Thursday, May 5, 2011

Letter lesson - K

Princess A and I are now working on the Letter K
The sign words we are focusing on for letter K are king, kangaroo, kitchen, kid, and kiss.  Just click the word to view a video of how to sign the word.  The color is pink simply because the sign for pink is a K drawn down from the lips.  (K is an inverted P and P is for pink)

During this week we will be reading about King David from My First Study Bible: Exploring God's Word On My Own! in the stories God Chose His Own Man, I Was a Giant Killer, and I Want to Worship God.  (Be sure and review the sign for king and you can even teach the sign for God if you haven't already).

This weeks song is I wish I were a baby Kangaroo sung to the tune of If your happy and you know it
I wish I were a baby kangaroo
I wish I were a baby kangaroo
for if I were a roo
I'd hop right up to you
I wish I were a baby kangaroo
Be sure to hop around (working on gross motor skills) while singing!
And this weeks Bible verse is 1 Corinthians 8:1b

Since it is spring around here we are spending some time outside counting leaves on some of our seedlings.  (see the science section)  If it is later in the year for you, you could count the petals on some of the flowers, lay a hula hoop in your yard and count all of the bugs you find in that area (or all the rocks, or all the clovers, or all the fallen leaves, etc).  We also put a bird feeder in the tree in front of our learning window.  I researched what kind of birds were common to our area and chose those that were easiest to identify (robins, bluejays and cardinals).  I printed out pictures of each and pasted them onto a piece of paper.  This paper hangs by our window so when Princess A sees one of the birds she puts a mark by it's picture.  At the end of the week count how many of each she has seen and then graph the totals. 


Princess A LOVED watching this video with Kermit teaching how to make the letter K using her finger and air writing.

Drawing letters in the air is a great way to practice writing letters.  Involving the whole body aids in memory retention.  Use this letter K picture and have your child glue beans to it in the shape of the K.  (When done, count the beans for a quick math activity)   Since we still have a ton of plastic Easter eggs left, I decided to put them to use.  On the top half of the egg use a permanent marker or stickers and attach/write an uppercase letter.  On the bottom half attach/write the lowercase letter.  (Depending upon the age and ability of your child you can make sure the top and bottom are the same color or you can mix them up.)  Scatter the tops and bottoms on the floor and have your child match them up.  Again, use your judgement as to how many letters to use for this game.  You can also use the eggs another way.  Sit with your child and go through a magazine.  Have your child identify pictures of items beginning with the /k/ sound.  Cut them out and place them in your egg.  Don't want to do the eggs?  Create a K collage instead.  See below for some suggested books to read.


Get in the kitchen with your child, after all it is one of our words this week!  Preschoolers can help scoop flour into a measuring cup (be sure to count how many it takes), stir, dump, pour, etc.  A lot of times they will even eat what they make (a great way to introduce new foods).  Be sure to talk about how things change when you cook them. (The batter was runny and after baking it stays together.)  Crack and egg and show them how it is runny, then fry, boil, or scramble it and see how it changes.  Make sure to encourage your child to make LOTS of observations and even to hypothesize about how/if what you are making will change.  

Since it is spring here, we also did a seed project.  You need a ziptop sandwich bag, paper towel, bean seed (we used a lima bean).  Be sure to use a dried bean seed.  Wet the paper towel and squeeze until it is just damp.  Fold and place the towel in the sandwich bag.  Place a couple of beans in the bag on top of the towel.  Remove as much air as possible and seal the bag closed. We hung our seed bag in our learning window so we could observe it every day.  Things to point out: the roots always grow down and the stem always grows up.  

Social Studies:

Have you ever heard of Flat Stanley?  Basically Flat Stanley is a paper doll that you mail off to someone.  While they have him they keep a journal of sorts about what they do together.  They then mail the original person a postcard of where he is and then they mail him and the journal off to someone else who repeats the process.  At a given time the journal and Stanley are mailed back to the original person.  Why not do a Flat Kate? Chose a girl coloring page and print out your Flat Kate so your child can color it.  Hit up the Dollar Tree for some mini composition notebooks to use as your journal.  Write up your explanation of what is going on and mail it all out.  (You can even pass her around the church or your local preschool group if you would rather.)  When you get Kate back you can show your child where she has been on a map.


