Monday, September 23, 2013

LOTW: B is for Butterfly and C is for Caterpillar

Ok - so I'm a little behind blogging on our 3k but in real life we are keeping up and that's what's important, right??!!  We're about to start week 6 on the letter F but here's a little recap on weeks 2 and 3. (In case you missed my first post, unless otherwise linked we are using the Letter of the Curriculum.)

Week Two:
 Letter:  B is for Butterflies
 Number: 2
 Shape:  Triangle

 Table Time:

-placed cubes on and laced our "B" lacing cards.

-Butterfly Coloring Page

-Made a "B" collage with buttons



 -Butterfly Cut & Paste

-Butterfly Pre-Writing

 -Butterfly cutting practice

-Practiced the number 2 with shaving cream and then our marker boards using the rhyme "Around and back on the railroad track." They LOVED this one!

- Made triangles using popsicle sticks

 Tray Time:
-Letter "B" do-a-dot

-Alpha Pattern Blocks
 -Big B little b sort

 -Butterfly Magnetic Page

-Butterfly Counting Practice - we used beans as counters

 -Butterfly Letter Match

Brownies, Bananas,


Days of the Week
If I were a Butterfly

Starfall ABC App-Letter "B"
Elmo ABC App-Letter "B"

Also, played with balloons, balls, bubbles, and babies.

 Field Trip:  This really had nothing to do with the letter b or anything we'd studied but since summer was coming to a close we went to the splash pad one more time!

For more letter B activities check out my B is for Big Boat post.

Week Three:

 Letter:  C is for Caterpillars
 Number: 3
 Shape:  Star

 Table Time:

-placed cubes on and laced our "C" lacing cards.

- Caterpillar Coloring Page

-Made a "C" collage with cotton balls

 -Caterpillar Cut & Paste

-Caterpillar Pre-Writing

 -Practiced the number 3 with play-dough and then our marker boards using the rhyme "Around the tree, Around the tree, that's the way to make a 3!"

 Tray Time:
-Letter "C" do-a-dot & Magnetic pages

-Alpha Pattern Blocks
 -Very Hungry Caterpillar Tray - book, sequencing activity

 -Caterpillar Counting Practice- we used coins as counters

- Caterpillar Graphing

 -Caterpillar Letter Match

Cookies, cupcakes


We mostly focused on these three this week:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Corduroy by Don Freeman
Chicka Chicka 1-2-3 by Bill Martin, Jr.

Days of the Week
If I were a Butterfly

Starfall ABC App-Letter "C"
Elmo ABC App-Letter "C"

Also, played cars using a letter C for our road.

 Field Trip:  We went to a local camp and had cupcakes!

 For more letter C activities check out my previous post- Tot School:  C is for Colorful Coat.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Marriage is a Cliche

Photo Credit

Wow-  how fast a decade goes by!!!  I can't believe 10 years ago today was my wedding day. I've always heard the cliché:

"I love my spouse more today than when I married them."
And today as I reflect back over our marriage that is exactly how I feel.  We've been so many places together (Louisiana, Texas, Hawaii, Missouri, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Florida, Cancun, and Tennessee) and went through so much together-4 homes/moves, deaths of close grandparents, and births of our two girls-to name a few.  Everything we've been through has brought us closer together and made me fall even more in love with the man I married.  I supported him while he lived out his career for awhile and now he has made my dream come true of being a stay-at-home Mom.

Sure, we've had our disagreements (and there was that one time I locked him out of the house :) but I can honestly say I've never wanted out of our marriage.  Others may say communication is the key to marriage, I say it's commitment.

Even as I sit here typing this I'm at the place where:

  • We first met
  • First kissed
  • Broke up - he told me we would get back together because God had already let him know I was the one he was going to marry-which of course, just made me even madder!
  • He proposed
Now here we are with our two girls and another little one on the way in the same place...

I love looking back and seeing how God has written our love story!! The song sung at our wedding was "I Could Not Ask For More" and that has fit our marriage.  Especially now looking back,  I know that in a husband and in a marriage - I couldn't ask for more.

