Posts Tagged ‘preschool’

September Update

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

The month of September flew by!  Playing dress up, preschool, snuggles, working and nursing is how we spent most of our month!

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A little early in the morning for Mikayla, but Max is loving his sisters snuggles!

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Dress up fun!!  (Sorry Ben and Katie, hope you don’t mind.)  This is Ben’s version of what a prince would look like, complete with a "baby" stick horse…

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Early morning "burrito" snuggles!!

We started back our preschool routine the second week of September.  Mikayla is doing so good!  I have started using the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.  It is similar to Reading Mastery, which I used when I taught at T. C. Cherry.  It took her a couple of lessons to get into it, but now she is loving it and wants to sound out everything!  Even make believe words.  Often at dinner she will "spell" words for us and then have us sound them out and say them fast.  I am also using some of the pieces from the K4 curriculum that Confessions of a Homeschooler created.  The rest of our curriculum I am just piecing together.  We end up spending about 1-1.5 hours a day, four days a week on preschool time.  We also have two art therapy volunteers here completing an internship so they are each coming down once a week for an art class with Mikayla.  It is a combination of visual arts and dance arts.  And Katie has started a yoga class with Mikayla a couple nights a week (whenever we can squeeze it in between bath and bed)!  She is loving it all!

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It is that season of the year when the sugar cane around our area is being burned (it is a 10-11 month cycle).  Mikayla gets excited each time she sees the big burns.  And just for the record, she still refers to the ash as black snow!

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Sugar cane being burned at night.  The picture does not do the flames justice.  They can get up to 60 feet high!

Along with sugar cane season comes the hot snake season!  We have seen a couple around our house already this year.  One was a spitting cobra in the banana fields, a mamba by the office and a speckled bush snake (not poisonous) in a mango tree in our yard.  There have been a lot of spiders this season already and mosquitoes are out in full force!  Poor Max gets bit on his face every once in awhile.

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Can you spot the green snake??

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What about now??

Ben and Mikayla took a father/daughter bush walk to take pictures towards the beginning of the month.  You can see some of them here.  Speaking of pictures, Joe’s dad was in town for a few weeks and he was so kind to take some family pictures for us.  There is an album here on FB, but I will also include a couple of the shots for your preview in case you missed them.






I got brave and drove a group of us ladies (and Max) to Ezulwini (about 1.5 hours away) for a day of shopping and eating.  It was a fun day and a much needed day off the mission.  Max was a trooper and slept most of the time we shopped.

Finally, the bananas are starting to ripen.  Won’t be long before we will have so many bananas around the mission we won’t know what to do with them!!

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Posted in Life |

Preschool Update

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

I have been so bad about blogging (and taking pictures) about Mikayla’s preschool time lately, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been doing some really fun activities.  We have plugged along with our letters and numbers and have worked our way up to the letter L and number 12.  Here are just a few of the activities we have done lately.

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She learned about the parts of an insect and put a felt one together.

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Beginning sound match where she matched the bees to their hives (both pictures started with the same sound).

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Letter I Iguana!

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Drawing and writing about ice cream in her journal.  We try to do something each day in her journal as our last activity.  This is how she knows school time is coming to a close. 

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She played number Bingo.  This really helped with her number recognition that she is currently struggling with.  Also please note baby on the table.  This baby has become her go to one and she takes it every where with us!  This is the first time in her four short years that she has latched onto something so strongly.

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Henny Penny’s Rhyme Time Game (courtesy of Mailbox magazine).  She chooses two pictures that rhyme and puts the on Henny’s nest.  She absolutely adores this game and would play it everyday! 

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Butterfly symmetry.  She is really concentrating here.

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For this game I laid out some magnetic letters on the floor.  I would call out a letter or sound and she would pretend to be a bee and fly them back to the hive.

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Jigsaw J’s

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We have also been spending a lot of time in her dry erase books.  She has accumulated several now and enjoys working hard in them.

Like I said, I haven’t been very good about taking pictures or blogging about her school time recently and don’t make any promises to get better in the future!!  I am however, doing a much better job of documenting for myself what we do and what has worked and not worked for in the future!

Posted in Parenting |

Preschool–Dr. Seuss edition

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

In between all of our visitors and traveling, we managed to squeeze in some Dr. Seuss fun!  After all, he is my favorite children’s author!  Like always, I planned way too much and we ran out of time to do it all.  I guess it is better to over plan than to under plan, right?  I have also been really bad about taking pictures to document our school time lately, so here are just a few from our Dr. Seuss fun!

