Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

I printed out a turkey and cut off the feathers.  Then I cut feathers out of construction paper, one for every day until Thanksgiving.  On the back of the feathers I wrote craft, activity, song, snack or paper.  N gets to choose a feather every day, and we do whatever is on the back.  Here is a compilation:


  • Indian vest
  • pilgrim collars
  • pine cone turkeys
  • popcorn corn
  • colored popcorn kernels
  • Turkey strut - masking tape turkey foot prints on the floor.  Turn on music.  When the music stops, children choose a turkey print to stand on.
  • Find the turkey - hide paper turkeys around the room.  Children find them.
  • cornucopia - ice cream cone and fruit snacks
  • Peanut butter turkeys
  • apple turkeys - apple body, toothpick filled with raisins for feathers, and something for eyes and mouth.
  • Thanksgiving themed worksheets that can be found online.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Circus

In our muffin tins we had:

  • Homemade corn dog, with ketchup (not homemade!)
  • Grapes (seals balance beach balls)
  • Cheese people (because people go to the circus)
  • Popcorn
  • Peanuts
It was fun!  I'm excited to try it again next week.

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Month (or more) in Review

With summer here, baby #3 on the way, and A's changing schedule, things have been a little hit and miss. But we're still going! School time with a jealous little brother is a challenge. Tray time, when both have different activities and abilities, is another challenge. N understands (and mostly obeys) the rule that she's not to do A's tray time. A, however, doesn't get it, and constantly wants to do what his big sister is doing. So, with that introduction...

  • We're still working our way through the alphabet, making a book using the alphabet cut and paste sheets. N has started helping me cut out the pictures, and usually does pretty well.
  • I've started having N "write" books, thanks to the inspiration of Preschool With Mommy. Sometimes I have N dictate what to write, and sometimes I write what I want. Either way, we read it together (multiple times), then she illustrates each page.
  • N is really good at recognizing, or guessing, extended family names. So we've been working on writing them and reading them more often.
  • And finally, showing what a slacker I've been, we've been doing worksheets, mostly from TLS Books. On days when we only have a few minutes or when A is being especially difficult, it works. And N still loves school.
  • And other life school opportunities. We go to a weekly playgroup. A friend, who happens to run a tractor dealership, learned of N's love of tractors, and invited us to come help move the tractors. N was in HEAVEN!!!
Tray Time for N (new for record keeping *=how well she liked the activity):
  • Shaving cream - a huge hit for about 15 minutes. Then she was done. **
  • Jenga blocks***
  • Magnets ****
  • Contact paper art - from Shannon's Tot School *****
  • Wheat - scooping, pouring, measuring *****
  • Wikki Stix***
Tray time for A:
  • Transferring - ducks, pom-poms **
  • The yogurt game - I cut a hole in the lid of an empty yogurt container, saved milk jug lids, then let him put them into hole. He then turns over the container and shakes the lids out. He loves this game and it was super easy to make!*****
  • Circle stickers - with help, he took them off of the paper, and put them on the blank sheet of paper. Towards the end, he was able to start taking them off himself. ***
  • Wooden puzzle ** (but he might have just been too interested in N's activity that day)
Tray times together:
  • Water! I filled two tubs with water, and gave them cups, salt and pepper shakers, bowls and funnels (all plastic, of course). They had a great time!*****
  • Foam blocks ***
  • Silver strips, cut from a fringe curtain. When N first saw it, she said, "What are we going to do with that?" But then she jumped right in. It made a huge mess but they had fun.****

preschool corner
Tot School

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Trouble with "G"

Our letters this week were "G" and "H". Luckily, I went into it knowing that N didn't know her "G" sound. After reviewing some pictures with her, where only one sound was different (gown, down), I learned that she didn't have a clue that the /d/ and /g/ sounds were different! So, thanks to the help of a friend of a friend, we got started teaching the /g/ sound. I used a tongue depressor and held down her tongue as she tried to make the /d/ sound. After lots of giggles and then refusals to try, she was successful 3 times. And now she knows that the sounds are different. She doesn't like the tongue depressor method, so I hope that it serves as the needed impetus to get the /g/ sound going. After working on the /g/ sound, we did the "G" and "H" cut and paste pages from Homeschool Creations. N is getting the hang of them and seems to really enjoy them!

