Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Letter of the Week A- Day 1

A is for Airplane
Today we started my Letter of the Week- A plans. You can read more about my plans here
I found fabric letter stickers at a craft store and I placed one on a blank flashcard. They did not have lower case letters so I modified. I had Jacob trace the letter with his finger. I said, "Down, down, across" for the upper case and "around and down" for the lowercase. I have heard cutesy phrases to remember how to write the letters but at this age I feel Jacob would be distracted so I wanted to keep it very simple. Plus, we are not focusing on writing the letters but rather recognizing them.
Next, we went to the Gel Lettering. I filled a large ziplock baggie with hair gel and green food coloring (his favorite color). I left the flashcard out and had him draw the letters on the gel pack by looking at the flashcard and repeating the saying, "Down, down, across" for the upper case and "around and down" for the lowercase.
After that we worked on a Letter Puzzle. I had him create the letters with foam I cut out into shapes. He did this exceptionally well, I was surprised! This is just another way to practice "seeing" the letters and letter formation.
I pulled out paper airplanes after the A practice. We flew the airplanes around the room for a while I read, My A Book by Jane Belk Moncure. As I read the story we pointed out words that started with A, just like airplane. Then we used the two airplanes to create an A on a piece of construction paper. This paper will go into a binder that we will reference when practicing the alphabet. This ABC Binder will be all the letters by the end of our unit and each page will focus on a piece of transportation!! FUN! :)
These were Monday's activities for the Letter A. More fun A activities tomorrow! 


For this month I put together a file folder play pack from Home School Creations. This file folder activity set is super cute and she provides a complete set of printables! I have not used one of these for Jacob yet, (she has all sorts) because I did not think he was ready but this month we are giving it a try!
We will go through the file folder activities daily. But today I will introduce Matching! One of the activities is Shadow Matching. Jake knows about shadows and had no problem understanding the concept of matching the symbol with the shadow. 
We spread out the cards on the table. I picked up the fireman spraying water. I said what the picture was and then dramatically looked for the shadow. I pointed out what helped me see that it was the match to the fireman. He quickly picked up a symbol and found its shadow. It was quite simple for him. I had him tell me what the Fireman symbol was as he found the matches.
He lined up the matches down the center of the table. We discussed if the sun was in one location where the shadow would be and lined them up accordingly. After he was finished we counted the pairs. We did this just to add some counting practice into the activity. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

February's Sensory Box

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For this month's Sensory Box I used shredded gift bag filler, heart erasers, heart noise makers, heart measuring cups, foam hearts, and foam words. The words are; love, hugs, and kisses. I had Jacob start exploring inside the box while I observed him. I wanted to see what he would do with the items on his own. 

First thing he did was to grab the noise maker and use it to pick up the bag filler. He called the noise makers cranes! He lifted the bag filler with his "crane" and dropped it outside of the box. (Messy month!!) I could not believe that he looked at a red, white and pink box filled with hearts and he saw a construction project! He never ceases to amaze me!
A Crane?
He went to town playing in the box! He had so much fun picking up the filler and dropping it outside of the box. He made all the sound effects of a crane. He then used the heart shaped measuring cups as dump trucks and went around and picked up the filler. He gave me one and assigned me to picking up while he used the "crane" to drop more off.

After a while I pulled out some of the heart shapes and put them on the floor. I then started counting them. Jacob took over counting the hearts. I suggested that he look for more hearts and add those to his row and count them all. He did this without protest. He has really become a good counter. Then he used the "crane" to put them away.
Later I pulled out a word from the box. I pointed out the H and told Jake that the word was hug. I then modeled what I wanted him to do. I looked for more hug words in the box. If I found a word that was not hug I pointed out the first letter and showed him it was not hug, then threw it back in the box. I laid all the words out and then counted them. After that I told him there were six hug words so I needed to give him six hugs! (Hey, this month is about love right?)
I had him do it on his own next. He found the word kiss. Then I had to give him 5 kisses! :) He didn't have any trouble looking through the box, finding a word and determining if it was the word he was looking for. This is a great way to develop literacy. 
I am anticipating many more fun days with this Sensory Box!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

February Activities

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This month I chose to focus a bit on Valentine's Day and a little on firemen. Jacob is loving firemen right now so I wanted to use his interest to infuse some of the skills I am trying to build. Many of the activities I planned for this month were found on Homeschoolcreations.com and 1plus1plus1equals1.com. These websites are great resources.

I had planned to start Letter of the Week last month but we did not get started. Look for the start of a Letter of the Week this month! I am going to be adding Letter of the Week activities for about a half hour a day. Our Structured Play time has stretched to about an hour a day and now I want to cut that in half. We will do our Monthly Theme activities for a half and hour and Letter of the Week activities for a half and hour a day. 

