a content='IE=EmulateIE7' http-equiv='X-UA-Compatible'/> Kenna's Felt Forest: January 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

What's On the Tray- Jan. week 3 & 4

I am trying to get more organized, now that Kenna is about to hit the big 3! I feel like I need to start planning better and getting into more of a structured curriculum.  She is young, but also very smart. I am making a list of goals for the year, subjects I want to cover, and then I'm going to spread them out over 10 months. ( I was a third grade teacher for a long time. I have a deep need for a nice lesson plan book and a "Standard Course of Study" to make me feel focused!) I am feeling like the whole world is in our grasp, and overwhelmed with all the choices and possibilities for learning.
I'd like to tell you that I will take Kenna's lead and run with whatever she is interested in, but until she knows what interests her, I am going to do the leading.

I am currently in the market for a pre-k program (instead of trying to pick and choose age appropriate topics and order them in a sensible way) that meets a few important requirements:
-is not overtly religious
-focuses on hands-on activities
-can be adapted down to a 3 year old level
Suggestions? I am ready and listening! I feel very overwhelmed by the options out there!
Meanwhile, I have redesigned our schoolwork presentation. I have tot trays out again, (as opposed to just workboxes) and they are going to be out for the week, featuring repeatable, Montessori-style activities.

I am repurposing our workboxes (our green tubbed Ikea storage unit). They will contain "consumables" or work that really only needs to be done once.  I am going to start with 6 bins of activites each day, and see what we get through. Someone on the web had "starboxes" available when the child is done with their work, containing open-ended blocks or toys. I love this idea and will have at least one out for now.  I finally added numbers to our workboxes, and made a workbox chart, so that we can slowly learn to use the workboxes in order and complete all the work in one box before moving on. For now, all activities will be done with mommy guidance, but there are some things that she can do on her own at this point, like Kumon worksheets, tracing sheets, and size sequencing cards.

My guess is that it will take us all week to work through all 9 workboxes. I sincerely doubt she'll work through all of the activites in one school day.  Eventually, the goal will be to finish all workboxes each day.  Right now, no pressure!
I have also added a geography area to our schoolroom. It's nothing to look at yet, but I'll post pics in  few weeks. I have up a world map, a contintent puzzle on a tray, and a tiny American flag. I have two atlases. That's it. I would like to have geography trays available each week that address our goals. I want to start with the 7 continents, and then focus on North America for a while. Then I want to do our state and city. That should be enough to get us through the year! I like that it is all in it's own area, and I am kinda wanting to separate all the math from the language stuff, too.  (I'm such a third grade teacher...)
We'll see. We'll see.
And, now, on to the trays!

:color sorting:
with snowflake stickers from Oriental Trading.

:Extention activity:
Snowflake color patterns. This was so much fun, she begged for more snowflakes to keep the pattern going!

 :Pouring Snowflakes:
Tiny snowflake beads to pour. I love this little white creamer I found at a thrift store. Wish they had two!

:Clipping lowercase letters:
Great letter cards from confessionsofahomeschooler Edited (I need more sleep, and to keep better notes!). Apologies to Carisa from 1+1+1=1- she actually made these and you can print them HERE. (For the record, I did learn abou the activity here at COAH. :sheepish grin:)   Kenna will say the letter and find its lowercase match. I haven't included all 26 here, just ten. Once she picks this tray, I'll switch out the cards for ten more.

 (Kenna got to this tray before I could even photograph it! She loves to stamp!) I will add a lowercase stamp halfway through the week, and some lowercase letter m pages. I was going to have her do some collage work as well. I was thinking cutting out some "m" words or objects that start with M from a magazine. I am curious to find out if that kind of work interests her. I'll let you know!
 :Pattern Blocks:
 Cute mat from prekinders.com make for an easy introduction to pattern blocks. We talked about the shape names, how each shape is a different color, and of course we built block snowmen!

