Posted in Literacy Tuesdays

E is for Eyes

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!

Posted in Literacy Tuesdays

C is for Cotton

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!

Posted in Literacy Tuesdays

N is for Night

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.

Posted in Literacy Tuesdays

Literacy Tuesdays – The letter A

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.



Posted in Literacy Tuesdays

Literacy Tuesdays – The Letter S

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).

Posted in Craft Thursdays, Family Adventures, Literacy Tuesdays

China Festival Family Style – Introduction & Research

If you have been following my Literacy Tuesday blogs you will know that we were reading a number of alphabet concept books.  One of the books we read was D is for Dancing Dragon – A China Alphabet by Carol Crane and Illustrated by Zong-Zhou Wang, and if you are interested in the book I commented on it at my library blog.  This book was the jumping off point for our China day.  From here we found a research idea, crafts and decorations to make, and food we had to include in our celebration.  I am not going to try an include everything in one  blog post, instead I am going to try and group what we did preparing for the day and on the day itself, into a few blog posts.

The past few years I have worked as a teacher-librarian and one of the main focuses has been to teach students how to learn for themselves.  This  was the first opportunity I have had to directly teach my own children research skills, well Kaitlyn was the only one actually researching, Eileen just was along for the ride.  We started by reviewing the letter P in our alphabet book – The Giant Panda.  We started this on a literacy Tuesday so I printed off some P worksheets and colouring pages for an introduction.  Kaitlyn particularly liked the P wordsearch and I appreciated that it was the perfect level of difficulty for her.  Eileen made an attempt to trace the P letter pages I gave her, which is a big step for her.  They both coloured a few printable pages, and Kaitlyn even made an effort to colour the correct colours in the correct places.

Because my kids respond to hand-on crafts, we made paperbag panda puppets.  I found many different templates online but we chose the one through Circletime kids.  They were very easy to make. Kaitlyn did hers all herself and I helped Eileen cut out her pieces but she did most of the gluing.  A quick and easy panda craft

The final part was to learn a bit more about Pandas.  I picked up a number of panda books at the library, both fiction and non-fiction but before I let the girls look at them I told them they had to come up with 5 questions they wanted to know about Pandas.  I first introduced the concept of an endangered species and the definition of extinct.  The example of the dinosaurs being extinct is easy for them to understand.

Kaitlyn’s Research Questions:

  1. Why can’t we have a panda as a pet?
  2. What do they eat?
  3. Do they live around people?
  4. Do they run or walk?
  5. How long do they live?
  6. Why are they endangered? (O.K. this last one was Mommy’s question)

I thought they were pretty good questions.  We used our books from the library to find the answers.  I read the books to the girls and Kaityn stopped me everytime there was an answer to one of her questions.  When we were done we made a Giant Panda poster and picked pictures that answered some of the questions.  For example she learned that Giant Pandas like climb so we made sure to include a picture of a panda climbing.

I decided to try and take it one step further and introduced some social awareness to Kaitlyn.  After discussing endangered animals and the possibilities of extinction we started to talk about what we could do to help.  We discussed the WWF and decided to have a donation jar at our Chinese festival.  She let our family who was coming know of the jar and she collected $13.87 in loose change and her Aunt & Uncle also made a symbolic adoption in her name.  Mommy and Daddy added to the $13.87 to make another symbolic adoption.  One small step to start raising the idea of making a positive impact in the world.  We even got a bit of a math lesson out of it sorting all the coins.

And what is a party without party favours!  I found a seller  through ebay who sold Chinese parasols.  For my cousin’s son who was at the party I got him a small dragon puppet.

Posted in Literacy Tuesdays

Junk Mail Literacy

We get alot of junk mail and flyers in our mailbox.  I would love to not receive them at all but since we do I let the girls use them for crafts.  Last summer when Kaitlyn was getting ready for Junior Kindergarten we made an alphabet book using flyers, empty boxes, and anything else she could get her hands on.  Today we headed into Brantford after Kaitlyn’s piano lessons, to try and find her some white sandals for Easter, and didn’t get home until almost 4:00.  This limited our literacy time today but I wanted to make sure we still fit some in before dinner.  I grabbed as many flyers and boxes as I could and set the girls up at the table.  I challenged them to spell out their names using letters they could find in the flyers.  To make it a bit easier, especially for Eileen, it didn’t matter if they were uppercase or lowercase letters (we may try it again using uppercase only for the first letter).  Kaitlyn was able to complete the task entirely on her own.  Eileen was able to find all the letters she needed by herself (after I told her what she was looking for) and she only needed help cutting them out.  A fun and easy task to help reinforce letters!

