Day 4’s book was Merry Christmas, A Victorian Verse by Mary Teichman. We previously did this book on our countdown in 2011 but thought we would revisit it now that everyone is 2 years older.
We read the book together and then I gave each child a different task. Kaitlyn (age 7) loves to write poetry. Her task was open-ended, she was to write a Christmas poem:
Eileen (age 5) had to come up with a word for each letter of the word CHRISTMAS. She was determined to do this all on her own.
I wasn’t going to have Michael (age 3) do anything this night but he was determine, and also very pre-occupied with the fact that ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS’ starts with the letter M. He is convinced that this letter belongs solely to him as it is ‘his letter’. I decided to embrace this and I printed him a large uppercase M to decorate.
We have been working a bit on word families and our wrap up activity for the ‘ug’ family was a great success today so I thought I would share. I have to confess that these ideas not completely mine but I have taken the ideas of other and made them work for me. Please visit the sites I link to to get the originals.
My class is bug obsessed right now. To capitalize on this I have made my SK required centres as bug based as I can. (We are a student led inquiry based class but at this time of the year my SKs have 5 required centres they must complete each week, to structurally prepare them for Grade 1). I found a cool free unit with literacy based bug activities on TPT. I found a number of sheets for students to record their lists of words in different word families. I decided that I would give them one sheet a week and ask them to write down any words in the word family that they could come up with. Last week I gave them the ‘ug’ sheet. Today we first made a class list of all the words everyone came up with.
I then wanted to do a fun craft to reinforce the word family. I found another cool activity (this time through pinterest) on using butteflies to practice word families. Butterflies are bugs so we tried it out. I printed and cut out 3 copies of the templates and Kaitlyn made us a template before school started. I gave them free range with their colour choices with the only requirement that they use ‘ug’ words off the list we made. They added some much needed colour to my teacher cupboard doors.
In the story Splat writes his letter to Santa and then worries that he has not been good enough. We used this as an opportunity to write our letters to Santa. You can find many different templates online for letters to Santa. I let the girls pick one out and printed 3 copies. We talked about what you write in a good Santa letter. Kaitlyn wrote hers independently, I wrote for Eileen as she dictated to me, and we tried to get something out of Michael (without too many suggestions).
I wanted to start something a bit different this year so I combined two ideas on interest. I picked up some large clear plastic Christmas balls at Michaels and each child put their handprint on a ball. I then wrote their name on the ball and the year 2012. If you are doing this make sure to use permanent marker or it will wipe off (my scrapbooking markers wiped off too easily). Next was the tricky part. I folded and rolled up a copy of their letters to Santa and put it in each of their balls. Of course we made a copy to mail to Santa as well. All that was left was to add some ribbon so we can hang them on the tree. I am having trouble getting a good picture of them so these will have to do for now. Once our tree is up I will try and take better pictures with them hanging on the tree.
The Book for Day 2 was Scaredy Squirrel prepares for Christmas by Melanie Watt.
I was very excited to see that there is a Scaredy Squirrel christmas book so I had to pick it up. It is a bit advanced for Eileen and Michael but Kaitlyn loved it. It is quite a bit longer than the usual Scaredy Squirrel books so we didn’t read it all in one sitting.
It is divided into 8 ‘chapters’ and Chapter 1 is called “Christmas is Coming”. Scaredy has a list of 12 things to do do before Christmas so we decided to make our own list (well Kaitlyn did – the other two weren’t interested). She wanted boxes just like Scaredy’s list so I drew the lines for her but she did the rest herself. She did an awesome job!!
Eileen and I have been doing the Handwriting without Tears Get Set for School program for about a week. In the HWT program there are three types of shapes that are very important: big line, little line, big curve and little curve. Today when we were at Grandma and Grandpa’s Eileen came running up to show me what she found! Very cool!
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!
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.