Monday, October 28, 2013

October Day 8 - Potato

Today, we learned about Potatoes, a surprisingly interesting and fun day.  First we played the Stop and Go Game.  This was such a great lesson.  Mother Goose Time provided us with a new I Can Read book and Sight Word Circles.  One of the Sight Word Circles had the word "go" on it and another was blank which we wrote the word "stop" on. 

We asked the question, what do you think a potato plow is?  The boys weren't sure so I described it to them and why it was needed, because potatoes grow in the ground.  Then we played a bit of a game.  I showed them the "go" and "stop" sight words and read them to them.  Next I had them repeat after me as I took turns alternating between the two.  Then I had Lachlan, stand on the other side of the room and when I held up the "go" word he could pretend to drive a tractor towing a potato plow.  When I held up "stop" he would stop.  We did this until he got to me and then he would go back and start again.  We did this a few times and I just thought it to be a great way to introduce a few new sight words.  Peter asked to have a try.  He also could see the difference between the two words with out hesitation.

Next we got out the book to read.  The book had many of the words "go" in it, one on every page.  I told them to watch for this word and held up the Sight Word Circle.  If they saw the word go on a page as we were reading I instructed them to circle it with their finger.  I think MGT intended for them to actually circle it with a pen or crayon but I didn't want to ruin the book.  Plus, now we can play this game over and over. 

The letter we were learning on this day was the letter "X".  "X" Marks the Spot.  Since potatoes grow under ground, how do they know where they planted them?  They mark where they are planted so they know where to plow to dig them up.  So I cut out a brown paper potato and hid it in the living room and marked it with our Hands-On letter "X". 
You can barely see the paper potato on the seat of the chair, under the X.
They found the "X" and were getting close to finding the paper potato.  Lachlan found it!

Next Peter wanted to find it.  What good is a big pile of dirty laundry if not to use it for a school lesson?  I buried a potato, and laid the "X" on top.  Your turn Peter!
I put the potato just under the orange pajama shirt.  But just how far under the X the boys weren't sure.  So they started by looking under the couch.  They thought Mommy to be more clever than she really was at the moment.
Peter getting warmer!  He flipped the orange pajama shirt and found it.  You can see he was quite thrilled.  Seriously, sometimes entertaining your kids doesn't have to be too complicated.  I need to remember this when I need to fill the time.

On this day we also got our new Gosling for our Friendship Nest poster.  The poster is actually a picture of a Mama Goose and blank egg shapes in the nest below that we are slowly filling in, one each month.  These are the goslings that are labeled with the Friendship trait for the month, this month, Thankfulness. 

I asked the discussion question several times and was not getting much of an answer.  The question was, When do you say, "Thank you?"  I just don't think they were in the mood for discussion, I get that.  So I moved on to the second part of the lesson which was teaching the ASL sign for thank you.  I signed it to them and had them sign it back.  Then through out the rest of the day tried to work it in where I would normally say thank you, I signed it instead.

We didn't get to the last lesson until the next day.  Twenty Potatoes.  How many potatoes do you think could fit in this pot?  I got out a big pot and what was remaining in the 2 different bags of potatoes we had.  I got the counting cards out with the two different numbers we are learning as well as the Hands-On numbers. 
I set it all up on the floor and invited everyone to come over. 
Just one minute Mom, I am playing with play-doh.

First we explored the numbers using the Hands-On numbers and setting them on the Counting Cards.  We reviewed what the numbers are, 12 and 20.

Lachlan turning it around to show Peter and I. 
We started placing the potatoes in the pot, one by one and counting as we went.  I have to say it was a bit exciting for me, as I was not sure if they would all fit or if they would all fit with plenty of room to spare.
Lucy kept on brushing off her hands.  "Dirty" she would say.  It was a great opportunity to reiterate where potatoes are grown, in the ground/dirt.  That's why they are dirty and we have to wash them before we eat them.
We were able to get all of the potatoes in the pot, with room to spare.  We had 26 potatoes.  Since I wanted to hone in on the two numbers we were learning I pulled out the Counting Card for 12 and asked them to pull out 12 potatoes form the pot and set them by the card.
Here are our 12 potatoes.
And our 20 potatoes
After they were all counted out the two little ones, Peter and Lucy, put them back in the pot.  Peter had to see how heavy it was.  I was actually surprised he could pick it up and hold it.  He is a strong boy though.

This next picture is not part of the lessons for the day but I was pretty excited about this happening at my house with my boys.  They have gotten more and more into reading lately.  So when there was an opportunity I got out the rugs and laid them out.  They each picked one and had a seat.  I had them pick out a book or two for me to read.  I read through them and then there they sat with more books reading on their own.  I was so thrilled. 
Lachlan is holding up his book, he really wanted me to hear his story.  I have continued to use these rugs almost daily to inspire some quite reading and to keep their tushes on the ground when I am reading to them. I don't know about you, but when I start to read everyone seems to get closer and closer to me until they start to crowd each other and then an elbow gets thrown and a fight begins.   Not what I envision during reading time.  So these rugs help, when I see one tush come up, I pause my reading and ask them to sit so I can continue.  Sometimes I have to say it a lot before they get the idea, but eventually they improve.  Although I do not believe a preschooler should have to sit and focus for long periods of time, I also don't think it's bad to start a basic understanding of what that looks like.  If they no longer want to hear the story they are free to go, but if they want me to continue reading, I need their attention.  Seems reasonable to me. 

Anyone else run into these sorts of issues during reading time?  Any other great ideas to share or thoughts?  I would love to hear them.

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