a content='IE=EmulateIE7' http-equiv='X-UA-Compatible'/> Kenna's Felt Forest: What's On the Tray- Jan. week 3 & 4

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!


  1. Just stopping by from Montessori Monday! It looks like you've done a lot of reorganizing lately! I should do a bit of that too! Your trays are great! My preschooler would really enjoy patterning with snowflakes! I'm your newest follower on GFC!

    Criss-Cross Applesauce

  2. Great ideas for trays ... and I love that you're turning printables into hands-on activity trays! The peppermint math activity is very cute! Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/LivingMontessoriNow

  3. I hadn't seen the clip letter cards at COH. Thank you for sharing them. As far as curriculum, have you considered following the Montessori albums? Just an idea, but it would fit your requirements.

    1. I rechecked my sources, and while COH has used the alphabet clip cards, they were actually created by Carisa and 1+1+1=1. I fixed my post and linked to the PDF for ya. :)

      I am off to research Montessori albums.What a great suggestion- it didn't occur to me to look at the actual Montessori materials for guidance! Thank you!

  4. Wow you sound very focused. I really like your upper and lower case exercise, I'll have to remember that for when my son is old enough

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I edited and added a link to the alphabet cards for you. :)


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