Sunday, July 6, 2014

Toddler Summer Literacy week 1

I decided to gather together my materials for my daughter's Mommy Preschool on Monday which was perfect because our first day was Tuesday, July 1st. Now I am a certified teacher, so I do have experience in this department. I did look up on Pinterest  how other mom's handled home preschooling I think because teaching my own daughter was a little bit nerve wracking. It really depends on your child's core knowledge and your comfort zone and wishes.  I am a bad judge of cost for this because I browsed through our things or I made it out of paper or cardboard. The only thing I bought was pushpins. I had a cork board that was not in use, but I saw many posts explained how they bought pocket charts and such. I do have some materials that I'm using from my teaching stuff, so I may have a slight advantage. Everything on the board is cut out of index cards. A lot of the toys my daughter has lying around her room have become my teaching tools. So search those toys and use them well. And I've searched the youtube for some songs but more on that in a minute.

Materials used this week:
  • Cork Board
  • Pushpins (tac or velcro coul
  • Blank Index Cards
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Masking Tape
  • Small Stickers
  • Zip Lock Bags
  • Dry Erase Board
  • Dry Erase Markers
  • Eraser or tissues
  • Alphabet Cards (Dollar Store)
  • Shape/Color Cards (Dollar Store)
  • Number Cards (Dollar Store)
  • Small Geoboard and rubber bands
  • Domino Set
  • My Very First Book set (4 books) by Eric Carle
  • Composition Journal with the top of paper space for drawing
  • Pencil
  • Crayons
  • Puzzles
  • Play-Doh
  • Water Color Paints
  • Board Games

On the left I have our schedule for a days routine. After she completes a center, she puts a sticker next to it to show completion so at the time of the picture you can see she still hadn't finished her fun activity. The sticker thing was a last minute thought on the first day. I really wanted to use a clothes pin and move it down as we went, but I couldn't find where I had stored those. If you want to get fancy, you can make it a cartoon character or little boy or girl depending on your child's wishes. My daughter likes the responsibility of the stickers after each activity.
  • We start with our Calendar. We sing "The Days of the Week" song followed by "The Months of the Year" song. Next I say "Yesterday was .... Today is ... Tomorrow will be..." If she knows it, cool. At this point I'm not expecting much because she's still learning (even if she is familiar with this from daycare). Then together (because of the push pins, some people use tac or Velcro) we flip around the number card for the day. She will flip over Saturday and Sunday on Monday. The we say the whole date including the day. She looks out the window and picks a weather (sunny, cloudy, rainy, snowy, and windy for now) and puts up both the word and picture. Then she gets to put her sticker on to indicate we are moving to alphabet and reading.
  • For Literacy, my daughter already has mastery of almost all of the 26 letters (varies between 22-24 known). We start by singing the "Alphabet". This week I spent reviewing the letters with her to gauge her level. So I started with Letter Recognition for Upper Case letters which I used my white board and markers (toys I had for her anyway and from teaching) and I asked her what each letter was. In the back of her writing notebook, I have been keeping a Running Record of  her progress, things she either gets or doesn't. For instance, Autumn missed on day two the letters N, S, I, & C; day three she missed C & Y; and day four she missed Y, J, & S thinking it was C. Day three I added Letter Sounds using the refrigerator LeapPad. My only complaint is with the letter C and S (the sound is muffled and misleading). I have her repeat each letter's sound(s) because the ultimate goal is to get her to start spelling and reading. On Friday, I thought it would be cool if we came up with a different word for each letter, but this wound up being painful for me. She is not at this level yet and had a melt down during this. So I guided her with some and others she did on her own. The result is the picture on the right. 
  • In between Literacy and Math, I have her do a quick break, something physical. Letters are very challenging for I think both of us, and so is Math. I have Autumn stand and do "Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" or "The Hookey Pookey".  

  •  Math took a similar course as Literacy did starting with Number Recognition followed by Shape Recognition. My daughter excels at counting from one to eleven and just needs reminders sometimes to point and count slower. She always uses her pointer finger and touches each item while saying the number, so this isn't a skill I need to cover. It is recognizing numbers that we have to work on without the added help of counting. In my Running Record, I added next the math section because she does not recognize her numbers 6-12 yet. I think she is close to having 8 down, and she mixes up 6 and 9... so she just needs more repetition to get better at it. Math is just so much more than numbers though. We also did Shape Recognition with the cards and wrote in the running record what she didn't know. Surprisingly enough, she knew octagon which was very impressive. We dabbled in counting the sides for the shapes but nothing to hard core. Thurdsay we also used the Eric Carle books for shapes and numbers as a different activity. Friday after our normal review she got to play with the Geoboard to make shapes which she loved and I told her she could use during her activity time if she chooses.
  • By this point we've spent at least an hour on Mommy Preschool and could use a break. So we get a snack and music with cd (or you can use youtube) and I let her eat snack and dance for a while. 

