phonemic awareness · story

Nursery Rhymes

Nursery Rhymes are short poems/songs that children have learned for years and years. These are still important to learn today. They allow children to play with words. Also, by reading these simple rhymes in story book form, we encourage the connection between the text and spoken word. The goal is for children to recognize that they can tell the story. While we do not want children to believe that the way to read is to memorize all the words, we do want them to make the connection between what is said and what is written. We do want them to view themselves as readers. We do what them to gain the confidence that they can and will read books. So… provide your child with books they love. Provide your child with books they know. And read, read and read some more.

Here are links to nursery rhyme books read aloud:

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phonemic awareness · story · teaching thoughts

Over in the Meadow

This week we will look at how learning songs is important in literacy development. We will take one song format and listen to a different version of that song. For centuries and in all cultures, songs have been past down as teaching tools. We need to continue this tradition, and recognize the importance of using songs and music as teaching tools.

Today we will look at the song Over in the Meadow. This is considered an “Old counting rhyme”. It has been transformed over and over to focus on other ecosystems. But, we will start with the original. Over in the Meadow, illustrated by Jill McDonald.

Now, let’s listen to Over in the Jungle, Over in the Ocean and Over in the Artic.

The use of this song/story is much more than just enjoying the music, while this is important also. The use of this song works on counting, vocabulary development, rhyming and much more. When children learn to sing songs they are building language skills. When they learn songs that are easily manipulated they learn to play with language. Working on oral language development and listening skills are key pieces to reading and writing development.

Where do we go from here?

  • Have your child pick their favorite version and illustrate an animal from that ecosystem.
  • Pick a different ecosystem and see if there is a version of that song, or better yet, write your own.
  • Re-write the song using items and animals you see in your backyard, your playground, your city block, or wherever your child has the opportunity to explore.

story · topic

Going Green

Today, listen to the story Mrs. Fox’s Class Goes Green by Eileen Spinelli. Mrs. Fox challenges her students to think of ways to use less stuff (recycle), use less energy and use less water. The students then begin looking at the way they use things in their own homes and lives and figure out ways to live a greener life.

How can you live a greener life? Remember to turn off water, electricity and recycle. Those are easy ones. What about the use less stuff part? That is harder. In the story they have a toy swap. Helping your child learn to donate toys and clothes to charities is one thing you can do. Look into your local Buy Nothing Project and give and receive items is another.

Today is a good day to have your child go through all their toys and determine which ones they want to keep and which ones they can either give to a charity or other means of giving away in leu of putting them in the trash.

story · topic · writing

Earth

Today we will listen to Todd Parr read his book The Earth Book. This book talks about the things that you can do to help the earth… and why! Remember a big part of what we need to do in taking care of the earth is taking care of the natural resources we learned about yesterday. Children look to take care of things. Today use the format of Todd Parr’s book to write about what you do to take care of the earth and why! It is important to talk about the whys with children. We want them to understand the reason we reduce, reuse and recycle. Just learning the words and doing the actions is great, but understanding the need to preserve and protect will motivate your child to continue these actions beyond Earth Day, this week, this month, this year, their childhood…

family activity · STEAM · topic

Natural Resources

April 22nd is Earth Day. This is day to celebrate the natural resources we find on the earth and how we can help take care of them. Today let’s look at what natural resources are and how we use them. Start by watching this video about natural resources.

Have your child brainstorm a list of natural resources you use every day. Think about what you can do to help protect and preserve these resources. Did you include air, water, soil, trees/plants, animals? Did you think about the fuels we use for our vehicles, to warm our houses and more?

Have your child draw a picture or two of things (s)he can do to help preserve and protect our natural resources. There are many simple things that your child can do even without your financial support, picking up trash, recycling, turning off electricity and water. As a family you can plant trees and plants, create a composting pile, use public transportation/bikes and walking to use your own vehicle less, and so much more.

positive steps therapy · topic

Therapy Thursday– Gross Motor Insects

If you tuned into my blog last week, you read about my new team up with Positive Steps Therapy. They will be providing tips and tricks to help your child with all sorts of activities that work on improving and increasing developmentally appropriate skills (gross motor, fine motor, speech and language and more).

