Letter of the Week ~ I

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 Although my personal philosophy of letter learning is that they cannot be studied in isolation and should be learned in the context of words, as this is how we see them most often, we have a letter of the week at Mommy School.

Why, you may ask, do I do something opposite to what I just finished saying I believe in? Well, for one, we don’t study the one letter in isolation. Typically, we complete a letter craft, create a search and find sensory bin using items that begin with that letter, learn about the various sounds the letter makes in different parts of words (because the English language is crazy!) and plan our weekly fieldtrip to somewhere that begins with our letter. Sometimes, I include the letter in other ways throughout our week, but that’s often just a sweet combination of luck and coincidence!


Here’s what we got up to for Letter I Week:

Letter Dictionary:

Each of my older children gets the chance to find a hidden object that begins with our letter of the week from the rice bin. This week Little Momma chose some Indian corn and Mr Man selected an ice-cream scoop.

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I take a photo of the kids with their chosen objects and then have them complete their dictionary page. Little Momma writes a sentence and illustrates, “I is for Indian corn.” and Mr Man copies the upper and lower case letter and then draws his chosen object.

 

Letter Craft:

I is for Iguana.

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To make your own: Pre-cut an upper-case letter I from green construction paper. Provide an iguana’s head and tail, googly eyes and of course a red tongue for the details.

 

Field Trip: 

Our field trip this week was to our local Reptile Zoo and Insectarium, Little Ray’s Reptiles. The kids enjoyed looking at the insect display and then learned more when the zoo keepers did a special presentation on insects and the amphibians and reptiles which feed on insects!

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We picked up a fun package of insects as a souvenir of our trip and the kids really loved sorting them and making imprints in playdough!

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Journal Writing: 

To end-off our week the kids each spend some time writing in their journals about our field trip. Often it is pictures for my younger guy with a few scribed sentences, while my eldest will write a few simple sentences on her own, using her word wall, ‘best guess’ spelling and some assistance from myself (she’s my perfectionist!).

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Summer Book Club: The Giving Tree

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If there is one thing I would REALLY love to pass on to my children, it is my love of reading and books! There is so much fun and adventure awaiting in every book and this summer we will focus on one book a week (some of my personal faves!) to share, along with some activities and/or crafts you can do with your own littles at home!

Week 6: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

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This story is one of my favourite all-time Children’s book. It’s beautiful, simple and preaches a timeless message of kindness and giving. It’s a must-read!

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Story Extensions:

Apple Tree Playdough Mats

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I cut out, glued and laminated a simple tree pattern ahead of time. During our lesson, I had the kids tear off small pieces of red modelling clay to make apples for the tree. I used modelling clay in lieu of playdough this time for some added fine motor strengthening.

Once the kids had added their apples we solved a few math problems using the apples as manipulatives. For Mr Man (3), I would ask him to ‘pick’ a certain number of apples, this allowed him to count and verify his number sense. Little Momma (4.5) did a few subtraction questions, by first counting the total number of apples in the tree (we started with 5) and then solving how many were left after were eaten. (i.e. How many apples would be left in the tree if Daddy came and ate 3? Answer: 5 – 3 = 2)

Apple Tree Fingerpaint Craft

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This fun and simple craft incorporated a number of art mediums, giving way to many sensory experiences through the process!

First, the kids glued a pre-cut foam tree top onto a pre-cut sandpaper trunk, using white glue. Then they got to trace a heart on the sandpaper trunk, which was an interesting sensation! Last, they used red paint and their fingertips to add apples to their trees. The end result was cute and our conversation about the various textures throughout was an added bonus – I love when an art activity is about more than the finished product!

Collecting Leaves & Counting Tree Rings

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A few of our crafts required leaves and so we headed out for some collecting and exploring.

We also had a few smaller tree logs in the garage, that we used to count tree rings and find their age. This was fascinating to my littles, who then looked for rings on all things 😛

Mini-Giving Trees

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Using the leaves we found and some mini cardboard planters the kids arranged some little trees by poking the stems through the cardboard.

With each leaf they added we discussed a way we could be giving like the tree was in the story. Some of our ides were: share snacks, draw pictures for a sick neighbour and giving hugs!

Leaf Prints

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The kiddos really enjoyed making leaf-prints by stamping the various leaves we collected onto some rolled out playdough. It was fun to compare all the markings they left, too!

What are you reading this week? 

Check out our past Summer Book Club reads:

The Troll

Amazing Grace

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Is There Really a Human Race?

A Bad Case of the Stripes

Summer Book Club: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

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If there is one thing I would REALLY love to pass on to my children, it is my love of reading and books! There is so much fun and adventure awaiting in every book. This summer we will focus on one book a week (some of my personal faves!) to share, along with some activities and/or crafts you can do with your own littles at home!

