Preschool day 15: Geography and Math

Today was one of my favorite preschools days.  Not sure why,  but everything just flowed nice and the boys had a great time.   Our lesson today was focused on Math and Geography.  So after our morning routine we built number towers (smallest to largest).  The boys had to match the numbers, and put them in order.  This helped them to have a visual of 9 being bigger than 8 etc… then I would ask them which number is bigger (4 or 8) etc…

Next we played basketball math (a game we made up back in September). We threw in some quick Zoo phonics races and moved on to a new game.

For Geography we built our map of the united states and then we got out Ninja turtles and sent them on adventures around the states.  This game was a total hit.  The Ninja turtles started out in their home state of Washington ;) and then each boy chose a state they wanted their turtle to adventure to.  They took turns rolling the dice and could move their turtle that many states away.  We added in a lot of background story like Michelangelo riding Polar bears in Alaska and Donatello fighting snakes in Nevada.  :)  For the last 20 minutes of preschool the boys free played with the map, their turtles, and a couple lego bad guys.  I heard cute conversation like, “The bad guys are in New york” and sure enough the bad guys were hanging out by the statue of liberty.  Such a fun way to learn the states, use some math skills with the dice and put our imaginations to good use.

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Block numbers

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Ninja Turtle adventures

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Rolling the dice

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Writing out the equation with sticks

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Boston’s turn

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Tower building

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Charlie’s throw. It must of landed in the bucket judging by Boston’s excitement. The boys are good at cheering for each other.

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Zoo phonics. The boys are in the middle of a hurricane in this picture. :)

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It’s a cold rainy day and the boys dressed Kristoff appropriately.

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Finishing the map puzzle.

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Charlie doing some adding

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At this point the boys had their Ninja’s talking with each other since they were only a state away. :)

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Finished product. I didn’t have enough 1 piece blocks so out tower is a little funky. :)

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proud boys

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Super hero writing practice

Preschool update

I was really excited to start preschool for Boston and his buddy this year, but also a little nervous.  I wasn’t sure if what I had planned would work, or if I would be the right teacher for the boys.  It’s been a relief to see that it has been going really well and I am much more confident.

Growth:
I’ve grown so much more confident in my ability to inspire and teach my child.  The boys have grown more confident over all because of the new skills they have learned and the knowledge they’ve gained.  My 2 year old knows the sounds of A-D.  He repeats the pledge of allegiance and articles of faith and he can recognize Van Gogh and Strauss in a picture and call them by name.  :) I can also tell he feels so big when he “counts”.  His counting usually starts and ends with the #2, but it’s so great to see how much even he’s absorbing when he only participates partly.

The big boys have learned how to spell their names and their writing skills and pencil grip has improved a ton from day one.  They also have the pledge of allegiance and Articles of faith 1-3 memorized. They love to point out when something reminds them of either our artist or composer of the month.  If we’re in a store and classical music is playing, Boston will point out that it sounds like Strauss.  The other day we were in a store with a bunch of famous art copies and Boston excitedly ran around pointing out the Van Goghs.  We’ve gotten through all of our zoo phonics flash cards and have moved on to the 2nd stage.

Where we’ve had success:
Our preschool schedule has been working great for the boys and myself.  We have the same routine every morning when they come in the door.  The end of our day is also the same, so I just come up with new lesson plans for the middle of preschool.  That has made things easy for me and it seems to be working for the boys.

Journal time didn’t seem to be exciting for the boys, so for the month of October I’ve cut that and replaced it with reading time while the boys eat or color.  They’ve loved reading time and after a half hour they are often still asking for more books.

Zoo phonics is a program I would recommend to anyone.  We love it and are finding a ton of success with it.  It’s inspiring Boston with reading and spelling.  He made up his own game where he starts saying a letter sound and then picks different words that start with this letter. Ie: “Puh, Puh, Puh, piano!”  He also can spell different words by sounding them out.  This is all due to zoo phonics (coupled with lots of story time).

Art day has been a highlight for the boys and a fun change of pace (at a different house).  We’ve also incorporated (at least last month) an exercise day with some other friends and that was a hit too!

The boys have amazing little memories and I’m always so impressed to see how much information they can retain.

My favorite resources and tips:
Chewing gum during writing time has been a successful little trick in helping the boys sit still at the table while they write, although their attention spans have been growing!

If we can turn any activity or lesson into something where we can move, then we do it.  These boys stay inspired and engaged when we incorporate a lot of movement!

