Monday, September 19, 2011

Our shelves September take 2

Our shelves starting the week of September 19th.


Do a Dot page and markers

Water Pouring. One of her favorite activities. 
This time I used smaller cups so that she has to
fill each one to the very top.

Pattern pieces. There's another design on the 
other side.

Transferring pom poms with a strawberry huller.
One pom pom to each spot on the tray.

Science Experiment: Magic Matter. We'll be mixing 
corn starch and water and playing with it.

Zootles Magazine. Our latest issue just came in
so I put it out on our shelves.

ASL alphabet puzzle. The English letter is printed
under each piece.

Phonics. Matching objects to their starting letter.
We'll also trace the letters on the sand paper tiles.

Math puzzle. She'll count the objects on each 
piece to match it with the number.

 BOB book. Set 1, Book 1. Mat.

Dot to Dot book

Nest, Sort, & Stack cubes

Sensory tub - dry beans

Friday, September 9, 2011

On our shelves in September

I change out the activities on our shelves every 1-3 weeks, depending on how much time we've spent in the school room. This is what was waiting on the shelves for her the week of September 5th.

A closer look at each activity

This is a transfer activity. The bowl is full of marbles. She
uses the mustard spoon to transfer the marbles, one to 
each hole in the ice cube tray.

Lace and Trace cards. The shoelace is laced through 
the holes in the board cut-outs.

Clothespin Counting. She counts the flowers on the card
and then places the clothespin over the correct number.
This activity is self-correcting because I placed a stamp 
on the back of each card over the correct number.

Clock puzzle. We just use this as a puzzle right now.
In the future we will use it more to talk about
telling time.

Magnet activity. She uses the yellow magnet to 
separate the objects between metal and non. 
The first time we did this activity we just waited
to see what would happen, but now I ask her before 
each object if she thinks the magnet will attract
it or not.

Screw Block. She uses the little screwdriver to
put all the screws in the block. The colored rings
indicate which screw is to go in each hole.

I didn't get a picture of this one before we did it.
We used glitter glue pens to decorate on 3 different
surfaces. We had paper, felt, and foam.

Hand Puzzle. This can be used just as a puzzle, but
we also use it to talk about anatomy and also for 
counting. Each finger has objects underneath matching
the number on top.

Kumon Easy Mazes. These aren't so much mazes
as just paths to follow. We do 2-4 pages.

Phonics. She matches each object to the letter tile
with the starting letter. The tiles are sand paper tiles, so 
she also traces each letter with her finger after
matching the objects.

Sequencing. These cards tell a story but some pieces
are missing. She matches the tiles to their correct spot
to complete the story.

I didn't get a picture of this one before she did it.
For this activity, I read her the directions and she
had to follow them to complete the picture. The
squares were along the bottom and had to be cut out.
She did all the cutting and pasting herself.

A typical day

We don't work in the school room every day. It's completely up to Monkey when we do school time and for how long. If she seems bored I might suggest it, but it's never forced. I do sometimes limit how long we're in there because she can go for hours and I want her to get up and go play after a while! This is an example of what a typical day in our school room might look like.

Calendar time - about 10 minutes.

First we talk about that day and move our "today", "yesterday", and "tomorrow" tabs.

Then we sing our days of the week song. It's pretty simple and to the tune of "oh my darlin'"
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
There are seven days, there are seven days
There are seven days in the week
There are seven days, there are seven days
There are seven days in the week

We sometimes sing our months of the year song, especially at the beginning of a new month, but we don't do that one every time. It is to the tune of "ten little indians"
January, February, March, and April
May, June, July, and August
September, October, November, December
Twelve months of the year

Next we talk about and change if needed the current phase of the moon.

After that part we move to the other part of our calendar. We briefly acknowledge the season. More emphasis will be put on that leading up to a season change.

Then we go outside for a few minutes and she decides what the weather is that day. I usually don't have to guide her in a different direction.

When we come inside, she puts the markers on the correct weather for that day and I write down that days date on the weather chart. We only chart the weather on days we do calendar, so it won't be an accurate representation of the whole school year when we're done, but it will be of the days we've specifically observed.

After Calendar she goes to her shelves and picks an activity. I give her the freedom to pick whatever she wants, but I do show her how to use it correctly. I'm not super strict making the school room no fun, but neither do we treat it as another play room where she just pulls stuff out and does whatever with it. After we've done an activity the way it is meant to be done, she can continue playing with or manipulating it to find new ways to do things or use it. 