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This is similar to a game I used to play in my classroom called write the room.  The kids had to go around and write words they saw in the room on a piece of paper.  For Mikayla I hung up Dr. Seuss letter cards.  When she found the letter she put an X on that letter on her paper (which was filled with each letter).

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Green eggs and ham dinner.  Cat in the hat fruit stacks with raspberries and banana slices.  I also made biscuits and gravy because I wanted them!  We watched the Lorax (the new one) while eating.

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She clipped numbered clothespins to the correct box (each box was filled with a different number of Dr. Seuss stickers).

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Special Lorax lunch.  Lorax was chicken nuggets with cheese mustaches and eyebrows (raisins for the eyes) and Truffala trees (banana slices for the base, pretzel sticks for the trunks, and glace cherries for the tree parts).  She ate a double helping of both!!

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Cat in the hat stripe game.  She rolled the dice and put stripes on the hat, and she even did so in pattern form.

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The obligatory Cat in the Hat hat!

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One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish pattern page – she completed the colored fish patterns.

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Dr. Seuss rhyming cards.  Each of her friends in the picture had to find their own rhyming match!

Have I mentioned before that I love that my daughter loves Dr. Seuss as much as I do?

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Posted in Parenting |

Preschool–Letter of the Week 6/7

Monday, January 28th, 2013

When we found out we were pregnant in October I immediately got sick.  I was struck with some intense morning sickness (really all day sickness) that made it difficult to sit down for structured learning time with Mikayla.  So, I opted for occasional learning time throughout the day and put our regular school schedule on hold for a bit.  Then Christmas came and even though I was feeling better, we were pulled in too many different directions and again our regular preschool schedule got put on hold.  However, once we got settled back into a routine in January, I immediately started back up with our school time (with a few minor interruptions).  For the past three weeks we have been covering the LOW curriculum for weeks 6 and 7 as well as learning all about the ocean!  Here are a few things we did over the course of our learning time.

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Learning Poster LOW Week 6:  Letter – F, Number – 6, Color – red, Vocabulary word – waves, NR – Humpty Dumpty, Theme – Ocean

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Learning Poster LOW Week 7:  Letter – , Number – 7, shape – star, Vocabulary word – twinkle, NR – Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star, Theme – Oceans

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She glued little fish onto the letter Ff.

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She sorted pictures that started with F and those that didn’t, then she glued on the F pictures to a fish.

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We went fishing for letters.  When she "caught" a fish she said the letter name and the sound.  She did really good with this for the first 10-15 letters and then just wanted to play.

**To make the fish I just cut out fish shapes from construction paper and added letters.  Then I attached a paper clip to each fish.  For the fishing pole, I tied string to a magnet and then to a small dowel rod.

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We made a Humpty Dumpty Egg (hardboiled) and then reenacted the Nursery Rhyme.  She got a big kick out of having the egg fall onto the floor!

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She drew a self-portrait of her family.  Usually she adds more details to her pictures, but on this particular day she wasn’t feeling very artsy.

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She put Humpty Dumpty together again!

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We went fishing again, but this time with numbers!

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We played a "How Many Fish in the Ocean Game" courtesy of  Jolanthe from Home School Creations as well as a few other of our ocean activities.

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We made a Girl wearing goggles using the letter G for the goggles.

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She used her stamp pads and fingers to make fish in fish bowls according to the number on the page.

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She used cranberries to match up correct letters of beginning sounds on a picture.

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She rolled an ocean animal dice and then colored in squares on her graph to match.

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She put star stickers on numbered squares.

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This activity was a bit complicated for multiple reasons.  One – I didn’t have any lowercase stickers, which I thought I did when I planned in out.  Two – it took a long time and she lost interest.  If I were to do over again, I would only do a few letters at a time.  For letters that fly in the sky like b put in sky, for letters that are regular like a float on water, and for letters that go below the line like g put in ocean.  Since I didn’t have lowercase letters, I wrote them all out in her journal and then pointed to them.  Once she identified where they went on the picture I gave her the capital sticker.  Like a said, a little complicated!