Posted in Literacy Tuesdays

Literacy Tuesday without any writing

Today for literacy Tuesday my goal was to do a bunch of fun activities with the girls that didn’t involve an writing instruments – no pens, pencils, crayons, pencil crayons, or markers.  I borrowed two great ideas from TeachMama and we came up with the third ourselves.

Our first activity was an alphabet scavenger hunt.  I pulled out our ABC cue cards and gave Kaitlyn the choice: uppercase or lowercase.  I was happy she picked lowercase because she struggles with them a bit more.  I divided the pile in half and told the girls to go and hide them around the house.  Eileen needed a bit of help understanding what it means to hide something so I walked around with her.  Pretty soon she was hiding them in places I would never think to look.  After they were both done I told them they were to find all the letters and put them in order on the floor in the kitchen.  I let them find the ones they hid along with the ones their sister hid.  It was funny that they had forgotten where they had hid some of the cards.  It took a good half hour for the activity from start to finish.  That was over 5 hours ago – and we are still missing the u and the x, opps.  Hopefully they turn up soon.  With my luck we will probably find them when looking for Easter eggs in a few weeks.

Our second activity was Alphabingo.  I had been meaning to print these off and use them for a few weeks so I took the opportunity this morning when the girls were playing in the playroom.  I pulled out one of Kaitlyn’s princess Bingo games for the bingo chips and we got started.  Each girl had two BINGO cards.  Kaitlyn’s job was to pull a card off the pile, read the letter, make the sound, and identify the picture.  She would then pass it to Eileen who would try and match the card to her BINGO card.  I helped Eileen a fair bit at first but she got the swing of things pretty quick. I am going to take all the pieces and get them laminate because this could be a great game for the girls to play together when I am making dinner or feeding Michael.

Our third and final activity was letter ‘drawing’ with juice powder.  I found a package of juice powder that had been in my pantry for a few years and sprinkled a small amount on two cookie sheets.  Rimmed cookie sheets work best as they give the largest area but still have a rim to contain the powder.  I set the girls up so they couldn’t see each other’s sheets.  I took my finger and wrote a letter in Eileen’s power and asked her to identify it, then she tried to copy my letter with her finger.  After hearing the letter, and without looking at her sister’s, Kaitlyn would draw the letter in her power both in lower and uppercase.  This was an easy and fun activity to put together and suprisingly was not as messy as I expected.  It was funny when Eileen realized the yummy taste on her finger.

A fun Tuesday!

Posted in Literacy Tuesdays

Literacy Tuesdays – A lesson in patience

This week’s Literacy Tuesday was a lesson for Mommy. We did all of our usual daily literacy activities but I thought we could try playdough letters this week.  While the girls were having their quiet time I made a batch of fresh playdough.  I even let the girls pick the colours: red for Kaitlyn and yellow for Eileen.  After quiet time I suggested we all go to the kitchen table to make letters with playdough. Kaitlyn had a complete meltdown – “Mommy I don’t want to – it is too hard”.  I was stunned, I thought she loved playdough!  She had just told me a couple of days ago that she was making letters in library class with plasticine, but that ended up being the problem.  She didn’t want my playdough she wanted plasticine. I decided to let it drop and let the girls have some free play time.  An hour later Kaitlyn asked me if she could just play with the playdough so I set her up at the table and Eileen and I joined her.  I borrowed some of Eileen’s playdough and started writing “Mommy”, and helped Eileen write her name.  Kaitlyn asked if she could write words other than her name and ofcourse  I said yes. The result was the following:

She even added her name.

What did I learn – I need to give my kids lots of opportunities but I need to resist the urge to force them to use them.  They learn so much more when the chose to explore themselves.  Now I just need to find a way to apply this to Kaitlyn’s music practicing so that she still gets in her 5 practices a week.

Posted in Literacy Tuesdays

Literacy Tuesdays

For a few weeks now we have been doing craft Thursdays.  This week we are starting Literacy Tuesdays.  Now don’t worry we really do literacy activities every day in our house.  There are always books around my house, the girls have a number of ABC puzzles that Eileen is always in to, the number of workbooks and activity book we have is a bit scary, and they won’t go to sleep without their two stories each (one from Mommy and one from Daddy).  There is also Kaitlyn’s work from school, so we are always doing literacy activities.  What we will be doing on Tuesdays are a variety of new and different activities just to reinforce literacy concepts – and most important they will always be fun.

Today we did Fruit Loop names.  We never have sugary cereal in our house so I was happy when Fruit Loops were on sale for 1/2 price at Sobeys yesterday.  I may just have to give in and let them have a few for snack but the majority will be for crafts.  I wrote each of the girls names on a piece of construction paper and then they glued Fruit Loops over the writing.  This time I wrote both of their names for them but I think we may try this again and have Kaitlyn create the letters of her name without following my writing.