Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sharing the Lego Love - how it all got started!

Wednesday morning of this week, we loaded up Legos, Day & Nana and drove off to experience the most amazing day yet!  Our month Lego Club was meeting at an assistant living home.  And boy were we ALL in for a treat!  And I really never new about the impact it would have on my family.
This sweet lady was blind in one eye and couldn't see the smaller we found her the sweetest 2 year old with those BIG legos!  They build refrigerator and pretended to add all kinds of food.. 

N put on a show for this table!  They just watched and smiled as he built a rocket, some satellites and stuff from the future.

And then there was this guy!  He stood up and explain, suggested and taught this table.
These residence were so proud of their creations that J let them take them "home".

After posting these pictures on our FB Page, I received emails and messages from moms about how they could get their own club started.  BLOG POST MUST!!!  So I thought I would share how our club started and how we do it!  It was all kid-inspired and purposefully driven.

My kids love Legos and in the summer of 2013, we need to connect with others that loved Legos just as much.  We had met some great friends in our new town and we were hoping this club would help us meet more!

My teacher instincts jumped in when I started planning the way our club would be ran.  I knew there needed to be a focus/theme and that we needed a fun way to stimulate those lil builder brains.  So I decided on launching each meeting with literacy (book) and/or a brainstorming activity.

Each kid "BYOLegos" and something to build on like a cookie sheet or a blanket.  This has helped define each builders space so that legos don't get lost.

I also encourage for them to borrow from others, if they need a specific brick, as long as they promise to give it back (and say "thank you") once Lego Club is over.


After building, we all come back together for group share.  One kid shares, everyone listens then we applaud and give out compliments.  I love seeing kids that are quiet and shy, come to life and discuss their creations!  Great way to prepare them for public speaking.

These days, a few years later...we have packed houses full of laughter and Lego love!

And we've taken that Lego love to the road!

We built with the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House.  And the kids donated Lego Kits!

We've built at the mall, outside the Lego Store.

We've gone to Fire Stations and built with the fire fighters. (one of my favorites)
So if you have Lego Lovers within your own home!  It's easy to get started.  Find some friends, bring some Legos, come up with a theme and get together (we meet once a month).

Here's a list of our past themes that might help you get started:
*now and then (at the nursing home)
*Fire Heroes (at the fire station)
*All Things Space
*Lego Movie Maker app
*Build a Shopping Mall
*Boats and things that float
*Splash Parks and Swimming Pools

Happy Learning and Lego Building with your little ones!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Going Beyond "Sound It OUT!" - 2 simple strategies to start using NOW!

As a First Grade teacher and a Reading Coach, I learned more teaching my students to read than I could have EVER imagined!  They taught me that reading is very strategic, like a game of chess!  You might try this one, seeing if it worked and it it doesn't you have to try another.  And this is all to gain meaning of the text!  That's a lot to ask a young reader.

 Well now, my own homeschooled kiddos are showing me that they learn to read just like my students.  Early Reading takes practice, strategy and commitment!  And reading goes beyond that one strategy parents always fall back on...

"Just Sound It Out!"

If you caught my "Tips from a Teacher" Tuesday Periscope, last week I introduced the first Reading Strategy to start with your little reader.  Maybe you missed it?  Here's the link to get you caught up: 

Take a Picture Walk!

This is one of the BEST ways to warm up your reader's brain!  And it's just like I had mention in the scope, "walk your reader through the pictures in the book" will allow YOU to add a small amount of pre-reading support.  Ask open-ended questions about the pictures.  Point out "tricky words" that YOU see in the text and show your reading in the pictures. This short introduction gives your reader a chance to preview the book and predict (based on pictures) what they are about to read.  Remember to keep your picture walk short and sweet!  Don't wear them out before they start reading!!!

Don't you do the same when you are browsing books at the library?  You don't just start reading the book or magazine, do you?  You pick up your selections, flip through the pages, preview the pictures (if there are any) and/or read the blurb on the back.

We need to give our young readers the chance to do and practice these same reading behaviors.

Reading Strategy #1 - Look at the pictures

If your young reader gets stuck on a tricky word, the first strategy they should suggests is "look at the pictures". 

For example:
"That tricky word starts with a /m/ sound.  Do you see anything in the pictures that has that sound?"
"You said ____.  That doesn't match what I see in the picture.  Do you see anything that might make sense in this sentence?"

Young readers NEED good books that provide lots of picture support for this reason!  So make sure that your instructional books have just that, so that they will become confident using this simple strategy.  

To help you along, use this FREE Printable!  Post it in your school area or next to your cozy reading spot as a reminder of what a good reader does!

Look at the Picture Reading Strategy Printable

Join me on Periscope every Tuesday for LIVE broadcasts of this Reading Strategy Series!  And if you miss it - no worries - I will have a new blog post with the replay and another printable,  just for you and your little learners.

Happy Learning (and Reading) with your Little Ones!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Ice Cream in a Can

Ice cream will make anyone feel better, right?!  And after another week of being SICK...we needed some fun!  I was over watching movies, playing the IPad and watching movies again.  We've seen the movie Home at least 25 times in the last 2 weeks.  The cuteness is starting to fade!!!  

So I pulled a recipe, from my Fun with Food file, and we went to making and mixing "Ice Cream in a Can."  We usually cook on Fridays but on this Tuesday,  this is exactly what we needed.

Adding the Ingredients

Taping up our ice cream mix.

Smashing the ice cubes into smaller chunks 

(probably their favorite part)

Packed the ice and salt around the smaller can

Let's Rock and ROLL baby!

And we opened it up to check it out.
No ice cream!
We read the recipe and we needed to pack the ice in again and roll another 15 minutes.

Sick kids and this momma decided on having...

We got some much needed sunshine and a delicious shake on this Tuesday.  But most importantly, we made a great memory.  

Enjoy this FREE printable of this recipe...go make some yummy memories!  Happy Learning with your Little Ones!

Ice Cream in a Can FREE Printable Recipe

Our Unschooled Week in Welly

We had been pushing hard at home for a good 4 weeks. We finished up our BraveWriter Arrow book, Sarah, Plain, and Tall . We completed ou...