It is summer time and that means more frequent trip to our local public library. Last week I took Michael and Eileen to the launch of the summer program and told them they could both pick out a few books to borrow. Michael randomly picked a board book and Eileen came back with 4 picture books. They all looked pretty cool but I don’t know if there was much method behind her selections.
Tonight we read Everything I Need to Know Before I’m Five by Valorie Fisher. This is not what I would call a prime Read Aloud but it is a cool book none the less. The title pretty much gives it away, this book is a a series of pages introducing the concepts of numbers, opposites, shapes, colours, seasons, weather, and the alphabet. As a Kindergarten teach I would have to say it is pretty much the basic rote information a child learns in JK. In school there is much more that they learn in terms of comprehension, social skills and critical thinking but for the things that just need to be memorized this book pretty much covers it! The illustrations are bright and simple photographs appropriate for the under 5 crowd. Michael loved pointing to things he recognized as we read along.
This is a book I definitely want to get for the concept book section of my classroom library. I can see many of my students spending lots of time going through the pages quizzing each other and reinforcing their knowledge. A cute idea for a book!
I was very excited to learn about the MeMe tales readathon and we downloaded the app and the first books a couple of weeks ago. However, as school had not finished yet we are a couple of weeks behind.
Week 1 of the Readathon was all about Animals. We have tonnes of animal books at home but it was cool that both of the books for the readathon were traditional tales. I am been trying to introduce the kids to nursery rhymes and fairy tales so this fit in perfectly.
This is a familiar tale and instantly my girls started to sing the song. I went to iTunes and downloaded them the Raffi version. They listened to it over and over again and then decided that they were going to act it out for themselves. I sent them on a hunt to find as many toy ducks as they could. Michael’s favourite toy is his stuffed duckie but we managed to find a bunch more, especially when we got into the bath toys! We used two large pillows covered by my green table cloth for the hill (they called it the mountain), and we filmed in the backyard on a sunny day. It took a bit of rehearsing and distracting of one little brother but it ended up pretty cute!
5 Little Ducks
I got inspired to create a special breakfast for the girls around the duck theme. I found a gluten free pancake mix in the pantry and decided pancakes and fruit would be perfect. The only problem was that most of my cool shaped cookie cutters are plastic. I found a tutorial at Time 2 Save that helped me use tinfoil to copy my pastic duck cookie cutters. This was supper easy and let me make duck shaped pancakes for breakfast. They asked why they didn’t have 5 ducks each but I am glad I didn’t make that many – they each ate only 2!
We are getting much more adventurous with our letter crafts. A couple of weeks ago we had R and as my girls love Rainbows we had to find a way to make “R is for Rainbow” . I can’t take the credit for this great idea as I found it over at Mom to 2 Post Lil Divas.
I started like I do every week by printing off the letter for Eileen and the word for Kaitlyn. I realized that the word Rainbow would be too long to do the way I normally do but it didn’t really matter as we were going to cut out the letters anyway, so I just printed a page with all the necessary letters. Next I took them to the window and traced the letters on the opposite side so I would have a template to cut out the letters once they were done.
To prepare I cut out strips of papers of a variety of colours. I gave them to the girls in a pile and asked them to sort them by colour, great sorting practice!
Next they glued colour strips onto their papers totally covering their letters. I suggested they do a pattern but this became difficult with the number of colours we had (and they wanted to use every colour).
After they had time to dry I used an Exacto Knife to cut out their letters. Eileen’s was finished but Kaitlyn then glued the letters in order to spell the word Rainbow.
So what have you done this Family Day? Daddy always works on Family Day (he gets an extra day in the summer instead) so it is just another normally day with me and the kids, just not a normal Monday. We decided to finish a few of our letter crafts that were almost done and do our letter for the week.
K is a letter I often miss in my Kindergarten class because in Jolly Phonics it is grouped with C. The girls had been asking to do a K craft so I thought we would add it to our letter wall.
I decided on K is for Kite. I printed off a large K for Eileen to colour and the word Kite for Kaitlyn.
After they had coloured them we cut out the letters. Eileen added a tail and decorations to make her kite in the shape of a K. Kaitlyn glued her letters on a diamond shaped piece of paper and then added her tail.
We have been waiting until after Christmas to restart our Literacy Tuesday letters and it was perfect that we are at H. I kind of knew that we were going to do hearts but the dollar store just got in all of their Valentines day stuff so the timing was perfect. Last week when I was in getting a few things for my c lass I stocked up on heart shaped items for the girls’ craft boxes. This included a variety of sizes and shapes of hearts in a variety of materials.
For H today I printed off a large uppercase H for Eileen and the word Heart for Kaitlyn. I gave them a bowl with a variety of hearts and told them to fill their letters. The only rule was they couldn’t go outside of the lines. Kaitlyn asked if she could draw on her own hearts and of course I said yes. To stick with the cliche I made sure to print them on pink paper! An easy craft and a way to reinforce our letter of the day.
