August 19, 2011

Simple Scissor Practice

I bought this alphabet bulletin board border at Dollar Tree about a year ago.  They probably still have it or something similar in the teacher/school section though.  S likes to cut the letters apart.  It makes for a great tray activity and when he is finished, he has fun using the letters to build words. 

July 28, 2011

Modifying Activities

Good teachers modify their instruction to meet the individual needs of the students in their class. I realized the other day, I can start doing this more at home with the boys as well.

When S was about 18 months, I had made him this disk insert activity. I got it out for M to begin exploring and realized I could easily update it so that S could still learn from it as well. I simply added numbers to each disk so that they needed to be inserted in order.  Now both boys can benefit from the same activity! 

Themes are also a great way to organize your activities so that children of multiple ages can benefit. 

July 15, 2011

Paper Clip Math




July 13, 2011

Sticker Word Matching

Here's a new tray activity that both S and I love...

Step 1:  Get a sheet of stickers (I cut this one in half because it repeated the same animals).
Step 2:  Write the words for the sticker pictures on a sheet of paper (I used the back side of recycled fliers to save paper).
Step 3:  Let your child match the sticker with the word.

I like this because it's so fast and easy, but it also develops good literacy skills because S has to use a variety of strategies to determine sticker placement (beginning letter sound, final letter sound, decoding, pictorial context clues, elimination, guessing).

I think this would also be easy to prepare several in advance for a flight or road trip.

June 10, 2011

Product Rave: Letter Learning Educational Greeting Cards

Every so often you run across a product and think," Why didn't I think of that?"  This is one of those for me...I received several of these educational greeting cards for free from Letter Learning after partaking in this deal.  I didn't expect much since I was A. receiving them for free and B. afraid the company would be swamped with "free orders", but was so pleasantly surprised by my order that I felt the need to write a post.

Here's what I loved:
  • Arrived quickly (despite the overwhelming number of free orders I am sure they were bombarded with)
  • Arrived in a cute cellophane bag, sealed with company sticker and tied with a bow.  So cute that a set would make a wonderful gift!
  • Wonderful paper quality and vibrant ink colors.
  • They also offer downloadable versions to print at home for only $0.99.
  • I love it when former teachers have great ideas!  
S is not quite ready to a trace small letters (still on these big ones), but I am excited for him to use the ones we have and would happily order more in the future!

June 9, 2011

Focus Word: Dog

Now that summer is here and S is home more, I am in the process of getting more organized with home learning activities.  S's baby brother, M (Has he even been mentioned here yet?  Poor second born!)  is now 8 months old and so I have been wanting to include him in our activities.  A great way to teach multi-age kids is to use themes.  

While I have always used themes to organize our activities in the past and probably will return to them when school begins, I decided to try something different during the summer because I felt like it might be a good fit for both boys at this point.  We are going to have a "focus word" each week. 

This week's word is DOG.  M is playing with dog toys (ones meant for children, not dogs), is seeing lots of photographs and illustrations of dogs from books, and is learning the sign for dog

S on the other hand has shown lots of interest in reading lately ("How do you spell ______?" "What does __-__-__ spell?").  Since he loves identifying initial letter sounds and is so interested in learning how to read, I am going with it even though he's still very young. This could be a passing phase and my plan is abandoned mid-summer, but so far it's working well and S is loving "learning to read."

Since our focus word is dog, we have been doing activities using the -og word family:

We have also been reading lots of books about dogs and frogs and finding the word dog and frog in them:
Other focus words I plan to use this summer (though they may change) are fan, hat, dad, pig, hot, bug, nap, and car.  I chose these because they are good baby signs and also lend themselves to CVC word family words.  I also like this site for word family printable books and this site for nursery rhymes, but didn't use them this week as there is no -og.  

We also used our old dog carrier to set up a vet center for S (and M) to pretend with. I also plan to do some math activities later in the week using little dog counters, and still need to come up with a dog craft. 

June 7, 2011

Summer Reading!

To keep track of all of our forms, I taped them to the outsides and insides of a file folder. 

Just a reminder to check your local library, new and used bookstores, grocery stores and Pottery Barn Kids for Summer Reading Programs.  Your child is typically rewarded with a free book.  I have very fond childhood memories of Summer Reading Programs! 

I hope to post what we've been doing this week and our summer plan soon.  It's a long one...