Saturday, July 30, 2011

1500 Book Challenge Update #4

We have hit 250 books! This challenge isn't as easy as it seems because we read a lot of the same books over and over, and we are only counting unique books towards our challenge. I guess we'll be really trying to catch up this next week.

We've ran across several new favorites including the Disney Cars adventure boosk which can be found on

How is everyone else doing?

Lesson Plan - Ocean Life Week

Here is our weekly Lesson Plan for Ocean Life Week. Feel free to copy and modify this to fit your teaching style, and level! Please note: this lesson plan is not "instead of" but "in addition to" our regular daily pre-school activities. I only plan themed activities for 3 days a week, the other 3 days that we do 'pre-school' time with our children we use their regular activities unmodified for the weekly theme. 

Reading Time: Invisible Alligators by Hayes Roberts which you can read for free here
Reading Words/Flashcards: Wave, Ocean, Outside, Fish, Dolphin, Shark, Sting Ray, Blue, Sky, Sand, Shore, Seashell.
Signing Time: Learn to sign "Tiny Tim" in sign langugage. We will be learning a simplified signing version. With the words "turtle", "bath", "I", "little", "swim", "drink/drank", "water", "ate/eat", "soap", and "bubble". 

The song goes: I had a little turtle his name was Tiny Tim, I put him in the bathtub to see if he could swim, he drank up all the water, he ate a bar of soap and now he's sick in bed with a bubble in his throat. Bubble bubble bubble. Bubble bubble bubble, bubble bubble POP.  

Here is a video to help you with the tune of the song:

Outside Adventure: Not on Monday. 
Arts & Crafts: Draw pictures of fish. We'll be watching a "how to draw fish" video on YouTube which you can find here. Inara will color coloring pages of fish like this one you can print for free! Afterwards I will help her draw a fish by holding her hand and doing the motions for her. 
Math Practice: Fish patterns! We found a bunch of colored fish soap at Pier 1 Imports that was on sale for $1.20 a bag (regularly $5.99) we got 3 bags and now have 30 colored bars of fish soap (makes for awesome bath time rewards afterwards). We'll be doing up to three different colors or amounts in our patters. Example: Red Fish, Blue Fish, Blue Fish, Red Fish. OR Yellow Fish, Green Fish, Red Fish, Yellow Fish. Evie will get a chance to complete each pattern or fill in the missing fish. Inara will get to play with them after watching Evie. 
Music Time: See sign language. 

Reading Time: Finbo by Janaki Sooriyarachchi which is available in several languages for you to read here. This story is about a whale named Finbo who has many friends in the deep blue sea. 
Reading Words/Flashcards: Wave, Ocean, Outside, Fish, Dolphin, Shark, Sting Ray, Blue, Sky, Sand, Shore, Seashell.
Signing Time: Tim the Tinny Turtle Practice and watch Signing Time Going Outside 
Outdoor Adventure: Packing for our vacation we'll be talking about what we need at the beach. 
Arts & Crafts: Decorating pocket picture books to put our pictures from our vacation in. I got them each a disposable camera to take pictures with. (If you aren't planning a trip to the beach decorate pocket picture books also known as brag books, and let the kids play in a sandbox!) 
Math Practice: Adding fish soaps together. Example: 1 soap plus 1 more soap equals 2 soaps. 
Music Time: See signing time. 
Discovery Time: Watch YouTube Ocean Week Playlist, and talk about the different videos and things we see. 

Reading Time: 1 Fish 2 Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Suess 
Reading Words/Flashcards: Wave, Ocean, Outside, Fish, Dolphin, Shark, Sting Ray, Blue, Sky, Sand, Shore, Seashell.
Signing Time: Tiny Turtle Song Practice while seeing the turtles as Seaworld. 
Outdoor Adventure: Visiting Seaworld and the beach. 
Arts & Crafts: Taking pictures (learning to use a camera). 
Math Practice: Counting fish we see in the tanks at SeaWorld. 
Music Time: See Signing Time. 

Here is our discovery time YouTube Play List for you to use! Please feel free to let us know what you did too... 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lesson Plan - Rock Week

Here is our weekly Lesson Plan for Rock Week. Feel free to copy and modify this to fit your teaching style, and level!

Reading Time: Everybody Needs a Rock I fell in love with this book after I got it for this weeks lesson, I would highly recommend it to anyone with kids who pick up rocks!
Signing Time: Learn the sign Rock and combine it with the color signs the girls already know. We will do drills by showing them a 'red' 'rock' and combining the signs. Same with other colors like yellow, green, blue, gray, orange, etc.
Outside Adventure: We are going to take the girls on a hike up the canyon near our home to look for rocks of their own. You could do this in a park, gravel parking lot (think safety), or just your flower beds at home!
Arts & Crafts: Draw pictures of the rocks you found! This is great artistic thinking gas well as hand-eye coordination for children our age (1.5 and 2.5). I will try to post pictures of what they draw! 
Math Practice: Counting tumbled/polished stones! I purchased 40 stones from Erockshop (10 in each of 4 colors) we can practice counting the colors, all of them, etc.
Music Time: I put together a YouTube play list of fun and silly rock songs! We can listen to these and learn the words! I will be working on refining and adding to this list over the weekend.


