Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Trash turned into a teacher's treasure!

My littlest learner, Nixon, is really into "opposites" right now.  Anything that he can open/shut or put in/ take-out will keep him busy for a good 10 minutes! (enough time for me to teach Jackson a quick homeschooling lesson or start some dinner)

My husband keeps asking my WHY I am collecting trash in a Target sack in our kitchen!  Plastics with a lid are my favorites!!  My answer...just turning our trash into my teaching treasures!
 Here's a great example for recycling trash AND help build your littlest learners fine motor skills...

All you need is:
1 Clorox Clean up Wipe Container with lid (once it was empty, I washed it in the dishwasher to get all the cleaner out of it)
ALOT of babyfood lids, milk lids, large magnetic letters or just about anything that makes a fun noise when you drop it into the Clorox container. **Just make sure it's not to small!**

I usually dump out the contents, then put the yellow lid back on.  Sometimes I sit with him and count as we drop and other times I just let him explore on his own.  I've even added a magnetic wand that he can use to pick up the lids.  He LOVED using that and so did Jackson! 

Wanna "bump it up" for your older Learners? 
 Use 2 different containers for a Letter Sort: one container holds lowercase letters 
while the other container holds uppercase letters
Start with a mixed-up-pile of upper and lower letters.  


To segment words and hear their sounds use 3 different containers: 
Drop letters in each as you "sound spell" the word.  
1st container - /c/ (drop in magnetic letter C)  
2nd container - /a/ (drop in magnetic letter a)  
3rd container - /t/ (drop in magnetic letter t)

Then ask your child what word you just stretched out..."cat"!  Dump all the letters out of containers and put the letters together to spell the word c-a-t!

Something so simple~ that I haven't seen on Pinterest, yet :0)
Enjoy learning with your littlest Learner and all of your little Learners!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Show me what you know, Jax!

I knew there HAD to be a way to check Jackson's understanding on specific skills that we have been working on!  After weeks of reflecting on how to get this done...this is what I came up with.  I just started it yesterday (May 8), so I'll keep ya posted on if it's something that we will continue to use or if we will try something new.  But today, this worked, just like I had planned!

Meet our Morning Work box!  

I actually don't really like this title, but it's all I could really come up with.  Jackson's best time for independent work and play is first thing in the morning or right after nap (because once he gets going, he doesn't stop!)...so that's how I came up with such a "fancy title"!
I am also going to add a "Morning Work" icon/flip card to his morning procedures (see Morning Procedures HELPS your Mommy post)
Here's how I organized the inside of this old file box:
3 different colored hanging file folders that holds independent work and materials inside.  I wanted EVERYTHING to be stored so it's a "grab and go do" kind of deal.  I hate looking around for paper, crayons, scissors!  I feel like it breaks up the focus and momentum for big and little people.  I have an obsession with always being prepared and thinking ahead!
Plastic Wipe Container that I slide into folders that can hold  crayons, scissors, gluesticks, stickers, or sticky notes!
And the Clothespin clips are for showing me that he is finished with the work that he choose (see next picture)
Jackson shows me that he is finished by flipping around the clip that shows the blue sun sticker.  

This morning, he picked his Highlights Magazine page that has the Hidden Pictures exercise on it.  For the past 3 subscriptions, Jackson and I have been doing this activity together.  I've showed him how you circle the small picture once you've found it in the BIG picture.  Then mark an "x" through the picture you've found to let you know..."YOU FOUND IT!"
  Check out his independent work!  
I'm so proud!
He clearly understands and has applied what  I've taught him!  What an amazing feeling!
I pointed out the GREAT things that he did on his work!  He said that he was finished for the morning, but needed to  keep his clip turned around (no sunshine showing) so he could finish it another day.  Fine with me!

Keep in mind that the material that I am putting in here are skills and strategies that we have worked on for months!  This is a tool that I am using as a teacher to see if what I am doing is effective for my student!  I even plan to just throw in some fun stuff like a "Free time on the computer" card to research something we've been learning about or some blank paper just to doddle on!   Just to keep the interest there for this lil 3 year old.
And does he HAVE to do his "Morning Work" every MORNING?... Nope!  That's why there's only 3 folders...Jackson can pick which folder and what day/time of day he would like to work on them.  I am a teacher and a mother that believes ALOT in giving children the choice to choose!  Builds independence and reasoning skills, right?

Happy Learning with your Little Ones!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Quick and easy ideas

My "dinosaur" of a computer is running super-slow tonight!  So I'm gonna make this a quick one!  My patience is shot after a day with no naps (for either boys) and NOW a computer that wants to take it's precious time...grrrr! Here's a few here and there ideas for you to try with your little learners:

Do a Puzzle...add some labels!

I can't get enough of sticky notes!  They are the best things to keep around for labels, lists, or just a fun way to get your kiddo writing!  

Thanks to Pinterest, we enjoyed this little Science experiment using magnetic letters, construction paper and the SUN!

It also gave me to the chance to assess Jackson on his name knowledge!

Think your little learner might be ready for reading?  Try this first!  
I was curious to see if Jackson REALLY knew the difference between Letters and Words, so I made up this mini-assessment.  
I made the HUGE mistake of saying "You can have candy for a snack if you just do this for Mommy!"  Check out how fast this sort goes...and how wrong it went!
"One over here...One over here...one over here...One over here!  Now where's my candy?"
So we tried it again...and I think he clearly understands the difference between a word and a letter...

Happy Learning with your Little Learners!

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