 :Prewriting practice:
I don't have metal insets to trace, so my scrapbooking stencils will have to do. Kenna will use colored pencils to trace ovals. She can draw faces in the ovals or cut them out if she wants.
This fun worksheet asks "how many peppermints in the jar?" I plan to place a number rock on the jar lid, and ask Kenna to fill the jar with the right number of candies. I have a billion mini candycanes left over from our town's holiday parade, so I may replace the peppermints with candy canes! She'll love that. Especially if I let her eat a "crack" of it when we are done.  (Crack me off a crack of "candycan", Mama!) Edited to add: This worksheet is from 2TeachingMommies as part of their awesome new CandyCane unit.

:Letter identification:
Matching Sesame Street names with our letter tiles.
So, that is what's on our trays for the next week(ish)- at least I can say we are doing a lot of stuff, even if it isn't well planned yet!

Linking up to Montessori Monday!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Advent Calendar Pieces

We finally got the ornaments sewn up for our handmade Advent Calendar.  Here are the felt ornaments to hang on our Advent Calendar next year!  Brace yourself for the picture overload. They are so cute, only 2.5 inches big, and hand and machine-sewn.  They are made with felt and embroidery thread- that's it!
 We created each one of these without a pattern. They are freehand cut,hand and  machine stitched together. Details are hand-embroidered.
 We had so many great ideas for ornaments that we just couldn't stop at 25.

 They are all so adorable.  The children are going to love finding them in our calendar pockets next December!

 Kenna and Quinn's stocking.   I wonder if we'll need more stockings in the future? :)

 Closeup of the Pointsetta, the Star for the top of the tree, some holly, and a mitten.

 Amazing little drum!

 My favorites are the soldier and the fireplace. Look at his tiny belt, and his chin strap!! Also in this picture is a cup of cooca and an ice skate.
 The fireplace has a ton of tiny details. Look at the tiny fire!

 Frosty, reindeer, a "jingle bell" and the drum.

Candle, gingerbread man, cardinal, sugar cookie
With these ornaments finally finished, I feel like our advent calendar has transformed into an instant family heirloom.  Might be planning on making three more- for our cousins, and possibly a few to sell for 2012!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sand Art, Toddler style

 Kenna is 35 months. I bought a few fun little crafts in an Oriental Trading Coop, and while some were super easy and age appropriate, I have to admit, a couple are kinda over Kenna's ability level. 

 Take this lil beauty, for instance. Sand art! It looked really fun in the pictures, but the art board is smaller than a postcard, and the bits to color in are sooo small. The sand came in itty bitty packets, and while the colors were vibrant, there were a lot of them. (kinda overwhelming to Kenna, who wanted to use all of them immediately.)

I let her lead the activity, and she really wanted to "color in the lines" nicely with the sand, so I took over the glue. I put a bit of glue, and then she sprinkled with a spoon. Since she went a little crazy with the sand, it didn't take long for all 6 packets of sand to be a giant pile of brownish purple sand on our tray. She could care less. As a matter of fact, as soon as I set her free from the fiddlely little art board, she grabbed a big piece of construction paper and got to work.

She squirted glue, sprinkled sand, shook the paper, and then recollected the sand in a bowl. It was awesome to watch. :)  We have done this activity every day this week now. We moved to glitter when we ran out of sand. I've mailed off sand/glitter art to every relative I know, just to get it out of here!  I am impressed with how tidy she is being, and how controlled she is with the glue. She even made some shapes with the glue, and some letters. WOW!  As it was drying, she enjoyed feeling the texture and smooshing the drying glue puedles.

Excuse me,  I have to go out and buy more sand. Maybe I should just get brown, since we all know that's where it will end up after lots of mixing!  

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Our Calendar Time

 We have been doing daily calendar time every day for about five months now. I finally decided to share what we do, even though there are things I would still like to change. (I kept waiting and waiting, so that I could get our board and routine perfect, but there aren't enough hours in the day!)

All of our Calendar Time Materials  are contained on one cork board. All the pieces are stored with velcro or flip charts. Our printouts and the great organizational ideas came from several awesome mamas on the web.

Check them out!

 If you see something I haven't given credit for, let me know! The actual blue "bear" calendar and number pieces were all purchased when I was a third grade teacher. The cork board is covered in yellow fabric to brighten it up.  Everything is affixed to the cork board with staples or giant push pins (walmart).
I am going to give the simple rundown of our calendar time. It is fast and easy, and we do it the same every day, so that Kenna has actually started leading it!