This one takes a little preparation.  Buy some white beans (navy beans, lima beans etc).  Divide them up into 6 different baggies.  Add a few drops of red liquid food color to one, blue to another, yellow to another, mix yellow and blue to make green in another, red and blue to make purple in another, and red and yellow to make orange in another.  Shake to coat the seeds.  Then spread them out and allow them to dry.  Finally, let your child use them to create pictures.  Simply glue them on to paper.  Some of the stained glass coloring sheets would be great to use for this.

Decorate a crown that a king might wear.

Phys. Ed.

KICK!  Play kickball together.  Set up a goal and practice kicking the ball into it.  

And that is all for letter K this week.  Hope you found some ideas to help you along!

Letter lesson - J

Princess A and I are on letter J this week.  We incorporate ASL in each lesson so she not only recognizes the letters and the names but she recognizes the sign for them as well.  The sign words we focused on were Jesus, jump, jelly, jacket (same as for coat), and jungle.  Just click the word to go to a visual of the sign.  You could do juice also but that is one we learned when she was younger.  We are also doing the color brown

So here is our learning window. 

The clings are from Dollar Tree, the color set and the alphabet set.
Bible points
We will read from My First Study Bible: Exploring God's Word On My Own!  the story of Joseph and his coat (review the sign for jacket/coat) in God Makes Good from Bad and also the chapter Jesus Loves Children (review the sign for Jesus) 
sing Jesus Loves Me (or if you you can learn how to sign it by watching this video)
Bible verse:
John 3:16

Jelly Bean math
      this one focuses on counting, recognizing written numbers, colors and matching.  Pick and choose which areas to focus on for your child.  We typically focus on one a day.  Princess A likes this because she gets to eat the jelly beans when we finish!  You will need jelly beans and a deck of uno cards. (we had an old deck that was worn and missing cards so it got incorporated into our school supplies)  Here is where you can mix and match.  Lay out cards and have your child place the correct number of jelly beans on each card.  You can also lay out the cards with the same number but different colors and have your child group the colors together matching the number on the card and then count how many groups, then how many jelly beans total, and practice skip counting (2, 4, 6 etc  this one is a little advanced for us right now though).  You can also give your child a handful of jelly beans.  You child can sort them into colors and then find the card number that matches (ie 4 red jelly beans get a number 4 card or a red number 4 card)  Lots of options here so that you can change it up every time you do it.

Teach the new sign words.  When reading about Joseph talk about his Jacket/coat.  Go on a letter J hunt.  Take index cards and cut them in half.  On each card write a letter.  (be sure to include several copies of the letter J)  You can cover each card with packing tape or contact paper to make them sturdier and then you can save them to reuse later.  Or you can download and print out a set here on cardstock.  Hide the letters through out your home and have you child hunt them out.  When he/she finds a letter have them bring it to you and tell you the letters name.  (You can also make the sound to help with phonemic awareness)  See below for some suggested books to read while studying the letter J.  Don't forget the standard language arts teaching moments - pointing out the letter on signs, in the stores, in the books you read as well as the color brown.

make some homemade jelly.  You can find my recipe for Appalachian Jelly by clicking here, but there are lots of easy recipes out there.  Disappearing juice drawings.  Using a paint brush and lemon juice, have your child paint a plain sheet of computer paper.  Allow it to dry and show it to your child.  Then hold the painting close to an incandescent light bulb and watch the drawing reappear!  Visit a zoo (in person or online) and check out the animals that live in a jungle.

Social Studies:
make a set of binoculars like a jungle explorer would use.  Use them to go on a jungle hunt.  Think along the lines of going on a bear hunt:  We're going on a jungle hunt, to see what we can see.  What a beautiful day!  We're not scared!  Uhh Ohh....a _________  can't go under it, can't go over it, can't go around it, we have to go through it (make sounds)  include color descriptions when possible (uhh ohh....leaves, dry brown leaves)

homemade playdough with letter cut outs are always a hit.  As well as fingerpainting letters.  I also tend to try and include a coloring sheet that goes with the stories we read (ie joseph coloring sheet, jesus with children, jungle animals, etc) that princess A can color or paint depending on how messy I want to get that day.  When the weather is nice we also go outside and make GIANT letters on the driveway with chalk.  I have even had her lay down in a letter shape and traced her on the driveway.  Art was also covered with the binoculars, the juice painting and the singing.  Mix colors together and see which ones make brown.

