Friday, June 29, 2012

Color Bags - Littlest Leaners

One of Nixon's skills this month is learning his colors! Our focus colors are red and yellow. Just picked these two colors to start with mainly because he LOVES Lightning McQueen and he just happens to be Red.  Added Yellow because when you mix red and yellow together, it makes Nixon's favorite color...Orange!  Perfect for when we paint with red and yellow!

Jackson and I created these Color Bags for Nixon.  One afternoon, I handed Jackson a galloon zip-lock baggy and asked him to put 5 Red things inside. "Easy Breezy", he said as he handed me the bag.  So then, he worked on the Yellow Bag.  I added a few things as well before showing them to Nixon.

Nixon with his Red bag

Nixon with his Yellow bag, but more interested in the book that I picked out to go with this skill.
 I cut out a simple rectangle out of construction paper and taped it on the front of each bag.  This helps Nixon and I with sorting skills (which colored object goes into which bag)  I even included the word "red" and the word "yellow" (written in their colors) on sentence strips.  This is more for matching up the word with the color.  But more useful for when Jackson is working with us because he can "read" the color words on the sentence strips and put them in the correct Color Bags.

Here's Nixon and I working one day while Jackson was resting...

I don't "formally instruct" him everyday...he is only 16 months.  Right now, he learns so much more through mommy-baby talk and Big brother-baby brother talk during play.  So I'll keep it that way!

I keep Nixon's Color Bags in a Basket in the kitchen along with some books on Colors.  He enjoys dumping the bags out (to find the Red Tractor), plays for a few minutes and then he is usually off to something else!  I usually invite him back to help clean up.  And this is when I add a sprinkle of instruction.

Other "Bag" ideas?
Shape bags, Letter/Sound Bags, Touch and Feel Bags

Got some ideas? I'd love to hear them!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

From "Letter list" to "Word Wall"

***Might wanna read "My Name is" post before this'll give you some schema for this post***

If you saw our kitchen at home, you'd see one of our many, "mini-classrooms" that are set up all around our house!  And the kitchen seemed to be a place we always it's pretty much turned into our main learning location.  Plus I like the fact that I can multi-task if the kids are doing some independent work/play!  I have no problem cooking a meal while shouting and slapping letters on our new WORD WALL! (Jax is very proud of it !)

Everything we do, I make sure that both boys (now that Nixon is old enough) to have a sense of  "ownership" in each of our projects.  If I put things up or make books without their input, they show zero interest in it.  But if they are involved, they gain some pride and it becomes apart of them and their learning.

Now on to the Word Wall...FYI it took us about 1 week to get all the letters up...and this is the fun way we did it!

I would lay the alphabet letters (bought at Lakeshore) out of the floor and the boys would use a new&clean flyswatter to slap the next letter...then we use the flyswatter to point and "read" the ABC song to find out what comes next.
(I have a video of this somewhere in my files but can't find it!)

Nixon using his "word wall"while sitting on Tank (good dog)

Now that Jackson is reading and writing his name...we are on to bigger things!  WORDS and READING:0)  I'm so excited (and such a reading dork)! Here is our fabulous word wall!  
Word Wall (Nixon has a placemat sized abc chart-bottom right corner)
Didn't throw away letters from our "Letter List"  - just hung them above his work space in our kitchen/classroom - he refers to it ALL they time when he writes his name!
Since we just returned from a Texas trip where we got to see LOTS of fabulous family members, I figured it would be our first step towards Word Wall excitement!  So I printed off pictures of family members and wrote names on sentence strips. (boys in blue marker, girls in pink: just a good visual when teaching young readers.  Gives them another clue if they are trying to read that name)

Here is Jackson finishing up our lesson one night.

Side note - I am really trying to plan my curriculum/learning games so that I can differentiate my instruction for a 3 year old and a 1 year old.  I keep the same focus/skill for both kiddos, just make it more 3 year old friendly or littlest learner-friendly.

For example: 
Nixon's task: finding faces of family members using pictures - I would say "Which picture is of Uncle Nick?" And he would point to that face/picture of "Uncle Nick"
Jackson's Task: to match picture with actually name of family members written on Sentence Strips then use glue stick (fine motor skill)

We have only put up one name for now because I haven't done a "lesson" on how the word wall works.  But because we had a Fathers Day card for Daddy this past weekend, but HAD to put him up! 

This week, we will be working on how this wall really works and will be adding our family's names.

Some of you might not have the wall space/giant sliding door for a wall at home, so create a family photo book using cheap, plastic photo books or add pictures into a 2 litter coke bottle with rice and have your littlest learners learn names in a fun way.
A few more ideas: play matching games while reading names - create matches for boys (Day and Bob-o go together because they are both grandpaws) or by beginning sounds.
You might even make a family "train" using these cards from youngest to oldest!  Bet you observe some funny chit-chat with your learner if you try this one!  BUT ALWAYS REMEMBER TO make them apart of making anything!  They will show pride and ownership!

 Would love anyone to share ideas with me!  Feel free to leave a comment.
Happy Learning with your Littler Learners!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sing it! Read it! Love it!

I am so sorry about not blogging in a good month!  My excuse....It's SUMMER TIME, baby!!!  We spent 2 weeks back in Texas with family.  I had every intention to post a few blogs while I was there, but it just didn't happen!

But thought I'd share this idea real quick!  I'm going to bed in 10 minutes!  

If you come into our house, the TV is usually off and music is playing!  OR music is playing on the TV!  

Because we LOVE songs, I made a rebus puzzle for the boys using one of our favorite songs..."The Itsy Bitsy Spider".
Just used some sentence strips, clip art pictures laminated onto stickynotes, and a pocket chart.  

If you know Dr. Jean songs, you know that she can't sing AT ALL, but she is wonderful at making FUN music for learning.  
The fun twist to this classic children's song ...she changed the lyrics from "Itsy Bitsy Spider" to "Big, Fat Gorilla" and "Teensy Weensy Ant" which is why my kiddos LOVE singing this song!

This simple activity promotes:
*Left-to-right reading ready skill
*Sight word introduction
*Phonemic Awareness 
*Picture to Word match-up 

(1 minute until bed time)
So Happy Learning with your Little Learners!

And google Dr. Jean Feldman...she has an amazing blog and website!

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