Using that song, I've put together a little video of just a few moments from the past ten years.  I literally did this in a couple hours with the pictures I had on hand and there's a typo or two (Yikes!) but I thought I'd share it anyway.  I'm looking forward to seeing what the next 10 years hold- including the birth of our son!

Monday, September 2, 2013

A is for Apple

Our first week of 3K was a success!  They've grown so much from our first year of Tot School to now. 

We are using LOTW from Confessions of a Homeschooler and unless otherwise noted or linked that is where we got our activities.  We learned about the letter "A", number 1 and circle.  Here's some of the things we did:

Table Time:

  • Placed cubes on and laced our "A" lacing cards.
  • Apple Coloring Page
  • Made an "A" collage with apple stickers
  • Apple Cut & Paste
  • Apple Pre-Writing
  • Traced circles and colored red
  • Big A, little a sort
  • Apple cutting practice
  • Practiced the number 1 with play-doh and our marker boards using the rhyme "A line straight down and then you're done. That's how you make the  #1."
  • Made circles with cups

Tray Time:

  • Letter "A" do-a-dot
    Tray Time - "Miss Priss" working on Alpha Pattern Blocks and "Sour Patch" working on Dot Pages.  "Sunshine" right there with them :)
  • Alpha Pattern Blocks
    One of her favorite trays. 
  • Apple Magnetic Page
    They both loved the magnet pages.  We used these power magnets.
  • Apple Counting Practice- We just used counting chips on the apples.
  • Apple Letter Match

  applesauce, apples, made apple pies

Making our apple pies


Days of the Week
Monkey and the Alligator by Dr. Jean

Starfall ABC App-Letter "A"
Elmo ABC App-Letter "A"

 We also did puzzles and a scavenger hunt around the room for letter As, circles and ones.

Field Trip:

The plan was to take apple pies to their great-grandparents. However, the apple pies weren't quite done in the middle so we left them and just went for a visit. When we got there my grandmother (their great-grandmother) was canning apples so not only did they get to see her canning them but of course they ate a few more too!

For even more letter "A" and apple
Activities check out some of my other blogs:

A is for Apple

Happy Birthday Johnny Appleseed

Tot School week 4

"Every thought is a seed.  If you plant crab apples, don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious."
Bill Meyer

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hello 3K!!

The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn. John Lubbock -

There's something about the beginning of the school year that I just LOVE!  Making new schedules, buying school supplies, organizing, etc.  It's such a fresh start-more like a new year to me than New Years.  Anyone else with me? 

Since we've started our 3k I also decided to start back blogging.  I love looking back at what we've done and how much "Miss Priss" has grown.  It's also a great way to make new connections and get some great ideas from other moms.  Here are a few things I thought I'd share about what we are doing in 3K this year.

Our "Curriculum":

 In case you are new here we have been doing Tot School and here is my original post on why I feel this is important and works for us.  I feel that the best way to "educate" your child at a young age is just to spend intentional time with them.  So here we are "Miss Priss" still technically 3 and has 2 more years before starting Kindergarten.  I wanted something that focused more on letters but (as always) still wanted to keep it simple and fun.   Therefore, this year we will be using Letter of the Week by Confessions of a Homeschooler.  So far I'm loving it!  It's well organized yet still flexible and there are SO many activities in which to pick and choose!

While LOTW does include weekly memory verses, we are using Our 24 Family Ways by Clay Clarkson for our Bible verses/character education instead. I love that this has a weekly character trait and family way, daily Bible scriptures and a coloring book!  We usually do our morning devotion Bible time right after breakfast then just review our memory verse and family way during our 3K time.  (Side note:  I also just recently discovered Character Concepts for Preschoolers which looks really great.  It may be something we try in the future.)

Our Schedule:

While almost all of the LOTW course can be downloaded for free, I went ahead and purchased the instant download which comes with lesson plans. Basically my method of teaching is "I do, we do, you do."  So I've made my own all-in-one lesson plan/schedule to reflect this:

We are doing 3K Monday-Wednesday from 9:00-11:00.
 Thursday is our "field trip" day and then Fridays we are using just to review or catch up as we want.  

