Sunday, March 24, 2013

Week 22 The Ocean

Theme: Habitats - Ocean

Objective: To introduce the Ocean habitat.
Letter of the Week: Q
Note: At this stage (2-3 year olds), we will focus simply on capital letters only.  It is also important to understand that this introduction of letters is simply to familiarize our children with letters.  We are not expecting them to be proficient with these letters.  
Special Items Needed:
  • Books about the Ocean
  • Animal stickers
  • Plastic Animals
New Developments:
In our toddler preschool, I’ve made a few changes to help me be more routine in my time with my boys.  I am including my one year old in most of the activities I plan for my two and a half year old.  My one year old often needs our activities modified; however, he’s happy to toddle along with us as we learn.  Below are two new developments in our toddler preschool.
Schedule Time:
We now spend a few minutes each morning checking the weather and going over the plan for the day.  We write it all on a simple laminated chart I found in a clearance bin one day.  We sing our weather song when we check the weather each day.
Reading Time:
We have recently introduced “reading time” in the mornings.  I have each of us pick out one book for reading time.  Then I read each book at least once, but often twice.  The boys then have the option of looking at the three books (and often do) independently. 

The Ocean
Introduction to Habitats
Last week, I shared an introduction to a habitat unit that we are now currently working on.  To see how we started this unit and for the overall plan for the unit, clickhere. 
Enchanted Learning Website
A phenomenal resource I stumbled upon while preparing this unit was the Enchanted Learning Website.  You can find loads of information on this website about each of the habitats we are going to be covering.  Not only will this help educate you on each habitat, but it will also act as a springboard for studying each habitat.  To access this site, click here. 
Books about the Ocean 
This week my sons and I will be reading the books pictured here as a way for me to introduce the ocean.  These are books I already had at my house (as a result of years of teaching first grade).  Feel free to find whatever books you have on hand or are at your local library about the ocean.  Take time to read and re-read these books this week, talking together about what you (and your toddler) notice about the ocean.
Illustrate the Ocean
We will repeat this activity for each habitat that we study in this unit, so it will be helpful to read closely and prepare ahead of time for all of the habitats.  I cut six papers of the same size for this activity.  On the first one, last week, I drew our home and the boys and I colored it together, talking about who lived in our house and what those people did in that home. 
This week, I made a very rough sketch of the ocean.  Then I chose all the blue crayons out of our crayon stash.  By doing this, I was able to “guide” my boys into creating a very ocean like setting on the ocean page.  We will be doing this selective color usage for each habitat to make our toddler-colored backgrounds more realistic. 
After coloring the ocean, we talked about what animals lived there.  We had already read our selection of ocean books, so we were able to have a pretty good talk about what animals to find in the ocean.  I also had previously selected ocean-appropriate animal stickers (whales, octopus, fish, starfish, etc.).  I had the boys put these stickers in the ocean, all the while talking about how these animals live in the ocean.
Ocean Sensory Tub 
I was a little nervous about doing an ocean sensory tub, but at the last minute had the idea of putting down a large blanket and then setting the tub on a table at my boys’ level.  This made all the difference in the world, as the water wasn’t just sloshing around on the floor. 
For this sensory tub, I simply gathered up all our plastic ocean animals, filled a small tub with water, added a little blue food coloring, and let the boys play.  They played well and uninterrupted for thirty minutes straight with this activity.  I had to calm down some of the splashing, but other than that, they did awesome with this tub. 
Letter Work
I continued our regular letter work with the Letter “Q” by following the activities we’ve done with previous letters (see below for an explanation of each activity). 
Coloring the Letter “Q”
To introduce the later “Q,” simply draw an outline (or Google a template of the letter “Q” to print).  We will talk about the letter “Q” and will color it. 
Letter Search
We will continue our work on the letter “Q” by trying to identify the “Q” in words that start with the letter “Q.”  It is important at this stage to choose words that start with the letter “Q” and only have that “Q” in them.  Write the words in all capital letters.  Make a game of searching for the “Q.” 
Rainbow “Q”
We will also practice tracing the letter “Q.”  This may be a bit difficult for some children, so please pass on this activity if it is too stressful.  We will do a “Rainbow Q,” by tracing the outline of a capital letter “Q” in multiple colors.  Start by tracing the letter yourself, speaking out the movements you are making.  Then speak those same movements as your child traces the letter.
For additional Letter “Q” activities, click here. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Week 21 The Desert

