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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Beat the Heat

I almost don’t want to say how incredibly hot it has been this month, because it’s such a repeat of what EVERYONE is talking about here in North Texas. Well, needless to say, we haven’t been outdoors. This week Brayden has been attending VBS. The first evening was rough. It started at 6:30 and we picked him up at 7:00. He was crying and saying he was sick and something about being disappointed. Sweet boy. The rest of the week has gone SO much better. He’s learning about about Jesus and prayer. Tonight, he’s staying home because his poor little legs are hurting due to his 4 “pokes” the pediatrician gave him at his 4 year wellness visit. He needs a little TLC. (This will be a small post on it’s own). We will do a little reading and playing….(mommy is back to the early-bird workouts and has been on a few photo shoots). It’s been busy but, a happy time!

This summer, I have had the pure enjoyment of playing with my soon to be school boy. He’s tagged along with me to shop, eat out, hit the “teacher stores,” and so much more.

One of my favorite (and now his favorite) stores is Lakeshore Learning. I found lots of little individual learning materials that my school actually passed out in a kit for our upcoming K students. I made a somewhat hefty purchase and brought home some great hands-on materials. He did have many learning materials already, but it’s always exciting to him, when we add to his collection. It keeps him interested. I also had old magnetic letters in my storage room upstairs that I pulled out. I made a miniature word wall on our refrigerator for my little scholar. (You’ll be able to tell, I had to get creative and actually turn certain letters in to other letters:). Brayden probably knows close to half (in isolation) and maybe all in text. He has done well making connections in spelling patterns. I say, “since you know the word my, you just change the beginning sound and this word is (as I point under the /b/ in the word by…I slide my finger under from left to right)….?” Sure enough, he says, “by!” I’ll ask him to find different words, or bring 2 or 3 over to the other door, scramble the letters, and have him use them to spell the words.

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He’s been using his fine motor skills (which is definitely a work in progress). He hasn’t taken a huge interest on doodling, let alone writing. He can make simple shapes and attempts letters and numbers…but, as all learning is developmental, this is an area he is still developing in. Anyway, check out some ways we BEAT the HEAT!

He sorted his new letters by color and then he matched the upper case with the lower case.

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LOVES to cut paper!

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These are little tactile numbers (only the number feels like sandpaper). He put them in order to 20. We did a little combining of numbers too. I have lots of creative ways to use these in a little bubble inside my head. Um, haven’t done those things just yet. Remember the early-bird workouts? Man, I am adjusting to not sleeping in:).

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Scott started teaching Brayden how to add. He does pretty dang well. Now, granted he’s only added single-lower digit number…but still:) Oh, and he uses his fingers….too cute!

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BOB BOOKS!!! I can’t even tell you how they have changed my little guy’s life. He doesn’t LOVE them, and sometimes I have to bribe him to read them. So why do I LOVE them? I really believe they helped him be an early….and I do mean early (young 3) reader! I know his success has a lot to do with the opportunities we provide and I’m sure it helps (totally not bragging) that I have taught kindergarten for over a DECADE. Not to mention, my Master’s in early childhood with a specialty in reading. Okay, so that last sentence wasn’t necessary:). That was bragging:). I guess, I just mean that I know a little bit about how to teach young children to be strong – successful readers and learners in general. I admit, I am a little over the top but, I even created very simple introductions for each book and listed the skill/s I wanted him to learn, along with comprehension questions. I considered his attention span and the fact that when I started these with him, he had just turned 3. The only reason I even created little lessons to begin with, was because I noticed him losing interest (before we even opened the book) and I was losing valuable “teaching” time. I didn’t want to waste a second! I didn’t want to turn him off. I wanted to foster his love of learning. I had to get really creative and a little silly (but, if you know me, silly is typical). So, my intros had to be super engaging. Now, I will say, the books are phonics - based. There is next to no “meat” in regard to story. They get better as the levels go up. There are vocabulary and concept opportunities too. Each set of Bob Books contains 12 different titles. There are a total of 5 sets. Anyway, the beauty of these books, are that they have a picture/sound mini dictionary at the start of each book, sight words are repeated in the set, and they totally set children up for success. I certainly do not use the books exclusively. We read to him and he reads other books independently. We honestly enjoy reading time together. The teacher came out in me as I was journaling, but just to be clear, this is our “playing” and relaxed time together. It’s certainly not a “sit down and listen to me time.” The truth of the matter is, children do not learn by “osmosis.” It’s that simple. Yes, I hear many parents say, “I don’t know how they know all they do.” Or, “I didn’t teach him to read. He taught himself, I suppose.” I find myself wondering, “Seriously, how do not know?” Everything a child does or knows is learned. So, obviously the more opportunities and experiences a child has, increase his success as a learner. I honestly believe some parents aren’t aware of how their children gain knowledge, prior to any formal education. I’m not one to judge. It’s just, I see almost every opportunity as a learning/teaching one. My goal isn’t to create a genius, or even the smartest kid in school. I simply want my little boy to be a confident and successful learner. More importantly, I want him to be a happy, love learning, and a well rounded kid! As for the “I have no idea parents,” the good news is, these parents or someone else, provided learning experiences for their child, without even knowing. I have to admit, I’ve caught myself saying, “Cumulus cloud? How does he even know what a cumulus cloud is? How does he know the word, cumulus?” AND “Who taught him the word, condensation?” I run with this information! I now use these words with him. We read and talk about weather, temperature, and forecast. Who knows? Maybe he’ll grow up and be a scientist or a meteorologist (and be on T.V.)!…..all because we ‘beat the heat’ and played indoors!

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4 comments:

Erica said...

Lakeshore is a big hit at my house. You are a great mom, your babies are going to be very thankful that they had you and your husband as their parents. Oh the days of VBS, man that seems like a life time a go. First off you do not look like you are old enough to have taught kindergarten for that long.

I hope that made sense,Oh how is Nealy's cheer going? Off to a great start.
Xo Erica

Chris said...

Love this post, Yomaida. not only interesting & has great photos but also a learning experience for parents with young children....great job!

Anonymous said...

Even though you said your were in teacher mode, this was well written from an educated parents, perspective. It's very clear and helpful to mothers of young children. It not only gives them ideas ideas it guides to a better way of thinking. Great job!

Our Little Bubble said...

I recently purchased our first set of Bob books a couple weeks ago! Now I'm even more excited to get going and use them!! thanks for the valuable teacher/parent info :)