Sunday, April 8, 2012

Rainbows and a trip to the Theatre

This week Maverick learned about rainbows. We talked about rainbows, how they appear, and sang the rainbow song we learned on Cat in the Hat on PBS Kids. I don't know a song that describes the tune but the words are "Red, Orange, Yellow, Green followed by Blue. Indigo and Violet, that's the rainbow colors for you!" It's cute and catchy and helped Maverick remember the colors of a rainbow in order. In fact a few days after learning about rainbows, the sun was setting and hit the mirror in our kitchen just right so that it reflected a rainbow on the wall of our dining room. It was so clear and Maverick was actually the one to point it out. And he was able to point to each color individually. It was fun to watch him connect his learning to real life.
Next, we read Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert. I love her books and they all lend themselves to great art projects. Maverick loved talking about the names of all the plants, over and over and over. The next day we got ready to paint the flowers and I realized I only had three colors: blue, yellow and red. So it turned into an impromptu lesson on mixing colors because we were able to make all the colors of the rainbow using only those three colors!
Painting stems
Here's the finished product...

A couple months ago, one of our local Living Social deals was for tickets to the Nashville Children's theatre. My students have gone on field trips there and I have always wanted to take Maverick. So, I decided this would be a great opportunity. The show was Click Clack Moo, based on the book by Doreen Cronin. Mav loves animals and loves singing so I knew this would be a great show for him to see. Plus, since having Solomon, I am always looking for ways for just me and Maverick to hang out.
First we read the book at home the night before.

Then went to the theatre.

Next, we got a little booster seat so he could see the stage and waited for the show to start.

It was such a cute show and Maverick had a great time. I love this phase of life even despite all the hard work! I hope you all had a great Easter.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

"The Mitten" work and new ideas

It seems kind of crazy that I am posting what we did with "The Mitten" when it is 80 degrees and sunny outside, but this is the first chance I have had to sit down and post anything! I now have two work from home jobs doing administrative tasks for an awesome non-profit organization I have been volunteering with from the beginning and taking care of my friend's 3 month old little boy two days a week. Needless to say, things are crazy busy around here and even though I do school with Maverick more than just once a month, posting about it is a whole other thing!

Okay, back to the mitten...we glued macaroni on the M, which of course is Maverick's favorite letter. :)
We also used M&M's to sort and count. Again, talking about more, less and the same, as well as numeral recognition.
I then used the m&m's as his potty treat (yes we are doing the dreaded potty training....remind me again why it is socially unacceptable to have a 5 year old in diapers? ugh!) which was very motivating...until they were gone.

We read "The Mitten" several times one day, then colored the characters another day. While he colored, we referenced the book to see what color the animals were and talked about their names. But, as you can see he went with his own creative interpretation on color.
He got these twistable crayons for his birthday and they are a huge hit! They snap so easily back into the tray so they are very easy for him to clean up independently. They are difficult to break, and come in lots of colors!

I was going to tape an outline of the mitten on the floor like the idea I had seen on Teach Preschool, but I realized I didn't have masking tape. So, I free-handed (obviously) a mitten on white paper, cut it out and taped the edges so just the wrist part was open for him to put the characters into the mitten.
We then read the story again, this time allowing him to pick up each character as I read about it and place it in the mitten.

Next, I let him tell me the story by looking at the pictures, and act it out with his characters and mitten.

Here's what we are working on the next few weeks, and here is why:
Maverick pointing out the crocus sprouting.

Little buds forming on our tree!
It's Spring around here!! Maverick noticed all the flowers starting to bloom and was asking me all sorts of questions. I said, I think it's time to learn about spring! That's the beauty of "homeschooling," the child can often decide what we learn and when. :)

  • Letter: Rr (rainbow or raindrops on the R. note: this is a difficult sound developmentally for a lot of younger preschool students so make sure to show lots of pictures and talk about different words that start with this letter and practice!) and Cc (cookie crisp or clouds (cotton balls) on the C) Pp (Puzzle from the P - color, draw on the letter p, cut it up into different size/shape pieces and take apart and put together as a puzzle)
  • Theme: Spring - Rainbows, Life cycle of butterfly (or any living thing)
  • Reading: We went to the library and got several books about Spring. Here are a few of the good ones:

A Rainbow of Flowers by Lois Ehlert
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

Some other ideas I found:
-Use sponges to paint flowers using the different colors of the rainbow. Focus on order.
-Cloud jars to go with rainbows.
-This is a great time to do plant life cycles and plant seeds and watch them grow. You can plant grass seeds in a plastic bag to easily show how a seed germinates and grows.
-Continue with numeral recognition, counting, shapes, etc.
- Explore different kinds of seeds. Sort by size. Discuss what seeds will grow into, how a small seed can grow into a big plant, etc.
-Egg carton caterpillar craft.