Theme: Habitats - Desert

Objective: To introduce the desert habitat.
Letter of the Week: P

Note: At this stage (2-3 year olds), we will focus simply on capital letters only.  It is also important to understand that this introduction of letters is simply to familiarize our children with letters.  We are not expecting them to be proficient with these letters. 
Special Items Needed:

  • Books about the desert
  • Animal stickers
  • Stuffed animals and/or plastic animals
New Developments:

In our toddler preschool, I’ve made a few changes to help me be more routine in my time with my boys.  I am including my one year old in most of the activities I plan for my two and a half year old.  My one year old often needs our activities modified; however, he’s happy to toddle along with us as we learn.  Below are two new developments in our toddler preschool.
Schedule Time:
We now spend a few minutes each morning checking the weather and going over the plan for the day.  We write it all on a simple laminated chart I found in a clearance bin one day.  We sing our weather song when we check the weather each day.

Reading Time:
We have recently introduced “reading time” in the mornings.  I have each of us pick out one book for reading time.  Then I read each book at least once, but often twice.  The boys then have the option of looking at the three books (and often do) independently. 

The Jungle
Introduction to Habitats
Last week, I shared an introduction to a habitat unit that we are now currently working on.  To see how we started this unit and for the overall plan for the unit, clickhere. 

Enchanted Learning Website
A phenomenal resource I stumbled upon while preparing this unit was the Enchanted Learning Website.  You can find loads of information on this website about each of the habitats we are going to be covering.  Not only will this help educate you on each habitat, but it will also act as a springboard for studying each habitat.  To access this site, click here. 

Desert Images


I discovered a bit too late that I do not have any books about the desert! I got ready to introduce my sons to the desert habit, only to discover that I hadn’t pulled any desert books from the library nor did I have any on my shelf.  I quickly changed my plan to having the boys look at desert images that I Googled on the computer.  They had fun with this change in learning!
 Desert Coloring Book

 
Once I had discovered that I didn’t have any books depicting the desert, I spent the next afternoon looking up and printing out coloring pages of desert animals to make my own desert animal coloring book.  That night we took time looking at and coloring each page.  There was one website that I loved that had so many full page desert animal pictures, to access that site, click here. 







Illustrate the Desert


We will repeat this activity for each habitat that we study in this unit, so it will be helpful to read closely and prepare ahead of time for all of the habitats.  I cut six papers of the same size for this activity. 
This week, I made a very rough sketch of the desert.  Then I chose all the brown and tan crayons out of our crayon stash.  By doing this, I was able to “guide” my boys into creating a very desert-like setting on the desert page.  We will be doing this selective color usage for each habitat to make our toddler-colored backgrounds more realistic. 

After coloring the desert, we talked about what animals lived there.  We had already looked at desert images and colored our desert coloring books, so we were able to have a pretty good talk about what animals to find in the desert.  I also had previously selected desert-appropriate animal stickers (snake, tortoise, spiders, bats, owl, etc.).  I had the boys put these stickers in the desert, all the while talking about how these animals live in the jungle.
Go on a Stuffed Animal (or Plastic Animal) Search

This week, we used our plastic toy animals for our “animal search” (last week we did the search with stuffed animals). My boys and I are going to go on a desert animal search this week, looking through their plastic animals to find which ones live in the desert. 

Letter Work
I continued our regular letter work with the Letter “P” by following the activities we’ve done with previous letters (see below for an explanation of each activity). 

Coloring the Letter “P”
To introduce the later “P,” simply draw an outline (or Google a template of the letter “P” to print).  We will talk about the letter “P” and will color it. 

Letter Search
We will continue our work on the letter “P” by trying to identify the “P” in words that start with the letter “P.”  It is important at this stage to choose words that start with the letter “P” and only have that “P” in them.  Write the words in all capital letters.  Make a game of searching for the “P.” 

Rainbow “P”
We will also practice tracing the letter “P.”  This may be a bit difficult for some children, so please pass on this activity if it is too stressful.  We will do a “Rainbow P,” by tracing the outline of a capital letter “P” in multiple colors.  Start by tracing the letter yourself, speaking out the movements you are making.  Then speak those same movements as your child traces the letter.


For additional Letter “P” activities, click here.