We read Elephants, a book that is in a series I just discovered at our library. The series, Animals I See at the Zoo, has very basic facts, in large print on one side of the page, with a large picture of the animal on the opposite side. They are perfect for toddlers/preschoolers! After reading the book, we talked about what elephants can do with their trunks, comparing it to what we do with our noses. Then N put colored, cut, and put together and elephant puzzle. She needed more guidance with it than I had expected, but did a pretty good job. Our last elephant activity was making and reading an Elephant mini-book.

Our math for the week was the Shape Book. When I put it together, I left out the cylinder and the cube. Even with those out, I figured that we'd get through maybe 5 shapes before N lost interest. Nope. We made it the entire way through. And she could have kept going. I'm amazed at her current interest in "making" books!

I introduced new words this week: cat, sad, bat, has, want. We're going to focus on the short /a/ words for a while. I put in want to show that there are exceptions to rules. We'll see if she gets it or if she gets confused. This first day with the words I got out the needed magnetic letters and she made the words with letters, then "read" them with her finger underneath.

And this week, we started Calendar. N LOVES it! We do it first thing after breakfast, even though school isn't until later. N counts the days already on our calendar, then chooses which comes next (I only give her 2 or 3 options). Then she changes our Today Is: sign. After that she checks the weather, and fills in the appropriate pictures on our weather chart that I laminated. Then we go over our schedule for the day. Our final activity is a mini-devotional. N chooses a picture from the Gospel Art Book, and I tell her the story that goes along with it. Usually, when the first story is done, she wants more. I know it won't last, but so far, it's great!

Tot School

Monday, April 26, 2010

Colored Rice, Etc.

My favorite activity this week, and I think N's also, was gluing colored rice onto patterns. We'd seen the idea at the library, and N was really interested, so I decided to try it. I found instructions on coloring rice here, and it turned out really well. I used NEON food coloring, and the rice is beautiful! N, of course, mixed all of the colors soon after starting, but it was still a hit!

We played with Discovery Toys Playful Patterns. She was able to do the basic shapes, and even figured out how to combine the foam shapes to make larger shapes.

We looked for our words (and, to, the, at, is) in some of her books, and marked them with a sticky note. At first she did really well and was pretty interested, but it didn't last for long. It did show me which words she really knows and which ones she still needs to work on, though.

N had randomly checked out a book about Dinosaurs, so we did a day of them. From 1+1+1=1, we used the dinosaur puzzles. Once I got her pointed in the right direction, she did an amazing job. I thought she would need a lot more help. We also talked (briefly) about the life cycle of a dinosaur (egg, hatchling, little dinosaur, big dinosaur). Then we used the Dinosaur Life Sequence Cards from Making Learning Fun, and N put them in order, naming each part as she went.

Once again, I didn't do well on the picture front. I'm really trying to do better.

Tot School

Friday, April 16, 2010

Seize the Moment

Letters C and D. Turns out that N can't make the "k" sound for C. I've known this, but didn't think about how hard it would be to see what the pictures start with if you can't make the sound (she makes the "t" sound instead).

Our books this week were about grasshoppers. So we made grasshoppers out of clothespins and pipe-cleaners (no pictures though. Sorry! I'll see if I can remedy that!). We then colored a picture that matched. Okay, that didn't really make sense, so I'll explain. I printed out two identical copies of a picture of a grasshopper. Then we took turns choosing what color to color the parts - I chose to color the wings green, so both N and I colored our wings green. She choose to color the legs pink, so we both did, etc. She's been really sloppy with her coloring lately and I thought this might motivate her to do a better job. Turns out she really can color inside the lines! And I wrote a poem about grasshoppers (after an extensive internet search that turned up NOTHING for a simple grasshopper poem). Here it is, in case you want a simple grasshopper poem (we put actions with it):

Grasshoppers all go
Hop, hop, hop.
When they hop on my nose I say
Stop, stop, stop!

We talked about big and small, large, medium and small. N was pretty determined to put them in correct order when I gave her 3 objects.

We started with 5 simple sight words: at, and, is, the, to. I gave her magnets and she had to make each word. With only the right magnets out, she had a lot of fun. I think that if she'd have had 26 instead of 10 letters, she would have been overwhelmed. Then she matched the words to each other (I had 2 copies of the words), and then we played memory with them.

We made playdough faces on playdough mats that I made with the egg template that I can't for the life of me find again. I cut out the eggs, glued them to construction paper, then covered them with clear contact paper. I think she got the idea, but didn't really do it. We'll try again another time.