Happy Spring!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Follow up...and ideas for this week

Here are some pictures from last week's Valentine themed lessons.
Maverick made cards for his grandparents and great-grandparents. Don't be fooled by how studious he looks in this was his FIRST card! :)

The completed cards, ready to mail!
We glued velvet on the V. I had a hard time finding velvet (only looked at Walmart and Target) and then while I was walking aimlessly through Target (which I do OFTEN) I saw a ribbon leftover from Christmas clearance that felt and looked like velvet. So we used that and it was an easy and cheap alternative to going to an actual fabric store.

We also sorted and counted candy hearts. I used the little 2 oz cups to help Mav make piles of like colors.

Then he dumped each cup and touched and counted each heart (one to one correspondence) and I wrote the number on a sticky note. 

After all the hearts were counted and the numbers written, Maverick noticed that several of the numbers were the same. I was so shocked and proud that he came up with this all on his own! We then put them in piles and talked about less and more. 
Of course he got to eat a few once we were through.

Then I decided to stick the stickies with the numbers in random places around the house for Maverick to find them as he went about his day. This is a good way to practice numeral recognition. He loved finding the numbers all over the house and acted like they got there on their own.

All in all, it was a great Valentine's week.

Here's what we are working on this week:
Letter/Sound: Mm
-Glue macaroni on the M
-Starfall website work with the letter M
Reading/Comprehension/Theme: The Mitten
-Read The Mitten by Jan Brett (there are also other versions, but my library was out of them- it would also be great to read the three different versions instead of reading the other mitten books listed below)
-Act out the sequence of The Mitten by Jan Brett (loved this idea of using masking tape outline of a mitten to act out, but using cut outs of the characters since we don't have several students to use) We plan on coloring and cutting out these printables after reading the story in preparation for retelling
Math: Counting/Sorting
-sort and count m&m's
-group by more/less/same
-"hide" numerals around the house
-counting by 2's to 10 using construction paper mittens
-Mitten patterns using construction paper mittens
-painting mittens

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Valentine's Day Fun

Valentine's Day is coming up and I wanted to post what we will be doing this week and next. We just started yesterday so I don't have many pictures.
Letter/Sound Activities: Vv

  • Glue velvet on the V. (I couldn't think of anything else that would work!)

(no velvet yet)
  • Starfall website work. This site is great for letter practice. It's super easy for toddlers to operate and gives words and pictures using the various letters and sounds.

  • Write the letter Vv and find the letter V in a pile of magnetic letters.

Valentine's Day Activities:
I had these small 2oz cups left over from the party and plan on using them for sorting candy hearts.
  • Sort and count candy hearts.
  • Make patterns using candy hearts. (ie: pink, white, pink, white, etc.)
  • Focusing on the Kindness virtue from We Choose Virtues.
  • Valentine's Day Cards for the family. (Basically have to get this done tomorrow since I have to mail them.)
Here are some good ideas we are going to try:
-Lollipop cards-Heart AnimalsHappy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Birthday Fun!

Last weekend was Maverick's 3rd birthday party. He wanted a Disney's Little Einsteins theme, since he loves the show and absolutely loves music. When I started searching for party ideas and supplies, I learned quickly that Little Einsteins were popular in 2008. Needless to say, I had a really hard time finding supplies. However, it worked out nicely because I was forced able to make most of what I needed. The only thing I bought were these party hats.
He put a party hat on his toy and sang happy birthday to it.

I figured 3 year olds needed more entertainment than we had at his 2 year party, so I made three stations with things for them to do. The first station was the Making Music station. Unfortunately I was the hostess and the photographer so I didn't get any pictures of it. The kids made jingle bell bracelets using small bells (on the Christmas clearance aisle, thank you) strung on pipe cleaner. Also, tambourines made from paper plates and dried beans. And lastly, egg shakers (made from plastic eggs, rice and lots of tape). This is the station that required the most help, so I ended up being planted there for quite a while.

