Preschool Corner: Insects

I’m happily sitting out here in the family room on my lap top as the kids are painting the first step in our art project.  So, this may not be the cogent post, but I like this idea of how to get my post written and still be here with the kids.

Hmph, it’s randomly decided not to let me uncenter the text.  I just wanted to show these two comics I saw today because they amused me greatly.
READING
We continued with Progressive Phonics.  The kids have gotten through the first few pages, and we’re mainly doing a lot of rereading it because they really can use the practice.  So far they’re hit and miss on it.  They enjoy sitting with me and reading the words by themselves, but they don’t do as well when it’s actually in the story.
We read lots of books this week.  There was no particular favorite, but we did work on predicting.  It amuses me their different answers, sometimes they’ll try to predict, but more often than not they’ll say “I don’t know,” or “turn the page.
MATH

Hey, it randomly stopped being centered…….  And now the kids are happily sitting in the bath tub, okay not so happily as Princess is kicking her brothers.  All too soon we’re not going to be able to have them take baths together, but right now they’re enjoying it immensely.

We did a lot of counting with our costume magnets.  These are still a big hit here, and they love playing with them and counting them.  Of course we continue our calendar, but I’ve left off having them do stickers to count the days of school.  They were really starting to hate that, and in a few weeks I plan to have them making the number with our new Math U See manipulatives (once we reach that lesson in the curriculum, at the rate we’re flying through the first few lessons I’m sure that will be soon).  I’d link over to their website, but I’m feeling lazy right now.  I’m sure I’ll go back and fix it when I’m not on the lap top.

SCIENCE

insect,pipe cleaner,model magic

Bet you were beginning to think I wouldn’t have a picture this post weren’t you?  We did two things to emphasize the different parts of insects.  We played cootie, to read more about how we made this a learning activity go here.  And we made our own insects, both activities were wildly popular here.

SOCIAL STUDIES

Sadly the activity I wanted to do wasn’t possible because of uncooperative weather, so that didn’t really happen.

ART

insect,pipe cleaner,model magic

Art this week was mostly a random conglamelation hodge podge of stuff.  The kids had lots of fun expanding on my few planned art projects, and I think that’s probably going to be the way of things for a while.  But the kids seem to like that so all is well.

The bath water is slightly green now from all of the paint that has come off of them, and Princess is way tired beyond expressing.  She’s laying on my bed crying in sheer exhaustion, so I’m gong to go cuddle her for a little bit while the boys finish their bath.

I’ll go back later and find the link to link up to Homeschool Creations when I link my post up.

And, now as my postscript, all the kids are blissfully upstairs in their beds, pretending to be asleep.  I’m going to get my posts for next week planned out.  I’m thinking with Princess’ surgery it’s going to be a hectic week.

Science Sunday: Insects

I saw this game in the clearance area of Target for their Christmas stuff.  They also had this at Halloween, and I’m sure I’ll see it again at Valentine’s Day.  They were touting it as “a great option to giving your kid another sugary treat,” I was looking at it as a great learning activity.

One of the things I wanted the kids to learn about insects is that an insect has three body parts: head, thorax, and abdomen.  This game was perfect for teaching this.

Rules as we played:  Roll the dice and say what body part you rolled.  Then you grab the part you rolled and first person to finish their bug wins.  We kept playing once the first two were done building, and did it as you could keep switching.  On the dice there’s a lose a piece side and a roll again side.  So, they also got to practice their gracefully losing skill.

The traditional cootie game works really well for emphasizing the other feature of insects that all insects have: antennae and 6 legs.  It doesn’t work as well for the body parts because it’s segmented into two parts.

I loved that because of playing this my kids are now quite sure that spiders are not insects.  Spiders have 8 legs and only 2 body parts.

So, that was our game.  For the idea I’m going to spotlight is one I saw last summer, and was originally going to try with this unit, but it just didn’t come to fruition.

My Family, My Forever–  So, I just skip past the nasty little mealworms, because those gross me out.  But, I loved the cricket experiment.  My kids would have loved it too.

So, that’s our science for the week.  Not super fancy, but sometimes that’s the best type of science, besides it’s so cute to see my little three year old saying “abdomen,” seriously, it’s cute.

For more about Science Sunday and participating go here.

Preschool: Us

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Hah! I finally remembered to put the button on. I decided to actually make a document to save all of the buttons I should use on a regular basis in it, so I can just go there and copy it. Hopefully that’ll help me get these things better.

Reading
I’m decided to slow down on trying to get them blending. I’m going to keep showing it to them, but not push it as much.

I’m also going to do it more like I did back when I was teaching, this worked really well with my class and was popular, so I’m going to do this rather than, giving the kids a word and saying sound it out.

