Friday, January 29, 2010

Nature & More

This week, for one of the first times I incorporated a theme that we were learning about (snow and winter) into almost every subject of our school.

I found a whole bunch of snow printables at prek-kinders (a new site I stumbled on that I absolutely love and I'm sure I will be using it ALOT)!

I printed off some snowman stamp sheets - there are 8 snowmen on a page, I wrote a letter on each snowman, then (while doing laundry) I would make a letter sound and Treyton would stamp (with a do-a-dot) the appropriate letter. Treyton absolutely loved this and has asked to do it a couple times since then.

I also printed off the Snowman Letter Sounds Game (all 26 of them) and have had Treyton pick out 3-5 letters a day to work on - there are 9 pictures on each snowman, under a letter, he stamps (with a do-a-dot) the pictures that begin with that letter. This is excellent review for Treyton, as we will be moving on to Explode the Code, book 1, next week!!
For additional review we took some alphabet cards we had in our activity box  Treyton put the alphabet in order and then went through and added the pictures that started with each letter underneath.
Treyton finished up book C "Go for the Code" this week. We went VERY slowly through the letter X (like 2-3 pages a week compared to 12 before) because Treyton really struggled with hearing the sound at the "end" of a word. We were going round-and-round about it until I realized how important it is for Treyton to see and touch (he is a visual/kinesthetic learner) he does NOT learn just by hearing!

Once I got the scrabble tiles in his hands, he used the word whammer a bunch of times I knew it wasn't that he didn't have the ability, it was more a matter that he couldn't do it the way I was trying to have him do it. SOOOO I began to brainstorm and the next time we worked on ending sounds I drew a short line - I then had Treyton use his pencil or finger to start at the beginning of the line and run his finger to the end of the line as he was saying a word and he could identify the sound, no problem, but to just say the word he could not pick out the end sound.

Today, when we were working on the ending sounds (without the line by now), he said to me "this is easy!!" You have no idea what those words meant to me. Two weeks ago Treyton was saying "I don't like hard school, I just want easy school, just fun school" I kept trying to explain to him that sometimes things are hard for a little while, but once we understand it it gets easy, just like learning his letters was hard at first but now it is easy.
After he told me that it was easy I took that time to explain to him that I knew he could do it, and that if he kept trying even when things were hard that they would get easier. He totally understood and was excited that he accomplished something!! It was a great homeschool moment (after many not so great ones in the last couple weeks). 

Number Writing 
This week for math I introduced writing the number 9, I wanted to try a different approach this week because learning with the worksheets were not going so well (after all the corrections and review we have had to do, this was obvious. The worksheets are great for Treyton for practice but I have learned that he needs to start out learning to write something on his own (without tracing) and then for neatness practice and improvement the tracing really helps.
So I found a snowman grid on pre-kinders site - they recommended a cute little game which I altered a bit:
We took two dice, Treyton would roll them - he then counted them and would write the number on a snowman. This was a blizzard of fun!! Treyton loved rolling the dice and the "non seriousness" of school and Lexie was even able to play along some too. It was a win-win for everyone. We even got to practice numbers he hasn't written before (9, 10 and 12 all happened to come up out of 10 rolls - 9 actually came up 3 times... AWESOME!)

Matching Snowflakes & Counting by 2s

I printed off a snowflake matching game from Confessions of a Homeschooler - we started trying to do the matching game but to be honest there were just too many snowflakes - it was too hard for me so I told Treyton we would just match them up - he wanted to do that game - but seriously - it was too hard for me!
After we matched them all up I took 8 of the snowflakes out (4 pair). Treyton and I talked about counting by one - we counted up to 8.

Next I told Treyton "We can also count by twos, we will get the same answer, but it's just a different way to count" - I then had Treyton touch two snowflakes at a time as we counted 2, 4, 6, 8. We did it a couple of times and then we counted by ones again, to show that we got the same answer. Then I had Treyton count by twos on his own... he did better than I thought he said "2, 4, 5, (I said "6"), 6, 7 (I said "8") 8"
I asked him to do it one more time - this time he said "2, 4, 6, 7 (I said "8") 8"
He wanted to add in more, I would only let him go up to 10 (he wanted more), but after 12 Treyton still makes some mistakes in counting, if he's not paying attention, so I only wanted to work up as high as I knew that he would understand.

I printed off a snowflake/snowman pattern sheet from Confessions of a Homeschooler - Treyton has always struggled with the pattern worksheets so I thought we would take the time to talk about patterns and "order" - I got our handy dandy white board out and we did several patterns on the board. Treyton did not have a problem at all. Once I gave him the printable he did pretty good, but still struggled a little bit. It's easier for him if he has more than two repeats of the pattern - three seems to work best. BUT he is getting it!

