Monday, September 6, 2010

Tot School - Letter A!

This week was back to Tot School for our family! I was SO excited (and even nervous) about starting! We had a great time, and I was pleased to learn some things that Zachary already knew, and to see what he's picked up on, even in this first week! We tried out a new morning schedule to go along with our school routine, too, and it has worked okay for us, with a few tweaks here and there. :) Sorry, this post is going to be long, since it's our first week, I want to share about our weekly routine along with some specific activities that we did!

We started our morning 'circle time' this week, and this was my favorite part! Here is a picture of this week's morning board:

We started out by saying our verse together each day, and then singing our song together. This song was too hard for Zachary to pick up on the words, but I want to expose him to hymns along with praise songs and children's songs, and I thought he would enjoy chiming in on 'Hallelujah! What a Savior!' at the end of each verse, which he did pick up on. Then we looked at our sight words, and Z picked up I and go this week! The other words we worked on were is, it, in and a. He is close on each of them, but not quite there. I really thought 'a' would be the simplest word ever, but he says 'duh' every time I show it to him- this morning, I said, "THIS IS NOT A D!!!" :) Maybe soon... :) We will add a couple more words next week (me and my) since he mastered the two. Our verse this week was Isaiah 53:6, which he memorized and I got it on video, but I can't get it to upload! Hopefully I will get it to work out soon- sorry! (We are not memorizing references yet, since he doesn't understand how to find them in the Bible and can't read - we are focusing on hiding Scripture in his little heart.)

Our Bible story this week was the story of the Lost Sheep. We searched for a toy sheep that I hid in the living room and talked about how we are each lost, and need Christ, and God searches for us just like the Good Shepherd. Z enjoyed searching for the sheep and talked about it every day afterward.

On Friday, we had a non-school day, since we had to go shopping in town, and we got some great deals at the Dollar Tree! The dot markers were $1 each, but the playdough was all FOUR cans for $1, and the craft foam was 36 small sheets for $1.

They had foam puzzles - uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and numbers! We picked up the lowercase letters, since we don't have a lot of teaching tools for those (most of my stuff is uppercase).

They also had some nice workbooks that are a little too advanced for Z this year, but for $1, we'll save them & use them next year or the year after!

And their 2011 calendars are out now, so we picked up some of those! I thought Z would want puppies (like he's had for the past 2 years), but he chose horses instead, so that surprised me!

On Tuesday (we take Mondays 'off' since that's my Hubby's day off), we introduced the letter A with a letter A scavenger hunt - he went straight to his room, found his stuffed letters, and pulled out the A. Then we found the A in a couple of pictures/signs on his wall that have his name on them, etc. He had a lot of fun with that! Later that day, we attacked our letter A collage (found here). We cut an apple in half and stamped in on our A page, and then glued the apple seeds on.

Zachary also stamped his arm quite well. :)

Here is our finished product!
Since Z loves his dot markers so much, I printed off some number sheets to use with them. You can find these here. I didn't know how he would do, but he did a GREAT job dotting in the holes, and even using the right colors!

Then we had free drawing time (on the back), and he drew a picture of Daddy - with dots for the eyes! This is the first time he's done any representational drawing, I'm so proud! :)

We played with pom-poms, and used these number cards to count the pom-poms. We made through numbers 1-4, then Z wanted to skip to ten, then our activity degenerated into throwing the pom-poms around, as always. :) Z loves pom-poms. :)

We have used several times this week (and the past weeks) to help Z learn more of his phonics - it is an AWESOME free website, with all kinds of games/activities that kids can play/watch for each letter - I love it. Some days, he stands and plays on my laptop while I do dishes or fold laundry, and he can do it mostly by himself, I just stand by and help if I'm needed. :) It has really helped him learn the sounds that the letters make!

We used play-doh mats a couple of times this week - we used a #1 mat that I found here, and then on Saturday, we finished up the week with this A mat, which can be found here. The #1 mat was not a hit, he was distracted by something else, but then on Friday we bought the new playdough, so he was excited to play with that on Saturday, and did better making the A's. (I made the one in the picture just for illustration purposes). After this picture, we made more ropes/snakes out of playdough & placed them on the big A & he put it together himself. :)

Then we used the paper (in a plastic page protector) for tracing with a wipe-off marker. Honestly, I didn't plan any tracing for this year, because Z hasn't been interested in writing/tracing at all yet, but I traced the letters, and then gave him a turn, and I thought he did awesome!!!