1.What month is it? We sing the months of the year song, to the tune of Ten Little Indians.  I'll link to the youtube song if you want. Kenna has memorized it! She does call August, Dogust, though. adorable!

2. Counting-  Kenna grabs her giant Finger Pointer Stick (love this thing- got it at Hobby Lobby.)  and we count the days of the month- this month we count to 31, pointing at each number as we say it. That alone has increased Kenna's counting from 1-10 to 1-19!  The pointer allows Kenna to track the numbers better with her eye, so that she is "reading" them. It also helps her practice left to right tracking.

2. Today is the 26th. Find the 26. (point to it on the calendar.) Then flip to the 26th on the flip chart.

3. Make the Date
 Use our coins (backed with velcro) to add up 26 cents. All of the coins are stored on a velcro strip, hanging on a push pin. We pick the ones we need each morning. We are working hard to identify different coins, and I am modeling how to count on from five. It will be a long time before Kenna can do this part independently, and I'm fine with that. I'll be happy if she learns coin names and values this year. (Right now she automatically calls everything a quarter.) If you have older kids, you can ask them to make the date without using nickels, or two ways, etc.

4.  Today is the 26th.

Today is Monday. Yesterday was Sunday.
Tomorrow is Tuesday, Tomorrow is Tuesday.
Yesterday was Sunday, Tomorrow will be Tuesday,
Today is Monday. Today is Monday.
 I sing a little jingle I made up when I say this (sing it to "Where is Thumbkin)".

I want Kenna to grasp those three points in time, and to hopefully start recognizing days of the week by name. (Right now she refers to everything in the past as "last morning" and everything in the future as "Monday." cuuuute.)This printable was great, but I added a Saturday and Sunday to it, so that we always have a place to put our little cards. I found it weird that on Monday, we couldn't talk about "yesterday" because there was no Sunday.  And occasionally Kenna will ask to do calendar time on the weekend, so I just measured the squares and whipped up two boxes in microsoft pub. (i heart publisher...)

5. Then we sing the days of the week song. Our tune is really simple and pretty. Again, I can link to it on youtube if you would like.  I don't know what tune it is, offhand. Kenna has this song memorized, too. 

 6. Next, we run through color of the day and shape of the day.  These are more for Little Man's benefit than Kenna's. She already knows all of these without blinking. I would like to add a Letter of the Week flashcard that can help them (and me) remember what letter sound we are focusing on all week. I just want to find a cheap stack of ABC flashcards to put on a ring, but I always forget when I'm out. The shape cards are flip-book style, but the color of the day is set-up differently. (I'm going to go back and change these to flip cards, to make it easier.) Right now, the color words are laminated and have a velcro circle. They are stored in an envelope behind the "color of the day" sign. One side of the envelope is pinned down, and the other swings free to allow access to the pocket. It's fine, but my biggest complaint is that we always seem to pick brown and yellow.  :) A flip chart would at least guarantee we'd rotate through all of the colors!

7. Season, weather, temperature.  It's Winter!
 We run onto the porch and check the weather and the temperature. I had to make the thermometer myself, because we were just doing weather and Kenna was getting confused. She was seeing the sun, and it was cold at the same time, and she was saying "It's hot. The sun is out." I think she grasps that they are two different things now.

This is winter, so the sun can be out, but the temperature is cold!
We sing an adorable weather song to B.I.N.G.O,  from 1+1+1=1.  (You'll notice our Snowman Measuring Stick is on the board- he's expectantly waiting for some SNOW!!!)  Also, I made my thermometer very simplistic- it only reads HOT WARM COOL and COLD. She's only 2, so we aren't going to worry about guessing actual degrees just yet. At least she'll get the concept that as the temperature rises, so does the thermometer.  In a couple years we'll change to a more scientific thermometer. I think the next addition might be to choose the appropriately dressed stick figure for the day. (Oh, wouldn't it be cute to take pics of Kenna dressed for hot, warm, cool and cold? Yes. Yes it would.)