Regular Homework 

Reading Time: Dave's Down To Earth Rock Shop This actually talks about the types of rocks and how they are formed. 
Signing Time: Learn signs for how rocks feel, and combine the 'rock' sign with signs like 'smooth', 'rough', and 'bumpy' to describe our rocks. 
Outside Adventure: Throwing Rocks (yes we'll be safe) I am going to set up a few targets and let them go to town trying to get their pebbles (gravel, not the polished stones) into the buckets to score points! 
Arts & Crafts: We are going to cut out and make our own crystal shapes from construction paper! 
Math Practice: Pattern practice! We will make patterns using the different colored stones. 
Music Time: We will be putting the rocks we collected on our outdoor adventure Monday in cans, buckets, cardboard containers etc to see how they sound. 

Regular Homework

Reading Time: Julie The Rockhound. This actually talks about the types of rocks and how they are formed. 
Signing Time: Review of all the signs we've practiced this week. Signing drills.
Outside Adventure: Return our rocks from our nature hike on Monday back to nature. 
Arts & Crafts: Build Play-Dough rocks from clay! 
Math Practice: Sorting Practice: dump all the tumbled stones into a pile and allow each girl a turn to sort them out by color. Evie can do this timed for an even funner experience and Inara may need help, but is getting fairly good at sorting colors. 
Music Time: Re-watch YouTube play list.  

We are planning this criteria as an 'in addition to' or 'to go along with' not a "in replacement of" our daily routine. 

Here is a picture of the tumbled stones we got: 

Themed Lesson Plans

Since I have a 2.5 year old and a 1.5 year old I have decided to start doing a week long theme each week of things they are interested in and could benefit from learning about. In addition to our 1500 book challenge and regular goals we are going to start our first themed week next week (we've been experimenting for the past 3 weeks to sort of refine t his idea).

Since there are 23 weeks left in the year we're going to count backwards from 23. I have also arranged on a calender to work around dates like Christmas, our family vacation to the beach, and camping trips so that the homework correlated and is applicable for that weeks activities!

Make sure to check back every week to see our full lesson plan!

#23 - Rocks
#22 - Ocean Life (we'll be going on vacation to the beach and the end of this week).
#21 - Travel (we'll be talking a lot about what they did)
#20 - Colors
#19 - Gardens/Flowers
#18 - Dogs/Pets (we plan on getting the girls a puppy at the end of this week).
#17 - Making Music
#16 - Butterflies and Creepy Crawlies (free downloadable worksheets)
#15 - Weather (free downloadable worksheets, and power point)
#14 - Singing Time
#13 - Clocks & Time
#12 - Rhyming
#11 - Fall/Autumn
#10 - Halloween Traditions
#9 - Building/Construction
#8 -  Farming and Harvest Time
#7 - Cooking & Kitchen Safety
#6 - Thanksgiving Traditions
#5 - Winter
#4 - Holiday Decorations & Their Meanings
#3 - Family Traditions
#2 - Christmas
#1 - Calenders

Our regular weekly schedule includes: (Not all of these are done each day, we rotate days on many things)

Flash Cards (Words & Simple Sentences for Evie, and Letters & Simple Sight Words for Inara)
Hooked On Phonics Drills (We are currently using Hooked on Phonics Baby for Inara, and Hooked on Phonics Pre-School for Evie).
Counting Time & Addition (Done on Brill Kids Little Math)
Sight Words on the Computer (Done on Brill Kids Little Reader)
Handwriting (Evie works on letters under supervision and with help, Inara is allowed to just draw.)

Colors Practice (Varies depending on the week and theme. Example sometimes we use balls or next week we'll be using polished stones.)
Shapes Practice (Varies depending on week and theme. We have wooden blocks for weeks that our theme does not include a good shape practice.)
Pattern Practice (Varies depending on the week and theme, next week we'll be doing color patterns using polished stones.)
Art or Crafts (Sometimes this is just drawing a coloring page, creating their own art on blank paper, or doing a craft project. We also color with sidewalk chalk, play with play-dough or other easy and entertaining arts.)
Signing Practice (We do signing drills, sing songs in sign language and watch the Signing Time Program.)

ABC Practice (Singing, signing, watching Leap Frog Letter Factory, Watching Hooked On Phonics ABC's, or other practice.)
Music Time! (Usually consists of silly songs, singing while playing, or watching fun Youtube videos and learning the signs or actions for various songs, just anything to get music in the day.)
Gymnastics Practice (Both girls are in gymnastics class and we  practice on the trampoline doing tumbling, flips, and rolls.)
And Finally Reading Time (I try to break this into 3 different sections and the goal is to get all three done everyday although that doesn't always happen. Reading alone, Having someone read out load to each girl, and Read-Along books)

Our goal isn't to change our routine it's to enhance it by having themed books, puzzles, patterns, work sheets, art projects, and additional goals. My long term goal is to get them into the mindset of learning everyday, and having their minds and bodies kept busy. If you have themes you've done or are going to do that you'd like to share please do! Post your blogs so we can all see!

I will try to post links next to the themes above as I get the full schedule for that week done, this way anyone who would like to follow along can!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


We are starting handwriting with Evie this week. I'm excited to see how quickly she picks it up. We are just going to start with 'A' and 'a'!  I wouldn't have thought she was quite ready yet, however, she has started drawing "circles" and people and they are very distinguishable.

So look for a post this next week with free handwriting sheets, practice guides and more!