Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
This week in Tot School:
She and Little Bean blew bubbles: She did this sound matching game. We haven't brought this out in a LONG time, and she really liked it! Miss O strung a Cheerio bracelet: She colored, always a favorite: Miss O read: Miss O spontaneously lined up these Dora dominoes: The three of us played a few games of dominoes: Here she is dressing up as a train conductor! Miss O did the nesting dolls. She frequently gets these down, maybe because she loves dolls of all kinds: I was surprised when she brought this six sided puzzle down. With my help we completed two sides together:
I got this set of four wooden puzzles at the thrift store for $2.50. Miss O could do them with help, but Little Bean was a super star with these!
Miss O also brought down this little used activity, and began attempting to stack the shapes as high as she could: And lastly, Miss O sorted these letter tiles for a while. She is taking forever (compared to Little Bean) to learn her letter names and sounds, so I try to give her lots of exposure:
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
The kids asked Daddy if he'd pretend to be their "dance class" instructor!
And read: Our old markers were all dried out, so I purchased a new pack this week. The kids spent a lot of time coloring and drawing this week:
Miss O played with the foam number puzzles: Both Miss O and Little Bean made frames for Father's Day (I'll post about this process later!): Miss O played with these magnet pictures: And somehow I got two pictures of this uploaded and now I can't delete one! ;)
They worked on this Care Bear's puzzle Miss O received from Grandma this Easter: Miss O loved doing these letter and picture matches:
And the dry erase board again; not sure why this is in here twice!
I began my search by just googling "make your own blogger layout" and sifting through the different tutorials until I found one in simple enough language that I could follow it.
For a custom background, I used the tutorial on SJH Blog Design, and it was perfect. I won't rewrite everything she wrote on her tutorial; just go there and follow the instructions for how to make a custom background.
For the header, I found that her instructions were too complicated for me, and I couldn't get them to work. Instead, I used a digital scrapbooking program called Memory Mixer to create the custom header just the way I liked it. You can use any photo editing program, like paint or photo shop, etc to create your header. Then, on your dashboard click 'layout' and then click 'edit' under the header portion of your layout. A window will pop up prompting you to chose an image. First, choose 'instead of title and description' and choose 'shrink to fit'. Then, it will ask you to choose an image from your computer or from the internet to add as a header. Choose the header you made previously from your computer and click save.
The final step is to change the color of your font to the color of the paper where your blog text is written. Again on the layout page, click 'fonts and colors' and then choose an exact match from the color choices for the option 'border colors'. This will ensure that there is no border around your header.
I hope this helps someone!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
The other day I was in an organizing mood, and figured I would just toss them, thinking I would never get around to hanging them up. But, dh was adamant that he could and would hang them right then. True to his word, he used a few chopsticks and some yarn and hung these up in Little Bean's room. They go well with his room, which is fish themed, and I'm glad he convinced me to finally hang them!
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
I've asked about it in the past, because at first I wasn't sure if it was something special, like for another classmate's birthday party or what, and the Pastor's wife said that the snacks go along with the curriculum, and connect to the lesson somehow. That's all well and good, but I'm starting to go insane with all the treats they are packing into my 4 year old. At the same time, I don't want him to be the odd kid out who can't have sweets, nor do I want to be the mom who is always complaining about the snacks the kids get in class. It'd be one thing if it was only every so often (like once a month), but it's every Sunday that this happens.
So, what do I do? In the past, he has always been very sensitive to dairy, so I was able to side step this issue (because virtually all candies and snacks like that have milk in them), but he has since grown out of that sensitivity. I've thought about bringing his own snack, but not sure how he would feel about this, or how it will affect the flow of the class if he get "special" treatment.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I'm happy to report that we are a quarter of the way through the curriculum now, and have turned a corner! Shortly after my last update I began to try a few different techniques (nothing major), and apparently they were just the thing Little Bean needed to get him motivated and feeling positive about his reading experience.
The first thing I did was so simple; I just pulled out a little yellow post it note, and I covered up the words directly below or above or around the words he was to be focusing on. The layout of this book is very condensed, and that makes each page a bit too busy for Little Bean's eyes, I think. Once I started doing this, he began moving through the words so much more quickly, accurately and smoothly. This alone made a huge difference in our lesson times.
The second thing I did was actually something the book recommends, but initially I was hesitant to try. In the introduction of this book, they talk about a child's possible reluctance to participate in the lessons, and suggest saying things like, "This is a really hard word, I don't think you'll be able to read this one!". When I read that, I thought that it was sort of counter intuitive to tell the child that you don't think that he can do something that you want him to do. Rather, I focused all my efforts on praising him and telling him that he could do it. The book does, of course, encourage you to praise the child, but also suggests these other types of sentences to encourage them to forge ahead with the lessons.
One day, I decided to give it a try, and said something to him along the lines of, "You're right Little Bean. These lessons are really hard. I don't think you can do them." And to my surprise, he immediately was like, "I can do them! I'll show you!" and had this huge grin on his face. Now, he'll often ask me before reading a word, "You don't think I can read this word, do you?" and with a wide grin, will proceed to read it and then await my feigned surprise and subsequent praise. It still seems strange to me that this works, but I think the key is that he knows I am making it into a game of "let's see if you really can read it", not that I really think that he can't do it (if that makes sense).
Finally, I think that part of his frustration was just getting used to the new routine and material. We started the curriculum just a few days before our trip to OK, which meant that we didn't really establish much of a routine as to when we were going to do our reading lesson. We squeezed it in whenever we could while on the road in OK. Once we returned, I made it a habit of pulling out the book right after Little Bean had breakfast, and that really seemed to help make it a part of a our day. Instead of something optional that he could complain about having to do, it became just something that we do after breakfast. A few times now he has even mentioned how he is going to "speed through" his reading once he is done with breakfast.
Also, the material is getting more interesting now, as it is more and more focused on a "story" that he reads and associates with a drawing in the book. He looks foreword to this part of the lesson, so that is a major incentive for him to finish quickly with the drills and get on to the story part of the lesson.
I don't want to give the impression that things are just perfect now. We still have days when he struggles to finish a lesson, or gets bored or frustrated. But I think now we have walked down a new path, and while we both have a long way to go and a lot to learn, we are headed in the right direction. He is no longer unhappy or struggling with the lessons very often at all.
I want to continue to update on our progress as the weeks go by. I value all the advice and perspectives from those of you who commented or emailed me concerning my last update. I want you to know that I looked at the BOB books and showed them to Little Bean, but for the price (and considering he wasn't at all interested in them when I showed them to him), I felt I could make something similar at home and for free. Thank you all for your continued support as Little Bean and I continue on this journey in teaching him to read.
Monday, June 15, 2009
I was pretty impressed with this little scene Little Bean created with our felt the other day and decided to snap a picture to remember it by. While it appears one man is swimming in the pond in his birthday suit, at least he remembered his flippers! ;)
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Auntie played Sorry with all the cousins too. Miss O actually stuck with this one almost until the end, though I could tell she didn't really know what she was doing! :)
Miss O spent a lot of time drawing this week. Since she discovered she could draw faces she hasn't wanted to put her pens down!