On Saturday, I posted the first post together on gross motor development. You can check it out here. Today I’m going to share how I would incorporate some of these skills into this week’s topic!

Movement! Children love movement, and movement is key for gross motor development. Here are three links to videos to get your kiddos moving: The Insect Song with Will Parker, Bug ‘n Roll by Pinkfong and Enzo the Bee with Cosmic Kid Yoga. These videos can be watched and followed along. The two song videos you can just listen to the music and you and your child can make up your own moves and actions.

Want to play a game? Create your own dice with insect movements. Grab a cardboard box. Have your child draw 6 different insects, one on each side. Now toss the box to roll it. Whatever insect is on the top, your child must move like that insect. You can let them choose when to switch or set a timer for each movement. This is a great activity to take outside. Some suggested insects and movements– crawl like an ant, flutter like a butterfly, buzz around fast like a bee, jump/hop like a grasshopper, pounce like a mantis, fly like a ladybug.

Here are some of the Positive Step ideas that can be changed into insect activities:

  • 2-3 Feed the frogs – Cut out frogs or other animals or use stuffed animals and place them at the bottom of the stairs. Place pom poms (food for animals) on the first few steps. Tell your child to walk up a certain number of stairs and collect the food to bring them to the frogs. Encourage your child to alternate feet on the stairs. 
  • 3-4 Perform animal walks to encourage gross motor development and overall strengthening. Use your imagination and practice being different animals such as bear, frog, kangaroo, flamingo, horse, and crab. 
  • 4-5 Practice jumping with two feet progressing to one foot by using hula hoops as place markers 

STEAM · story · topic

Bumblebee

Are you enjoying learning about insects? Today let’s talk about BEEEEESSSSS! Bees! While often people are afraid of bees, honey bees or bumblebees are very important to our world. Let’s learn more. Today’s story is Give Bees a Chance by Bethany Barton.

Want to learn more? Check out these videos:

Are you willing to give bees a chance? What will you do to help the bees?

Children need to learn that they can help. Often times children want to help the environment and other causes, but can’t figure out what they can do. Help your child brainstorm ways that (s)he can help the bees. Can they help plant flowers? Can they make and hang a bee box? Eat local honey?

STEAM · story · writing

Dragonflies

Today we will learn about one type of insect, a dragonfly. Let’s listen to the story Are You a Dragonfly by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries. Then head over to SciShow Kids (Super Strong Dragonfly) to learn some more dragonfly facts. Just for fun, listen to the song D-D-D-Dragonfly by Pinkfong.

Now… let’s draw a picture and write some facts!

Teaching your child to create a can, are, have chart will assist them in collecting facts. This also becomes the start of writing paragraphs about the topic. When learning to write, provide your child the sentence starter and have them complete the fact “Dragonflies are _____. Dragonflies can_____. Dragonflies have____.” As they get better at writing and understanding the format of writing, they will then begin to use this format in their own informative writing process.

STEAM · teaching thoughts · topic · writing

Head, Thorax, Abdomen…

This week we will learn about bugs! First let’s watch SciShow Kid’s Inspect an Insect. Think about bugs you know… are they insects? Remember an insect has an exoskeleton, 3 body parts (head, thorax and abdomen) and six legs. Here is Dr. Jean singing a song about insect body parts.

Now let’s draw and label an insect. Which type will you draw? An ant, a beetle, a walking stick, butterfly, dragonfly?? Make sure it has a head, thorax and abdomen, only six legs and an exoskeleton.

Children love learning about the world around them. Learning about items found in nature and discovering the fascinating facts about these items motivates children to learn more. This lesson taps into a child’s natural curiosity about why things are what they are. What fits into the category of an insect and why? Learning to draw detailed pictures and label them will help with later studies in science. The incorporation of music helps to connect to additional levels of learning, fun and so much more.