Week 3: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day 

by Judith Viorst

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Bad days, we all have them…even kids. This story tells the tale of a young boy, Alexander’s, horrible day, from start to finish and teaches that no one is exempt from having a terrible day every now and then.

Story extension activities:

Balloon Emotions

We used our playdough-filled Emotion Balloons to talk about the various feelings we have. Then we did a picture walk through the story and described how we thought Alexander may be feeling at different times.

To make your own Emotion Balloons you will need balloons, playdough and a Sharpie marker. Fill each balloon to the desired size with playdough (approximately half of a regular-sized Play Doh container worked for us), tie each balloon and draw on some expressions (we have happysadsurprisedmadscared, and silly.

These also make wonderful stress balls for those fidgety kids who may need an incentive to sit still or to help children build fine motor strength!

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Silver Linings

We then played a little game of Hot Potato with our balloons. Whoever ended with the balloon had to identify the feeling and tell about a time or situation when they felt that way.

For the ‘negative’ ones (sad, mad, scared) we discussed how the issue was resolved or how it could have been avoided. It was a great conversation and lesson in empathy!

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Food Collages

In the story, Alexander is not happy about some of his meals. I put out some grocery flyers and magazine picture of food, along with scissors, glue and construction paper and asked the kids to make collages of foods they like. And even though Little Momma was certain she wouldn’t find any because she’s a “picky eater” she managed to fill 2 whole pages (and shockingly it wasn’t all junk either!).

This activity gave the kids a chance to practice their cutting and try to hone that ever-tricky scissor grasp!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   What are you reading this week?

Check out our past Summer Book Club reads:

The Troll

Amazing Grace

Fairy Tale Week ~ The Gingerbread Man

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Our third fairy tale adventure was The Gingerbread Man.

I love this one for read alouds to littles, the repetition allows for lots of fun chanting together!

Skip Counting

Using a baking sheet, some magnetic numbers and mini-gingerbread cookies, we arranged the cookies by 2’s and counted by 2’s to 10. Being able to manipulate both the numbers and the cookies helped Little Momma and Mr Man to understand the concrete meaning of 2.

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Body Awareness

Draw and label the body parts of a gingerbread man (or lady!) – head, arms, body and legs. {We also ate the corresponding part on our cookies for reinforcement  ;)}.

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Then we had fun singing some of our favourite body awareness, action songs!

  • Head and Shoulders

  • Hokey Pokey

  • Tony Chesnut

  • Button Factory Joe

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The -an Word Family

Word families or rhyming words are great for developing pre- and early- reading strategies. I  printed all of the 3-letter -an words on gingerbread man cut-outs, then using our  letter magnets we found a and n, I would then ask Little Momma to find the corresponding letter for each of the words. After reading only 2 or 3 together, she was able to string the letters together and read each of the words independently!

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Gingerbread Playdough Activity

Using gingerbread playdough, which we made by adding ginger and brown food colouring to our  favourite playdough recipe, and rolling pins, cookie cutters, cookie sheets and some decorating materials (googly eyes, beads, pipe cleaners), the littles were invited to create their very own gingerbread peeps! Weren’t they sweet??

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“Catch the Gingerbread Man” Obstacle Course

I set-up a simple obstacle circuit for the littles, including a gingerbread cookie prize upon completion.

Our course consisted of:

  • throwing a football through the swing

  • jumping inside of  2 hula hoops

  • putting a golf ball into a hole

  • hitting a “homerun”

  • throwing a yoga ball into the baby pool

  • kicking the soccer ball through the pylons

  • and sliding down the little slide

It was simple for the kids to complete each task, but combining them and having them complete a few circuits and they were {finally!} beginning to slow down {a small miracle in our world!}.

Also, they chose to dress as a horse and a fox before we went outside, apparently the success rate for catching the elusive Gingerbread Man is better in costume!!

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Bubble Painting a Gingerbread Cut-out

Bubbles have been a big hit around here recently and so I thought we could paint a gingerbread man using bubbles.

It’s really quite easy and worked well; you pour your bubbles into a small, easy for wand-dipping container (we used a popsicle mold, which allowed for some variety in colours) and add a few drops of desired colour (liquid food colouring) to each compartment. Then have the children dip their wands and blow bubbles onto the sheet of paper. I opted to use cardstock , as I wasn’t sure how wet the papers would get and wanted them to hold up well.

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 And there you have our Mommy School adventures with the Gingerbread Man!

A related tale we also read and loved:

The Gingerbread Cowboy – a cute Western take on the original tale {especially well received when Daddy it in a John Wayne voice!!}.

Have you read this fairy tale yet? Do you have any other activities to add? Would love to hear and see what you’ve been up to!