The most popular station was the Dinosaur Dig. The kids LOVED this, and who wouldn't? Sand indoors?! I got the sand from Lowe's and makeup brushes from the Dollar Store. They actually did a pretty good job containing all the sand in one spot.

The last station was Painting Pictures. There were watercolor paints and small cups of water for the kids to paint pictures. I was definitely not brave enough to use "real paint" on the carpet!

This party was seriously so much fun to plan because Maverick finally knew what was going on! That added some pressure too, but he kept saying all day, "This is so fun mom! Can it be my birthday tomorrow?" So sweet. Here are a few more pics...
He REALLY likes opening presents.

The Rocket cake...saved by my mom and friend, Colleen

The welcome sign.
And an update on the little one...he doesn't care for peas. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What's been going on...

I realize it has been over a month since I last posted on here. Things have been CRAZY! Christmas was fantastic. Mac's dad and family came to Nashville for Christmas and it was the first time since he and his brothers and sister were small kids that everyone was together. Maverick loved opening presents. He didn't even care what was inside as long as he could rip that paper! Solomon could have cared less. Here are some pics.

See what I mean? 
Maverick's Birthday is toward the end of January and every year it "sneaks" up on me. I can't imagine what it would be like to have a birthday even closer to Christmas! I have been busy planning his SMALL "birpay party" which I feel a lot of pressure for. He has really high expectations for a 3 year old! He wanted a Disney's Little Einsteins party so I'm getting all "teachery" and making different stations for the kids to explore at. Hopefully he loves it. He does ask me every day for cake so we started a birthday countdown on the fridge. He loves it and knows exactly how many days are left.

We've also changed the way we eat as a family. Mav has always eaten very healthy but Mac and I have followed more of a Weight Watcher mentality just tracking and eating light. But you better believe I found a way to eat sugar galore, even while on a diet. So, we cut out sugar and anything refined, or enriched...which means pretty much anything already prepared. So I am cooking A LOT! Like 3 meals a day 6 days a week. It's a lot of work but I am already seeing results!

And then there's this guy...

Solomon has started eating solids and we have been working on things like breaking the swaddle, taking naps longer than 45 minutes and getting my body to catch up with his hunger! Above, he is pictured eating avocado. So far he has had sweet potatoes and avocado and loves them both! I make my own baby food (which really is not hard at all) so that also has kept me busy.

Yesterday and today have been beautiful, unseasonably warm days here in Nashville so Mav and I have gotten to play outside. This is so great considering I have not done a single day of school since before Christmas, and he is missing it, going stir crazy in this house!
Sidewalk ever!

Old Man Winter in his rocker.
I'm currently planning the next few weeks of school, so hopefully I will have a school post soon!

Friday, December 16, 2011

All About Snowmen!

We went to the library last week and got lots of books on Christmas and Winter. A lot of the Christmas ones were taken, so I adapted my plans more about snowmen. In fact, one of the days we went to the library it was actually snowing, (though it didn't stick) so that was fun!

Here is the coloring page, courtesy of making learning fun...which by the way is a great source of free printables and thematic ideas. I used it all the time when I was teaching kindergarten.
I usually just let him color however he wants, but this time, I wanted him to take his time and talk about what the real colors are for each of the items. For each one, he would either tell me the color or ask what the items was and what color it "should" be. I even saw him looking at the Christmas tree in the living room so he could color it the same color.
Here's the finished product, proudly displayed!

Speaking of displays...I referred to Mav's wall of work in a previous post and finally snapped a photo with my phone. It's not as good quality as the other photos, but gives you an idea. I used yarn and tacks, but I've seen better ones made with rope or twine and nails. It's heavier and can handle more paper.
(Notice the frame above with the factory pictures still in it...haven't gotten to that project yet)
I think it's very beneficial to keep his work displayed to serve as a constant review of what we've been learning. Also, he is so proud of all his work and loves seeing it hanging in his room. 

Back to this week... We learned the letter Ss and glued snowballs (cotton balls) on the S.
We are multi-tasking here...eating snack and doing school!

Getting better about SMALL glue dots.

I happened to find a snowman gel cling kit in the dollar bins at Target. I got it out the other day and let Mav rearrange the pieces and build his snowman. He loved it and came back to it several times.

Download these activities and more in Week 4 lesson plans here.

In case I don't get on here in the next week, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and remember the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ!