Sunday, July 13, 2014

Toddler Summer Literacy week 2

We are more settled into our mommy preschool this week than last week and Autumn is doing great! We usually get our start at 9:00 ish. Each night that is nice which was towards the end of the week, Autumn goes outside at like 9pm with her Poppy to catch lightning bugs which she loves. So by the time we get dressed and ate breakfast its usually pretty late.
A side note, the LeapFrog materials were all gifts for Christmas and birthday. Like I said, really scour your toys for those that are educational.

Materials added this week:
LeapFrog- Fridge Letters
LeapFrog- Leap Pad 2
LeapFrog- Leap Pad 2 game: Get Ready For Kindergarten: Counting at the Dragon
LeapFrog- Leap Pad 2 game: Little Pim: Spanish Volumes 1, 2, and 3
At the end of Week 2


Autumn will start calendar using the pointer and singing "Days of the Week" and "Months of the Year" Then we will flip over the day's number and say what yesterday was, today is, and tomorrow will be... a mini-prediction. We always say day, month, number, year. I decided to add teaching her Ordinal numbers with the calendar and she loves it (sometimes she asks to do this again during Math which is a great cross reference). I  also focused on calling each number for the day the number of the week and throughout the rest of the day I would mention it here and there. Like octagon has eight sides for Tuesday which was the eighth.

Something I think is very important as a teacher is to reinforce subjects a child is learning in other subjects. For instance, since she is learning letter sounds, I asked her which day starts with 'M', 'W', 'T', 'F', and 'S' before moving onto the next subject. Sometimes I ask her what letter various words start with as well.   

Another form of my personal reinforcing is when she earns a sticker. I am using various color smiley faces and since she is now learning Spanish colors, I have been teaching her how to answer "Que color quieres?" in which she will respond "Yo quiero, ... por favor." It's completely informal but I'm modeling how to use the language instead of just teaching her vocabulary. I'm not the best Spanish speaker, but she really enjoys this.  

All of this is done pretty quickly as well. No more than 10 minutes at the most. 


Autumn again starts this section with a song, "The Alphabet". Then I show her the alphabet flash cards and ask her to recall them all. I was so happy that by Thursday she could recognize each letter in the alphabet, SCORE!

Then I go back to the beginning (they are always mixed up now) and I have her repeat after me all of the letter's sounds. Letter sounds can be tricky, but I remembered that I have the LeapFrog Fridge Letters which really helps (sometimes my daughter likes to talk back and say I'm wrong so I could prove to her that I wasn't telling her the wrong sounds lol). I start by reviewing all of the sounds with her and then give her the LeapFrog Fridge Letters A-E to review independently.
An important part of learning letter sounds is the placement of lips and tongue. Some notable letters are:
  • 'f'- teeth on the bottom lip pushing air out (can be confused with 'v')
  • 'h'- I put my hand in front of my open mouth and blow air out quickly
  • 'l'- show child to put their tongue on the rough of their mouth making an lll sound
  • 'm'- lips pressed together and make the mmm sound like something is yummy
  • 'n'- lips opened, teeth together making nnn sound (can be confusing with m and n)
  • 'o'- make your mouth like an 'o'
  • 'v'- teeth on the bottom lip vibrating
Towards the end of the week all I had to do was make certain shapes with my face for her to remember the sounds and while she doesn't have all of them mastered it has helped her tremendously. For instance, with the shapes, she actually used the beginning letter sound to  figure out the shapes she hadn't mastered yet. SCORE! She also pretty much has down the sounds for A-E (SCORE! ) which means when we finish with the sounds in 4 weeks, we can go ahead and start spelling words.

Next we practiced just recognizing the Upper to Lower Case letters on the white board for letters A-E. Towards the end of the week, I made a matching game using the blank index cards with a upper case on one card (I cut them in half but you don't have to) and the lower case on the other. I made sure to have the blue sky line, green grass dashes, and the orange for the dirt line. I used this because the 'd', 'p', 'b', and 'q' will get very confusing for the little ones. All the upper case were pink and all the lower case were green for continuity. I line them up mismatched and have her correct them. Obviously, 'b' and 'd' are the challenging points here for here. We also play the match game which she is really good at. 
I found that the white board was not as effective as having the manipulatives of actually holding the cards and moving them is so much better for children then just drawing a line. 
Alphabet Cards much better than white board

Not Very Effective

Now I did something else that I did not find to be very effective for her yet. Kind of like something I did too soon. I was having her come up with item's that she knew started with the letter A-E sounds. This was totally my bad because I was still a bit unsure of her level. Will NOT do this again for a while. Now I thought about not adding this to the blog since I am not going to be doing it, but I thought it would be a nice reminder that it's ok to make mistakes. 