And, on one of our walks, we found pinecones. So we brought them home, smeared peanut butter on, then rolled them in bird seed. So far, no birds have enjoyed their treat. Maybe we don't have the right kind of birds around here...

Tot School

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The First Week

This week we began our new schedule.

Monday we did A and B. I really like the alphabet cut and paste sheets found at Homeschool Creations. I wanted to do something like it, so finding some that were already done was a huge time saver to me. I also had N do the B do-a-dot page, found at Confessions of a Homeschooler, but we used dot stickers instead of markers. Once she understood what I wanted her to do, she did really well.

Tuesday we did the Number Book found at TLS Books. N loved this! At the top, she had to circle all of the number (there is a page for each number 1-1o). At the bottom, she had to trace the number three times. I gave her a smiley face on the best traced number. She worked really hard to trace well. She liked the smiley faces!

Wednesday we were all out with colds. But because N does best with routine, we pulled out some worksheets, also from TSL Books, and she had a good time and we counted it as school.

Thursday we went to the early storytime and left A with Grandma, so that he could get a good nap and hopefully get over his cold. So, no school happened. But our Tray Time that afternoon was a hit (of sorts). I had seen at many blogs the idea of freezing small plastic toys in a container of water, and then giving the children tools to get them out. So we gave it a try. At first, N had no idea, but after I showed her that the warm water melted the ice, she was all for it. After she got the toys out, she played with them in the extra water.
Friday we made bread. N loves helping with bread, so this was a good fill in for school.

I already have next week planned and it should be great. It feel FANTASTIC to already know what's going to happen each day.

For more great ideas and to be inspired, visit Preschool Corner and 1+1+1=1.

Tot School

Friday, April 9, 2010

Long Time

It's been a long time. We haven't been slacking on school, I've just been trying to find a better system for us. Here's what we've been trying:

Instead of using a book for the whole week, I've made a theme for each day.
  • Monday - Letters -2 a week. Review their sounds, how to write them, words that start with them, etc.
  • Tuesday - Book activity/poem activity. Read a book/poem, do activities that correlate.
  • Wednesday - Math - review shapes, numbers (we're working on recognizing numbers up to 20, as well as counting).
  • Thursday - Beginning sight words.
  • Friday - Hands-on learning
N likes knowing what to expect each day, so we've started having a schedule. It makes life a lot easier for both of us. As N gets older, this will grow into calendar time, but she's not there yet.

We still do tray time, but not as a part of school. It's an afternoon activity and N continues to look forward to it everyday!

Monday, January 25, 2010

If You Give A Moose A Muffin

(No pictures. I can't get my button to work!)

Monday - Read the book and did the worksheet, except that instead of finding the words, I had N circle the "m"s that she found. She had no trouble finding them, and she did a really good job with tracing the letter.

Tuesday/Wednesday - I don't remember what we did on these two days! Where is my memory going?!?!

Thursday- We talked about the "M" sound and then N had to find 10 pictures of the 15 or so that I had cut out that began with "M" and glue them onto an "M" paper. She did really well with it. A couple of the pictures that I had chosen that did begin with "M" she named as something else (mitten/glove), so it was good that I had a few extra "M" words.

Friday - I set up an Uppercase/Lowercase letter clothespin activity. I had thought that it would be a great learning experience and we'd get to talk about how some were the same and others were different. NOT AT ALL. The only letters N didn't right the first time, with no guidance from me, were "d" and "q". She had fun, though, and I learned that she's been paying attention!

Tray Time:
We began this week and N LOVES it! This week we used:

  • wheat, with scoops and bowls
  • base ten cubes (N called them little teddy bears.[?]). She had a hard time putting them together at first, but got the hang of it (and didn't give up!)
  • toothpicks, into a container with holes in the top. Not N's favorite, which surprised me.
  • foam shape puzzles. Also not her favorite, though she liked them more than the toothpicks.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I have to say in the beginning that this week wasn't very well planned. I had a lot of good ideas floating around, but not much preparation. And it was apparent to me throughout the week. So, here we go:

Day 1 - I had made a snowflake, a raindrop, a cloud and a sun out of felt. Also labels that said, "snowing" "raining" "cloudy" and "sunny". We read the book Sun and Rain, looking at the clues in each picture that showed us the weather. Then we looked at the felt weather pieces and talked about them.
Day 2 - At Mama Smiles I found the pattern for this bear, along with various outfits. I used the outfits that she had, and made one of my own that included an umbrella and galoshes. This day we read a book called Weather and looked at the clothes that the children wore for the weather. Then, using our weather pieces, we dressed our Bella Bear in clothes that were fitting for each type of weather. Afterwards, we went to the computer and played "What Should Bella Wear?" N loved it, playing it multiple times!