  • Writing is more to have her practice. Sometimes I do hand-over-hand for the difficult letters, but she does have pretty good coordination from coloring and straight lines are not challenging for her. She is a righty and I do make her stick with it. This first week we spent doing A-Z and 1-9, 2 of each. Next week we will focus on A-E (one a day) like in Literacy and she will draw pictures with crayons for each letter. It is good to overlap content areas because it helps the child with repetition and remembering. The first thing I want to mention is they do sell notebooks with the double think lines for preschool age. I had this journal and just made it what I needed using three markers. If you notice the top line is blue, the middle dashes are green, and the bottom line is orange (brown was very dark). When teaching her to write, I call them Sky Line, Grass Line, and Dirt Line. This really helps with her ability to know where each shape goes. Another thing I noticed was with the purple letters she had to trace, (a color she picked for the first two pages) was I can't really see her pencil lines that well. While I value her choices in some things, there has to be a line of the child's choice and practicality. This book is something I will keep and I want to see her work, not mine. So for the rest of the book, she will be tracing only over yellow. I had started with a space for her to do the letter without tracing, but she is just not up to that and I don't really want to stress her out. I did however correct her when she had a line go way below the dirt line and told her she can't do that. The danger with using the eraser with kids is they always want to erase thereafter, so I have to set firm rules on her not erasing. At the end of each writing page, she will also get a sticker.

  •  Language  is the one place I feel our public schools needs to catch up on in very early grades. A young child's capability for learning languages is at its best the younger they are. America is far behind other countries in the citizens knowing more than one fluent language and I think that is such a shame. I am starting with Spanish with Autumn but hope she can develop Japanese, Chinese or Arabic in school because they are based on characters other than the alphabet. I have a working knowledge of Spanish and have decided it is easier to start with what I know. So we begin with the song "Buenos Dias" and here's a link for a good this song bilingual    Now I would like to show her videos for colors and numbers but didn't really have any last week. This link also does "Diez Deditos" which counts all the fingers and works nicely for numbers. After the songs, I use the extra flash cards colors and numbers to just have her repeat each with me. My daughter already knows all of her colors and numbers verbally so this is the only way teaching her the words will work. I wrote the words on cards and added them to our board.
    • Spanish Colors Used: anaranjado, morado, cafe, rosado, rojo, amarillo, blanco, negro, azul, verde. (Not, brown and purple have different words in Castilian Spanish and I know Latin Spanish which is what most American public schools teach)
    • Spanish Numbers Used: uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez

  • Now the next slot is currently filled with Cooking, which my daughter and I baked a 4th of July Cake. Next week she will start swimming lessons Monday -Thursday as long as the weather is decent because it's at a lake. So the Cooking will only be for Fridays and rainy days.  

  • Activities are basically her choice for free play that I will assist her with. We have play-doh, puzzles, paint by number, books with cd's, geoboard, etc. This is also the time I have for if she wants to play any of her board games with me like Candy Land, Hungry Hippos, Garden, Shopping... but she usually picks play-doh and is done with me by this point lol.

Here is a tentative time schedule for what I do, although I can not account for melt downs which are invariably going to happen (no snatching, touching teacher stuff without asking, leaving the school area to play, etc. I always try and teach her to be polite and to follow rules, but apparently touching is just the one thing I don't know how to deal with yet lol... that was a crazy laugh by the way). 

Tentative Breakdown by Time:
  • Calendar: 5-10 minutes
  • Literacy (alphabet & reading): 20-40 minutes
  • Quick break between Literacy and Math: 2-5 minutes
  • Math (numbers, shapes, dominoes): 20-40 minutes
  • Snack & Music: 20-40 minutes
  • Writing: 10-20 minutes (without coloring a picture)
  • Swimming/Cooking: about an hour and a half
  • Activities: about 30-60 minutes
Ideas for next week:
    • It may be fun to add learning The Pledge of Allegiance during Calendar
    • Matching  Upper Case Letters to Lower Case Letters and focusing on the sounds for A-E during Alphabet and Reading
    • Simon Says for the quick break between Literacy and Math
    • Matching number to items and Dominoes for Math (need to think more on what to do)
    • Writing and drawing A-E
    • More review of Spanish using bilingual songs for colors and numbers.

Next week I will either have to get her up earlier and start school at like 8:30 or rearrange our schedule. We have been starting at about 9:15am and end  language about 12. She starts a 30 minute swim class from 11-11:30 meaning we will be gone from 10:30-noon so our schedule will be a bit variable. Plus I have some errands to run that can only go during the day. And that's not counting rainy days which we won't do swimming. So cooking will be on Friday's and any day that does not have swimming. I had a slot also for outside, but I do that anyway so it wasn't necessary.  It may seem like a lot, but she really enjoys spending the time learning and with me. I am actually seeing my daughter in a new light. She is just super adorable, and while everyone says it, this as helped me see it even more. 

Let the toddler training continue. 

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