I end this time with reading her a book. She chooses something from her library and we I read it to her. She's been picking the books that have more than one story in it like Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel which has a handful of stories. These I just read one or two in.


I had some changes in writing that I mentioned during week one. I am only having her trace the letters. This week our focus is on A-E and each day she did a different letter for both a line of upper case and a line of lower case. I made a Not Very Effective call in the beginning again, I was asking her to draw something that started with each letter, but she's not really up to that, so I ended with having her color in things I drew for her. Making it hers, I asked her what she wanted me to draw after I gave her a variety of suggestions from words we've gone over or that she should know.


She had swimming Monday through Thursday this week. I am a swimmer myself but knew that it would be better for her to learn this from a third party. I thought I would be able to sit and relax for 30 minutes and read a book while she was there, but she is still 3 and I watch her a lot. She likes to play with the sand and rocks and doesn't always listen. The life guards are teenagers and it's not really in their job description to discipline too.

~lunch and nap time~

This is my segue between math and writing now. I also put music right after nap on Tuesday because she was just too grumpy after Monday's nap to function enough for Math hehe.


I've had some problems with my cd play so I decided to just use YouTube for music time. This is just a way for her to get up, move around, and enjoy music. In her last daycare, she would always come home singing 'We are the dinosaurs marching, marching'. So I looked that one up and found it to be the Laurie Berkner Band. So we have gone through most of their songs and created a personalized list of songs that is upbeat and fun. My point is to get her dancing, sorry to the nice soft songs. The 'O Susanna Song' she even uses her maraca's.
Here's the link for their page: Laurie Berkner Band

For the most part, I am participating fully with her while she listens to these songs. I sing them with her and do the movements. How boring for her would it be if she did it all alone?


Routines are nice because we started with recognizing numbers 1-12. She still gets the bigger numbers confused, but doing the ordinal numbers during calendar is helping to reinforce them as well as Spanish numbers.
One activity with numbers I would do which I didn't mention last blog but used and forgot to write about was my preschool file folders. I created these more than 6 years ago, right out of college. So this has to do with matching the number to the correct group of dots that she counts. She is good at counting but you sometimes just have to remind her to go slower. I have 4 different ones for math.

Like I said I got these a long time ago, so the website has more. Here is the link for them, but check out the website for other fun things: File Folders for PreK
She played with Dominos only going up to 3 and I showed her how to play with matching sides. This one was fun because it was challenging for her.
We followed up with reviewing our shapes and by the end of the week she knew all 13 shapes I had been teaching her. SCORE! I'm going to need to figure something new out, but I think I'm going to find some cool number mazes and stuff like I saw in the workbooks at Barnes and Nobles that I checked out this week. 
She would have one more activity, and usually it was the geoboard because she loves the hands on manipulatives with rubber bands and making her own shapes. 
I added her playing on her LeapPad2 Get Ready For Kindergarten: Counting at the Dragon. This game teaches fewest and most and number recognition up to number 5 I believe. It's so cute to hear her ask me "Fewest means little, right mommy?"

Language (Spanish)

For Spanish, I believe that immersion is the best and we have so many resources, that it is possible for her to become fluent. We practice our colors and our numbers every day.
Besides just practicing, I am a fan of music and that lead me to YouTube. Here is one video we watch that has two songs in it: "Buenos Dias" and "Diez Deditos"

I also found I really like the group kidsimmersion and they have a lot of videos. It's amazing how many free resources there are to learn a language on YouTube. We are so brainwashed to think we need to buy something by our society, it makes me annoyed. Anyway here's one of the video's Autumn really likes for colors and it teachers her phrases that I translate for her and professions as well. It's called "Colors, colors - ¡Colores, colores!"

I had a duh moment in the middle of the week when my daughter got her monthly Highlights Magazine- High Five (another gift from my mom this time). There is a story that accentuates a few Spanish phrases. Now I don't have this on my Ideas for Next Week list because after reviewing all the issues we have, I am not ready to do those yet... but I will keep them in mind for our future lessons. 