Here's a brief description of our schedule:

Carpet Time-  We go over the calendar, days of the week, ABCs, counting, colors, and shapes. Then a little 5 minute or so lesson ("I do") on what letter, shape, or number we are focusing on that week.

 Table Time:  This is their guided practice ("we do").   It could be a coloring/tracing sheet, cut/paste activity, art, tactile activity, etc.

Box/Tray Time:  This is their individual ("you do") work.  They usually require little supervision.  Depending on the activity some work better in a tray, some a box!   (Learn more about Tot Trays or Workboxes.) I have 6 tray/boxes a week.  I introduce 2 each day and once they are introduced they can go back and choose which one they want to work on. They can pull the tray/box and take it to any area in our room to work.

Snack/Story:  They eat, I read :)

Music: Monday we sing/dance with CDs, Tuesday they explore some musical "instruments" and Wednesday we come upstairs to the piano and I play, they sing.

Centers/Review:  This time is used to reinforce and review our concept for the day and is usually in a center - technology, blocks, puzzles, reading, art, etc.

This schedule has worked great for us the first week.  It has just enough transitions and movement to keep them on-task yet not bored!

Our Room:

Here is what the main area of our "school room" looks like:

Our carpet time is done in front of the right wall where we have our ABCS, numbers, colors, shapes, calendar, season chart, weather chart, and weekly learning board.  Pretty much all of these are included in the LOTW course.

Here's an up close pic of our Weekly Learning Board.  This is something that just helps keep us on track and is a great visual. It includes our character trait, memory verse, a nursery rhyme/poem, letter, number and shape of the week.

Our Trays/Boxes are stored in the middle of this shelving.  I would love to have some nice shelving from IKEA but this was given to me for free and so I painted it and it serves it's purpose! We also have our Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom tree next to it. 

Behavior Management:

The last thing I wanted to share with you is our behavior management.  Since this is not only our "school room" but also the playroom, I needed to lay some ground rules and distinguish between when we were doing 3K and when we are just downstairs playing!  First of all, the area you see pictured is a part of a larger room and is off-limits unless it is 3K time.  During that time we have our classroom rules or expectations which I found here.

I love these because they are simple, relate to the 5 senses and have pictures!  I also have up a red light and both "Miss Priss" and "Sour Patch" start out each day on green.  First time is just a verbal warning and they move to yellow.  After that they are placed in time-outs. 

That's an overview of our 3K!  Our first week doing letter "A" was very successful and I'll share more about it later!  In the meantime, anyone else using LOTW?  Or maybe even another form of 3K, Tot School, etc?  If so, I'd love to hear about it!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tot School: Celebrating Dr. Seuss

We spent the first two weeks of March celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday.  I took a book a day and we read the book and did activities based on that book.  Here's a little of what we’ve been doing:

Cat in the Hat:
Decorated a hat for the cat to wear

Saw how many books we could balance:
We were almost as good as the cat!  "Sunshine" decided she wanted in on this one too:

Horton Hears a Who:
We mixed black and white paint to make gray.  Then finger-painted white paper gray and used it to create giant ears and a trunk to wear.  I found this activitiy here and just slightly adapted it for our book.

After putting on their ears and trunks,  they acted out Horton Hatches the Egg by seeing who could sit he longest on the egg. 
Any guesses who won? :)

Then because “Miss Priss” is ALL into Doc McStuffins right now, Horton also needed a check-up.

Daisy Head Mayzie:

Daisy Color By Number.  This was our first color-by-number and was very simple.  I just drew it out; however, she loved it and we'll definitely be doing more of these!

Role played Daisy with hats and fake daisies

The Lorax:

And my favorite Seuss activitiy this year-making Truffula trees!  I found it here.  First of all we went outside and collected some small sticks. Next, we dipped cotton balls into water with food coloring.
Then, we painted our sticks different colors. 
After letting them dry all night we gently fluffed out our cotton balls and attached them to the sticks.  Here's our finished product:

We also watched The Lorax movie.