Here’s what we’re doing. I give them a pile of 6 or so letters. Then I say a word, “cat,” and together we figure out what letters are in cat. Much more popular.

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We continue our Nursery Rhyme book. After we’d put our project together i had them find all of the “d” they could find. And no, you can’t find R or W or whatever other random letter you want to find. Today, we’re just looking for D!

I might of had to say that a few times.

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We also played this game….. I’ve saved milk bottle caps for months, with lots of not so subtle hints from my husband to “do something with them.” Well, I finally did. I wrote the 4 sight words to work on for this week, words that are about “us,” our letter being U….. We put them in a bag, and they took turns pulling out a word. If they could read it they kept it, if not they put it back in the bag. There was also a bottle cap that said milk, if you got that one, you had to put back all of your caps.

I think they might have done better with more practice on the words first, but they enjoyed it.

Math

The big hit of the week:

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Magnet Math- I already wrote a bunch about this here, but we’ve repeated this activity a bunch of times since then.

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We also continued to count days of school and days of the month. I made a break through on our days of school book, when I made a template for it, and they had to put one sticker in each square that didn’t have an X in it. This works much better than them randomly sticking them on and saying “Mom, do I have enough yet.” Of course it loses the charm of the random placement…..

And, notice lightsabers make great pointers.

Social Studies

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We finally got to continue with Me on the Map, and made a map of our upstairs. Next step to make a map of the downstairs on the opposite side of the poster.

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I also finally got our US map put together. I found an old bulletin board that had been in the sewing room, and glued the map on it. We’ve spent a lot of time reveiwing where Texas is each morning. Okay, really a lot is like one or two minutes a day. But, they now know they’re from Texas, and can sometimes find Texas on the map. They know their cousins who visited last week are from Colorado.

Science

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We learned about bones, a lot about bones. They were more interested in that than anything else we might have done. So we played bone games and looked at chicken bones. To read a lot more about this go here.

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And we found this guy in our front yard.

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Okay, so I know praying mantis are cannibals and all, but still they look cool. And besides they eat “bad bugs,” so in my book that makes this a “good bug.” Which sadly is what my kids call pill bugs, good bugs……

Bible

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I don’t usually include this, not because we don’t do it, but because I don’t usually have pictures, and it seems kind of silly to just keep repeating: we read Bible stories, this week we read more about Joseph. But, the thing I think is SUPER cool, my kids ask to do Bible study, and they get disappointed if we tell them no. So, we go through it at a random rate. One week, we don’t do all that much, and the next we do lots and lots.

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This week we ate ice cream and talked about how Joseph was nice to his brothers even after they’d been mean to him.

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MOST COMMON QUESTION IN OUR HOUSE: Princess, where are your clothes?

Her answer: “They were wet.” That’s all the explanation we get, just they’re wet. I’ll find them later and I can’t find where they were wet.

I just keep repeating to myself, “She will outgrow this, she will outgrow this.”

LIFE SCHOOL

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They had lots of fun watching me make their Halloween costumes, I still have to finish Princess’, I left hers for last because I got her first costume mostly done and she changed her mind. I’ll hopefully get a post up about this.

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Princess got a new stepstool for her room. Here’s how the construction went once she woke up.

Me: Don’t touch the blanket, there’s wet paint.
She then proceeds to sit right next to the edge of the blanket, and loses her balance falling onto the blanket.

Me: No, you can’t touch the blanket.
She looks at me with pouty eyes, and then proceeds to roll around the floor around the blanket. Never quite touching the blanket…… That girl.

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We played at the park, and Mommy learned lots of patience, and then more patience, and then yet more…….. Why did they insist on hanging on me, when there was an entire park to hang off of?

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Camera phone picture, I am occasionally a nice Mommy and do carry her. Sometimes….

Science Sunday

I really have to sit down and figure out how to make a button. I’m thinking that might happen after Halloween. I still have to make Princess’ costume, and a couple of other projects.

So, this past week we were studying “All About Us.” I was all set to do a bunch of experiments about the five senses, when I discovered my kids had absolutely zero interest in this.

NONE. ZERO. ZILCH.

What did they want to learn about? Bones. More bones, what do bones do, why do we have bones, where are our bones, who else has bones….. And then more about this.

Luckily, some of the books I’d checked out from the library covered some of the stuff they were wanting to talk about. So, we read a few books, and then talked about our bones and how we’re put together. Now comes the two fun parts.

First experiment, this is what made me decide no more senses.

Materials: blindfold, something that makes noise, we used a couple of pencils.

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1. Blindfold your child. This is what they really hated, I didn’t think about how hard it would be for them to be blindfolded.

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2. Have another child make noise.

