More Butterfly Writing

As we’re wrapping up our study on butterflies, I wanted to post a couple of ways we integrated writing into our unit.  I have been SO proud of his attitude while writing lately.

1.  Butterfly Life Cycle

I read Becoming Butterflies by Anne Rockwell.  This book tells about the life cycle of Monarch butterflies and we compared it to what had happened with our painted lady butterflies.

He worked the butterfly life cycle puzzle from Lakeshore.  This served as a quick review.  I believe it is discontinued now, but I found the set at yard sale recently for $2.

I folded over pieces of paper and created a flip chart to show how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.  He used pictures and words from the book to help him draw and write the words.  Something I noticed is that chrysalid and chrysalis seem to be interchangeable.  Maybe I’m wrong…and if I am, please correct me!

On the top page, he wrote Becoming Butterflies.

Here are a couple of his inside pages:

egg- 1st page

butterfly- last page

This flip chart concept could be adapted and used with many different content areas.

Just a few that pop in my mind right away are:

  • retelling a story in order
  • helping a child understand where they live: city, state, country, continent would go on the pages and the child would draw pictures of those things on the inside flaps
  • writing math problems: for example, 4+5 could be written and when it’s  flipped open, the child writes the answer and maybe draws pictures or writes words to show how she got the answer

2. What Did You Learn?

I read It’s a Butterfly’s Life by Irene Kelly.  This is VERY interesting book.  For example, did you know that a caterpillar’s poop is called frass?  Some caterpillars can even “shoot” their frass up to 3 feet (we pulled out a yard stick to see just how far that was)!  There were parts of the book that were WAY over his head, so I paraphrased or skipped those.

Before reading, I told ALuv that this book contained very interesting and even gross facts about butterflies.  This really engaged him, as he wanted to get to the gross parts.

During reading, I kept commenting, “Wow!  I didn’t know that before!” or “That’s so cool!”  He made comments as well.

After reading, I asked him what facts he remembered the most.  We engaged in dialogue about this, as I shared mine.  Once he established his favorite, I asked him to draw a picture showing it.  I walked away as he worked, so as not to “hover” (as my husband calls it).

This is what he drew:

A green caterpillar with large eye spots.

Once he had his picture drawn, I asked him to tell me about it.  I helped him narrow down the sentence he wanted to write and I set him free to write it.  I listened.  No whining…no crying…not an utterance of  “But I can’t!”.  After a couple minutes of silence, I was intrigued.  I simply walked by to see what was happening.  He had already written two words: The caterpillar.  He had used the flip chart I mentioned above to spell caterpillar!  I was so proud!!

He used the Word Wall to spell several other sight words.  A few times, he did ask for help.  When he did, I modeled how to stretch out the words.  He said the words, too and wrote down the sounds he heard.  Stretching out words and writing down the phonemes is a great way to further develop a child’s phonemic awareness; a necessary skill for reading!

This is the final work:

The Caterpillar can scar othr animls uwa with thr big is.

(The caterpillar can scare other animals away with their big eyes.)

This reading mama’s favorite was UWA for away…brilliant!  Okay, so I am aware that he has a capital C at the beginning of caterpillar and that this “fact” isn’t entirely true…they’re really eye spots, but who cares?!?!  I could not stop praising him for his good attitude and hard work.  His handwriting looks amazing!  Just about a month ago, he didn’t even understand how to use the lines.  Now, he can use them independently!  Yay!

What do I think made such a big difference in a month’s time?  I believe it all boils down to best teaching practices that work in any content area:

  1. Modeling: If you remember, when he wrote in his journal about our butterflies, I modeled “correct” letter formation on a lined dry erase board; which I found at Target in their $1 bin last year.  He has also repeated the sentence strip handwriting activity; which gives him a good model with letter formation.
  2. Multiple Exposures:  I bumped up my expectations with him.  We write almost every day now.
  3. Meaningful Practice: Not worksheet after worksheet, but fun and authentic reasons for writing.