Tot Trays: 

This month I’m splitting our Tot Trays into 3 Dr. Suess related trays and 3 Easter trays.  Here are the 3 we’ve been using so far this month:
  1. Based on There's a Wocket in my Pocket. Grab a handful of letters and/or numbers and place them in the pocket.  Then you pull them out one at a time identifying them.  We also placed letters/numbers in the pocket by color.  One activity I saw used a small and large pocket and you could sort upper/lower case letters.
      2.   Based on Green Eggs and Ham.  I took several of our green Easter eggs and wrote or used stickers to put different items on the egg pieces.  I used upper/lower case letters, color dots, and shapes. She then matched them up.  This probably would have been much more challenging if our green eggs hadn't been so different!
           3.   Based on the book One Fish, Two Fish.   She sorted colored goldfish and placed them on a chart.  Then counted how many of each color.  We also talked about which color in which she had the most and least.  There's also another mat with numbers inside goldfish bowls.  We haven't done this one yet but will by the end of the month.
Tot Notebooks:
To be honest, I never got around to printing out our Dr. Suess pages.  However, I did find a Seuss Preschool Pack here.
 "Miss Priss" still had several pages she hadn't done from last month so our Tot Notebook hasn't changed.
If you'd like to see what we did last year for Dr. Seuss' birthday check out this. You can also check out my March Tot School Pinterest Board for more Seuss ideas and for some Easter ideas.  We're going to start doing Easter on Monday!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tot School: Catch up

Wow! I just realized that this is the first time I’ve even blogged this year! There have been so many times I’ve had an idea or even started an entry but just haven’t quite gotten it posted.  Just to be honest, blogging hasn’t been a priority.  However, as I started to look back through last years’ posts I realized how much I enjoyed reflecting and having these memories recorded.  Also, while we've still been doing Tot School it has been a little more sporadic without blogging to hold me accountable. a quick "catch up" on what we've been doing the last couple weeks and I'll try to be a little more consistent with these posts :)
First of all, I’ve redone our Tot School area and added some shelves so that we have more room for Tot Trays, Tot Notebooks, and buckets with our blocks and other manipulatives.  Hopefully, soon I’ll do an entry just on our area setup.  But in the meantime, here’s a picture:

 We’re still following basically the same schedule as before.  February has been all about holidays!  Groundhog Day, Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, and this upcoming week President’s Day!  Here ‘s  a little summary of what we’ve done the last couple of weeks:

Table and Floor Time:
  • We talked about what a groundhog is and a little about Groundhog Day.
  • We discussed shadows. Then turned out the lights and used our flashlights to make shadows and fun shapes!  They LOVED this and everyday since we've still had to turn out the lights and make alligators and bunnies on the wall!
  • We made Groundhog Day puppets
  • Coloring Sheet in which you had to find the shadows and color them black. 
  • Shadow Match from our Valentine Tot Pack
  • Discussed the meaning of a King Cake.  Colored a King Cake, cut out and hid baby.
  • Listened to Zydeco music
  • Made Valentine's

We've also done Tot Trays and Tot Notebooks nearly everyday. 

Tot Trays:

I started with three Tot Trays and I'm adding one each week so that by the end of February we will have six. 
I started out with a Winter Clothes Sort which was an activity we did last year with The Mitten: 

Cutting Hearts Tray:

One-to-One correspondence/Sorting Tray using a heart icecube tray and some valentine erasers I purchased at Target's dollar section:

Then I added a candy heart color sort:

This week we are adding a Size Sequencing using heart stickers. Then the last week I plan on doing one with red rice.

Tot Notebooks:

The kids especially "Miss Priss" also love working in their Tot Notebooks.  In the front of both notebooks I put A-Z pages and Colors and Shapes pages.  Then I added the Valentine Tot Pack from Over the Big Moon.  "Miss Priss" is ALL into Doc McStuffin right now so I also added a Doc McStuffin pack from 1+1+1=1.

  • Groundhog Pudding Cup
  • King Cake
  • Valentine Cookies

We ended our week with some visits to family members delivering our Valentines and homemade cookies!

For easy access to links and more February ideas check out my February Tot School Board