3. The blindfolded child then points to where the noise is coming from. Further variations are to have them cover one ear, and try to decide if it’s easier to find where the noise is coming from with one ear or two (if they’ve done it right, it’s easier with two, but kids aren’t that good at covering their ears)*

*except when they don’t want to hear something, then they’re very very good.

This next one is a game I found.

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Skeletons in the Closet– This is set up for four players. There are several different levels, my kids just did the below easiest level of spinning the spinner and getting the pieces they needed to finish putting the skeleton together. (Sigh, my copy was much more expensive at the silly teacher supply store)

Truthfully, my kids are not ready for this game. They don’t have the dexterity to put the skeleton together on their own, and they don’t really have any clue how you’re supposed to play it. That being said, they LOVED it. After they finished putting the skeletons together and learning that you have to play carefully with them. They had a lot of fun playing with the different pieces and moving their skeletons.

The actual experiment……. Yeah, you’re probably going to be grossed out by this.

Those of you with a weak stomach stop reading now…..

Have I peaked your curiosity yet? I know as soon as I’m told to stop reading I keep reading.

We studied a whole chicken. I went to the store and got a whole chicken to cook for dinner, and thought this would make a great science experiment. Not a whole lot of pictures because I didn’t want to get the chicken gunk all over my camera.

Oh, and for those who are worried about any germs or contanimation, after each step we used hand sanitizer.

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First we touched the skin, and talked about how our bodies are covered in skin, and how our skin protects us.

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Then we removed the skin and touched the muscles, and talked about how we use our muscles to move. (When I post what we read this week, I’ll have some great books for this age range on this subject).

Finally, we felt the bones on the inside, and felt some of the bones on ourselves. If you’re ridiculously skinny like my kids are, you can feel your rib bones.

And anyone who thinks I’m starving my kids didn’t see how much Batman ate tonight….. He ate 3 helpings of steak, salad, and noodles. By the end he had eaten more than me.

I’m scared of my grocery bill when these kids become teenagers. I’m taking donations now…..

I can’t wait to see what else people have done. Some of my upcoming themes are going to be harder to find definite hands on ways to cover science. So, I’m hoping to get more ideas.

Preschol Corner: Octopus and Ocean

So, the curriculum calls for just octopus in 3 weeks, but we had so many things we wanted to learn more about from our week in Galveston, so we decided to move up our ocean animal study and do it now.

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O is for Octopus and Ocean.

Language Arts

We continued to work on blending, after our amazing success from 2 weeks ago with Superman getting it really fast, he was just not wanting to and was goofing off. I’m trying to figure out what the fine line is there. Because I want him to learn that there are times it’s not okay to goof off, but I also don’t want to squash his love of learning.

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The kids had lots of fun “writing” their very own ocean animals book. I got some interesting facts that they dictated to me. Very interesting…….

We worked on handwriting a little with prehandwriting skills from Learning Page. This is also what we used for our math skills this week.

With all of the art projects we were doing for science I opted to not have the kids do a nursery rhyme/poem this week. It just seemed like then I was doing it for the sake of an activity rather than learning.

Math

We did lots of counting and we did some sorting into groups, does this belong, why or why not.

Social Studies

To get ready for our next step of “Me on the Map,” I had them running all over taking pictures of the rooms upstairs. Which of course meant lots of pictures like this:

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Or this:

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Princess hasn’t quite mastered the art of turning the camera around to face the right way. So, I get lots of pictures of her nostrils or her left eye…….

I’ve finally tracked down a map of our house, that’s why this next step has taken so long. I couldn’t find the house plans, and I REALLY didn’t want to draw it out by myself.

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We also continued to talk about our visiting flat friends. I need to make books about these guys, so my kids can learn about where they’re from. Sigh, more things to do.

Science

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So……. We read a lot of books about fish and such this week. We then took what we learned and made it into our very own Ocean Animals Book.

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They also got to take their first stab at making observations on something. Which was really rather hilarious. Their level of observation right now is mainly limited to textures, but after reading the Starfish book they did right away run to their Starfish fight over who got to look through the magnifying glass and try to find the stomach on the bottom. So, progress.

Life School

I think I’ll make this a regular part of what I talk about, because I’ve figured out a lot of my teaching style is capitalizing on what we’re doing right now. So, here’s what we learned about from life.

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If you get too much rain your backyard floods.

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That we do still occasionally need to nap. I especially was laughing when Superman fell asleep on my lap (see top sleeping picture). He slept there for a good hour plus, as my legs slowly feel to sleep, and I kept thinking of all the things I needed to get done, but wasn’t.

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That flat friends like to learn too. And, you can’t always have the crayon you want (poor Princess).

