Thursday, February 28, 2013

Teeth, Tea, and Trains all start with T!

Recently, I have been super thankful for other educators and parents who take the time to share their ideas on websites and blogs. It's basically how I have created Ava's first year of preschool. I love being creative and coming up with my own ideas. However, with 3 little ones at all different stages, it is really challenging to find any time during the day to get creative on my own. A quick search on Pinterest can be quite inspiring and get my creativity going! Sunday night I found myself in a lesson planning slump. We had a busy weekend, it was late, and I had nothing planned for Monday. I knew a few things. This week we would be working on the letter T. I wanted to have one day on teeth, one day on tea parties, and one day on trains. Pinterest pulled through once again and led me to some fun ideas! 

Monday: T is for teeth! 
All of these fun teeth activities were inspired by a visit to the blog From the Hive

Book: Going to the Dentist By: Anne Civardi

After our introduction to the letter T and reading the story Going to the Dentist, we took some time to talk about things that are good for our teeth and things that are bad for our teeth. Ava and Dominic took turns picking a picture and deciding if it should go with the happy healthy tooth or the sad unhealthy tooth. 

Our art project today was simple, but allowed more practice using small amounts of glue. Ava was given a large mouth without any teeth. Her job was to put the teeth back in the mouth. She is getting better at not using large globs of glue on small pieces of paper! 

Our math activity worked on using a dice. We took turns rolling the dice. The number displayed on the dice was how many teeth we were allowed to add to the mouth. The game ended when all the teeth were added to the mouth. I like these types of games because there is no winner. Everyone plays for the same goal! Dominic joined in too!

Ava practiced writing her letter Ts. Notice the lines are colored. I found this idea from It has really been helping Ava understand the concept of size when she writes. 

This activity I knew would be a hit! I boiled eggs in tea. The tea stained the eggs. The eggs represented teeth and the  tea stain represented what happens to our teeth when we don't care for them. I gave Ava and Dominic each a toothbrush (new of course), water, and tooth paste. They went to town brushing their egg. Though the egg never became as white as it was in the carton, the brushing and toothpaste did help clean it up a little. 
Ava brushed her egg for a long time (like maybe 25 minutes!) After all that brushing the egg cracked. She asked if she could see what it looked like inside. I said sure and then the phone rang. That 5 minute phone call led to some unsupervised time with the egg. Before I knew it, Ava had quite the concoction of mashed hard boil egg, toothpaste, and water. It was all stirred together with her toothbrush. Oh well, she had fun and I was going to throw out the toothbrushes anyway. 
For a treat at lunch, I made the kids mouths using apple slices (for the lips), peanut butter (for the gums), and mini marshmallows (for the teeth). 

Tuesday: T is for tea party! 
Tea parties are the new activity of choice at our house. It only seemed natural to have a T is for tea party day. Actually it was a tea is for tea party evening. Kyle took the little ones out for the evening while Ava and I had our school time. 

Book: Miss Spiders Tea Party By: David Kirk 

As we read our story, we had a little tea party for two. We took out some very special teacups that my grandmother gave to me and Ava shortly before she passed away. Ava was excited to use real teacups and have real tea. 

The pattern for this craft came from Kiboomu. Since I didn't have to juggle my time between 3 kids during school time,  I did the project with Ava. We each decorated a teacup and Ava assembled it on her letter T. 

I actually did create one of my own ideas this week!  This activity was  created to review capital and lower case letters. I made a teacup for each capital letter. Together, we put the teacups in alphabetical order. Ava then had to take the lowercase "tea" (brown ovals that fit at the top of each cup) and match it up with the right teacup.
We worked on identifying and writing the numbers 17 and 18 
Wednesday: T is for trains!
We didn't accomplish a ton of official school time today. The older two were having so much fun planning and were getting along so well all morning, I didn't have the heart to stop them to do school work.  

Book: Trains By: Gail Gibbons 

We made name trains to go along with the theme. The activity was a great way to  practice writing our names. Since Ava's first name is so short, she also added our last name. She drew train tracks and added a person on the train. She said her train was a passenger train. This idea came from Tippy Toe Crafts

Dominic has been really into Thomas the Train lately. He is not one to usually sit through many projects, but he was excited about this one! We worked together to find all his letters and put them in the right place.