And…an old trick I had forgotten until recently:  Let him draw his picture first.   Drawing tends to be easier (and more fun) for kids at a young age and a less daunting place for them to start.  Encourage them to fill their pictures with lots of details.  When they’re done, ask them to describe their picture to you so they can verbalize their thoughts.  They may even allow you to label their picture.  Then, help them to figure out what they want to write down based off their picture.

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"Doing School" with NJoy

NJoy is currently 2 years, 8 months.  And this little boy NJOYS learning.  He is actually borderline obsessive! 🙂  He has walked into our new schoolroom several times since its construction and demanded, “I want to ‘do school’!” (It really sounds more like “do cool”; since he can’t say his s blends very well).

Magnetic letter play

“Mommy, I need the pointer so I can point to letters.” – I hear this at least twice a day.

Sneaking in a quick ABC puzzle with Mr. Lamb before breakfast

Now that he’s taken to it, I’ve realized that I need to be more intentional with him.  While I sometimes still adapt things for him that I do with ALuv, I’ve begun separate lesson plans for him.  The awesome thing is that I’ve got PLENTY of amazing online resources to help me out.  You can visit the other sites and their amazing resources by clicking on the links with each activity.

Letters & Their Letter Sounds

Instead of going through the alphabet in order, I introduce letters and their sounds in more of a developmental order (I am planning to post more specifically about this soon).   Sometimes, I’ll start with the letter of the child’s name, but since we are studying butterflies, I decided to go with B.

Letter B Work:

Play dough Letter B Mat from here

Our letter Bb sound tub

For each object, I placed it on this Bb mat, saying the object’s name like this: /b/-/b/-bread.  For more ideas on using sound tubs, click here and here.

Drawing strings on the balloons- (I’m beginning to wonder if he’ll be a lefty like his daddy)

If splashing in mud puddles is NJoy’s 1st love, drawing strings on balloons has got to be a close 2nd.   So much so, that I have to be careful not to leave writing utensils within his reach because if he sees an o anywhere in the house, he writes a line coming from it and proudly exclaims, “Look mommy!  I made a balloon!”  Since we are studying the letter B, I created this page for him and put it in a sleeve protector so he could erase and draw again and again (and again!).  He requests to do this one several times a day.  You can download it here if you think your little one(s) may enjoy.

butterfly matching

butterfly lacing card

tracing the letter B

Do-a-dot Bb– this was his first time doing the dots in the circles and I was pleasantly surprised at how well he did!

Since ALuv really wanted to do it, I had him trace the upper and lower case B first, using the correct strokes for the formation of the letter.  He then had to do his dots in the same order.  (Gotta integrate that handwriting whenever you can!!!)

The butterfly and letter B activities in the former pictures came from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  This mama is truly amazing…and so are her free printables!

starfall’s letter B show

He also enjoyed the B Power Point show that Carisa created, but I didn’t get a picture of us doing that one.  You have to be a member to view it, but the membership is WELL worth it.  It’s only a one time fee of $15 and she adds new things quite often.

Sing a Song

We sing a lot over here!  Both my boys LOVE to sing.  I use songs to incorporate literacy quite a bit.  One of our favorites with the letter B has been Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee.  Another song we’ve sung for a few days is one that I adapted in my Christian Nursery Rhymes book: Ba, Ba Black Sheep.

NJoy colored the sheep (I only had him color the black, blue, and brown sheep in his first sitting.  I demonstrated how these color names start with B.)

We sang the song, substituting a different color for black each time.  After seeing My Montessori Journey’s February poem on the pocket chart, I decided to put our song on our new pocket chart.  It worked nicely.

Pointing to the B‘s in Ba, Ba

As we continue to “do school” this summer, I’ll keep you posted on the things we do.  Thanks for following this reading mama!

Tuesday’s Teaching Tip

If you have young children at your house, are the hours between 4-6pm somewhat hairy (maybe even extremely hairy) around your house?  It can be over here.  Hey, I’m just keepin’ it real.  I had a MOPS mentor mom who once called them the “arsenic hours”!

