Monday, September 24, 2012

Landform Week

Our activity chart (I do the activities in random order, whatever seems to be a good fit at the time, so some days we do many things and others we do just one or two. I try to start the week off on Mondays with an emphasis on our Raising Rock Stars verse/letter for the week):

Math Munch Mat (Treasure Island)
Mother Goose Math (Three Little Kittens)
Play doh models, make a river/flood plain in sensory bin sand

What our board looks like this week:

Theme                                     Landforms
Map                                         Landform Poster, The Wilderness Road
Person/Profession                    Daniel Boone/Hunter
Letters                                     Hh, Ee
Song                                        Obedience is the very best way…
Verse                                       Exodus 20:12
Rhyme                                     Three Little Kittens
Day of the Week                     (Pick out of pocket daily)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Weekly Review - Time Off

Raccoon is 35 months

This week I didn't have any plans for Tot School since I knew we'd be busier than normal. We had doctor appointmens for Raccoon and me (I'm 20 weeks pregnant), along with our first playgroup of the school year on Wednesday. Raccoon is now the oldest child at playgroup since all of the 4 year olds are doing various Pre-K programs.

It was nice to take some time off, but Raccoon wandered over to our bookshelf (where I keep our supplies) several times during the week and said he was going to do school. I think he'll be excited about having some new things to do next week.

A few things we did this week:

* I was browsing through this Tot School post when Raccoon wandered over. He saw the picture of Ladybug making monsters and decided that it was a great idea. He spent quite a while making new monster friends after I grabbed whatever I could find for pieces. He enjoys looking at pictures of other kids, so maybe I should browse the Tot School posts with him more often and he can tell me what looks fun. :)

* I noticed that Raccoon can put things in order by size/length and likes to do this on his own with his toys.

* He is into counting right now, thanks to Richard Scarry's Best Counting Video Ever! and he has discovered a new interest in Busy Town. I loved Richard Scarry as a child, although we just had the books. Raccoon can count from 1 to 12, but for some reason he likes to start at the number 5. He doesn't quite have the concept of each object only gets one number, but it's fun to listen to him "counting" all of his stuff.

* He's done some exploring around the house this week with a flashlight and a magnifying glass.

* He loves maps and points them out wherever he sees them. He found a world map the other day and told me which continent he lives on. His love of maps grew out of his pirate obsession. He got a treasure map with a set of pirate things and wanted me to explain what all the symbols meant.

* When he scribbles, he tells me he's writing letters or making signs for his pretend museums. He "wrote" me his first note today and told me it said, "I love you very much." Awwwww.

* Now that he's growing out of babyhood and playing more on his own, I've been trying to add some extra cuddles into our day. One way we do this is to sit in the rocking chair together and I tell him stories about a little boy named Peter. He likes to help me make up the adventures and we send Peter to all sorts of exotic places. During our polar lands week, Peter spent a lot of time with penguins and polar bears.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Weekly Review - Polar Lands

Raccoon is 35 months

Raccoon and I had a lot of fun this week visiting the Polar Lands. He really enjoyed board time, especially Amundsen's route to the South Pole. He'd peer closely at the map and say, "Tell me again, Mama!"

For a list of all the things we did and the sources, check out my activity chart.

I put the penguin poster up in our living room and Raccoon enjoyed picking out a different kind of penguin to be each day when he wore his penguin mask. On the poster, I only colored the ones that live in or around Antarctica. His favorites were the macaroni and emperor penguins. We also put up a small, black-and-white tent my dad gave him and we re-enacted Amundsen's trip to the South Pole with sled dogs.

One of Raccoon's favorite activities from this week was feeding the penguin. We used crayons as fish, counting how many the penguin ate and which colors he liked best. Then Raccoon went on a hunt through his toy box to find other objects small enough to fit in his mouth. We played this game on several different days.

Then he lined up his turtle family for the "I see" book from this week's Raising Rock Star Preschool (Tt). Right now, I'm just using the RRSP verse (on our board), the letter of the week word cards, the "I see" book, sometimes the song, and the "I can" examples if included. I've stopped any cutting or tracing activities for now due to his lack of interest. We did the Tt cards with his turtles too, each of them picking a word to be "theirs."

We did another ice sensory activity this week. Raccoon enjoyed it so much the last time we did it that I knew it would be fun to repeat. On the bottom left is a tray with colored ice cubes and some of his plastic arctic/antarctic animals frozen in ice (I used a muffin tin for them). In the center is cold water, then on the bottom right is a bowl of warm water to melt the ice around the animals. The blue in the pan above that is colored salt for snow. I drew a line in the middle and we talked about which animals lived at the North or South Poles. The little pot on top is hot water that I would carefully add when his warm water got too cold to melt the ice.

When he was done playing, I cleaned up most of the sensory stuff and we built igloos with his alphabet blocks.

The kind of activities that Raccoon likes best are ones we can turn into open-ended pretend play. He matched the penguins and where they put their eggs in our "Nesting Time" activity and looked at "What's Inside this Egg." Then we played that the penguins were looking for their families, hiding from predators, etc.

