Thursday, February 25, 2010

Preschool-Week of 2/25

Much of our learning for the past couple of weeks has been directed by our reading. We go to the library, pick up a gigantic stack of books that look interesting (seriously, this should count toward my exercise for the fitness challenge!) from the fiction and non-fiction sections, and then come home and work our way through the pile. We've made some really excellent discoveries this way, and it's a great way to spark Crumpet's interest in new topics.

It seems there are almost no pictures this week - focus is a big problem right now and I really didn't want to distract Crumpet even more...

We read On the Same Day in March by Marilyn Singer. This book talks about the fact that, on one particular day in March, the weather is different all over the world. We looked up all of the places on our globe and also discussed why it is that the weather is so different in different locations.
We also read a couple of other books about the Earth - its weather, different ecosystems, etc. We talked about animal habitats and where we would find certain animals, and we played a habitat matching game from Nick Jr.'s lesson plans.

Crumpet is beginning to write a lot of "letters" in his artwork, so we started tracing laminated letters that I made. He also did a few simple dot-to-dots. I found a great book full of really easy number and letter pictures. At first, for some reason, he didn't understand that you drew the lines literally from dot... to... dot, and he'd draw randomly, but this week it clicked and you can tell what the pictures are when he's finished!

We played a game of War. Crumpet thought it was very funny to steal Mommy's cards!
We continue to count the numbers on the calendar up to the current day. For the last couple of days, he's gotten all the way through the teens, and he has counted the 20's! He needs to be looking at the numbers though; he can't count to 20 yet without the visual aids.
Crumpet was playing with a travel alarm clock this week, and he would set the hour that he wanted to wake up. And he set it correctly. Telling time by the hour is starting to fall into place. He can even occasionally tell me what time it is if I show him my watch.

We read Thomas's Sheep and the Spectacular Science Project by Steven L. Layne. This is the story of a boy who must create a science project about the solar system. He fantasizes about a group of sheep traveling to space and visiting all of the planets. It includes one simple fact about each planet, and a lot of silliness too. Crumpet learned many of the names of the planets and some of the facts just from reading this book. At the end, the boy creates a surface rover, and Crumpet immediately shouted "We have to build one of those. Right now." So we enlisted his dad, who is much better at making these building dreams a reality, and they made a pretty good model out of Legos. While they were at it, they built a catapult which Crumpet had seen in a pirate book and had also been begging to build. The picture really doesn't do justice to these things - they were pretty intricate, and the catapult shoots small objects across the entire room. Yikes!
We also did a little bit of work on the food pyramid. Crumpet is beginning to eat better, and I wanted to give him some knowledge on which to base his food choices. First of all, does anyone else HATE the new food pyramid? I do, so we used the old version, which I think is much easier to understand. I cut out the pieces and we put them together as a puzzle. Then, we put pictures of foods into their correct food groups. (Yes, he is eating a lollipop in this picture. Eating junk while learning to eat healthy. Classic...) This was a disaster. All Crumpet wanted to talk about was the fact that there was a section designated for junk food, and therefore, it was must be good to eat... It didn't matter that it's the smallest section. We played a computer game on Nourish Interactive, which I've seen mentioned on other blogs. The game is too hard for him to play on his own, but we both got addicted and are slowly working our way through the levels, and Crumpet is learning about the food groups. He cracks me up - when it's time for a meal, he tells me "Mom, I need a protein. I think I'll have a grain too."
I rarely use workbooks, but this week we spent a little while zipping through one to be sure I'm not missing any major concepts in our studies. Here is Crumpet showing me the positional word "on".
We read How to Be a Nature Detective by Millicent Ellis Selsam. There was some great, easy information on tracking common animals. I learned a lot, and since it was good and muddy this week, we went for a hike and identified a few tracks. I was amazed at how much Crumpet retained and put to use on our walk.
We also went to the preschool nature class at our nature center. This month, the topic was frogs, and we learned tons of fun information that I'd never heard before. We scooped frog eggs and tadpoles out of the pond, which was a new experience for Crumpet. Here's the frog he colored at the end of class.
Teaching Aids: I am reading an awesome book called How to Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator and on to Learning by Carol Barnier. It's about teaching "highly distractible, ADHD, or just plain fidgety kids" (i.e. boys...). This is the second book I've read about the importance of allowing a hyperactive kid to move while learning, but this one actually gives tons of ways to do this while helping the child focus on the lessons at the same time. One of the simplest ideas she provides is to toss a beanbag back and forth while you take turns saying the letters of the alphabet, or counting, or I could say a letter and he could tell me the sound it makes, etc. etc. Crumpet really responds well to this. There's "hop on it" where I lay out letters or numbers or whatever, and call out the one I want Crumpet to jump on. I'd done this before, and again, it's a big hit here. There are so many other, more involved games too. The ones I've played with Crumpet have left him begging for more. This is how I like to teach Crumpet, but I'm not creative enough to make up my own games, so this was a truly thrilling find. And, the author lists other books that provide even more games for all subjects. Yikes. This is how I want to teach Crumpet - through literature and games, but it's unfortunate that I'll be doing it from debtor's prison after I buy all this stuff I "need"!
Have a great week!


  1. Great week! I love your idea of using the calendar for learning to count. This is the same technique I used with Selena.

  2. I'd be in debtor's prison too with all the stuff I need.
    And I'm with you on not liking the new food pyramid. Interestingly enough, I think most people I've read about don't like it.
    Great week. Get something on wheels for your library books. I've done that and it's helped my poor back and arms, and I don't have as many overdue notices because I keep all the books in one place.

  3. Wow - what a wonderful week! We didn't do any studies on food pyramid here - frankly, I think it's overrated. It's great that you are working so hard to match Crumpet's learning style - from what you described, he is very much a kinetic learner. And your husband definitely has a lot of creativity - those Lego creations look awesome. Thanks for heads up on great books too - I am definitely going to look for the one about the weather.

  4. Hands down some of the coolest lego "rovers" ever! We went to the Hall of Science Museum in NY and got to play with a if your near by, but that could be fun!

    Kudos to you for trying to match his learning style! Kaelyn loves to play the Ball game (each one of us says the next letter in the alphabet, or colors). Another fun way we do that game is to pick a category (like animals) and each of you has to say a different animal when you catch the ball, if you don't you "lose" and have to act like the animal you repeated. It's a fun way to teach categories (you could use shapes/colors/body parts/etc).

  5. Just hopped on over through the Preschool Corner link. The Legos are adorable. I agree with you on the food pyramid too. I am now following your blog.

  6. You and Crumpet could teach a thing or two to our hospital nurses in Kenya. For the life of me, I can't get them to understand how to use a temperature chart. When I finally thought we were "there" with graphing, they neglected to connect the dots!

  7. You and Crumpet could teach a thing or two to our hospital nurses in Kenya. I finally got them to understand how to plot temperatures on a graph, but they still don't connect the dots!