Dinner needs to be prepared – “But, I’m hungry now” becomes the mantra – the baby wants to be held (or at the very least, stand in between my legs and whine) – the two big brothers are fighting – everyone is cranky (sometimes even mama) – “But, I’m hungry now” mantra is repeated – daddy’s not home yet – the baby is crying – insert “But, I’m hungry now” mantra – the two big brothers are fighting over the same toy (again) and both of them claim they had it first…the list could go on and on.

Here’s a tip that helps with sanity around this reading mama’s house: give the kids something to do at the kitchen table (or bar area) as you stir the noodles and bake the chicken.

My favorite thing for the boys to do are simple:

  1. crafts
  2. writing activities

Notice I said simple.  The last thing I need is something else to do during this time, so easy is the key.

Here are some CRAFTS my kids like to do:

  • play with with Play-Doh (pull out special cookie cutters & accessories)
  • scissor practice (use old papers or coupons you’re not going to use)

  • play with stickers- I save stickers that they really like and let them decorate a scene with them, like they did with the vehicles seen here
  • play with stamps
  • water color painting-I found two Paint with Water Books at Books-A-Million for $1 each.  I can remember doing these as a child!
  • Carisa @ 1+1+1=1 has some other ideas I use for simple crafts.  But, I do not do anything that has the potential to create a big mess during this time.  The last thing I want is to have to clean up my kitchen right before dinner!

Here are some fun WRITING activities:

  • write on dry erase boards
  • color in a coloring book or page from DLTK’s site
  • Crayola Wonder & Crayola Explosion are great activities because their markers won’t make a mess on walls or chairs if I happen to turn my back on NJoy to stir those noodles!
  • work a simple puzzle like a crossword puzzle, maze, dot-to-dot, or word search.  ALuv really likes the Puzzle Buzz (made by Highlight) activities and I save the magazines for special occasions.

One more thing I sometimes do is utilize the laptop.

  1. I plop MBug in her highchair and let all of them watch a DVD on the laptop.  We get new DVD’s at the public library almost every week.
  2. Internet-You can view some of the sites we like here.
  3. Youtube.com has some great videos including this one, which is one of our all-time favorites.

If you find yourself wanting to pull out your own hair from 4-6pm, I hope that one of these ideas may help you out.  If you have some tricks up your sleeve for the “arsenic hours”, I’d love for you to share themWe could always use a fresh idea!

From Caterpillar to Butterfly

The cool thing about literacy is that you can integrate it with any other content area.  Take, for instance, the caterpillar kit we have from Insect Lore.  As a public school teacher, I did this and the students LOVED it.  I have to admit that I was quite fascinated with it myself. 🙂  Jenae from I Can Teach My Child mentioned it on Facebook and it gave me the push I needed to do it with my own kids!  It took about a week for the caterpillars to arrive in the mail.

Here’s how this reading mama integrated science and literacy:  I had ALuv make observations daily and when he noted a change in the process, he wrote about it in a journal.  Quite simple, really.  When I told him this is what we were going to do, he replied by excitedly saying, “Oh, I get to use a journal just like Sid the Science Kid!”

Below are just some pictures of the journaled journey from caterpillar to butterfly…I’ll spare you from every entry of his journal.

The caterpillars are black and little. – May 20

The caterpillars are bigger with stripes.  -May 23

They poop green poop.  They are getting fat. -May 24; Mom’s favorite sentence…what can I say?!?

The caterpillars are hanging upside down. -May 26

May 27

And finally…

Now they are butterflies! -June 6

I also had him write about some of the butterfly behaviors he noticed while they were in the habitat.  Here is a really cool picture and one of his entries:

If you look carefully, you can see the proboscis (straw-like tongue) coming out to drink the orange.

They are drinking the orange juice. – June 5

The process of getting him to write: After ALuv would make his daily observations, I asked him to narrow down what he wanted to write about.  He would tell me his sentence, then on my lined dry erase board, he would help me write the words.  (We stretched out the words, listening for sounds & used our Word Wall for sight words.)  Using my handwriting as his guide, he would copy the sentences.  And as you may have noticed, his handwriting is getting MUCH better!!  Yay!