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How much getting to drink tea means to my kids. Our tradition is to drink tea and have cheese, crackers, sausage, fruit, and the occasional cookies for lunch after church. I get to use my nice fancy Mother’s Day present and we drink tea, and the kids get to use real tea cups. It makes them SOOOOOOOOOO happy, and they ask to do it all the time. So, as a special treat, since we couldn’t go outside to play, they got to have tea for lunch with just Mommy.

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Princess continues to learn patience. She’s really not very good at this.

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Superman got to go with me all by himself to a local fair to promote community businesses. He loved picking up all sorts of prizes to share.

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And we made playdough cookies. I’ll hopefully get a chance to write a post with the recipe tomorrow.

Ocean and Octopus books

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Rainbow Fish-I think this book first came out when I was in high school and it made the rounds of the soon to be teachers and we all loved it as a great book about sharing. I’ve heard some people look at it as a “way to buy friends,” but I think there’s a lot of potentially great lessons in there. This is a popular book and we’ve read it several times.

Rainbow Fish and the Tattle Tale; Copycat Fish– both of these are part of the “continuing Rainbow Fish” Adventures. I don’t quite see how it fits in with the continuity of Rainbow Fish (and yes I do realize I’m giving it a lot more credit than they probably thought about), but in these Rainbow Fish is a kid and he goes through the typical little kid problems. They’re fun short reads and can help if you’re having a problem with tattling, or lying, or fill in the problem (I have 3 or 4 in this series, I think).

A House for a Hermit Crab– A cute book about how a hermit crab goes around and builds his house. It progresses through the months of the year, and with each month he adds something to his house, and finally at the end of the year he moves on to a new house. For those of you El-Ed majors, this is a marginal example of a circle book, it ends the same way it begins (there are a a few minor differences, that’s why it’s marginal). This was quite popular, and I think I read it 3 times in a row before they let me stop reading it.

Swimmy– this is a great book for talking about working together. Swimmy is a black fish in a sea of red fish, and the big fish always pick on them. They must solve a problem of how to work together. Truthfully, we read this one a while ago, and I don’t remember their reaction to it, but I love it, so I decided to include it here.

Fish Faces– this one might be nonfiction, all in how you look at it. I think the call number was nonfiction. but, it’s pictures of different fish faces, and you decide how the fish are feeling. This is super cute and the kids loved looking at the different faces and guessing how the fish felt.

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So, all of these we read before we worked on our Ocean Animals book. We would read about one or two animals and then while they made their animals I would write down what they told me.

How to Hide an Octopus– Fun book about how different animals camoflauge. The kids had lots of fun reading this book and looking for the hiding animals.

Giant Octopuses– A great factual book that the kids had lots of fun reading. After we read this we did our octopus page from their ocean animals book.

Sea Horses– The kids had lots of fun with this one because we had just seen sea horses the week before at the aquarium. They had fun trying to find the same ones we saw before. And of course then we made our sea horses.

Ocean Mammals– This one we kind of scanned and read some of it. It was aimed at a slightly older group. They kept relating it back to the movie we saw, so they did get more from the 3D movie then that you can wear the glasses as a bra……

Surprising Sharks– Another big hit, and the illustrations are fun and different. After this they kept making a point to tell me how sharks eat their brothers and sisters. Yeah……. THat’s all they got from it. Sharks eat their brothers.

Jellyfish-another great fact book. I love books like this that are written for early readers because it has just the right amount of information for a preschooler. While I love the Gail Gibbons books, I think the best ones of all are the Rookier Readers. They have one sentence per page, and great pictures. Much less tendency to overwhelm my kids with too many facts.

For More Great posts on what people are reading go on over to Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns.

Super fun turtle books

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Yertle the Turtle– I love this book, it’s actually what inspired the turtle craft we did. Yertle is the king of the turtles and wants to be king of more. I also found at the library a video version of it, but the kids weren’t thrilled with that.

All About Turtles– a great fact book that the kids were intersted in, they especially found it interesting to learn that turtles make nests and lay eggs.

Turtle Splash- was super popular, it’s a countdown book and was very well done. This is the book where it seemed like my kids finally clicked with counting. I think we read this one a couple of times.

One Tiny Turtle– I wanted to like this one more than I did. It didn’t quite work for me, and I’m not sure why. It didn’t seem to catch the kids attention either so it wasn’t just me. It follows a sea turtle’s life from being a young turtle through having babies herself. It was just odd.

Sea Turtles– Gail Gibbons again, and I still like her books. She just does a great job of providing good fact and making it somewhat interesting.

Bear and Turtle and the Great Lake Race– is kind of a variation on The Hare and the Tortoise, except this time the turtle wins through engineuity. I thought it was super cute, and fun.

The Foolish Tortoise– This is a good book for teaching the lesson about being content with who you are. The kids had fun reading this one, and afterwards found blankets to pretend they were turtles. It was super cute.