Finally, when I received her LeapPad 2 from hubby's parents and several gift cards, I decided to buy my daughter, not just music or books, but a game in each subject (a math game, science game which is basically cards for habitats for her age, a social studies game that has to do with food from different countries, and a language... Spanish. If they had Japanese I would have gotten that but they only had Chinese). 
One day we started with reciting our colors and numbers and then watched one of her Spanish videos. The videos are about 30 minutes each and we never get through a whole one... probably 15- 20 minutes max. But this was a nice change on Friday. 
Oh and I have had her pick which color she wants to master next. So far she knows verde, amarillo, and she mixes up rojo and rosado but she's coming along nicely. Her picking what to master next means I ask her about it all throughout the day when I remember. It gives her a little bit of control and then she gets so excited when she masters what she wanted to master, it's great!   


This sometimes becomes just going outside and playing with me. One day she wanted to play Legos, another with the geoboard. Sometimes she goes outside with daddy. This is really just a free play activity.

Computer Time

I wanted to add computer time, but it's not really my forte. By the time we get to the end of the day, I am shot anyway, but my husband is home by now and computers are his thing. So I added a computer time which is for my husband to partake in her education. I do believe that knowing how to navigate the computer, how to move the mouse and click with the left clicker, etc. is an important skill for our kids no matter what other parents may say or what articles might say. The important thing to do is put BOUNDARIES on it. Her computer time with daddy is only 30 minutes. One day she had computer time and then chose it for activity time which made it an hour. That may seem like a lot, but the games they play are educational and age appropriate and it's valuable quality time between father and daughter (in my case). AND he gets to give her the sticker for that part for the day. So this for our family is a good thing.
I will get you some of the games they play for the next blog. 

Thursday we didn't start with our lessons until after swim lessons because I had a job interview in the am and errands to run until her swimming. This was rough on the end of the lessons and we wound up skipping Spanish because she was burned out and the switch of the routine really threw her.
Friday we had no swimming and I added activity time here and she chose to play with her Legos.


Now I went to Barnes and Nobles this week for my writing club and grabbed a few workbooks for preK to see what else I could add to specifically Math. But what I found was a lack of science in my day. The books (which can't really do science justice) focused on teaching kids about habitats and space. So I basically opened up an entire world of kid friendly simple science experiments that parents can do with their children that are freaking wonderful!!! I was stuck on Pinterest for a few hours and I still didn't get enough ideas. I could make so many units, but this one is the one that will cost me money when funds are tight right now because some of these materials I do not have lying around the house.
My organization OCD wants to do units... so here are my ideas so far... but I need 5 per unit, so:
  • Absorption: food coloring with celery one day and flowers another, various materials and food colored water
  • Food Coloring: on various white powders, and tie-dye milk, backing soda and vinegar with food coloring
  • Space: hot like the sun- melting crayons on a card board and creating a rainbow, constellations, making the surface of the moon
  • Weather
  • Rocks
  • Water: sink or float, dino dig (which pairs as excavating) and Melting Elsa's Frozen Hands
  • Magnets: with pipe cleaners
  • Habitats
  • Misc: dancing raisins
 I'm sure the list could go on and on and on. Tomorrow I'm starting with the celery because I have some lol. For the sink or float, I plan on writing her a letter (I made her a mail box which will also be in next weeks post) and having it be scavenger like where she has to find the materials to use for sink or float.

Tentative Breakdown by Time:

  • Calendar: 10-15 minutes
  • Reading/Alphabet: 40 minutes
  • Writing: 30 minutes
  • Swimming: Leave by 10:30 come home by 12:00
  • Nap/Lunch: Until 2:00/2:30
  • Music: 30 minutes
  • Math: 40 minutes
  • Spanish: 40 minutes
  • Activity: 30 minutes +
  • Computer: 30 minutes (usually into the evening by now)

Ideas for Next Week

    • Calendar- I forgot all about singing "The Star Spangle Banner" and really want to incorporate that
    • Alphabet and Letters- Matching Upper Case Letter to Lower Case Numbers and focusing on the sounds for F-J
    • Writing- Focus on Upper and Lower Case Letters F-J and writing a sentence
    • Music- Find songs that she can use maraca's with
    • Math- Have her count from 1-20
    • Spanish- Continue with learning numbers and colors until mastery. Look up Nick Jr Spanish activities
    • Science- A whole bunch of fun activities as explained above
    • Computer- get a list of the games that they play for the blog

Let the toddler training (and fun) continue :D

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