Our journal activities for the two weeks included:  practicing writing her name, cutting out pictures of red things from a magazine and gluing in, stamping letters we were studying as well as matching letters that were written on the page to her stamp, a free writing story about the ocean, and drawing and writing fish.

We also made a beautiful ocean mural that I failed to snap a picture of.  I will try to get one soon and post it.  We painted a sheet of chart paper to look like the ocean one day and then the remainder of the weeks we worked on different ocean creature art projects to include.  I think it turned out pretty good.  Another fun thing we did was read the book The Rainbow Fish (if you have never read it go read it today!).  Then she colored a fish to look just like the rainbow fish.  In the story the rainbow fish has these sparkly scales, so I decided to allow Mikayla to earn sparkly scales for her fish.  I chose an activity that she really struggles with, staying at the table and eating during meal times.  So, for each time she stays put and eats she gets a sparkly fin!  When I taught kindergarten I did the same thing, but the kids could earn a sparkly fin for any good deed that they did at school or home.  I had some science activities planned that we never quite got to.  I still might do them in the upcoming weeks because I am sure she will love them.  I am sure we did other fun things over the course of the two weeks, but that is all I can remember for now.

Next week we will move on to LOW Week 8, where we will be studying the letter H, the sun, and Hickory Dickory Dock!  It should be fun.

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Posted in Parenting |

Preschool–LOW Week 3 (Cc)

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

This week we moved onto the Letter Cc.  Here is our learning poster for the week:

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And here are some activities for the week.

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Here is a picture of her number book we add to each week.  The number and number word is at the top with space to put the correct number of stickers.  At the bottom I have made lines for her to write/trace the number.

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Acting out our Nursery Rhyme Three Little Kittens

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Letter C cat – I used a C for both the body and tail.

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Shape cat – I gave her different shapes that we stared by sorting and then putting together to make a cat.

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We made a Jack-O-Lantern bag for our trick or treating.

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She matched up crayons based on color.

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She used two triangles to make diamond shapes.

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Mitten matching activity.

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Special Halloween lunch – mummy juice, apple jack-o-lantern and hard boiled egg ghost with raisins for eyes and mouth.

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Number matching with stickers.  She did so good with this!

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Color by letter Cat

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Jack-O-Lantern coloring book.  Each page had a different color you were supposed to color the Jack-O-Lantern.  She worked really hard on this and it took most of our school time for that day!

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Stamping letters.  I had found this sheet at 2 Teaching Mommies website and she loved it.  The pictures had beginning sounds letters next to them and she stamped that letter across the blank space.

Next week we will move onto the Letter D!

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Posted in Parenting |

Preschool–LOW Week 2 (Bb)

Monday, October 29th, 2012

This was our second week of the Letter of the Week curriculum.  It is still going really well.  Although I will admit that some of the themes are a little strange.  Like in two weeks the theme is eyes…I think we might be switching that one up a little!  Here is our learning poster for the week:

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Letter – Bb, Number – 2, Color – green, Theme – jungle, Vocabulary Word – vine, and Nursery Rhyme – Little Bo Peep

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We practiced dressing her baby doll for a practical life activity.  She still gets very discouraged if she can’t do something right the first time, but we are working on gaining confidence and independence!

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I started implementing a sticker chart last week to help with her independently completing activities.  She is always wanting me to do some part of the activity for her.  For each activity she completes on her own (for the most part), she earns a sticker.  When she completes a row of five activities she gets a piece of candy.  If she fills up her chart she gets a sucker.  So far it is working out well.  Although, if she doesn’t earn a sticker then she tends to give up for the day!

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Shape race.  I laid out green shapes on her desk and then would call out a shape for her to race and get and place on the blanket.  She would choose which action she wanted to get from place to place (i.e. run, hop, skip).  She did so good with this!

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We practiced writing the letter B all over a balloon. 

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Bird and nest letter match – she matched capital letter to capital letter.

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I gave her a sheet with different pictures on it, some starting with B and others not.  She had ot choose the B objects and color them.  Then we cut them out and glued onto her butterfly.  I was really impressed with how she was able to determine the correct sound the words began with.

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On this worksheet with her nursery rhyme she colored to B’s with a purple marker and the A’s with a yellow one.  This required a little assistance and we had to go line by line, but she did great!

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She glued white pom poms onto a cut out of a sheep.  Then we talked about what you would see around the sheep.  She said she would see green grass, a red sky and a yellow sun.