With the Race Munch Mat, I showed Raccoon how to "drive" his cars around the oval, then we lined them up to see who won first, second, third, etc.

Check out this week's Tot School link-up for more ideas.

Next week we're going to take some time off since we have doctor appointments and some extra playdates, but we'll be taking up Tot School again the week after with a landform theme.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Polar Lands Week

The Arctic & Antarctica (the coldest places on earth)

Polar Animals Spelling (match w/letter blocks)*
The Polar Lands Powerpoint*
Paint an aurora borealis & australis, color names+
Tracking Trails+ (N/S/E/W) & Polar Animal Tracks*
Feed the Penguin*
Penguin Maze*
Polar Animal Clip Cards*
Race Munch Mat (1st, 2nd, 3rd…)+
Raising Rock Stars (Tt-Ten Commandments)^,
Roald Amundsen
Ice play (frozen arctic animals), egg carton sorting w/googly eyes

 *From the PolarLand Unit from the 2TeachingMommies printables
+All the Scholastic materials I bought during their $1 pdf sales.

^You may have noticed on my board (at the bottom of the post), I decided to change our verse from the suggested one Exodus 20:15 “Thou shalt not steal” to John 14:23 “Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching…”.” Also, the song is a different one about the ten commandments (to the tune of Jingle Bells) from here.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Weekly Review - Space

Raccoon is 34 months

Note: All my sources are listed on my Space Week activity chart. Sorry the pictures are dark, my husband needed the camera this week so I took most of these with my iPad (no flash).

We used this "math mat" to talk about big, medium, small, top shelf, bottom shelf, and counting.

Raccoon's favorite part was pulling the cotton balls apart and putting them on the glue.

Painting the Sun - For some reason, Raccoon was not that into art this week. I thought he would like the idea of paint under the plastic wrap, but he immediately wanted me to take it off. Then he didn't like it when his fingers got dirty.

Raccoon LOVED this! It was an idea I found mid-week from another Tot School mom here, so I added it in. We actually did it two days in a row and it was a great opportunity to talk about how we can let our light shine (p. 5 from Raising Rock Star Preschool "Ll"). We did the craft on our plastic tablecloth and I kept a glass of water right next to him. As an extra safety precaution I also soaked the paper with a sponge first. His favorite part was extinguishing the candle in the water, then I would re-light it with another candle I was holding. The water made the wick crackle like a sparkler.

Another extra activity we did this week was stamping play doh. I found some ocean stamps in a drawer and brought them out. Raccoon's favorite game was making animal "pancakes" and serving them to his stamp friends.

This is our Sun/Earth/Moon model. I used the plates from our Painting the Sun craft above, and just cut out the earth so it would be smaller than the sun. And yes, that is a turtle sitting on the moon. After I showed Raccoon how the earth goes around the sun and the moon around the earth, he decided that some of his cold-blooded animals needed to sit on the sun to warm up. The next day, he pulled out the model and was using the sun as a stove burner to cook turtle soup in a pot.

Raccoon liked this activity until his cards started coming apart after he matched them. This is him freaking out about Venus.

We tried several different solutions but by the time I ended up pinning them on his cork board, he'd pretty much lost interest due to his perfectionism. He just passed me the matching pairs and I put them together. He likes these types of activities, but gets frustrated with the pieces not staying together like in a real puzzle. Ideas?

I am really grateful for Tot School and all the moms who share their ideas. It's been very motivating for me and allowed Raccoon and I to share some great moments together. Thanks everyone!

Next Week - The Polar Lands

 Here's my plan for next week - Polar Land activity chart (with sources) - if you're curious.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Space Week

I decided to call this our first official week of school since it is the first time I'll be using our new board.

This is my plan for the week, but I may end up stretching it out over two weeks since my printer has not been cooperating lately.

Munch Mats (Sleepy Suzie)+
RRSP Wk 1 – Ll (light), Neil Armstrong
Play doh, moon rocks bin,

 +from the most recent Scholastic Teacher Express $1 sale
^from the Space unit at 2TeachingMommies
*I got these great links from this post on Going on a Fields Trip

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Weekly Review - Getting Organized

Raccoon is 34 months

Our board is ready!

We don't really have a school space, so we take over the living/dining room once my husband leaves for work. I plan to hang it up just at "board time" then store it beside our dining room table when it's not in use. The content shown here matches what I have planned for next week.

I didn't have a plan for this week, so we just did random things like:

play doh
land and sea plates with animals from our creation book
 and lots of dress-up/pretend!

One of Raccoon's favorite new things is to play store. He sets out a particular type of toy (balls, plastic animals, tools, etc) and then chooses some buyers and sellers from his stuffed "amigo" collection. The funny thing is that no one can actually buy anything, he always tells the buyers, "That's too expensive," or "You can't have that, you're not a little boy."

As always, check out the latest Tot School post for more ideas!