The library is my best friend.  I have a constant rotation of about 40 books going through my house.  I order all the books online and our library is awesome and has a drive through that I can pick them up at.  So easy!  Each month I order every book I can find on our artist and composer for the next month and I read up on them.  Then when it comes time to teach the boys I know which books I want to read to them and I can filter out the really cool and preschool appropriate facts for them.

I have a planner that I write our schedule out in every preschool day as well as a calendar to mark what our basic lesson for the day will be.  I take notes in this planner on the boys progress, what worked that day, what didn’t and what to do to prepare for the next day.  That has been crucial to me not feeling overwhelmed.

Frog tape has saved me and my posters.  I use it to hang all of my heavy posters and we’ve been going off the same tape since the beginning of the year!

Overthebigmoon is one of my favorite websites to print out writing worksheets.

My preschool pinterest board is filled with some of my favorite preschool resources as well.

Well that’s about it on our update.  I’ve been relieved and excited that it’s gone so well.  Next year we’re moving to (3) 3 hour days a week (one day at another house) so that will be a new experience, but hopefully equally successful.  If you’re wanting to start your own preschool, my best advice is to ask for tips, advice, resources etc…  I’ve had so many friends contribute to our positive experience by sharing their best resources, experience and tips with me!

Preschool day 14: All about Charlie day

Charlie boys birthday is tomorrow and we’ve been talking about it all month at preschool.  So today was an “all about Charlie day. We decorated for the occasion and Charlie was all smiles. Birthdays must bring out the best in Charlie because he was a perfect angel all day.  We had so much fun.  We started our morning with all the regular stuff but as soon as writing time was over I taught the boys about history and that we all have a history.  We talked about the history of Charlie’s 4 whole years!  ;)  I taught them about how a timeline works (this was a refresher from Boston’s birthday) and then we made a timeline of Charlie’s life from pictures that his mom sent me.

After our timeline project Charlie opened up his gift from us.  Then I let the boys play legos for a bit.  After legos we did a really fun Zoo phonics matching game.  The boys have their flash cards down really well, so I’m now introducing them to the animal/letter combined cards.  They matched the old cards to the new ones and said the name and sound.  It was really fun.  Then we did more legos and ate blue and red captain america cupcakes (fun but gross) while I read Halloween stories.  Happy Birthday Charlie boy.  We sure do love you.

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Dressing Kristoff nice and warm

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Tracing Happy birthday on white boards.

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Making our Charlie Timeline. I forgot to take a picture of Charlie’s cute drawing of himself at age 4.

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Opening his present

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Building legos. Charlie takes on a very formal tone when building legos. I heard lots of, “Not quite yet. Yes. Please hand me the piece of resistance. Thank you”. A very polite and efficient master builder. :)

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Matching game

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Singing happy birthday. Right before my Isaac blew out Charlie’s candles. You can see my toddler coming in hot! Charlie was very sweet about it. :)

Preschool day 13: Exercise day

The boys were invited to a preschool day at Cash’s house with his Mom Penny.  My son came home telling me all about the fun he had.  They had an exercise day and learned all about bones and checked out the bones on a skeleton.  Boston also told me about a medical glove that Penny inflated to show a hand without bones and then another glove with popsicle sticks in the fingers to show one with bones.  So creative and a cute way to teach the kids!

You can tell the kids had a great time!  Thanks for hosting Penny!

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Off for a run

13 kids moving

Penny told the kids to show her how they use their bones. Those are some awesome moves!

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Love these crazy kids. June is keeping up well with this wild bunch.

Family Home Evening: Make your house a home

We had a fun Family home evening on Monday night.  We build a Haunted Gingerbread house most Halloweens and this year we turned it into a lesson.  We sang “Love at home” and then we talked about the ingredients used to turn a gingerbread house into a haunted house.  After that we discussed what ingredients we need to turn our house into a home.

We each listed something we could do to make our house a home.  Dane said he could be a happy helper when Mom asks him to do things (I liked that one!) and be patient with the boys.  I said that I could talk extra sweet to the boys and make sure to not yell and Boston said that he could be really sweet to Isaac and be a helper with him.  Isaac just said, “home”.  :)  It was a short and sweet lesson and then we moved on to pumpkin carving and haunted house building.