Just a side note: For this assignment, I preferred that his spellings be conventional because this text will be read over and over.  There are other times where invented spellings are perfectly fine, like when he wrote HAPPE BERTHDA (Happy Birthday) to MBug the other day.

We released our butterflies on Monday of this week.  When one of our butterflies came out of his chrysalis, he had  a torn wing and was unable to fly away.

ALuv tried so hard to get the butterfly to fly, but he just couldn’t.

So ALuv decided we should keep him.  His name is officially Flutter and he still lives in our playroom.  He now has some green leaves and flowers from our yard to keep him company.

ALuv wanted to include one last page for Flutter.

I let 4 butterflies go, but not Flutter.  His wing is broken.- June 5

I left him to draw the picture on his own and was very impressed when I returned with the attention to details!  Usually, he draws the bare minimal and refuses to give me any details.  ALuv made a cover for his journal and we put the pages in order (this integrated some math skills as he had to look at the dates and get them in the right order) and we stapled it all together.

He was very proud of his finished product…See How They Grow

Here are a few of the read aloud books we read together during this process, yet another way to integrate literacy:

  • The Polliwog and the Caterpillar by Jack Kent
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • It’s a Butterfly’s Life by Irene Kelly (loads of cool facts in this one)
  • Becoming Butterflies by Anne Rockwell (Monarch butterfly)
  • Butterflies and Moths by Kathryn Knight (Target $1 bin)

We Play With Words

I’m a little late in doing this, but Carisa at 1+1+1=1 has started a list of things you can do with your child/students to play with words.  What a great idea!  My word “well” runs dry at times and it’s nice to have a source for more ideas when this happens.

So I wanted to join in the fun and share some of the things we do here at this reading mama’s house to work on sight words & word families.  If you follow my blog, many of these pictures will be familiar.  I have provided a link to the original post when available.

We Manipulate Words

stamping words into Play-Doh

building words with Legos

spelling words with letter stickers

spelling words with magnetic letters

My husband made this kitchen set this past year for Christmas (props to my husband).  We primed the refrigerator and cabinet fronts with magnetic primer; so magnets stick…just like the real fridge!

Wikki Stix spelling

We Spell/Write Words

sentence strip spelling & writing

spelling words on a MagnaDoodle, GloDoodle, or AquaDoodle

Exploding with Words (Crayola Explosion)

spelling words on glass

flipping for words

We Read Words

word family sorting from Words Their Way

word hunts (looking for specific words) while reading in context

putting sight words in ABC order

ALuv is only 5, so I don’t have him alphabetize beyond the first letter.

We Play Games with Words

File Folder Games

Memory Match or Go Fish

Four Corners

Write your sight words (or word family words) on individual index cards.  Each person picks 4 to write on their board.  Shuffle all the cards and place them face down in a pile.  Take turns picking off the top card, reading it, and crossing it off your board if you have it.  The first person to cross off all their words first, wins!

Word Swat

 I call out a word on the board.  He uses his special “reading” glasses, which I found at the $1 store, and word swatter (with the inside cut out) to find the word and swat it.  This one is always a real “hit”!

Spelling Flashlight Tag

Sorry the picture is blurry.  I call out a word on our word wall and he has to shine his head lamp on it.  When I taught in the classroom, I used flashlights and with a permanent marker, colored the lens covers two different colors.  This way, you know which student found the word first.

Visit 1+1+1=1 to see more word play ideas!

Sentence Strip Handwriting

Before I get into the nitty gritty here, I want to first say that ALuv is currently 5 1/2 years old.  It’s time for him to work on correct letter formation with the lined paper.  I like Michelle’s post, which reminded me to tell you that I didn’t start ALuv on lined paper.  His fine motor skills weren’t there, yet.  Lined paper would have pushed him and this mama off the edge!  We explored writing in many different ways.  His favorite way was by far the giant dry erase boards I have.

Now for the nitty gritty!  On Monday, I told you that I had thought of a way to have ALuv practice his handwriting.  I know you’ve been awake ever since then just wondering what I did…hehe.