The kids also worked together with Daddy to put together the Melissa and Doug alphabet train puzzle, but I didn't snap a picture of this activity. 

Next week we will have a week filled with the under the sea theme! 

Friday, February 22, 2013

S and our 5 Senses!

This week we learned about the letter S and our 5 senses. We took our senses on the road and had some fun having our school time at a hockey game and the Newport Aquarium! I have to say, having school out in the community really appealed to Ava. She did some really good work this week and not once did she complain about a school activity. I know we can't realistically have school like this everyday, but it just made me more excited for the possibilities that home schooling presents! Take a look at our week! 

We started the week off with a family trip to the Cincinnati Cyclones game. Since it was President's Day, Kyle had the day off. Our neighbors came a long too!  

Prior to heading to the game, I introduced the letter S. We talked about words that start with S. We also read a book on the 5 senses and pointed out that the sense of sight and smell start with s too! I explained to Ava that while we were at the hockey game, she was going to use her 5 senses. She had to draw pictures in a journal of things that she heard, saw, smelled, touched, and tasted. 

At home, Ava practiced writing the letter S. 

We reviewed our letters through a few fun games of Alphabet Go Fish! 

We used one of our snack times this week to focus on the sense of taste! I blind folded Ava and Dominic and had them taste a marshmallow, pretzel, piece of dark chocolate, raisin, lemon, and we ended with a yummy treat of ice cream. As they tasted the different foods with their eyes covered, they identified foods that were sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. We also talked about how they knew they were eating ice cream, not only by the way it tasted, but also by the way it felt in their mouth. 

Ava taste testing! 

We used the Melissa and Doug number puzzles to practice numbers 1-15. 

We focused on the sense of smell by doing a painting project with Kool-Aid. I mixed different flavored packets of Kool-Aid with 2 TBS water each. The mixture created scented water colors. The kids had fun painting with them and identifying the different scents. This paint mixture does stain, so I highly recommend covering up clothes! Dominic has very blond hair. I was nervous he would try and paint his hair (because I wouldn't put it past him). Doesn't Kool-Aid dye hair? It was a very supervised painting project. 

Ava created a letter S mini book from First-School

One of the highlights of the week was the trip to the New Port Aquarium! We had some much fun that we went through twice! Same as the hockey game, we went knowing that we would be putting our five senses to work. Ava even picked up on the fact that she heard different types of music as each exhibit  As we walked through the shark exhibit she said the music made her feel like the sharks were going to bite! 

Watching the otters was a lot of fun. They were very lively and jumping and flipping in the water. A biologist was checking in on the exhibit and asked it we had any questions. Ava asked her what the otters eat and why they like to jump so much. 

One of the highlights of our trip to the aquarium was getting to feed the birds! Dominic wanted so badly for the birds to land on his arm. The bird keeper tried. Once food was involved, the birds were all about visiting with us. 

We used our sense of taste at Tom and Chee.
When we arrived home from the aquarium, Ava worked on completing another Five Senses journal describing our trip to the aquarium. 

The last activity we did was write postcards to Mimi and Papa and Grandma and Grandpa telling them all about what we saw at the aquarium! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Letter R

Letter R
This is going to be a quick blog on what we did during letter R week. I am actually a week late on posting, so letter S will follow shortly! We started our week with a trip to the museum for Ava's monthly home school Monday class. It was a great class on the five senses. It was a perfect topic because that it what we are learning about at home right now! During R week we focused on learning about rain. We read some great rain themed books and looked at the water cycle. I have limited pictures for the activities we worked on throughout the week. This month has proved to be quite scheduled with meetings and a lot of foster care commitments. We have found ourselves 
squeezing school activities where time allowed. 

After reading the book, Who Likes Rain By: Etta Kaner, I asked Ava and Dominic to answer the question "Why do you like playing in the rain?" They dictated their answer to me to write and then illustrated it. It wasn't surprising both put they like the puddles! Here is Ava's illustration of her jumping in the puddles on a rainy day. 

This is Dominic's illustration of him jumping in the puddles. 

