Friday, April 29, 2011

Tot School - Letters V and W

Well, here's my bi-weekly post on Tot School! :) Apparently this is how I roll, at least the last few weeks. :) We studied the letters V and W these last couple of weeks - we are getting so close to the end of the year, and of course you know what that means- time for the real fun - picking out next year's curriculum and ideas & activities!!!! So exciting!!! :) When I get it a little more sorted out, I'll share my plans for next year. :) For now, I'll share what we studied these last two weeks. :)

Here is our morning board for the letter V:

Z enjoyed learning about what an 'orphan' and a 'widow' is & talking about serving others, though he kept saying, 'worphan' and mixing the two up. :) For our V collage, we used vanilla - we smelled it, tasted it & painted it on our V with q-tips. Natalie got to help, too!!!




The finished product:

Zachary did this cutting skills page (this is from the Musings of Me Space Unit), and he did really well! So far he's only succeeded at cutting fringes around the edges of stuff, so I helped him along & encouraged him to 'stuff' the scissors farther into the paper to cut lines & he did awesome! One day I told him we could play a game, and he asked to do this 'cutting game' again, so I guess he enjoyed it! :)

We used our consonant cards, and we played hide & seek with them! We looked at them first, discussed what they were & how they each started with V, then, as he played, I hid them around the room.
He is really bad at finding things, so here's an example of a 'hidden' card:

This week, we did this again & I hid the 3 W cards around the room & also 3 random cards that were objects that did not start with W. He really enjoyed finding all of the things & identifying which ones began with W.

We played a file folder game I made called Animal Match - you match the fur patterns with the bigger animal pictures - Z enjoyed playing this.


Natalie enjoyed playing it, too...she liked just playing with the pieces & looking at the animals. With a yellow strainer on her head. Of course. :)

We painted this week, too! Natalie painted on a plate with a brush & a couple of sponges...

while Zachary painted on our papier mache planet!


He had to add green for grass & plenty of brown for dirt. :)

Natalie ended up with pink 'rocker hair'.

Natalie's finished plate:

And our finished planet:

Our planet hanging in the schoolroom:

While we're at it, here's an updated version of Z's sight word wall. I never thought I'd teach reading by sight words, I always learned by phonics & thought I'd teach by phonics, and while Z does know the sounds that the letters make & we discuss it often, we don't often 'sound out' words. He just absorbs sight words & memorizes them so easily, we focus more on that. Anyhow...these are the sight words we've learned so far! :) Plus as we read books together & talk about the things he learns from Word World, I'm discovering words I didn't know he knew! :)

Aside note: Word World is an awesome PBS tv show - it is SO fun and educational & Z LOVES it - it is his current favorite. :) The concept of building words is so clear from the show & today he said to me, "Does bow begin with W?" I said "No..." and before I could launch into the whole "b...b...b...bow, what says b?" thing, he said, "Nope! But it does END with W!" I was like, Oh, wow! Ok! Yes, it does! :)

And here are some colorful posters on one end of the schoolroom - I picked these up at a local thrift store & I have had the clock since high school. :)

Here's Zachary's sunflower that he planted last week:

and my little plant!

Here is Natalie pretending to be a volcano for our Active Exercise Card of the week.

And Zachary the Volcano:

We watched a YouTube video of a volcano erupting, and it scared Z to death!!! So, that wasn't a hit! :)

Here's Zachary wiping off his tracing sheet - a pre-writing sheet from the Musings of Me Space Unit.

And tracing a V on his playdough mat: (love Nat's face in the background of the first one)


This 'treasure box' activity was in Zachary's High Five magazine (which he loves, it was a great Christmas gift), and he kept asking if we could get a pinecone so we could make it. So we did. :) It has been dropped on the floor several times and is more resilient than I expected! :)

We made Handprint Lambs a couple of days before Easter, and we talked about how Jesus is called the Lamb of God, and what exactly that means. We used this page from the book A is for Adam by Ken Ham to discuss it.

We also made Resurrection Rolls, on Easter afternoon. We flattened out canned biscuit dough, and wrapped it around a big marshmallow, then we rolled the whole thing in cinnamon sugar.


Ready to go in the oven!

The finished product: I read that the marshmallow is supposed to disappear - ours did get smaller, but did not disappear, it did appear mostly empty like the tomb - does anybody know if this is how they are supposed to turn out? My other theory is that our marshmallows could have been old.

We also studied the letter W this last week. Here is our morning board for the week:

Zachary had an easy time with our verse - he acted like he'd said it before, probably in Sunday school. He enjoyed being a windmill, too. :)

We played Play-Dough this week, and Natalie enjoyed playing, too. :)


For our W collage, we painted with the wheels of a couple of our little cars. First, we ran our cars' wheels on an ink pad (he picked yellow).

Then we drove our cars on the W paper & made yellow wheel tracks:

Our finished Wheel W:

We used our clothespin cards, with a new slider I made. :) I set a goal for Z of doing 5 cards this week, as he's always wanting to play or read books instead of doing the activities I have planned, and he did well with the set limit.