When we put our pumpkins on the porch we noticed it was pouring down rain, so we put on more clothing (as in pants) and rain coats and boots and ran outside to splash around.  At the bottom of our driveway there were huge puddles in the gutter and we splashed for about 20 minutes, running up and down the gutter.  I splashed with the boys while Dane stood on the driveway looking at us like we were crazy (with a big ol’ smile on his face).  We couldn’t stop laughing.  It was really fun (even for an adult). Dane heated us up some apple cider (while I stripped the boys sopping wet clothes off in the garage) and he started a hot bath for the boys.  It was a fun end to the night.   Yay for Halloween and FHE!

FHE 5

Picking a face for Zekey’s pumpkin

FHE 4

I love Boston’s concentrating face

FHE 3

Zekey chose scary and Boston chose “toothy” in his words.

FHE 1

Zekey’s trying to act scary and Boston’s trying to look silly…like their pumpkins. Isaac’s actually saying, “I’m a ZOOOMBBIIEEE”

FHE 6 FHE 2

Art Day: Leonardo da Vinci

Art day has become a highlight of the month for the preschool boys.  My son loves going to Charlie’s house and Lindsay always has a cool project in store.  On this day they all painted their own Mona Lisas in water colors and pastels.  Lindsay taught the boys all about oils and pastels.  On art day we invite guests to preschool so we have a range of 3-5 year olds.  It’s really fun to see the different stages of their art progression and notice their own individual styles.

Thank you Lindsay for another awesome day!

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Gavin and Boston working hard on their Mona Lisas. PS how adorable are these aprons?!

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Cashy the artist.

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All the artists

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Boston’s Mona Lisa. I love all the color.

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Charlie’s Mona Lisa. How cute is that Mona?!

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Gavin’s Mona Lisa. I love all the details in his painting.

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How could you not love art day?

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A little art break.

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A little Curious George Halloween break. Much needed for the hardworking artists.

Preschool day 11: Artist and Composer day

Today was our Artist and Composer of the month day.  For this month we’ve been learning about Camille Saint-Saens and Leonardo Da Vinci.  Today was the first day it actually felt like fall.  Nice and chilly. For writing time, we traced the alphabet and then the boys solved their pumpkin puzzles.  Each pumpkin had a letter of their name on it and they had to put the pumpkins in the right order.  Both boys got it on the first try.  They’re really learning how to spell their names!  It’s so fun.  They each took a turn with the sharpie and wrote their own name on the other side of the pumpkins.

I taught the boys a few facts about Camille Saint-Saens and then showed them two children’s books about two of his songs.  One was the Dance Macbre (a spooky skeleton song) and the other was Carnival of the animals.  We talked about what each song would sound like for each animal (fast slow, loud, quiet, bouncy, etc…) then we hung pictures of the animals up.  The boys would dance a little then guess which animal’s song was being played and take that picture off the wall.

Fun fact:  Carnival of the animals was actually written to make fun of some of Camille’s fellow composers so he wouldn’t allow it to be published in his life time.  Now it’s a favorite of children everywhere.

For Leonardo da Vinci I showed the boys some of his paintings.  We talked about how Mona Lisa’s eyes seem to follow you and we discussed if she looked happy or sad.  I read the boys a really fun book about da Vinci called Leonardo’s Monster.  It’s a kids book and the boys loved it. We also discussed what being a Renaissance man means and that Leonardo da Vinci’s name is like saying, “Charlie of Pasco” or “Boston of Pasco”.

I changed up Zoo-phonics today so that it wouldn’t take as long since we’re now doing the entire alphabet.  The boys took turns saying the flash cards and for every card they said, they got a candy corn in their cup. :)

Our final activity today was drawing in our Carnival of the Animals coloring books and eating popcorn while I read Halloween stories to the boys.  Since we’d been reading and coloring for awhile I asked the boys if they wanted to play outside, but both said no and wanted me to keep reading.  They’re REALLY enjoying our reading time and I’m loving it.

It was a good day. :)

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Boston spelled his own name

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Boston put together his name puzzle

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Boston working on our letters work sheet

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Carnival of the animals posters

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Charlie’s coloring book

11 Charlie kristoff

Charlie didn’t want to dress Kristoff this morning, but at the end of the day when his clothes were falling off he was concerned that Kristoff was getting cold. He also thought Kristoff looked like a construction worker today. : )

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Charlie spelled his own name

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Charlie put together his pumpkin puzzle

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Our first windy day on the weather chart.