One of our math activities this week was adding the correct number of raindrops  to the umbrellas. We focused on numbers 0-15. Since it was Valentine's Day week we used heart counters as raindrops. It also went with the book we read, The Day it Rained Hearts By: Felicia Bond. 

After talking about how the clouds form and the rain falls, we created rain clouds using cotton balls. We hung  raindrops from the clouds and dabbed gray paint on the cotton to make the clouds look darker. Both kids enjoyed gluing the cotton balls. 
One of the finished rain clouds! 

Ava practiced writing capital and lowercase Rs.

On Valentine's Day we worked on graphing using conversation hearts. Ava had to sort and graph the hearts based on color. Oddly enough we found that the colors descended from left to right. There were a lot of pinks and only one purple! 

We used the conversation hearts to create patterns. Here is one of Ava's ABC patterns. 

Like I mentioned, we read the book The Day It Rained Hearts. At the end of the story the little girl finds heart trees. We made our own heart trees. For the tree branches and trunk, we painted Ava and Dominic's hand and arm and pressed it against the paper. They they glued hearts on the branches. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Quite the Week with Q!

I can't believe we just finished up a week on the letter Q! Nine more weeks and we will have made it through the alphabet! Today, I worked on assembling a binder of all of Ava's work over the last several months. It was fun to see her work with letter A and compare it to her work with letter Q! She has grown a lot. 

As far as letter Q goes, this week we focused on Q is for quilts. Below are pictures of the activities we worked on throughout our three days of preschool. Except for the projects, most activities were used daily. So, instead of breaking up this blog into three parts, I will just clump it all together. 

Quilt Alphabet By: Lesa Cline-Ransome
The Quilt By: Ann Jonas
The Patchwork Quilt By: Valerie Flournoy 

This activity was a letter Q quilt puzzle. Ava needed to match lower case and upper case q's as well as match shapes to create a quilt. This idea came from This Reading Mama

We played a game to work on  reviewing letters and numbers. Ava stood at the top of the stairs. I showed her a flash card of a number 0-15. If she identified the number correctly she got to take a step down. The goal is to make it to the bottom of the stairs. We did the same activity with letters. I showed her a flashcard of a letter A-Q. She had to tell me the name of the letter and the sound or sounds that the letter made. It is such a simple game. She loved it! I found this on the blog Confessions of a Homeschooler

Ava and Dominic both took turns at the easel painting the capital letter Q using Q-tips.
At the beginning of the year, I was really good about changing out our sensory table. Once I put cornmeal in it, I decided that it was kind of a pain to take out so it stayed there for a while. I finally switched it back to beans and added heart gems and little heart boxes since Valentine's Day is right around the corner. It has been a big hit! 

A fun surprise sensory activity we got to do this week was play with snow! Real snow!  I find that having 3 small children pretty much keeps me out of the loop on what is going on in the included. So, I was surprised the other day when it started snowing and actually accumulating. Since there wasn't enough time to get everyone bundled before dinner, I just brought the snow in the house. It was the good sticky kind! All three kids ( okay me too) were entertained with this for a long time. 

Ava made a lower case q "quilt". 
This week we worked on numbers 15 and 16 in the Disney workbook. 

We brought out all of our quilts and talked about the meaning behind them and  looked for patterns. All three of the kids  have been given a special quilt from their Grandma. We talked about the colors in each quilt and found the patterns too. Their Aunt Staci made a neat tee-shirt quilt for Kyle. We had fun talking about what kind of tee-shirt each of the squares used to be. 

Ava went on a capital and lower case Q hunt. As she found the  letter Q, she stamped it out with her dot paint.  

There wasn't any other way to read our quilt stories except cuddle up in the quilts! 

Our neighbor, Miss Susie, is a quilter. She shared some of her scraps from quilts she  has made.  Ava created her own quilt (decorative of course). She started by exploring different ways she could make her quilt on a 9 block quilt pattern I made for her. She came up with probably 4 different ways before settling on how it would be! 

She glued her quilt squares together and then (using her  own sewing needle!) laced around the edges.  

Our math activity this week was sequencing numbers 0-15 into a "quilt" strip.  

Talking about quilts prompted some fun imaginative play this week. We went on picnics and took our quilts along to serve as our picnic blankets. The kids also had fun making cozy beds using their quilts.