Our weekly plan involves four 'school days' - we ended up doing three school days and two 'half days' this week - divided up the last day between Friday and Saturday. It worked really well for us - just the right amount of activities planned, not too much or too little, so I was glad for that. (My husband works Saturdays and has Mondays off, in case you think I'm weird for doing school on Saturday.) :) One new thing that we added to our schedule this week was individual play time in their rooms (actually, Natalie's schedule was off this week, so she never did get this time,
but Z did it two days) - he played by himself in his room for about 15 minutes (while I fed Natalie). I picked up this idea from Jessica's blog. It worked out really well because Natalie was having some nursing issues this week, so I really needed the quiet time with just her while she ate. The first day, he took his cars in his room, and lasted about 4 minutes before calling out the
gate to me. The second day, he took the pom-poms in his room, and his morning snack, and he was quiet the whole 15 minutes! He really hates being/playing by himself, so I think this will be a really good lesson for him!

Here's a list of what we read in our book basket this week:

My Little Word Book (Spanish/English Bilingual) by Roger Priddy
One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root
Trucks Roll! by George Ella Lyon
ABC Animals by Darice Bailer
ABC with Pooh by Cassandra Case
Thruway by Anne & Harlow Rockwell
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
Elmo's ABC Book by Sarah Albee
How Will We Get to the Beach? by Brigitte Luciani & Eve Tharlet
A Truck Goes Rattley-Bumpa by Johnathan London
Sesame Street Treasury: Volume 1 (Letter A and Number 1) by CTW
Sesame Street Animal Alphabet by Kara McMahon

Our favorite book was from the library - the 'How Will We Get to the Beach?' book - they want to take five things, but every mode of transportation leaves one thing out, and you have to guess which one - it is so fun -we read this book at least twice each day. :) I plan to keep most of these books the same, maybe adding in a couple of books that have to do with Boats or other B things. :)

Our 'unit' focus this month is vehicles, so we did one little counting activity that had to do with wheels on vehicles, we watched a video about cars one rainy afternoon, and we chugga-chugga-choo-chooed around the house a couple of different days (TIP: Asking your child if they want to Chugga-choo-choo to their room to get their diaper changed works MUCH better than asking them if they want to GO to their room!). :) Also, you can see that many of the books in our basket were chosen with the monthly theme in mind.

My Two Tots

Oh, I just love watching my two littles interact - it is SO much fun, I know I say it every week, but what a joy! I never realized how having two kids, though it is definitely twice the work, multiplies your joy WAY more than twice!!! :) Here are Zachary and Natalie playing together in the hallway, where Natalie ended up after crawling there, and sitting herself up. :)

My Tiny Tot

Natalie can crawl around now, and eats most anything she finds, so we have to be more careful about what's on the floors! :) Also, she can sit up from crawling, but she's too scared to fall back down, so when I hear her fussing, I usually look out to find her like this:

Here she is playing with her favorite toy, her turtle shape sorter from her Auntie Beth. The shapes rattle, and she crawls right over and rattles the circle each morning. :)

And here she is trying to pull up on the edge of our living room table. :) She is so fun, and usually so happy, but has been off her schedule this week for some reason. :(

Well, we've had great fun with school this week! Z enjoyed it so much that Friday, I pulled the morning board out to put velcro on our weather cards, and Z said, "Oh, we didn't do circle time today! Can we do circle time?" so we did. :)

To see what others are doing for Tot School this week, head on over to 1+1+1=1!

If you want to start doing Tot School with your little one(s), but don't know where to get started, 1+1+1=1 has some excellent resources for you!


Stefanie said...

Looks like a great week!

Deni said...

Here is what I have decided - until Parker goes to preschool, I am sending him to Carrie's Tot School. I can't pay you in money, but how about food...wait, we'd have to live closer together....hmmmm :/

Actually, I am planning to start Parker's own Tot school In a couple weeks. We are canceling cable which means we need more activity (I am a failure at letting him watch too much TV!)

Here's hoping I can do this!

Andrea said...

We'll have to try out the playdough mats, those look great!

Our Family for His Glory said...

I'm so glad your "first week" went so well. You have everything so well planned- & your little ones truly look like they're having so much fun while learning! And how wonderful that Zachary was able to play by himself for 15 minutes! :) I hope nursing is going a little better! My little "nursers" always hit a stage where they get too distracted by others around them.
Have a wonderful week!