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She practiced stringing letter beads onto a piece of string. As she would string the letters she would say their names and sometimes their sounds.  (Helpful tip – place a piece of string on the end they will be stringing the beads or objects onto to decrease string from fraying.  Also tape down to the surface you are working on to keep it steady for little fingers!).  Please take note of the collection of "objects" watching her during learning time!

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Sheep number match.  The sheeps bodies had certain number of dots and she had to match up the heads with the correct number.  We did the same game with some capital and lowercase letters later in the week too.

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Letter B bear!

We also played with her blocks and babies a lot this week.  I didn’t do much with the theme this week because I ran out of time to research it!  We did make a rainstick though out of a paper towel tube, toothpicks and rice.  She has enjoyed making music with it this week.

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She also enjoyed playing teacher this week and walking through our calendar time, which includes going over our learning poster!

Here were her journal words for this week:

  1. Name – we continue to practice this and get her writing it at an appropriate size.  She writes so large right now it covers the whole page and is all over the place!
  2. Green – she found pictures of green things in a magazine and I cut them out for her to glue in her journal.
  3. Baby – I modeled for her how she could draw a picture of a baby on her own.
  4. Vine – she practiced drawing squiggly lines for vines.

Next week we will move onto the Letter C, as well as trying to do a few fun Halloween activities!

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Posted in Parenting |

Preschool–Letter of the Week (Aa)

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Last week I mentioned that we would be starting our Letter of the Week Curriculum (LOW).  I found this curriculum here, and am using it as a springboard for our activities each week.  This curriculum centers around a learning poster comprised of a letter, number, shape/color, vocabulary word and nursery rhyme.  It isn’t a very detailed program, but I think it is great one to use as a guide and then expand on it as you see fit.  If you are looking for a cheap preschool curriculum (this one is free) then I would recommend checking it out.  We are only one week in, and I am finding it very helpful.  It also offers different levels if your child is older or younger than three. 

As mentioned above, each week has a letter, number, shape/color, vocabulary word and nursery rhyme.  I will be sharing each of those items from the learning poster each week and then expanding on them as I see fit.  Here is our learning poster from this week.

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And here are some of our activities for the week.

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This is from when I taught kindergarten.  She matched the apples (uppercase letters) to the worms (lowercase letters).  Afterwards we had to use the worms as characters and play with them for a bit!

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She made apple prints with apples halves and paint.

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We put the characters from our nursery rhyme (Hey Diddle Diddle) onto popsicle sticks and then reenacted the NR.

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I read her the story about the Little Red House and then we cut open an apple to see the star inside.

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Then we took the poem version of the story and matched up pictures for each line.  When I taught kindergarten we did this in a pocket chart.

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We graphed apples based on which color we spun on our apple spinner.

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Number spotted cows.  She used glitter glue to make corresponding spots for each numbered cow.

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We talked about real and fantasy and what fantasy in our NR and then glued pictures onto the correct side.

I was not very good with the camera this week, but here are a few more  notable activities we did.

  1. I held up shape cards and she would jump for each square and touch her toes for any other shape.
  2. Part of the LOW curriculum is to have a counting book that you add to each week. This week we placed one sticker on the number one page and practiced writing the number.  I will try to snap a picture in future weeks to show what the book looks like.
  3. Read some books about Johnny Appleseed.

I also have Mikayla doing a journal "writing" each day.  I write the word and then leave an extra line for her to write the word if she wants to.  She also has space to draw a picture or glue something each day.  Some days she is really excited about writing something and others not so much.  I only really push it on the days she is supposed to write her name (which will happen each week).  Here are her journal "writings" for this week.

  1. Name – practice writing her name on designated spaces (this did not go well Confused smile)!
  2. Cow – She glued a picture of a cow in her journal and then  colored it.  She also practiced writing the word.
  3. Apple tree – I drew the tree and then she stamped her fingerprints for the apples.  She then counted the apples as I wrote the numbers beside them.
  4. Aa – she used her letter stamps to stamp A’s all over the page.
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Posted in Parenting |

Preschool–Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Since we finished up all our letters and Mikayla is getting older, I felt it was appropriate to begin preschool with her.  If we were living in the states and both working, we would be sending her to a preschool at this age, so why not!  This past week we started our journey with one of my favorite books Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  If you have never read it, you should.  It is a book about all the letters climbing to the top of a coconut tree, falling out, and starting the climb again. There are also two follow up books we used Chicka Chicka, 123 and Boom Chicka Rock.  The first is most similar and about numbers that climb up an apple tree, the second is a book about the numbers on a clock having a good time when no one is looking!

