Both homeschooling mamas and former English teachers at Temecula Valley High School, my friend Lauren and I have been dreaming up ways to collaborate on lessons with our kiddos. Lauren has two girls, M (turning 3 this weekend) and G (turning 2 in November), and she runs Servant’s Heart Academy in her home.

Co-teaching is truly one of life’s joys. I co-taught three periods of mixed groups of English 9s for many years with my friend, mentor, and colleague (who just won Teacher of the Year for our campus, by the way) Sandy Huth. Teaching with another teacher is invigorating, inspiring, humbling, vulnerable, beautiful, and authentic. It requires trust and inherently invites both mutual and self reflection.

For homeschooling families, co-teaching is a way to bring different types of energy to the lesson. Lauren and I agree that it is a beautiful opportunity for our kiddos to hear from another adult and to work together with other children. Whether we’re in a classroom or a home school, teachers know it is important to change the energy flow now and then to keep students (and teachers) fresh.

This past weekend, we put our heads together and came up with a “Sink or Float” lesson as a precursor to working on a liquid density project and within the context of Lauren’s water unit.

Lesson Plan (these are taken from our notes this weekend):

1) Calendar and circle time: everyone does part of the calendar, colors “W” for water, and then we can share a story: The Story About Ping. Connection to buoyancy (duck, boats, boy with the barrel). Discussion of swimming? (Connection to personal world).
2) Pass around cups filled with water and a bowl with ice. We can have each one put a piece of ice in her/his glass. Why does the ice float in the water? Brainstorm.
3) Move into the family room and show them the 3-5 min. instructional video from BrainPOP Jr. It starts out with ice in a glass, too, so the transition is fairly smooth. The video emphasizes two elements of floating: water displacement (pushing the water away, I think is how they say it), and “shape.”

4) Bring out a basket of collected items. Make predictions on a worksheet that has four columns: a) object; b) prediction, c) first test; d) second test. We will have to write in the name of the objects for them at the time. Students take turns picking an object out of the basket.
5) Move outside to the water table. Conduct the experiment and record results.
6) Use spray bottles and make water art.

Investigating the way ice floats in bowls of water. When we press down on the ice, what happens?

Watching a video from Brain Pop Jr. We air played it from the Mac. Home school technology is pretty awesome! I am obsessed with the BrainPOP Jr. site, by the way. We have our access now through River Springs, but it looks like the pricing for a homeschool program, single user for one year is $85 (multi-user for one homeschool looks like $135 if you go to subscriptions and pricing). I wish I had had access to this for our pre-K year, when Katie was age 4. Now that I have been poking around the vids, for me it would have been worth the $85. BrainPOP Jr. has 3-5 minute instructional videos on a variety of topics, plus links to online activities, crafts to go with lessons, and general lesson plans. Awesome use of tech.

Conducting our lab experiment

We filled spray bottles with colored water, and the kiddos made abstract spray art on butcher paper.

Summertime fun!

Then we played outside and fixed lunch. A happy, productive, playful morning of learning and friends!