As I pondered a way to have him practice his handwriting on the lined paper, it hit me!  Sentence strips have the same lined pattern as the paper.  And I had tons of sentence strips.  I got to work!

1. I cut apart sentence strips into 1 1/2 inch pieces.  You can find sentence strips at any teacher store.  I think I even saw some at Target the other day.

2. I wrote upper case and lower case letters on the pieces:

  • 3 of every lower case consonant (written in black)
  • 4 of every lower case vowel (red)
  • 2 of every upper case consonant (black)
  • 3 of every upper case vowel (red)

My mind started reeling.  This activity could also be a way to practice his sight words from his Word Wall.  He could even form short sentences to practice punctuation as well!

3. I cut out more pieces for punctuation

  • 2 periods (blue)
  • 2 question marks (blue)
  • 2 exclamation marks (blue)

4. I pulled out the letters & punctuation I needed for these three short sentences:

  • I love you.
  • I go up.
  • I see you.

I kept the sentences short & sweet as the focus of my lesson was more on handwriting than sight words.

5.  I placed all the letters on the floor and modeled with the sentence I go.  I picked the sentence strip letters, spelled the words, then wrote my letters/sentence on the dry erase board; showing him how I used the letters on the sentence strips as my guide to form my letters.

The dry erase lined board is one that I got at Target in their $1 bin last year.  An alternative to this would be to print a page off of this website and laminate it so you can write with a dry erase marker.  Or, you could simply use a pencil and lined paper.

6. I called out one sentence at a time and he got to work.  He manipulated the letters to form words then wrote each sentence.

He really liked this activity and kept commenting on how his letters looked like a first grader had written them!  I was encouraged by his enthusiasm.  We’ll definitely do this again with different sentences.  My hope is that as he gets more comfortable with his handwriting, we can write some longer sentences.

A variation that I thought of after our activity would be to laminate all your sentence strip pieces.  This would not only make them more durable, but would allow your child the ability to practice writing over top of the sentence strip pieces if needed.

NJoy wanted to be right there with us, so here’s what he did with his dry erase markers.  He’s REALLY into drawing balloons these days, so I let him have at it.  Coloring on the dry erase board is a treat for him because I rarely let him do it.  If he’s not overly-supervised, dry erase marker adorns everything in his path! 🙂

Tuesday's Teaching Tip

Literacy encompasses more than reading and writing.  It includes listening, speaking, reading, and writing.  I know that I’m not a linguist, but there are a few things I’ve noticed and observed myself about kids and their literacy development.

Literacy typically develops in this order:

1.  Listening  I just had to share what my sweet MBug is doing at 11 months old.  She can clap her hands, put her hands up, shake her head when you say, “No way, Jose”, and look out the window when we say, “Where’s the airplane?” (we live near the airport)

2. Speaking

3. Reading/Decoding

4. Writing/Spelling

Not all kids spend the same amount of time in each stage before adding on the next one.  ALuv was almost 3 years old before he really started talking, whereas NJoy was speaking in complete sentences at 2 years old.

So, why am I telling you this?  This is supposed to be a teaching tip Tuesday, right?

My tip (and sometimes soap box, but I’ll keep it somewhat short and semi-sweet) is that we need to consider how kids develop with literacy before we try and make them fit into a curriculum that isn’t so considerate.

For example, I recently attended a homeschool conference in which I was introduced to a literacy curriculum (that will remain nameless) that claimed kids should be able to spell every word they can read…that reading and spelling development should happen at the same time.   Really?!?  Maybe I’m just naive and inexperienced, but I’ve yet to find a child who can do that!  Actually, I can’t even do that.  I can read the word ophthalmologist, but I just had to look it up to spell it for you.

Writing and spelling, in their essence, are much more demanding than reading.  A beginning reader may rely heavily on context clues to read words, not necessarily paying attention to much more than the pictures and the first letter in each word.  This is not so with writing.  A young speller has to not only think of what he wants to write, but also how to:

  1. listen for letter sounds in each word (phonemes)
  2. pick the right letter/letter combination that matches each sound (phonics)
  3. remember what the letter(s) looks like (visualize)
  4. form each letter correctly (handwriting)
  5. remember the exact order in which the letters come to spell some words conventionally (spelling)
  6. then remember what message he was trying to portray in the first place; so he can start the whole process all over again to spell the next word in his sentence

No wonder it may take him ten minutes just to write three words!