So obviously the snow theme stems from our nature studies - this week for nature we continued to read our snow/winter books. Our favorites are:

The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter's Wonder" by Mark Cassino this is an excellent book. It's just a little beyond Treyton so I leave out parts of it or re-word it as I go, but this book has taught Treyton (and me) the most about snow. He learned that a snowflake begins as a speck and he also learned that most snowflakes have 6 points (unless it's a twin and it will have 12 --- who knew?!?!)

Who Grows Up in the Snow by Melissa Carpenter this book is on the baby polar animals. Both of the kids really enjoyed this book, especially Lexie. We didn't go very much into polar animals but it was nice to at least read a book on them.

Today is Snowy (Pebble Plus) by Martha E. H. Rustad we love the pebble books, these books are perfect for preschoolers. Treyton is getting a little beyond them but we still really enjoy them. This book does not cover the specifics of snow as much as what snowy weather is like. It's accurate and easy reading!

PhotobucketFootrprints in the Snow: Counting by Twos by Michael Dahl this book was fun - I got it because I was going to introduce counting by twos, I didn't think it was a great "counting by twos book" as far as math goes, but to be fair it isn't a "math book". Lexie loved the animals and Treyton liked the repetitiveness of the pages. It was a cute book and a nice addition to our storytime.

PhotobucketMillions of Snowflakes by Mary McKenna Siddals this was a cute story book - not very technical for our studies but perfect for easy reading on the topic of snow. It did lead us into a good discussion about one snowflake vs. millions of snowflakes.

PhotobucketLet's Look at Winter (Pebble Plus) by Sarah L. Schuette another pebble book so the reading was easy but included pages on animals in the winter, trees, etc. - it went great with what we were learning in our Download n' Go Studies

As part of our nature study we brought in a bowl of snow - to see what would happen - I know this will shock you but it melted and turned to water!!

(The one with the salt has a popsicle stick in it) 
While doing this we also took another bowl of snow to which we added salt on the top of it - to see which bowl of snow would melt faster. This was to illustrate to Treyton not only the affect of salt on snow and ice but also he has asked alot of questions in the past about all the salt on the road and why they do that - this was a great illustration for that.

Field Trip
This last weekend was the Flake Fest in Wisconsin Dells (a local tourist spot for those of you who may not know) so we went to spend the weekend with Grandma and Grandpa (my parents) to see it. It was pretty cool to see the snow sculptures and dog pulling contest (though Treyton didn't like that too much) but Treyton's favorite part was the ice maze.
This is me, my niece Shayla, Treyton and my friend's adorable daughter Melanie! 
Me and Spiderman in front of his choice of sculpture... some monster looking thing.

Winter Wonders by Amanda Bennett 
We did two more days in this book. One of the days focused on Polar Animals which our "Who Grows up in the Snow" book went perfectly.

We did two more geography pages this week - Tennessee and California.
The Postcard exchange is REALLY exciting for Treyton. He loves it! So far we have gotten Post Cards from California, Tennessee, Hawaii, Florida and Indiana. This is so great for Treyton - he loves mail so much, as well as the United States Geography so this really is a perfect encouragement for him. If any of you are interested and haven't done the exchange with us yet we would still love too!
Just send me an e-mail with your information and we will send you ours!!

This week I made the kids "Art Books" to do some of our arts and crafts in, I saw these on a few blogs and thought they were cute, I had these little books so I thought "why not?" We made snowman's out of cotton balls and paint - Treyton added snow flakes falling from the sky to his. I didn't get a picture of his finished picture but I did while the paint was drying. He has since drawn on buttons, hair, faces and arms to them. They're super cute and I had a lot of fun putting the books together, with the help of my cricut of course!! (I will post the covers sometime)


Debbie said...

What a great week you had! I love seeing the snow!

We received your postcard, thank you.

Unknown said...

I am glad to see your son is getting into school now- that is always so encouraging! Keep at, girlie!

Susana said...

Your week is unbelievable! I love all that you did, but especially your Science, Art and fun field trip.

I looked at your Curriculum page and see that my Joe and your Treyton are the same age. I also see that you just finished up ETC book C of the Primers, so did we. And, I saw that you are planning to use Happy Phonics as well. Have you gotten it, started it yet? I just got ours this week and am in the prepare/cut phase. We will begin it Monday and it looks awesome!!

I love your wrap up posts, they are always so full of fun and detail!

Willow said...

Just found your blog today and love all of your fun activities! I have a 4 1/2 year old daughter who is doing similar activities and looking forward to incorporating in some of your ideas!!

Ticia said...

One thing I really like about your posts is almost every week I see a shirt we have here.
And your postcards from us should be in the mail on Monday, it took a little longer with Princess' surgery.
Oh, and we got your postcards and the kids were so excited by them. And I know where you're talking about in the Dells. We went there last summer visiting family.