Monday, January 18, 2016

MGT Theme Poster with a 22 Month Old

I do have a few other fun things to show you but this post is mostly going to be about the 10 minutes I spent with my little guy, Adam, and the Going On Safari Theme Poster.  Of course I can't leave out the other fun stuff we did as well as talk a little bit about the focus topic of the month. 

Each month the Blog Ambassadors get to talk about a focus topic.  I love this for my own growth and for the conversation it starts.  This month is all about Routines and the different aspects that fall under that - daily routine, routine of caring, the learning process and transitions.  I am not going to go into too much detail here except to say that a routine makes all the difference. 

At first when I heard Mother Goose Time and others express the importance of a routine I had a little fit in my mind.  I don't like routines, how on earth can we stick to a routine everyday, I don't want to, Mommy.  Okay maybe I didn't cry for Mommy, but you get the idea.  Here is where I was getting it all wrong.  I was thinking a "routine" had to be a "schedule".  It doesn't.  There is no way you can write a schedule for preschoolers, that is, if you want them to actually be kids and learn.  If you allot 15 minutes to the theme poster and it takes more or less time then you would feel the need to cut the child off or make them linger on an activity they are done with.  But a routine is different, it's more of a guide, how the day will flow, and it can be flexible.  For us our routine is simple, wake up, little bit of screen time watching cartoons, tv off (not back on until all school is done for the day), get dressed or put on robe, eat breakfast, then right from breakfast into Mother Goose Time. 

All of that to explain to you, why you always see cereal bowls in the pictures with Mother Goose Time.  This is what works best for us.  I found that while I have them at the table I have their attention and I can keep it if we keep moving.  If I allow them to get down from the table they are onto something else and it is a BIG challenge to get them back.  However, as they get older, it is a bit easier to say, okay, finish what you are doing and then come back to the table.  I think this is because we have gotten into such a good routine for such a long period of time.  They know that school is part of the day. 

This of course touches on the transitions part of routines.  Transitions are hard!  Who knew.  The routine I just explained, in a way, eliminates any major transitions, which is why it works so well for us.  We start our day doing the MGT lessons that can be done at the table and then transition to the up and about active lessons because transitioning from table to play is a lot easier than from play to table!

So here is what was happening at our table all simultaneously.  Sometimes I have us all do the same thing at the same time.  On this day it worked out best to have each child work on their own project.  I gave Lachlan and Adam their My Little Journals.  I had Lachlan write his name on the front and draw a picture of himself on Safari.  I gave Adam crayons and let him color freely.  I actually put my finger on the cover of the page when he was coloring and I said "draw a circle" at the same time as moving my finger in a circle on the paper.  He copied me and instead of straight line scribbles back and forth he drew his first circle!  It was super cool to watch. 
Peter I gave this months manipulatives, safari counters.  This month we are focusing on the number 9.  So we got a number 9 counting card.  I first had Peter count out 9 safari animals. 
Once he had 9 safari animals I had him divide the nine into two groups.  Then we would say the number sentence out loud together.  This is how I make each of the numbers more challenging for my older two who have the counting thing down.  Here he is making a group of 6 and the other group you can't see has 3 safari animals.  Then I would have him start with the group on the left 6 + 3 = 9.
We did this a few times coming up with 5 + 4 = 9, 8+1=9 and even 9+0=9. 
To keep going with the imaginative play I followed the MGT directions and got an IKEA plate with a little bit of water for the "watering hole".  We talked about what the animals would do at a watering hole.  These safari animals were being very polite and formed a line to wait their turn to get a drink.
 It's a long line, I hope those Rhinos in the back don't get too antsy. 
 This lead to some more great counting and I also talked about who was first, second, third, last etc. 
Peter had a hard time thinking of something else animals could do at a watering hole.  So I gave him a few hints and then he remembered how elephants love to play in the water and take baths.  Soon all the animals were taking the plunge but I guess the blue ones got to go first. 
Now it was theme poster time.  I have always put the theme poster up on the wall for the kids to explore.  But recently I have been seeing a lot of the other Blog Ambassadors take it down and put it right on the ground or table to explore.  I had not done this in a long time and felt like it might be something Adam would enjoy.  So I put the poster right in front of him.  First I asked him to find the giraffe and I held the seek and find glass with the giraffe on it up in the air and pointed to it.  It didn't make sense to him.  So I laid the seek and find glass on the poster right next to the giraffes on the poster and pointed out the giraffe on the glass and the giraffe on the poster and said "same".
 He got real close to the poster. 
 Looking, looking . . .
 There they are!
 Next I put the lion seek and find glass right next to the lions on the poster. 
 But he spotted the water buffalo and thought they were amazing.  This is his Oooo face. 
 Yes, those water buffalo are amazing. 
 Then he found the lions. 
 I put the next look and find glass on the poster again right next to the girl on safari. 
The last one I gave him was the one with nothing on it and a hole in the middle.  He had fun looking through it.  This was such a special time for Adam and I.  I know he was learning all sorts of things at the same time.  But it was also just fun quality time with my little man. 
Lachlan was really enjoying the theme poster with his baby brother.  But I did give him a journal assignment.  Technically this first assignment wasn't supposed to be done on this day.  But that's what I love about the journal recommendations all being at the front of the Teacher Guide.  You can choose to do the journal time when you please.  I often miss it on the assigned days, so skipping ahead wasn't going to hurt.  I had Lachlan do the oval day and changed the recommended sentence a bit.  I had him draw the oval as a watering hole and write the sentence, "The oval is a watering hole".
You can see in his drawing a few giraffes had come for a drink.  He wasn't thrilled about writing a sentence, but it's good practice and he worked hard and got it done. 

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