To reinforce our letter we brainstorm words that start with it throughout the day. This is a great and easy way to keep them thinking while driving in the van. Kaitlyn is really good at this and often comes up with words that I don’t think of. Eileen is getting better and has a remarkable memory. If Kaitlyn mentions a word earlier in the day Eileen will remember it when asked for more words later. I am hoping to keep a pace of a letter a week from now on as we work to prepare Eileen for Junior Kindergarten in September. My goal is for her to recognize every letter of the alphabet, know at least one word for each, and be able to print her name with an uppercase E and the remainder in lower case. We will see how that goes.
This Tuesday’s letter was E and Kiboomu had a great idea for Eyes. I printed off a large E for Eileen and the word Eyes for Kaitlyn. I pulled out a pile of old magazines and the girls set out to find eyes to cut out and paste on their letters. This was a great task especially for Eileen because we have just started working alot on her fine motor skills, specifically with scissors. She was very determined to cut her eyes out by herself.
It took longer than most of our Tuesday letters but they turned out pretty cool! The girls both got very excited when they found some unique eyes. I think the one eyed monster that Eileen found in an advertisement was our favourite.
As a side note my joy of Eileen using scissors was very short lived – as she cut a chunk of hair off Kaitlyn today. After an emergency visit to the hair dressers you can’t notice too much, the key will be the next time I put it in a ponytail!
Last week our letter was C and this one I came up with all on my own. I wanted to make sure we were using the hard c sound, plus I have learned the key is picking something that both girls can easily do – so we decided on cotton. I picked up a bag of cottton balls at the pharmacy on sale and these worked perfectly. On Eileen’s C she simply glued on cotton balls. For Kaitlyn I printed the word cotton out for her and she tore up cotton balls to smaller pieces and glued them on the word. Nice and quick and easy!
So it has been a long time since we did a Literacy Tuesday activity so I wanted to try and start them back up with my girls. We did a good job completing our N activities last Tuesday it has just taken me a while to get them added to the blog. I have a couple of places I always check to get ideas for our letter of the week but the main one is Kiboomu. I couldn’t come up with my own ideas so I used their N ideas for Night. I printed off a large N for Eileen and the word Night for Kaitlyn. They started by painting their letters all black while I cut out moons and stars from some extra yellow foam I had in the craft bin. I could have had Kaitlyn cut out her own stars and sun but I knew Eileen would also want to, with extreme frustration. Instead they were in charge of colouring and adding some glitter glue for fun. When they were done I gave them their stars and a moon each and let them glue them wherever they wanted on their work.
I had intentions of using this as a spring board for teaching Kaitlyn more ‘ight’ words but as life goes, we ran out of time.
Last week we started our alphabet wall with the letter S (we are doing them in Jolly Phonics order). This week we did the letter A. Again I got the template from the awesome Kiboomu website. We didn’t do their recommended decoration of the letter this week because they recommend using ants. I am trying to avoid the same words that are used in the Jolly Phonics program and they us ants for A. We brainstormed other words that start with A and came up with Apple or Acorn. I decided to use apple because it uses the soft a sound and acorn uses the hard A sound. The same as last week, Eileen decorated the letter, while Kaitlyn decorated the word. Eileen used her thumb to make red thumb prints all over the uppercase A and then added green stems. Kaitlyn painted the word Apple red and added green stems at the top of each letter. They turned out fine but I would make the outline of the letter brighter for the uppercase A next time. If anyone has any suggestions of how to decorate a captial A please add them in the comments.
We have been slacking on our Literacy Tuesdays but are now trying to get back into the routine. The difficulty I have is finding activities that can be adapted for both of my girls. I think I may have found a strategy that we can try and at the same time parts of it may work in my Kindergarten class next year (possibly a great way to create my ABC wall).
We are going to focus on one letter every week. Eileen will focus on identifying the letter and Kaitlyn will focus on words beginning with the letter and other activities. I got this idea from the activities on the Kiboomu blog. They have a craft for each letter of the alphabet and I decided to start with S as it is the first Jolly Phonics letter. This was a last minute craft so we had to use what we had at home so we focused on sand – and this was a great first word for Kaitlyn.
This was a very easy craft. The key is getting a good amount of glue on the words to cover as much as you can with the sand. We used popsicle sticks to try and spread the glue. If I did this in my arts centre at school I would also have shells and small stones available to add to the S.
I also visited DLTK’s website for some other S ideas. We made Alphabuddy Sailor Sammy for our Alphabet wall and I also printed off the word search and mini book for Kaitlyn. The word search is a bit difficult for her, she had trouble finding words that are not horizontal from left to right. The book was fun for her to colour and us to read together but it is not a beginner lever reader. There are alot of blends (eg. sh, ai), but it does have great repetition.
Now that I know what we are going to do every Tuesday it should be easier to stay on a routine (we have 26 weeks taken care of).