Friday, May 30, 2014

Popcorn Magic with Lesson Ideas

(4 Years)

Me- Do you want to see magic?
Little Miss- I do, I do!
Me- What do you think these are?  (I poured out a handful of popcorn kernels)

Little Miss - Beans, tiny rocks, seeds. (I had her feel a kernel and describe it).  It's tiny, hard and yellow.
She poured 1/2 cup of kernels into a brown lunch bag.

Her brother finally emerged from his room and asked to help.  Then she folded the lunch bag over twice.

We put it in the microwave.  I pressed the secret POPCORN button.  They said, "hocus pocus!"  I asked what they thought was going to happen.  Little Miss - It's going to get hot.

Then they heard the all too familiar pop pop sound.  Wild One - Popcorn!  Mommy it's popcorn!  Are we making popcorn?  They watched as the bag started inflating and they began to pop up and down like little kernels.

We usually buy Orville Redenbacher's Natural Simply Salted Microwaveable Popcorn.  Yummm!  I've wanted to try popping it in the brown lunch bag for months.  I kept thinking, it can't be as easy as pouring kernels into a brown lunch bag and pop the bag into the microwave.  If it was that easy someone would have told me by now!  Well, it's just that easy.  I like a little butter and salt on my popcorn.  So we melted a tablespoon of butter and mixed in a little salt, then poured that over the popcorn and shook the bag.  So yummy!  How did I not know about this?

So... the teacher in me feels compelled to tell you that you can easily turn this into a math lesson- compare the volume of the kernels to the popped corn, or compare the weight.  If the kids are ready, you can also discuss the reaction (science) that took place.  A writing lesson can be to describe what happened with illustrations.  You can create a popcorn necklace or even paint with the popcorn (art).  There are even fun popcorn books that you can use for read alouds - Tomie DePaola's The Popcorn Book, Half Popped and Popcorn to name just a few that you can borrow or buy.  Today, we decided to observe and describe a kernel and compare that to the popped corn, ok and have a healthy snack.

Learning with food is so much more fun, isn't it?

The Dot Lot - Math Fun

(4 Years)

I found this fun math activity on Pinterest, it's from ABC and 123.  During nap time, I quickly drew out two boards.  When Wild One woke up, he saw me at the kitchen table taking a picture of the board.  He asked, "What's that?  Can I play?"

We put the dominoes face down and took turns choosing a tile, counting the dots on each side of the line and adding them together.  He was instantly hooked!  It took a little less than ten minutes to play the game.  I love that we are practicing subitizing, adding and recognizing that there are several ways to construct a number (five = 0 + 5, 1 + 4, 2 + 3, 3 + 2, 4 + 1, 5 + 0) while playing.

Hee hee, sneaky math fun.  I love it!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

May in a Nutshell

(4 Years)

I can't believe how fast this year is flying- ok, all four years have been flying.  One minute we are beginning May and the next, we are ending it.  So, what have we been doing?  We're going on a lot of field trips.  We've gone blueberry picking and peach picking.

We've been going to Busch Gardens almost weekly.

We have been reading a lot!  We're always at the library.   We started reading and ENJOYING chapter books (post to follow, well- eventually).  We've been painting, making and playing with homemade play dough (it lasts for months- see here for a great recipe).  We have been working with scissors a lot, they love cutting out shapes and then using glue sticks to glue them down (I've learned to have them work on a cafeteria tray when gluing to prevent glue from hardening on the wood table).  We've been using our Handwriting Without Tears slate boards and "school" books.  We are still in soccer, dance, gymnastics and T-Ball.

I'm trying to give them 10-minute swim lessons, each time we are in the pool.  However, Wild One wants to only swim under the water, and Little Miss doesn't want to take off her floaties.  I have one kid that needs to learn to stay above water, and the other to learn how to put her face in the water.  If  I didn't see them being born, I would never believe that they are twins!

So that's been May.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Can We PLEASE Practice Writing?

(4 Years)

Ummmm (can it possibly be this easy?  Thank you Montessori technique!)....  
     Me- "Yes, you can!  What would you like to use?"
     Little Miss - "How aboouuuut (pause, with a sly look in her eye) the writing slates?"

I love the Handwriting Without Tears Slates!  They remind me of The Little House on the Prairie slate boards- ahhh, nostalgia.  More importantly, they remind my kids of Professor Quimby in Leap Frog's Letter Factory.  When the kids were little they must have watched that movie at least three dozen times!  We sang the letter songs in the car, during our walks, while putting together puzzles, in the bath - you get the picture (see here).   I completely credit the talented folks at Leap Frog for teaching my kidabunks their letter sounds.

Anyway, back to the slate boards.  In the Leap Frog movie, Professor Quimby writes each letter on a slate board that is almost an exact replica of the Handwriting Without Tears version.  When I gave the kids their slate boards, they immediately said, "It's just like Professor Quimby's!" They were instantly  hooked on using the boards.  Yay!

The process is so simple.  You (parent, teacher, caregiver) models how to write a letter.  The child uses the tiny sponge to erase the letter, using the same strokes that you did to write the letter.  The child next uses the tiny cloth to dry the wet areas, using the same strokes that she/he just did to erase the letter.  The child now gets to write the letter using the half piece of chalk.

We alternate choosing letters to practice.  When we were first learning how to write letters, we followed the Kumon Uppercase Letter Writing Plan (L T H I F E X V Y N Z A K M W D P B R J U C G S O Q).  It's a logical way of learning to write the letters.  Can you see why?  Look at the first six letters, they are made up of only straight horizontal and vertical lines.  Brilliant!
By the way if you like using the slate board, there's an app for that.  There is also a free trial for app so that you can see if your little one likes it.   

Do you notice that stern look on Little Miss's face?  She wasn't happy that her line did not perfectly end on the corner of the board.  My little perfectionist.  It's amazing, I have one child that tries to make the lines perfectly and the other who rushes his work!  If they weren't in my belly at the same time, I would never believe they are twins.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Blah, blah, blah.  All comments are my own, blah, blah.  I have not been compensated for this post, blah, blah.  It's just me, sharing what works with you.