And here he is 'reading' a Berenstain Bears book. More often lately, I hear him being quiet & ask, "Zachary, what are you doing?" thinking he's into something, but instead he's just reading a book - I love it! :)

To see what everyone else is doing for Tot School, head over to 1+1+1=1!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tot School- Letters T and U

And we're back!! We took a vacation for two weeks to visit extended family, and stayed in a cabin with all of my husband's family in TN, so with packing & traveling, we ended up taking a 3-week 'Spring Break' from Tot School! While we were on vacation, we got some great deals on used books at a place called McKay's Used Bookstore in Chattanooga, TN. Too bad they don't have one around here - actually, my husband is probably very glad we don't have one.... :) Anyhow, among other great treasures (most of the kids books were between 50 cents & $2.50, in great condition), we got these two Eric Carle books - these have a top & bottom half of each page & you match the shape or color with what matches on the bottom half - they are so neat! We already have a corresponding Eric Carle Numbers book, so I was super excited to find these for $1 each!

I also found this great Melissa & Doug costume dress-up Joey set for Zachary for half price at the outlet mall (I think at the Carter's store?)- and he LOVES it!

Here are a couple of pictures of him changing Joey's costumes:


When we arrived home, we had a crazy weekend - a retreat at camp & Joel had to speak at 2 different churches that Sunday - but the church we visited in the morning gave the kids each a present - Natalie's was a baby - she plucked it out of the bag and exclaimed excitedly, "Be-be!" so I think she liked it! :) And Zachary's had a digger (which of course he loves) and this bubble blower in it! As you can see, they both LOVE the bubble blower! :)

So, we jumped right back in to study the letter T after we got unpacked & rested from our crazy weekend! The long break was JUST what we needed - Z was ready to learn again & all his toys & activities seemed new again, and I was energized & ready to teach again! Here is our morning board for the letter T! With Natalie checking out the weather cards...


And here is Zachary dot painting a T is for Turtle page I got from Making Learning Fun.


Natalie likes to pretend to dot-paint, too...too bad these don't come in washable.... :)


The finished product! My sister-in-law got a couple stamps for me for when the kids do worksheets & so I stamped his finished turtle with the dragon stamp & he was excited about that! :)

He made a T with his wikki stix, on his T playdough mat.

Natalie played with wikki stix, too...

working on the small t....
And he made the small one, too - all by himself! :)

We used our circle shape viewer to find a circle... our target!

We played a game that I was able to make during our busy first weekend back, I went to camp & sat with some of my friends who were scrapbooking at the retreat & I cut out some printables I had wanted to make for a while. This game is from Musings of Me - the space unit! I cut out rockets in 3 different sizes, and there's a sorting mat so your child can sort them according to big, small, and medium. Z liked this game!


Our letter collage was T is for Tape. All I could find this morning was Scotch tape, and Z loves getting into my Scotch tape, so he had fun tearing it off & sticking it on. :)



Then we colored the T.

Zachary wondered what a top was, and this is the closest thing we have, so he is playing with it. :)

Natalie even colored a little!
Our finished Tape T!

Zachary used his clothespin cards this week...

and I finally got a picture of the slider I made from cardstock - Z likes to play with this! Natalie ripped it apart this week, so I have to make a new one.... not a big deal! :)

I started doing some pre-writing sheets with Zachary this week - I just put them in a plastic page protector (or you could laminate them) and then use them over & over with a wipe-off marker. These sheets are also from the Musings of Me Space Unit. (I'm telling you, if you haven't checked out her site yet, go now!! Her printables are adorable & totally fun & free!)

Z did a great job for his first time tracing!

We also made this train - the red part was Zachary's arm & hand! :) Z enjoyed gluing all the pieces together. We found this craft here.

For our second week back, we studied the letter U. This week was rather challenging for me, because after another very busy weekend, a cold got the best of me & I lost my voice. All week. In fact, it's still not totally back as I type this. So while trying to take it easy & still communicate with the kids in spite of my laryngitis, we did press on and do school. I was amazed that Zachary learned his verse even with my whispering, but unfortunately, we didn't get to sing our song at all! :(

Here he is pretending to ride a unicycle: :)

We made an Umbrella U for our letter collage. (Natalie, your marker is upside down...) :)

Z showing me an umbrella he colored:

gluing the umbrellas on:

Our finished Umbrella U - made with muffin cup liners & pipe cleaners. :)

We made our papier mache planet! Well, correction - I made the papier mache planet, Z didn't really want to touch the wet paste! :( We'll put another layer on it & paint it this week. :)

We planted some flowers in some little pots!

We played this Frog Math game - this has been sitting in my 'to cut' pile since October or November, & I finally finished it! He enjoyed feeding the flies to the frog (you count as many as the number you choose - they go up to 30!) & making the frog talk - it's very cute to watch & play with him. :) We plan to decorate his 'lily pad' (sour cream container) with green paper soon. :)


This last activity is a number game, again from the Musings of Me space unit - this is about putting the numbers in order - you choose a card with 2 stars & a space & then you fill in the space with the rocket that has the right number on it. Z really liked this game & did great at it! The numbers go up to 20, but I only have 1-8 cut out so far, so that's what we started with this week. :)



Well, so those were our schooling endeavors since Spring Break! Z has been very helpful around the house lately, which I'm thankful for, and one thing he's decided he likes to do is unload the silverware from the dishwasher. One morning he offered to do this & I was putting away the other dishes & just grateful for his help, and I didn't check his work - and this is what I found when I reached for a spoon or something at lunch time! :) Ha! :) The next day we discussed putting certain things in certain spots... :)

And here's a picture of Natalie, taken by Zachary - so fun! You can see my baby belly in the back right corner.... :) I love finding the pictures he takes on the camera when I upload my pictures! :)

To see what everyone else is doing for Tot School this week, check out 1+1+1=1!