Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fishing Treat

Today after a day of Fishing we decided to have a little Fishing Treat! I put pretzel sticks, Goldfish and hummus on a plate. We then proceeded to dip the pretzel in hummus then used it to "fish" and pick up the fish.
A yummy snack and one that fits right into our Monthly Theme!


Today we did a little in house fishing! This is a great coordination activity. I tied a string with a magnet on the end to a stick. We used those as the fishing poles (one for both of us). I then cut fish out of foam. I drew faces and scales on the fish. I just clipped a paper clip to one end to provide the metal. 
I put these faux wood mats down for both of us. We each had our own and they represented our boats. We stood on our boats and fished over the side. 
Jake had to really try to catch a fish. He had to dangle the "fishing rod" over the fish in just the right spot. He tried to bend down and use his hands but I told him he could not do it that way. And he quickly figured it out. 
He caught all his fish and we counted them before throwing them back in. As we caught the fish a second time we named the color of the fish we were catching.
This activity then took a step further and we "cooked" up our fish and ate them up. This was so much fun! We really enjoyed the fishing activity and it naturally took an educational turn by counting fish, naming colors, and role playing what fisherman do once they catch the fish. 
The activity was super easy to put together. I had the foam on hand from the Dollar Tree, sticks were picked up outside, the yard and paper clips I had on hand and the magnets I picked up at Staples. Make some fishing pools for your little one!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Name Recognition

So when prepping for this month's activities I accidentally printed the plans 3 times. I hate to waste so I needed to find something to do with the extra copies. I decided to do some name recognition with the shells letters. I cut out the letters of Jacob's name from all three copies. Today, I put them all down in front of him and told him we were going to find the letters in his name and spell out his name with the shells. I did not have a paper for him with his name as a reference but I did model for him what I wanted him to do. 
After I put together his name once, he jumped right in. I discouraged him from putting the letters together out of order. Previously I let him do that with the other activities but now that I know he knows his letter it is not about letter recognition but rather name recognition so I want him to put it together in order. 

After we put the name together three times I decided to switch it up (he had the skill). This time I mixed the letters all up and put them upside down. I played a variation of Memory or Concentration with the cards. Instead of looking for matches I had him look for the next letter of his name. We played together taking turns and building his name all three times again. When it was my turn I pretended to question/not know whether it was the correct letter to come next in his name. I let him tell me if it was correct or if I had to put it back. This was a very easy version of Memory because there were only 5 letters repeated. It allowed for success and enough of a practice to help build skills.

Building Writing Process Skills

Jacob loves to color. Each month I include theme based coloring pages. I like to provide these as a prompt to talk about the theme. I try to help him make connections between the stories we read, the activities we do and the coloring pictures.
This month I wanted to take it to the next level. I wanted to do a little pre-writing activity, getting read for story writing. To do this I decided to color a page alongside of Jacob to model for him what I wanted him to do. As we colored we talked about the pictures and about the beach.
I finished coloring before he did. I then told him I was going to look at the picture and make a story about what I see. I kept it very basic and simple and I wrote the words as I said the story. After I was finished reading/writing my story I told him to use his picture to tell me a story of what was happening in his picture. He was into it and with just a little prompting from me, he was able to tell me a story. I guess they were about a paragraph long and very basic. This starts the mind thinking about the writing process. It also builds imagination and creativity.
After I started writing his story for him, he decided that he wanted to take over. I relinquished the pencil and let him try to write. He does not know how to right letters or even how to correctly hold the pencil but I do not want to discourage his excitement for writing. He attempted to write telling me what he was writing. I think the activity was a success and we will continue to do this each month. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Letter Recognition

I cut out the Shell Letters form this month's plans and laid them out in order. We took turns singing the ABCs and pointing to the letters practicing letter recognition. 
He is getting good at letter recognition. I would say he is at about 90% proficiency. While singing the Alphabet he has a bit of trouble pointing to the letters because he wants to sing faster than his finger can keep up. I decided to take it a step further to check for mastery. 
I created a game using the letters. I called out a letter and Jake had to find the letter and pick it up. If he got it correct, he would collect the card into a pile. Next, he would call out a letter and I would have to pick it up and put it in my pile. This worked great! We had a lot of fun playing. I started with letters that I knew he knew and worked my way up to harder letters. It did help for me to say, "D, d for Daddy." This really helped for letters he was stuck on.
While playing the game Jake started jumping around. (He is the blur in the corner) This an important lesson I want to discuss. I let him jump and run around while we played. He was engaged and participating just jumping and running around. I feel that as long as a child is engaged this kind of behavior is acceptable. He was excited and having fun, why would I make him sit still? This is a touchy subject because so many teachers feel students should sit still in their desks and follow directions but that is not the way some/most kids learn. Again, as long as your child is engaged they are learning and having fun don't stand in the way of that!