Day 3 - Using the Cloud Math Mat, N rolled a die, and wrote the number that she's rolled in one of the clouds. I learned from this that we haven't spent much (as in, none) time writing numbers. Good to know. We'll definitely be working on that one.

Day 4 - N did a A-S Dot-to-dot of an umbrella. She liked it!

Day 5 - Due to the lack of paint in small town Colorado, we ditched our painting a cloud idea and went instead for making a book for N to color and read. She likes being able to read books. And because "it" and "is" are repeated A LOT, I've started pointing them out in other books that we read. And she's starting to get it!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


N really enjoyed this book. A LOT. So much so, that some plans had to change - isn't it convenient that they can with only one student? So, here's how it went...

Monday - We read the book. The first time through she started helping "read" the repetitive parts. And then we did the matching. And she had a lot of fun.

Tuesday - We read the book together then she traced the fish and two others that I found here and here. She didn't do as well as she could have on the tracing. However, I'm trying to not be a perfectionist teacher and to let her do things as she enjoys. Sometimes, though, it's not easy, especially when I know how well she can do, and just decides to rush.

Wednesday - I changed the plan. Because she was already "reading" most of the book, I decided to do an activity to help her with the part that she was struggling with - the color words. I made up some Color Word Cards - with black print (because colored print would give her too big a hint). Then we read the words, comparing them to the color words in Brown Bear, Brown Bear, and glued matching color beads onto the cards.

Thursday - We made the puppets and read the book - once with N using the puppets and once with N reading the book and me doing the puppets. Then again when A woke up. N loves acting things out, so this was great! She did get a little hung up on there being no puppet for the children.

Friday - We did 2 things for the book. Using a paper punch and white paper colored brown (no brown paper to be found. Where did it all go? And why did it leave when I needed it?) we covered the word brown with bears (idea found here). Then, when A awoke from his nap, we took a field trip to a pet store, to look at GOLDFISH. Because N didn't understand why the goldfish in the book was ORANGE and not GOLD. So we found goldfish. And they were orange and yellow and black and white. N is very excited to go back to a pet store.

Again, not many pictures. I'll work on that...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Brown Bear, Brown Bear - Planning

Monday - Introduce the book. Then have her match the animals from the book.

Tuesday - Trace the fish, then color it in.

Wednesday - Make the Coloring Animals Mini-book.

Thursday - Storytime AND do a retelling of the book using puppets.

Friday - Art: I haven't decided between painting a bear, making a bear mask, or making a necklace.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! - Reality

Okay. Things didn't go exactly as planned. I WILL BE BETTER. And I didn't get many pictures. Alright, only one. I WILL BE BETTER. But I think that the week, overall, was a good start. Here's what happened:

Monday - We read the book and did a letter assessment. She would tell me a letter that she saw, and then trace it on the paper with marker (she loved that part!). The didn't get "W" and "E". Good to know.

Tuesday - We made a mini-book that was repetitive. We colored the trees together and then she read it to me, each of her animals (separately.), to A, to Uncle, etc. She doesn't look at the words when she "reads", nor does she point to the words, but she likes that she has a book that she can "read" all by herself.

Wednesday - We scattered the stuffed letters all over the rug and N did various things to pick them up: Crab walk, giant steps, run, walk backward, gallop, baby steps, frog jump, etc. (think 'Mother May I'). She really enjoyed it. How do I know? She asked to play it later in the week...

Thursday - This was our worst day of the week. We'd planned on going to early storytime, but the scheduling didn't work, and we ended up going to the later storytime, which meant that school time was available. So, not having anything prepared, I threw together an activity and it bombed. She was supposed to line up the letters of the scrambled sticky note alphabet. It wasn't a huge hit. But I think that another time, with more calmness in the house, it would work.

Friday - We used the pages found here to play a game. We used the tree outline and the cards, but not the pieces. We just colored the tree as we drew a shape. It worked really well for us. N also really like the game.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!

Monday - letter tracing (while doing letter assessment)
Tuesday - shape matching game
Wednesday - find the letter with stuffed letters scattered around the room. I'm thinking we'll include some gross motor skills by having her jump/hop/run/walk backwards etc. to find the letters.
Thursday - story time
Friday - art of some sort. I'm still working on it!