I wanted to start off our first week of preschool with some fun stuff and what is more fun than Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  Next week we will begin with a more structured letter, number, shape approach, but more on that later.  For now, here are some of the things we did this week.

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Isn’t her little smirk here hilarious?

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She is so hard to get an actual smiling picture of!

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Journal time.  I wanted to incorporate daily journal "writing" into our learning time this year (still not sure how that will look, so I am open for suggestions).  I got her this plain composition notebook and let her decorate it with stickers to make it hers and we talked about what it was and how we would be using it.

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Chicka Chicka tree hat.  She was not as excited about this one as I was.  But I thought she looked cute!

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Counting with sticks.  We did something similar last year with pom poms, but this time I used "coconut sticks" as the counters.  She is still not a huge fan of math and really struggles to complete any math activity.

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For this week’s journal, I wrote a word and she drew the pictures.  Our words for this week were sun, tree, coconut, and letters.  On each page I wrote our word for the day and then left a space in case she wanted to practice writing her words (which she never did).  I think starting next week I will make one day each week practice writing her name.

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Chicka letter match.  The tops of the trees were capital letters and the bottoms lowercase letters.  She was awesome at this game.

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Chicka hand tree – leaves are her hands, trunk is her forearm and then foam letters were used to spell her name.

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I gave her free reign on this activity.  She got an outline of a coconut tree and her letter stamps and went to town stamping letters all over the tree.  We talked about the various letters as she stamped them too.

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Special coconut tree snack – apples for leaves, banana for trunk, peanut butter balls for coconuts and butterscotch chips for the sand.

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We pretended this paper towel tube was a coconut tree and matched the letters using stickers.  This one back fired a little because the stickers kept falling off and it turns out I didn’t actually have a sticker for each letter!  Oops!

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Coconut investigation.  I think this was her favorite activity from the whole week.  We cracked open a coconut and used our senses to investigate it.  She was not a fan of the taste of a real coconut, but didn’t seem to mind the shredded coconut!

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Coconut number match.

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Coconut shape tree.  First we sorted and identified the different shapes and then glued them together to make a coconut tree.  She also really liked this activity.

Like with most weeks we had lots of activities planned for the week that just did not happen.  I overestimate the amount of time she will stay focused each day so we end up with activities that don’t get completed.  I guess it is better to be over prepared than under prepared!  Next week we will start with a Letter of the Week curriculum, but more on that to come.

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Posted in Parenting |

Our Learning Space

Monday, October 15th, 2012

For some time now, I wanted to created a special learning space for Mikayla to use that wasn’t our kitchen table.  I wanted it to be an area that she felt was hers and could take ownership of, but also a place that would encourage learning.  Plus, while in the states we spent some time at my friend Lara’s house and her and her daughter were so excited about the learning area she created, I got inspired!  Last Christmas we bought her kid sized table and chairs that would be perfect for a learning space, but the problem was where we had it (scrunched in a corner) was not practical or ideal for learning time.  So one day last week I set out to rearrange furniture to make room for this space I envisioned in my head.  But no matter what I did, the furniture just would not fit in our living room the way I wanted it too.  It looked crowded and forced.  So I sat on the mess for a bit and then an idea hit me…why not use some of the extra space in my room for her learning space.  And it was perfect.  You see, we have a huge bedroom and if you rearranged the furniture just so you have a nice corner of the room with a blank wall to use.  Here is the preliminary set up.  I hope to add more pictures and learning posters on the wall as we go, but at the moment I did not have any sticky tack. 

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Here is the whole set up in the corner of our room.  She was so excited to see the space after her nap that she sat down and started working.

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I think she was most excited about the little Mickey Mouse pencil bag I picked up in the states that was filled with her personal school supplies.

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Supply corner.  The baskets are filled with games I can pull out to play anytime and the top shelf holds our activity supplies specific to that week.  The rec basket has calendar stuff in it and of course our chalkboard.

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The chairs are actually sturdy enough that I can sit on them and be next to her or there is enough space that I can stand behind her to help her with different activities.  I think I am going to really like this space and so is she!

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Posted in Parenting |