8. We read the entire day, month date a couple times. Kenna can read the whole "sentence" by herself. Awesome. Each of these pieces are flippable with binder rings hanging on giant thumb tacks. This system appealed to me beacause I didn't want to keep up with three hundred velcro bits. It's working great, and Kenna loves to do the flipping. ( I think MamaJenn did this when she revamped her calendar board- genius)

9.We wrap up with the pledge of allegiance. She likes to put both hands on her "hearts". I think she looks doubly patriotic. We also say the pledge to the NC flag, but I still need to print off a little flag. ( I was holding out in hopes of finding a nice fabric one to purchase inexpensively.)

And that's it. Honestly, it took forever to type this out, but our calendar time takes 10 minutes or less.  The songs are cute and quick, the chart is so organzied that changing the data is fast and simple, and although it is a lot of material to cover, Kenna really grasps it and stays engaged the whole time. 

 We can drag it out by Some extensions include:
-Singing the "rainbow song" from The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That when we do the color of the day.

-Name something you wear when it is ________ (Cold, hot, warm, rainy)

-Ask how many days in the month? How many months in the year? How many days in a year? What year is it?  What will tomorrow's date be?

-Singing National Anthem, or talking about our state, country and continent.

Things to Add:
-Moon Phases(oh how I want to add these! I will wait til she's four, though.) Space is my FAV.

-Foreign language cards (I haven't fully developed this idea, so not sure what I will do with it.)
-Counting the 365 days of the year, one stick at a time.  You bundle them by tens, and then by hundreds. It's kinda an awesome visual, but Kenna is too young to understand it. We'll start it next January 1st when she's almost four.

-letter of the week

-dress for the weather (It's summer. Choose the pic that has a bathing suit and flip flops, so your kid doesn't try and step out in a winter coat and scarf!)

-many moms do bible verse of the day, or poem of the week, but we include these elsewhere in our day. 
ones, tens, and hundreds place- lots of great ideas about how to incorporate place value with the date, but we aren't quite old enough for that yet.

****I am still looking for the perfect "ending" song, something that will send us to our work in a good mood. Actually, I'm looking for a "good morning song", too. I know a couple, but they kind of grate on my nerves. Especially at 8 in the morning. Ideas?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hanging New Shelves

 Handy Husband is also very hands-on with the kids. He cooks and bakes with Kenna almost every day, and tries to include her in everything from gardening to woodworking. When I requested two new shelves for our supplies, Kenna and Daddy grabbed their tools and got to work.

 Kenna was pleased to use the hammer, but overjoyed to weild the drill. She waited very patiently for Daddy to finish pounding in the, um, screw holdy things.  (He's handy, not me...)

 YAY! Time to use the drill!

 Screwing in the brackets. She did great!

 Daddy coached her on holding it level, applying pressure, and she soaked it all in.

 Tada! New shelves!  (I bought cheap wood at the hardware store, Bill routed the edges to make it look fancy, and I slapped a coat of glossy white paint on. I bought $3 brackets and so my two shelves cost less than ten dollars!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Fun Rundown Jan 12

 I had a few pictures lurking around that were cute, and showed us doing fun things, but none were enough for an entire post, so I am cheating and combining them.
Above is Quinn (6months) playing in a giant water table at a local science museum.

 She loves to splish and splash. 
 Kenna (35 months)  and I built and huddled in a fort (in another area of the museum).  The giant poles, attaching easily with velro, and the lightweight material made for some really fun toddler work. She was very specific about where everything should go. We could have done this for hours. She's been completely entralled with everything "fort" and so this addressed her high interest level perfectly!

 Quinn, playing dress up. She loves peek-a-boo and this hat was new and different than playsilks and blankets.

 Little Man is taking steps! (15 months) All of his therapists are beside themselves with happiness.  He loves walking and is really getting brave.  Of course, two days after he took his first steps we got an appointment to get him special shoes, inserts and braces, but that's a small price to pay to get to say my CP kid is WALKING!!  Here he is attempting to push a basket full of sisters. (notice Daddy has ahold of the other end with a belt, so Little Man feels like a rock star!)

Kenna showed immense joy in watching our 6 foot giant inflatable snowman inflate and collapse each day. Pure joy. I wish we could leave that thing up all year. (Don't worry, I've finally packed up the Christmas. Why is it that even when you think you've gotten all the decor packed up, you suddenly sit on the couch and notice a GIANT Santa bowl you missed. Um, how is that possible?)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...