the side with a hole to the other half of the sheet of foam board, leaving the top unglued so a picture could slide through. This particular craft really gives a disco ball feel to a 70's celebration.

On the day of the program, I grabbed several books that were published in the '70's and books that won Caldecott's and Newbery's and also a few books about the 1970's and major ecological events ( Love Canal and Three Mile Island) since Julie loves nature.
To incorporate the 1970's I wrote out some of the major events of the decade on poster boards and posted them in the room. I also got a map of Pennsylvania and charted the route Julie may have taken on the Freedom Wagon Trail during the Bicentennial Celebrations. (Remember Julie went to visit her cousin and rode in the Pennsylvania wagon train) I also charted the route we would take if we were going from Philadelphia to Valley Forge like Julie.

I made a cd of hits from the 1970's to play in the background of the program. It was totally groovy!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

American Girl: Addy Walker (1860s)

In February, I did another American Girl's History Club program and in honor of African American History Month, I chose to showcase Addy Walker. Addy Walker is the Pleasant Company's first American Girl of non-white origins and is still the only African American Historical figure for the company. Addy is a young slave who runs away on the Underground Railroad with her mother during the Civil War. Since quilts were such an important part of slave life, I had the girls design their own "Freedom Quilts" for their dolls. I had patterns that would have been used in the Freedom Quilts slaves owned, but also allowed them to make their own patterns. The girls had a blast creating quilts for their dolls.

American Girl History Club: Felicity Merriman (1770's)

To continue the American Girl History Club Series, we are going to focus on Felicity Merriman. I chose to showcase Felicity in the month of April largely because of the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem Paul Revere's Ride. I remembered how much I like the poem as a child and decided April would be the best month to talk about the Revolutionary War.

To prepare for the program, I visited the Colonial Willimasburg website: and . I also visited the American Girl's website: and the Mount Vernon website (did you know the Mount Vernon site has a link to "Harpsicord Hero"  how cool is that?!). I wanted to make sure I found some cool things for the girls to do and learn.

Two books that were extremly helpful in finding activites for the girls wereLittle Hands Celebrate America! by Jill Frankel Hauser and Colonial Kids: an Activity Guide to Life in the New World by Laurie Carlson.

The crafts I chose to use for the program were paper lanterns (to go with the poem Paul Revere's Ride by Hendry Wadsworth Longfellow), churning butter and making Wampum.

For the paper lantern craft, I found the instructions . I found the instructions to be simple enough that on the third lantern I made, I no longer need to look at the instructions and felt comfortable teaching the kids how to make the lantern.

For the butter, wampum and rag rug crafts, I found them in the Colonial Kids book.

 Colored Wampum
The wampum was really fun to make because I learned that you can dye pasta noodles with a little rubbing alcohol and food coloring. Since the wampum the colonist used when trading with the Native Americans was purple, I used red and blue food coloring. I tried a few different shades, and the one I like best was made of 10 red food coloring drops and 4 blue food coloring drops (the same you would use if you were dyeing eggs). All you have to do is drop the UNCOOKED noodles into the food coloring and let it sit for awhile. I let the noodles sit for at least 10 minutes. Once they were dry, they were really cool!

The butter was really easy. All I did was put some heavy whipping cream in a baby food jar, tighten the lid and shake it vigorously until it thickened into butter. The liquid you see in the picture is just the buttermilk residue that comes when the butter separates a little.

Geography Club: Washington DC

What better way to start a road trip around the country then to kick it off in our nations capital city. For D.C. I made a poster that showcased some of the many Memorials and Monuments in the city. I was able to take the kids on a virtual tour through Ford's Theatre and the Smithsonian. We talked about the unique nature of Washington D.C. and how the city has non-voting representation in Congress and how the city is NOT a state. 

Going on the virtual tour of Ford's Theatre, the kids were able to see where President Lincoln was shot and where he ultimately died. We talked about the Civil War and how divided the country was and how that led to the assassination.

The craft the kids made was really simple. I had card stock flags and I gave each kid a flag, 2 red strips of construction paper and 3 red stars for the kids to recreate the flag of Washington D.C. 

Websites that were helpful:
Books that take place in Washington DC or are about DC:
  • We March by Shane Evans
  • Madeline at the White House by Marciano Bemelmans
  • Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride by Pam Ryan
  • Abe Lincoln's Dream by Lane Smith
  • The First Pup by Bob Staake
  • If I were President by Thomas Troupe
  • I.Q.: the White House by Roland Smith
  • The Liberty Porter Series by Julia Devillers
  • Abe Lincoln at Last! by Mary Pope Osborne
  • The First Kids Mystery Series by Martha Freeman
  • Capture the Flag by Kate Messner    
  • The Secret of Rover by Rachel Wildavksy

Geography Club: Travel the USA

A new program that I decided I really wanted to do this school year is Geography Club: Travel the USA. In this program, I take a group of 6-8 year-olds on a field trip across this beautiful country.  We will learn about each state through books, crafts, videos, music and virtual tours when possible.

One thing  I absolutely love about this study is I get to TEACH. Most of the time I entertain kids, but with this program,  I get to set up my "classroom" and teach the kids something cool about our country.  The only drawback is I am basically creating my own curriculum to do this in a library setting. Most of the things  I find would work AMAZING if  I had more than 45 minutes a week to teach the kids about each particular state. So far, there has been a wealth of information for me to show the kids.  

In preparation for this "road trip" I created passports for each child as they signed up. Yes, I know you don't need a passport to travel across the United States, but I thought it would be a really fun way to mark their attendance and at the end of the program the kids could see which states they were able to learn about. The passport template I used was found at Guesthollow, which I found after searching PINTEREST. I only used card stock for the cover and the info pages (which I cut and glued to the inside of the passport cover.) For the insert pages,  I photocopied them on regular copy paper, ran them through the copier so it would print on both sides and changed it from 2 big blocks to 8 small blocks per side of the page to make the passports thinner. I then stapled the passports together, took pictures of the kids and glued the pictures in to make them look sort of authentic in an obviously fake way. The kids LOVE THEM!!!! 
For passport stamps, I found this website called Stickers and Charts and found these adorable statehood stickers that the kids glue in the passports each week! I also give the kids a little "bookmark" each week of the chosen state that I found at Step into Second Grade

I am really excited to take you on the field trip with the kids through our country. I hope you are ready for a road trip, just make sure you buckle your seat belt-- it's going to be a LONG drive.