I want to reiterate a few points before the download:
1. My plans are not meant to be completed in any specific order. Each day is different and Structured Play time should be a fun learning experience. Pick an activity or activities that fit the mood of your child for that day.
2. Practice activities more than once because repetition is key to gaining new skills.
3. READ, READ, READ- Read everyday and reread stories to allows your child to 'read' the books themselves. This is the first step in literacy.
4. Walk Away- Try to keep Structured Play time FUN. If things get frustrating to you or your child, walk away and pick up where you left off the next day. Remember it is Structured PLAY, you are not preparing for SAT Exams. Enjoy every minute!  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Number Practice

We have been working on counting for some time now and I have started introducing the numbers in addition to counting.
I saw this on one of my blogs and knew it would be perfect! It fits in our theme and it is just basic enough for Jacob. 2 Teaching Mommies has this number book as a free printable! Check out 2 Teaching Mommies it is a great resource!!
I printed and cut out the book. I told Jake that we were going to make our own book today. He loved that idea which excited me because I loved making books when I was young and knowing that he enjoys it as well opens up quite a few activities for us to do! 
I had him count and color the snowflakes. I used my finger to trace the number and a say it. Then I had him try to trace it with the crayon. As you can see, he didn't do too great at first but by number 10 he did a perfect job!!
Jake is doing a good job counting but I have to point or have him point at the items he is counting to get him to count correctly. His go to is 2, 4, 9, 10! He can count but takes the lazy out and just quickly says, "2, 4, 9, 10!" When I tell him to slow down and count correctly he can do it! Pointing certainly helps!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Playing with... Snow?

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Still no snow in our neck of the woods so I had to get creative...

There is a fun project going around Pinterst that I thought looked perfect for us to try! It was on Toys in the Dryer.  I bought a bar of Ivory Soap and cut it in fourths. I took 1/4 and microwaved it! Yes, put it in the microwave and started her up! We watched and quickly a change happened! Peek in there to see!
Jake was mesmerized! How fun! The soup grows slowly and largely (that is why we used 1/4 of the bar). I am not sure what the chemical reaction is that causes this to happen, we aren't ready for the technical part of the experiment, but it sure is cool to watch.
We pulled it out after the soap stopped growing. I do not know the exact time but it was about 30-60 seconds. The soap comes out pretty cool to the touch, but I still had it sit before letting Jake touch it. We "cooked" all of the soap creating a nice size for some "snow" removal!

I placed the "snow" in a plastic tub and grabbed some of Jake's trucks.
Jake couldn't have been happier! We used dump trucks and bulldozers to "clear" the roads of the snow. The soap is very light and fluffy. It is soft and not sticky or moist in any way. It is quite unusually perfect!!

Jake spent hours playing in this Sensory Box! He had so much fun and even extended his play to have the workers "go get lunch." He picked up the "snow" and made it snow again by dropping it from above. 
After playing a while I suggested we use the trucks' wheels to make tracks on construction paper. The soap crumbles a bit while playing with it. It gets on the wheels and is perfect for making tracks.
This was a such a great activity! We had more fun than I can describe! I am sure this will be something we do often! I was really pleased to see Jake use his imagination and really play. He seemed to get into the flow and play for hours. It was fabulous to watch! Try this experiment to ease the dreary winter days!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

First Step Patterning

We started patterning this month! I wanted to start very simply and knowing Jake I knew I had to make it a kinesthetic activity. I found this ice cube tray thingy in the $1 section of Target and thought this would be perfect. I put a row of white puff balls a row of blue then and AB pattern of blue and white.
I modeled what I wanted Jake to do "talking" through the whole process. Then had him go for it. He needed assistance. He wanted to just put puffs in random places so I had to point to the next spot for the balls. Once we got to the pattern row I pointed and said, "Blue, White" in a sing-songy voice so he could get the idea of  the pattern. I had him repeat after me. 
Jake had a little trouble and got frustrated but we pushed through and he felt great satisfaction once he was able to finish the activity alone, "All myself!!" This is an important lesson for him and me! I have decided to be a little firmer with activities. I previously have let him lead the Structured Play time but now I will be having him do a few activities everyday and in the same order. Just a little added structured. The patterning will get progressively more complex as he shows growth. 

Cotton Ball Snowman

Still no snow, although it is cold! Jake wanted to make a snowman again so I thought we could make one using cotton balls today. I got out the glue and he was in!
I traced a snowman outline and let Jake go to town gluing cotton balls down. I told him to make sure filled the space with cotton balls. He glued down a button and a snowflake as well.
For the next step, I had him tell me what he wanted for the snowman and I cut it out of construction paper and let him glue it down. He added a hat, eyes, carrot nose, mouth, arms, scarf and a pipe! He was reading Frosty the Snowman book!
Look how proud he is of his artwork! Another fun craft project! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Let's Make a Snowman!

Today we were feeling crafty! Jake wanted to make a snowman and since we STILL don't have snow (not complaining), we used a egg carton instead. 
These are our supplies and an example piece. We made these last year and Jake played with it until it crumbled! I wanted to make one as well so he could see me put it together and do what I did. This way he can practice following directions!
I had all the pieces ready to go and we just took it step by step. I stuck the arms in, he stuck the arms in. He really paid close attention and tried very hard. No rushing and no asking for help!
He even poured his own glue. As you can see he is still learning that a little goes along way! He is very independent when it comes to crafts. He doesn't want help and he wants to spend a lot of time on his projects.
We used beads instead of buttons because we didn't have any buttons. It was actually Jake's idea to use the beads! I love is out of the box thinking! Cute snowmen on a winter day without snow! Get crafty!

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