Rainbow Fish Activity

We read the sequel to Rainbow Fish, by Marcus Pfister called Rainbow Fish to the Rescue. This is a great story that teaches a lesson as well. Our goal in reading this was to make connections and to do some arts and crafts.
To prep for this activity I cut out some fish and "dots" from a hole punch. I also added some aluminum foil "dots."
Jake picked up his supplies right away and got busy! He loves gluing so he had no problem gluing the fish down on the paper. Next came decorating the fish with the colored dots.
The dots were a little hard for him but he did not lose his patience. It is good for activities to be just a little hard for children. It helps stretch them and to teach them patience as well!
He then placed one foil dot on each fish. (The shiny part of the fish in the story) I had thought that that is where the activity would end but Jacob had another idea. He decided we needed to add a shark because the story had a shark. I quickly cut one out of paper for Jake to glue down. He also decided we needed some sea plants growing at the bottom of the sea. 
Get crafty!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Counting Fish

Ten Little Fish by Audrey and Bruce Wood, is a fun counting book! It fits in perfectly with our theme this month! I made number cards to go along with the book. You can find these attached to the Monthly Theme Plans.
After reading the story, I pulled the cards one at a time and talked with Jake about the number and how many fish they represented. In my teaching career I found that so many children could recognize numbers/digits but did not have number sense and did not know the value of digits. My attempt with Jake is to really teach number sense. 
Next I mixed up the cards 0-5. I then asked Jake to find the number I called out. He did great finding each number card without difficulty. I was so surprised that he did so well I decided to take it just a little further. After asking him to find 3, I asked how he knew that was the number three. (I wanted to see if he was using the fish to help identify the digits). He said, "Don't you see? One, two, three fishies." I guess I can take that as him using the fish to help identify numbers! :)
I pulled only 0-5 because I did not want it to seem to daunting to him. I will do this activity again this month and add some digits to the first 6 for number identification. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June Sensory Box

Water Box!
This month's Sensory Box is filled with water! How fun! I cut out fish and sharks from foam and sponges. I also put in blue marbles (Fish food), a net, bowl, and magnifying glass. 
Jake was so happy to play in the water. He caught fish with the net and stuck them to the side of the box. I encouraged him to count the fish and he did so willingly. He is a great little counter! He did the same thing with the "fish food". 
For the Sensory Boxes I just sit back and watch. I let him do his thing and explore unprompted. Some times he will ask me to play with him. He never really needs inspiration or modeling with the Sensory Boxes at this point. When I started introducing them once a month I did model and prompt him but at this stage he does not need it. 
He still loves pouring! I will bring out the Sensory Box at least once a week this month, more if he asks for it!
*Note: I have the box on our island counter top. Last year I did a water box on the carpet. I just put a towel under the box. 

Color Practice with Literature Connection

Today we read, The Deep Blue Sea, A Book of Colors. This is a fun book with a nice rhythm. We have read it a few times over the last week and being a color book I knew this would be a good book to use to inspire an activity.
As we read the story, I stopped after reading each page and had Jake search the room for items that matched the color we just read in the story. "There is a green tree on a red rock in the middle of the deep blue sea." I had him use our colored buckets to find items of the same color. 
Every time he found something of the same color he would say, "Same!" I did have him add saying the name of the color as well. He still has trouble with his colors and this is just more practice. By having him say the name it reiterates the name, over and over. 
I have also added clues to the color names to help him try to remember the color words. For instance, if he cannot remember the name of the color blue I say, "It is daddy's favorite color, remember?" This usually sparks him to remember the name. Or, "It is the color of a fire truck," for the color red. Just a little trick to help him learn his colors. Nothing has been harder for him to learn than colors. I would have never guessed colors would have been so hard!

Friday, June 1, 2012

June Plans and Activities

Beach Theme
Ah, how I would love to be there right now!
Last year we had our first beach vacation with Jacob. I wanted to make sure he knew exactly what we were going to be experiencing. This year we are not going to the beach! :( But we are still using the theme to learn about the ocean, sea creatures, and shells.
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 a 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!

This month I have added all printables in one document to make it easy to access. 

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