Thursday, June 6, 2013

A,B,C - Alligator, Birds & Camels

We have completed the first 3 days of A to Zoo.  The kids have had so much fun.  A few posts back I had talked about ways to let Lachlan have more choice in the topic of the day.  However, this month I think I am just going to go in order because it is a review month.  Also, Lachlan loves learning about animals and is not going to complain one bit to learn about a new animal every day!

A few things that I love so far about this month, the calendar pieces.  They have a picture of the topic animal on them for each day of the week and the weekends have their own design.  It's so fun to put up the calendar piece in order to find out what we will learn about that day.  It does take away the pattern element of the calendar but it's so nice to change things up now and then - a change it.  That was saying we used to have at work.  One of the resident's in our Alzheimer's community asked for a "change it" one day.  It was an especially restless day for some of the other residents in her home and so she asked the administrator for a "change it", when the administrator asked her what she meant she said "you sit here and I will leave." 

On the Alligator day we made these super cute alligators out of pizza by the slice to go containers.  Then we were to have the alligators find and eat only things that are green.  Such a great idea!  The kids loved this.  Soon the alligators were eating everything in site.  I sent one home with Lucy and so I decided to write "I eat green" on the inside of his mouth, so that her Mom would know what do do with the alligator in order to turn it into a lesson at home.

Also on this day, MGT had us cut out 10 eggs.  We are review numbers 1 - 5 this week.  So on 5 of the eggs we wrote the numbers 1 - 5 and on the other five eggs we drew dots on the egg.  One egg with 1 dot, another with 2 dots, another with 3 dots and so one until we had one representing each number 1 - 5.  Next I hid them around the room and asked Lachlan to find all 10.  Once we found them all I had him make a nest with a blanket.  He was familiar with this task because he is really fascinated with eggs and will turn anything into eggs.  Play-dough has been a popular one.  He rolls them into balls, makes a paper towel nest in a Tupperware container and then puts them in the nest.  The next day they "hatch" when he rolls them into little snakes, they were snake eggs of course.  Once the nest was made I told him we had to match the numbers with the dots and put the eggs in the nest as pairs.  He did this so easily, he really seems to have 1 through 5 down!  Once the eggs are in the nest they must be protected.  So he protected his eggs from would be predators.  Isn't it amazing how you can turn fun into learning or learning into fun?!
Defending his nest.
Birds are a hot topic in our house!  So of course we had fun with bird day.  We started the day with making bird puppets on a stick.  They got to pick feathers to glue on the birds and color them with different colors.  Next we cut out the provided color birds.  I didn't have craft sticks so I used clothes pins clipped to the bottom of each bird for the kids to hold on to.  We talked about what birds look like and their colors, we talked about the sounds they make and what they all have in common and whats different.  We also talked about what they eat and if we eat anything that birds eat.  I asked if we ate berries and Lachlan said yes, then I asked if we eat worms.  I honestly was curious as to what he would say and was relieved he said "no".

MGT had us get out cards numbered 1 through 5.  I got out flash cards that I have and faced the numbers towards me.  Then I let them choose a random card/number.  We would then feed the bird that number of berries.  The berries were pom poms.  I did this with all three kids.  Lachlan, my 4 year old, was able to read all the numbers and then count out the berries.  For the little ones I read the number to them and they did the counting out of the berries.  Both Grant and Peter are both pretty good at counting things.  Although sometime Peter counts by saying "one and one and one and one."  But he is getting there. 

Next they chose a couple colored birds and used them to fly around the room and search out that color.  So if they chose the purple bird they would fly and find purple somewhere in the room and point to it with the beak of their bird.  We worked through quite a few colors this way.  Even thought the littler ones maybe couldn't name the color they could find and match the colors and start the learning process of recognizing and naming the colors.

Yesterday was Camel Day!  We started the day looking for the camel in the Look and Find poster using our Look and Find Glasses.  I love these posters and so do the kids.  I left ours at the top of the tower for the kids to find each time they climbed up.  I still have it there today.  On the back of the Look and Find glasses there are questions to ask and things to do.  On the back of the dolphin one it had us swim and jump like a dolphin.  They kept at this for 5 minutes or more.  Pretty cute.
Next we got out the My Little Journals for the first time this month for the Camel Homes lesson.  Since it was the first time we started by putting our names on the bottom and then they were to draw a picture of themselves and a picture of their home.  Lachlan did so great!  He got really frustrated after drawing a bunch of walls and rooms for his house he couldn't figure our how to make it a house.  It's okay buddy, you drew all the rooms, now it just needs a roof.  I drew on the roof real quick for him, to calm him down a bit.  I have never seen him light up so quickly.  He really knows what he wants for a finished product just doesn't know what to do to get there sometimes.  Nest he drew himself in his bed in his room.  I love watching him draw.  I have always been given gifts from kids, you know little drawings of who knows what.  I always treasured them, but now from my own little man, even more so.  Especially when you get to watch them create it and know what every little mark was made for and know the difference between this new accomplishment verses what they were able to do last month.  So amazing.
Next Lachlan drew a camel and put down some glue under the camel to sprinkle sand on to make the dessert that camels live in.  For Peter and Lucy I drew the camel and they did the glue and sand.  With Lachlan I moved on to the Word Wall in the My Little Journal.  As MGT instructed I set out the picture that we get each day for our zookeeper ring collection.  First I set out the camel picture which has the word camel on it.  I showed him the C box on the Word Wall and told him to write the word camel in the box.  I walked away and let him do it with less pressure.  This seems to work well for Lachlan.  Next we did the B box with the bird photo and I tried to do the A box but Lachlan was done at that point.  To the untrained eye Lachlan's markings may look like just that, markings no real purpose or meaning.  But I can clearly see a C and and A in his attempt to write camel and the i and d in bird.  But more than that, I can see an improvement in his confidence.  Before he would just say, I can't do it, and wouldn't even try.  On this day he focused and persisted until he got it done.  So, so, so proud!
We also learned about generosity.  Now how and the heck do you tie generosity to a camel?  MGT figured out how!  First I asked Lachlan how he was generous and then asked if he knew what generous meant.  He wasn't sure, so I explained it to him.  Next MGT had us ask how a camel could be generous or how could a camel help a person?  He wasn't sure of that either but we talked through it and discovered that camels could be generous by giving a person a ride through the dessert.  Brilliant, right?  At the end of this conversation Lachlan got his "I am generous" friendship bracelet.  He loves these things and so do I.  I love that they incorporate so much into their program, not just the basics but character too.  I think we strive to teach our kids these character lessons but I don't think I would have ever thought of naming them, you know, giving them the vocabulary behind the character goals.

It's been a fun few days.  Today we learn about Dolphins! 

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