Sometimes you just need trust your gut and use your own judgment as a reading mama or teacher.  Just because the curriculum (or the school) says it’s supposed to be done a certain way doesn’t mean that your child will fit that mold.  And just because an “expert” or “researcher” in the reading field says it, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily developmentally appropriate.

Tuesday’s Teaching Tip

Literacy encompasses more than reading and writing.  It includes listening, speaking, reading, and writing.  I know that I’m not a linguist, but there are a few things I’ve noticed and observed myself about kids and their literacy development.

Literacy typically develops in this order:

1.  Listening  I just had to share what my sweet MBug is doing at 11 months old.  She can clap her hands, put her hands up, shake her head when you say, “No way, Jose”, and look out the window when we say, “Where’s the airplane?” (we live near the airport)

2. Speaking

3. Reading/Decoding

4. Writing/Spelling

Not all kids spend the same amount of time in each stage before adding on the next one.  ALuv was almost 3 years old before he really started talking, whereas NJoy was speaking in complete sentences at 2 years old.

So, why am I telling you this?  This is supposed to be a teaching tip Tuesday, right?

My tip (and sometimes soap box, but I’ll keep it somewhat short and semi-sweet) is that we need to consider how kids develop with literacy before we try and make them fit into a curriculum that isn’t so considerate.

For example, I recently attended a homeschool conference in which I was introduced to a literacy curriculum (that will remain nameless) that claimed kids should be able to spell every word they can read…that reading and spelling development should happen at the same time.   Really?!?  Maybe I’m just naive and inexperienced, but I’ve yet to find a child who can do that!  Actually, I can’t even do that.  I can read the word ophthalmologist, but I just had to look it up to spell it for you.

Writing and spelling, in their essence, are much more demanding than reading.  A beginning reader may rely heavily on context clues to read words, not necessarily paying attention to much more than the pictures and the first letter in each word.  This is not so with writing.  A young speller has to not only think of what he wants to write, but also how to:

  1. listen for letter sounds in each word (phonemes)
  2. pick the right letter/letter combination that matches each sound (phonics)
  3. remember what the letter(s) looks like (visualize)
  4. form each letter correctly (handwriting)
  5. remember the exact order in which the letters come to spell some words conventionally (spelling)
  6. then remember what message he was trying to portray in the first place; so he can start the whole process all over again to spell the next word in his sentence

No wonder it may take him ten minutes just to write three words!

Sometimes you just need trust your gut and use your own judgment as a reading mama or teacher.  Just because the curriculum (or the school) says it’s supposed to be done a certain way doesn’t mean that your child will fit that mold.  And just because an “expert” or “researcher” in the reading field says it, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily developmentally appropriate.

Hmm…Handwriting

As a classroom teacher, I was never drawn to open the pages of the handwriting practice workbooks that collected dust in the back of my classroom.  Part of me didn’t feel qualified to teach proper handwriting formation…I didn’t quite understand the importance of it.  And part of me felt like I could integrate handwriting into my writing time (via Writer’s Workshop) versus making it my writing time.

Several years later, I understand only a little better that “correct” (I use that term loosely) letter formation is important.  Just like holding the pencil in an awkward position can lead to muscle fatigue, so can writing letters “incorrectly”; especially as more writing is required.  But even now, as I’m teaching my own child to form his letters, I still am not that attracted to the drill of a workbook (and I do have one from Target’s $1 bin).

ALuv has known his upper and lower case letters since he was 3 and has been writing for over a year now.  So I felt it was time (developmentally speaking) to expect a little more out of him than the bare minimal.  I felt it was time to do some handwriting practice.  Oh, boy!