She usually switches to a new activity after doing one once or twice, but if she doesn't, I will encourage her to do so after 10 minutes or so. I want her to often leave off wanting a bit more of an activity because that will encourage her to come back to it again next time. If she does one activity for too long, she will burn out a bit and not pick it again for a while.

When choosing an activity, she picks up the tray and brings it to the table. Then she sets all the parts out on the table and sets the tray aside (unless the tray is specifically used). If she has done the activity before, she proceeds on her own. If it is a new activity, I do it first while explaining to her what I'm doing and why. Then I reset it and let her do it. When she is done, everything goes back on the tray, and the tray goes back on the shelf before she picks a new one. 

Once she's done a few activities, or if she seems to slow down and not go straight to another one, I suggest doing SonLight. This is the new curriculum we have decided to go with.  For the preschool level, it is mostly just a collection of really great picture books. I made a schedule for reading the stories, but I don't follow it strictly. It was mostly so I could get an idea of how many stories we could go through a week and not fly through the whole year's worth too quickly.

We don't do SonLight every day that we do school. When we do, we typically do the following:
1 Bible story
1-2 poems
2 picture book stories
1 story from either 'social studies' or science
Listen to 4 nursery rhymes
Listen to 1 lullabye

The nursery rhymes and lullabies are repeated for a couple weeks and then we'll switch to another set. The 'social studies' book is Richard Scary's What do People do all Day? 
I'm not strict about following that schedule. If she doesn't want to read any given selection, we don't. If she makes a request for a story she sees or one we've read previously, we read it. We always talk to her about books we read together, and answer her questions, but I make an extra effort to do so with our school stories.

After SonLight, she may do more activities, or we may leave the school room. I try to limit school room time so that she doesn't burn out, and so that she can go do some play activity that gets her blood moving more!

I keep a notebook nearby and make a small note of each activity she does when we do school. This is so I can look back over and quickly see what days we did more, and when we did less. I can look at what was out each of those times. I can also see which activities she chooses more frequently. 

To give an example of what we did in one session, this is what I have down for August 8, 2011:

Calendar time - done as described above
Copying a pattern with large beads
P.E. blocks
Stringing small beads

God's Wonderful Creation
Singing-Time poem
Goodnight Moon
Katy and the Big Snow
Introduction to What do People do all Day?
Hickory Dickory Dock, Jack and Jill, Thirty Days, The North Wind Doth Blow
All Through the Night lullabye

Played in popcorn sensory tub
Cut paper using paper cutter (flat, slide kind, not a big blade!)
Map drawing and locating (to go with the Katy book)
Phonics- matching objects to starting letter

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Monkey in action

Some pics of Monkey doing the activities on her shelves. Yes, some of them are of her in jammies and lots of the time her hair isn't done. We often hit the school room before getting fully ready for the day.

Some more shelf shots

Some random pics of our shelves that I have saved from February through August. I didn't take pictures of our shelves every week, so this is only a sampling of what we do. Many activities are repeated, but aren't generally out as often as it seems from the pics.

Transfer using tongs
Water pouring
Sensory tub - dry beans
Lace and trace cards
Clothes - snapping

Objects, sandpaper letter tiles, and sand tray
Get Ready for the Code
Kumon cut and paste
Matching upper- to lower-case
Number and Activity blocks

Our calendar

Smelling bottles
Short to tall puzzle
Frog matching
Number & Activity blocks
Sensory tub - rice

Object, sandpaper letter tiles, & sand tray
Get Read for the Code
Kumon cut and paste
Matching upper- to lower-case
Sorting by subject - land, air, and water

Sorting hearts by color
Sandpaper number tiles
Sand tray
Number puzzles
Square fraction puzzle
From Caterpillar to Butterfly
Sea Life flash cards

Transfer - wooden blocks using tongs, sorted by color
Water pouring
Lacing beads with pattern
Screw block
Clothes - zipping
Lace and trace cards

Counting card with counters
Sandpaper number tiles
Number puzzles
Triangle fraction puzzle
Sea Life flash cards
What's it Like to be a Fish?

Do a Dot markers and dot page

Lace and Trace cards
Cutting - sticker strips
Clothes - buttoning
Dinosaur flash cards
Zootles magazine - Butterflies

Short to tall puzzle
Frog matching
Number puzzles
Pattern cards
Letter matching blocks
Sorting tray

Get Ready for the Code
Kumon books and activities
Dry-erase letter cards