Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tot School: Week of August 24

Tot School

Lauren is 34 months old. Now that big sister is in kindergarten I have turned my home-preschool efforts toward Lauren. I am using the Core Knowledge Preschool Content and Skill Guidelines to focus my teaching.

This week Lauren's learning objectives were:

  • recognize written first name
  • small muscle control activities
  • tear and paste
  • recite nursery rhyme: Pat-a-Cake
  • place objects in a row
  • start and stop movement in response to a signal

Here are a few snapshots of Lauren's week:

putting together Cootie bugs,

sorting marbles,

matching the shapes on the bottom of the ducks,

walking when I said "start" and stopping when I blew a whistle. She loved this!,

matching the bandannas on the puppies,

taking her baby for a daily walk,

making playdough snakes,

tearing paper (this was harder than I expected),

gluing paper,

matching the letters in her name,

placing crackers in a row,

screwing nuts onto bolts,

spreading glue,

shaking glitter,

making banana bread,

and washing dishes.

Be sure to check out 1+1+1=1 to see what other families are doing in tot school!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

After School Fun

Julia started kindergarten this week so I want to plan fun and creative after-school experiences for her. This week in addition to a trip to the pool and the spray park the girls did the following activities.

We baked and decorated gingerbread boys and girls. Julia has been listening to gingerbread man stories and doing gingerbread man activities at school so she really wanted to make some gingerbread cookies. Gingerbread dough needs to be refrigerated for three hours so we made the dough as soon as Julia came home from school and the cookies were ready to decorate after the girls took their bath.

Lauren did a great job with the eyes and buttons.

One night I set out the watercolor paint sets. Watercolors are easy to set up and clean up so they make a great spur of the moment art experience.

Lauren painted a tree. I think this is the first time she's painted a real object. Way to go Lauren!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Paint Blending

This art exploration came from the book I Made It! Process-Oriented Art for Kids.

We squeezed small amounts of tempera paint onto construction paper.

After covering the paint with a piece of wax paper, the girls used their hands to blend the paint.

Once the paint was blended the girls peeled off the wax paper to reveal their design.

Lauren enjoyed using a paint scrapper to add texture to her designs.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Off She Goes

Julia started kindergarten and our family has begun a new phase of life. She was so excited that she practically ran all the way to school the first day. No tears from her but plenty from me!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Making Peanut Butter

With all the convenience foods on the market today, kids easily get the wrong idea that food just comes prepackaged and ready to eat. They are amazed to learn about the process involved and love to make their favorite food from scratch. After reading From Peanuts to Peanut Butter by Melvin Berger and Peanut Butter and Jelly by Nadine Bernard Westcott, we made our own peanut butter.

First the girls shelled and hulled 1 cup of roasted peanuts. What a great way to build those little hand muscles. I think more peanuts went into Julia's mouth than in her bowl!

We put the peanuts in the blender with 2 tablespoons oil and tried to grind them. We were not successful . We then tried using a food processor and had much better success. The girls loved our homemade peanut butter!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Poem Charts

We have fun reading our poem charts together. The poems on the charts are easy to memorize so the girls can successfully read along with me and even little Lauren feels perfectly confident that she can read them on her own. We read the same charts multiple times over the course of a few weeks and sometimes revisit old charts. As we read the charts, I am able to address different learning goals for each of my girls.

I use the poems to help two year old Lauren:

1) develop a love of language and reading

2) understand that print carries meaning

3) understand that we read the print from left to right and top to bottom

4) recognize known letters when embedded in print

5) begin to recognize rhyming words

I use the poems to help five year old Julia:

1) continue to develop a love of language and reading

2) recognize high frequency words

3) practice phonics skills within the context of meaningful text

4) practice reading fluently

How many other activities can you do with children of such diverse needs and be sure that you are meeting each of their needs? I feel so strongly about the power of reading poem charts with children that I am excited to share them with other parents and teachers. I would also love to see any poem charts that you have made!

Here are two charts that I have not published on this blog before:

Sheep poem
Horse Poem

To see previously published poems click here.

I bought my chart stand from Lakeshore but you can use the poems without a chart stand. They can be clipped to an art easel, attached to a wall with sticky tack, or attached to a refrigerator with a magnet.