Here’s an example of ALuv’s latest writing adventure.  This was in response to a recent field trip to a local fire station with our MOPS group.  He was asked to write about his favorite part.  By the way, we’re still working through the how to hold your pencil part.  I did find some triangular pieces that slide onto the pencil, which REALLY helped him, but we seemed to have lost it.  I think I need to make a trip back to the teacher supply store and get some more!

“I likeT GetG In THe Fire truck.”  (I liked getting in the fire truck.)

He kept a good attitude through this writing task (and so did I!), even though he messed up his drawing.  We simply cut out the “bad” part and he was happy!

Here are the observations I’ve made about his handwriting from his latest writings (please note:  I’m not saying that any of these things are “bad”, as many of these characteristics are common for a child in his stage of writing):

  • he uses upper and lower case interchangeably
  • he doesn’t always form his letters “correctly”
  • he’s not quite sure what to do with the lined paper and some letters tend to “float” around, despite the use of our letter formation poster board

It was time for this reading mama to pull something out of my “magic writing hat” to get him to the next level in writing…but what?!?  I did have that $1 workbook from Target.  Hmm…handwriting.

Then that very same day, while I was supposed to be napping, the idea hit me like a 2×4 and I got up immediately and began working (I really do hate it when this happens…I needed the sleep!!).  I’ll share my idea with you Wednesday.  I think you’ll like it.  ALuv did…and it actually worked!

April Showers

It has rained a tremendous amount over the last 3 weeks where we live!  And then there’s also the old saying: “April showers bring May flowers.”  So we did a few rain activities together.  I meant to post this last week, but forgot…

Day 1:

Read aloud Rain by Robert Kalan (illustrated by Donald Crews).  I would classify this book on a mid-Kindergarten reading level.  ALuv then read it to us (with a little help from me).

Just a note: The book now resides on our white Ikea shelf in the playroom, which helps to remind me to ask him to re-read it a few more times.  Once he has it down independently, I’ll put the book in his ALuv Can Read bin (below).

Read & sang the nursery rhyme Rain on the Green Grass, which I had posted on my kitchen wall.  I picked this rhyme because our sight words for these two weeks are and &  not.  The poem also reviews other Word Wall words (on, the, & me).

We patted our knees to make the rain sound as we sang it in a little song together.

If you’ll notice, I have green grass underlined.  We looked out our windows and took turns changing those lyrics as we sang the song again.  These were some of our other lyrics…Rain on the black road, blue swing, red flowers, green trees, and blue van (NJoy’s favorite…we sang that one each time it was his turn!!).

Writing/Coloring Time: NJoy colored some pictures with the rain theme from DLTK.  His favorite thing about the rain are the “rainbrellas”–why do we call them umbrellas?!?  I like NJoy’s word choice much better! 🙂

While NJoy colored, I started ALuv on writing and illustrating his own Rain book.  I drew some lined paper (see below) for him to use for the book.  On the first 2 pages, I had already written Rain on the and he had to finish the sentence using a color word and an object on which it could rain.  (For example: Rain on the red locomotive).  Once his sentence was complete, he had to draw and color the pictures.  He did these two pages on Day 1 and then we stopped for the day.

For the paper we used on day 1, click here: Rain on the…

Day 2:

Read aloud The Napping House by Audrey WoodWhile reading Rain on Day 1, I was reminded of this book.  It’s one of my mom’s favorite books and has become one of mine, too.  I also have the big book, but couldn’t find it in the attic; which needs a serious organizational overhaul–any volunteers?!? 🙂

Re-read Rain (we shared the reading)

Sang Rain on the Green Grass like Day 1, except we added some spice by singing it fast and slow, while patting our legs fast and slow.

Writing & Coloring: NJoy colored again (the boy loves to color!) while ALuv finished his Rain book.

On the next 3 pages, ALuv had to write the entire sentence and the draw pictures to go with them.  Here’s the paper he used for that: blank writing paper.

On the last page, he spelled the word RAINBOW with rainbow stickers from Target’s $1 bin.

We took 11×14 construction paper and covered & stapled the book together once he was finished.  It now resides in his ALuv Can Read Bin.

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