Phys Ed.
JUMP!  Play Jack be nimble.  decorate a toilet paper roll to look like a candle and place it on the floor.  (Paint the roll any color you like.  cut 6 slits along the bottom, each about 1/2 inch.  Open slits out and glue them to a small paper plate.  Color/paint plate.  Use red, orange and yellow tissue paper to create flames and glue inside top of tp roll.  Easy candlestick)  Child stands on one side as you sing the first verse.  Jack be nimble, jack be quick, jack jump over the candlestick.  Jack jumped high, Jack jumped low, Jack jumped over it don't you know! Substitute names for Jack and jump over the candlestick.
In addition we found this awesome song on youtube.  Princess A loves it!

Until next time,

An Introduction

For several weeks now Princess A and I have been "playing" school.  Poor girl watches Little man J and Happy Girl H leave every morning and go to school and she wants to go so bad so I decided to put some of my college education as a Pre-K-6 educator to work.  (disclaimer:  princess A's surprise arrival led to a degree postponed so that I could be home with her.  One of my core beliefs is that family is my priority second only to God) 

For about an hour 2-3 days a week we have "school".  Now I am a frugal educator, so there are no expensive props in my house.  For the most part we use what we have or what we can find on the internet or the Dollar Tree.  We do one letter every couple of weeks with lots of review.  That being said, I don't ever push her.  I want it to be fun and when it isn't fun for her we stop.  After all, she is only 2 and school should not be a chore at 2.

So, today I just wanted to give you a few of my pointers
*Establish a School supplies area
          I bought one of those plastic 3 drawer shelves to store ours in.  It sits in the dining room where we have school.  Makes it a lot easier to gather what I need for that days activities.  In it I keep crayons/markers, water color paints, dry lima beans, cotton balls, homemade playdough, scissors, and so much more.  Princess A is not allowed in this unless we are having school.  This helps to establish boundaries (which will be vital when she does start school) and makes these items "special" which lends excitement to the activities.
*use as many free resources as possible
         Preschoolers aren't always know for their attention span or their neatness.  For the most part, if I can get it for free, I do.  It makes no sense to me to go out and purchase a CD of activity songs when I can find tons of them on youtube with a video to boot!  With the abundance of free conversion software, if Princess A grows especially fond of a song I can convert it and save it to an mp3 player or cd.  You can also borrow CD's from your local library.  Same idea for books.  The local librarian and I are on a first name basis.  This is great because Princess A now has a HUGE variety of books available to her and the librarian even keeps an eye out for books that might interest her and sets them aside for me.  I don't know about all libraries, but with my card I can long on to the library website, search out books, put a hold on them and the librarian then pulls them and has them waiting for me to pick up on my next visit.  I can even order books from other libraries in the county and have them waiting for me at my local library!  Even better, I don't have to store them all.  Again, if we come across one we really enjoy we purchase it for her library.  There are also a lot of free books you can read together online as well.  Also, use what nature provides.  If it is fall, use acorns as a counting manipulative, or dandelions in the summer.  You can even make water color paints from flowers, grass, onions etc.  Not to mention the outdoors is great for science learning.  Go on an insect hunt, gather seeds and compare, mix colors using spray bottles and the snow outside.

*Don't overlook your Dollar Tree store
          These stores have really begun to cater to homeschoolers and teachers.  I stop in every few weeks to see if there is anything new I can use.  Flash cards for a buck, alphabet/colors/shapes window clings, even writing papers, stickers, foam shapes etc.  I have a window in my dining room that has become Princess A's school window.  You can tell what letter we are on by looking at the window because it is covered in alphabet window clings up to that letter.  We use it every time we have school to review. 

I will add to this as more comes to me.  It is my intention to post 26 lesson starters (1 for each letter).  I call them starters becuase I am not planning to give plans, just resources and a general idea.  What works for Princess A may not work for your little prince or princess. 
Until next time,

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