Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bill Martin, Jr. Books

My friend at Teaching Tiny Tots used the Bill Martin, Jr. books in her lesson plans for her daughter this week. I have been wanting to do some activities, using those books, with Arin, so I decided to take my friend's lead and jump on board with the acitivities. We went to the library and checked out the books:

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?
Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?
Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See?
We ran out of time before finishing all of the activities that I had planned, but we had fun with what we did. The last two pages of each of the books have small pictures of each of the animals mentioned in the book. So I made two color copies of these pages. Then, I cut around each animal. Arin helped me glue (we used glue sticks) the animal pictures onto colored index cards. Then, she picked out popsicle sticks and I taped one stick to the back of each card. Once we were finished with that, we used the animals to play "Go Fish". I put the popsicle sticks on the backs of the cards because I thought it would make them easier to hold. It didn't. They were still bulky. Arin has played "Go Fish" only a couple of times and I am not sure that she fully grasps the concept yet. So I had her sit on my lap and I helped her play the game with her daddy. He won, but it was a close game: 15 to 12.
After we played "Go Fish", I laid out several of the animal cards in three rows. I gave Arin matching cards. She had a great time matching the cards up. She was so proud of herself everytime she found a match!
Then, the camera battery died, so I didn't get pictures of any of the next game. Andy piled all of the picture cards together. Then, he'd pick out one card and Arin had to dig through the pile to find the match. She still did really well with this version, even though they were not in nice neat rows in front of her.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Ella & Her New Friend

One of my best friends from high school was pregnant at the same time as I was. She delivered her son six days before Ella was born. We finally got together today to meet each other's baby. It's funny to think that we became friends when we were 14 and now this is the start of a new friendship for the kiddos.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

She Did It...

Tonight, Ella Jane rolled for the first time! I was sure that she'd roll from her back to her stomach first, since she was so close to it. Instead, she rolled from her stomach to her back. She did it three times within about ten minutes. Then, I got the video camera out and waited about 10 minutes and of course, no rolling, but I did get a lot of video of her jabbering, so that is good too.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Patterns, Color Sorting & Bead Counting

The inspiration for today's learning games came from the blog My Montessori Journey.

First, we did some pattern work. I made a couple of patterns using foam lacing beads and coffee stirrers. Then, I gave it to Arin to look at. We talked about what colors and shapes were on the coffee stirrer. Then, Arin was free to copy the pattern. I had to keep reminding her to look at my pattern because she was just so excited to put the beads on the stirrer, she wasn't as concerned about the order. But, once I had her slow down and look at mine again, she was able to do really well.

The next activity was color sorting. I labeled four clear plastic cups. One was labeled with a piece of green paper, the next with a piece of yellow paper, another with a piece of orange paper and the last with a piece of pink paper. I had cut the tops (the bendy part) off several straws. I gave the cups and the straws to Arin. I didn't even have to tell her what to do, she just started putting the correct colored straw in the correct colored cup. She likes to gather a bunch of the same colored straws at once and then count them as she's placing them in the cup. That was her own little twist that she put on the game :)
The last new activity that we did today was bead counting. I laid five squares of paper in front of Arin. On the papers, were the numbers 1-5 (one number per square). Then, I laid a pipe cleaner on each of the squares. I gave Arin a tub of beads. For the card labeled 'one', she was to string one bead onto the pipe cleaner. For the card labeled 'two', she was to string two beads onto the pipe cleaner. She is so funny because she doesn't randomly pick beads to string. She had to have all the beads matching on each pipe cleaner. It was ok to have different beads for different pipe cleaners, but whatever beads were on a particular pipe cleaner had to match.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snowman Addition

I saw this activity on My Montessori Journey. The instructions say to use pom poms for buttons, but I couldn't find our pom poms, so we used foam beading circles. Arin really liked this game. I liked this game because more than one skill was being used. I put the cards in two piles, face down. Arin would choose a card from each pile and put it on the correct square (green circle cards on the green square, red circled cards on the red square - matching). Then, she'd count the red circles and put that many red circles on the snowman's belly and then do the same for the green circles. Then, she'd count all of the circles and pick the correct numbered hat to put on the snowman's head. This also reinforced number recognition.

Three Months Old

Today, Ella Jane turned three months old. Her new favorite place to be is in her Johnny Jump-Up. She loves to stand and bounce. She is holding toys now and she is getting very close to rolling from her back to her stomach (that's the way that Arin rolled first too).

Book Work

Last week, Arin found some activity books in her closet. I had been saving these, because I wasn't sure that she was quite ready for them yet, but when she asked to use them, we did and she loved them. She is learning to color more neatly. This was the first time she did some tracing and some dot-to-dot activities.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Birthday & Half Birthday

Today is my grandmother's 91st birthday and Arin's half birthday (she's 2.5). My grandma is visiting from NY. We went to my parents' house for cake and ice cream in honor of grandma's birthday.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another Phonics Game

Today, I wrote each of the alphabet letters on an index card (one per card). Then, I laid three cards in front of Arin. I would say the sound of one of the letters. Then, I would have Arin pick which letter makes that sound. If she got it right, that card would disappear and would not reappear. If she got it wrong, then that card would disappear back into the orginal stack and would reappear later in the game. This game was very easy for Arin (although she had a great time with it), so I think our next step will be to start combining letters and see if she can sound them out.

Arin's School Room

Ok, so it's more like a school corner. We just changed her into the bigger room and now there is room for her desk (which was mine when I was little) and her easel in her bedroom. I am planning on getting a bulletin board to put above her desk. This way she will be able to proudly display her "school work".

uno, dos, tres...

Tonight, Arin was eating popcorn. She spilled some of the unpopped kernels. It is not unusual for her to count while she picks stuff up (she gets that from grandma Trumble!). What was surprising was that she was counting in Spanish as she picked up the kernels. She counted from 1-7 in order. Neither Andy nor I have been practicing Spanish with her. So she must have learned this either from Dora and Diego or from her Leap Frog Spanish/English counting maracas. She is such a sponge! I think I will start checking out English/Spanish videos from the library.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Another Day at the Park

This morning, my parents and little sister came over for brunch. After brunch, we brought them to a park near our house. One that they didn't know existed.

It was cold out, so I put Ella in the wrap to keep her close to me. The park has a trail, but it's not really stroller friendly. So this wrap worked out wonderfully. I didn't actually have to hold Ella, so it was easy walking. Ella loved the wrap too and she was asleep in no time.

Here's something you don't see everyday! On the way home from the park, we saw a postman delivering mail on this new T3. He said that it is not yet approved, but we are one of the test cities for this. He also said that it doesn't save any time. We didn't get a picture of it, but there is a trailer that holds all of the mail. The postman parks the trailer and leaves it so he can deliver mail. Then he goes back and hooks back up the trailer, moves to a different spot, refills his basket and delivers more mail.