Friday, January 24, 2014

G is for Goat (Farm Week 1)

We have three units in our kindergarten curriculum that are about farm animals.  The first one is about goats.  I am glad to have three units in a row that form a cohesive theme, so we've been doing a fair amount of general farm theme stuff.  Especially for my little man, this has been great because he'd rather talk about tractors than animals anyway.  In fact, when I filled a bin with some popcorn seeds and put in a few tractors and some soft farm animal toys we had, he took the animals back out and said, "No animals.  Only tractors."

One of his favorite things to do throughout the week was to fill up his tractors with the popcorn seeds.  Big brother often jumped in to "help" him.
Both of my boys REALLY love dot markers.  I often am a little sparing with printing out things like this because it uses expensive colored ink for something that only takes them about 5 minutes (or less).  But, I know how much they like them, so I try to do them at least sometimes.  I try to figure out some other ways for them to use the dot markers other than just for printables like this because they view them as such a treat.  I'm always looking for more ideas for things like that!

Even though the dot marker printables are meant for little man and quite easy for Isaiah, I still usually print two if I'm printing them because he still really wants to do them, and it takes so little time, so it isn't as if it is taking away from his tasks.
Little Man has also really been enjoying stamps lately.  He wasn't really interested in the intended task to stamp "g's" on his goat.  He just wanted to put train stamps and letters from his name and such.  He was loving it, though.

Handwriting is not Isaiah's strength, and I am not a big proponent of pushing too hard for a boy of his age since he knows his letter formation for all the letters.  I do want to try to keep some practice and work on it as part of our work, obviously, so this week I tried a couple of low-pressure and new (to us) ways of working on his letter, as handwriting worksheets are just not a great fit for him or really a fit for what me philosophically for this age.  Anyway, both things were pretty simple.  The first one was that I just wrote the capital and lowercase letter with highlighter and had him trace them.  My good friend had been suggesting that since he gets really hung up on dotted lines and needing to be exactly on them and gets frustrated.  The highlighter worked well for him.
Secondly, I just gave him some smiley face stickers and had him form the capital and lowercase letter with them. He liked this.

One of the things I haven't loved about our curriculum is that the reading is almost entirely focused on phonics.  There are lots of great discussions about approaches to reading instruction, and I am not attempting to engage that, but this wouldn't be my natural preference, and I think Isaiah gets a little too bogged down in the mechanics, and I don't want him to lose his love for reading and books.  Much more could be said, but I had purchased You Can Read from Carissa at 1+1+1=1 some time ago, and we've started to use it now, and I think it is offering some good balance to things.  Here he is doing the stamping from the extras bundle.  Another thing that I just need to stay really accountable to is simply just READING a ton to and with them. I can get so focused on our agenda and the things that we are supposed to finish that I can often let this slide, and it is one of the most important things and one of the things my kids love most.  We read, and we read several books a day, but I just recently have had to remind myself to keep abundant reading time as a core part of what we do and not an "extra."

Linking up with other great folks at the Tot School Gathering Place!

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