Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Fables and Folktales

This month with Mother Goose Time we are studying Aesop's Fables.  The first day we read the fable about The Lion and the Mouse.  This is the story about the mouse that runs past the lion and get's caught.  The mouse pleads with the lion to let him go and tells him that he will pay him back some day.  The lion of course laughs at the thought of a mouse helping him, the lion, in any way.  But still agrees to let him go.  Later, the lion, is trapped in a net and roars for help.  The mouse comes to his rescue and chews the rope to free the lion.

The moral of the story "kindness is never wasted."

Mother Goose Time did it again by publishing a book that goes perfectly with this months theme.
They also tried something new this month.  Instead of a music CD they sent an audio story CD.  All the stories from the book are read by none other than Leslie Falconer, CEO of Mother Goose Time.  Peter, specifically, loves to listen to the stories in this way.  This will be a great CD to bring along on car rides.  The best part is that they get to meet Leslie at the end of August.  I bet she will feel familiar to them since they have listened to her voice.

I love how Mother Goose Time will adapt to make every month unique and perfect.  This month is all about story telling, so really, audio stories on the CD are a perfect match!

After we read the story the lesson Listen to the Lion had us find a stuffy and wrap it up with string.  I think we were actually supposed to do this part ahead of time.  But I knew the boys would both love doing it themselves.  As they wrapped their critters we talked about the discussion question, when might an animal need your help?  The boys talked about rescuing honey bees from the pool.  I talked about rescuing a lost dog.  It was a great conversation.  We are all about rescuing animals in this house.  We even usher spiders outside instead of squishing them.  I know, I am a bit extreme.

What I found interesting was the different levels at which the boys were able to wrap up their stuffies.   Lachlan, who is 6, was able to wrap his really tightly and with accuracy.
 You can see how tight Spark is caught in that net.  Wrapped over and over in the same place. 
Poor guy.  He looks so sad.  Not to worry, the "mouse" AKA scissors will free him soon.
Peter chose to tie up Stormy.  You can see his string is loose and a little bit random.  Peter is 4 and is super smart and can do many things brother can do.  But you can see here there is still some difference in their fine motor abilities. 
 Don't worry Stormy, you will be rescued soon. 
Again, here is Peter really attacking with the scissors.  Lachlan on the other hand, was a lot more methodical.  He had a plan and cut Spark free carefully.  Now some of the difference I am seeing is probably also due to personality.  I would say how they freed their critter is a pretty accurate depiction of how they take on life.  But I also know that some of it has to do with where they are at developmentally. 

 They are free!
Next we worked on the craft and made puppets.  This is Peter's lion which he chose to color purple.  When he had his lion and mouse all finished I played the story on the CD and he acted it out with his puppets.  It was cute to see the lion and the mouse talking to each other.

In July we were pretty relaxed about school.  I am trying to work them back into a routine by just doing the Mother Goose Time lessons each morning.  At minimum I want to do all the starred lessons.  This month we got a Baseline Assessment Tool.  Everyday in the Teacher Guide there is at least one starred lesson.  This is a lesson for us to assess and see where our children fall on the Developmental Continuum of Skills.  When we complete all the starred lessons and assessments we will have a comprehensive picture of where are children are at.
 Here you can see the starred lesson and the assess question at the bottom.  For my children, identifying their full name has been something they can do for a very long time.  So I looked inside the Developmental Continuum of Skills quick reference book and turned to the page with the skills 12.1 and 12.2. 
 I found that both of my boys fall in the benchmark F. 
12. 1 Benchmark F: Reads high frequency sight words
12.1 Benchmark F: Identifies all letters and their sounds.  Begins to sound out the letters in two to four letter words.

I was able to do this assessment with out having them write their names on the name tag because I already know what they can do in this area.  We ran out of time on this day so we never did get to the name tags.  But the next day we did.  The next day we were supposed to assess 14.1 which looks at their writing abilities.  I placed both the boys at Benchmark E but noticed the next Benchmark asks if they can print their first and last name.  My poor kids have 11 letters in their last name.  So this isn't something I have worked on much with them.  However, now that I realize it is the next step in learning I had Peter give it a try.
I also read that writing the upper and lowercase letters appropriately is part of the next benchmark as well.  So I coached Peter using the alphabet cards we got this month that I have yet to cut apart.  He was able to get the first 4 letter of our last name written before he ran out of room on the name tag.

That is the best part about the assessment process.  It's not a test so we can tell the kids where they are failing.  My goodness, that would be awful.  It's for us, the educators, to understand where the child is at and where he is expected to be next. Having this knowledge allows us to bridge the gap between what they know and what they need to know.  For in that gap is where the learning happens. 

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