Monday, February 17, 2020

Before Five in a Row: Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?

My youngest child is in the middle of her PreK year and has shown a big leap in maturity and "readiness" alongside her desire to do school with the big kids.  In theory, she could do Five in a Row with her older sister, but for a variety of reasons, I'm keeping them separate for now.  It is important that she has something special of her own for right now, so we're adapting Before Five in a Row.

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We started with Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?  It's one of her favorite books!  (It was a 4-day week for us, and I did a combination of ideas from the manual and other activities.)

Note:  I am fully aware that Before Five in a Row is set up differently than Five in a Row - it's not academic in nature, and not meant to be rowed in the same way.  We are adapting for her age, but these posts won't be separated by academic subject, but rather by theme or activity.

We started by reading the book of course, and making our own Jesse Bear.  She's not huge on coloring, but she does like "crafty" stuff anyway. The bear is originally from here, but I noticed it's now a paid item.  I still had some copies of the bear, and we cut an outfit out of construction paper.

We talked a little about dressing for the weather, which she knows is important!  We've been bundled up in snow suits, snow boots, mittens, etc. for most of the month to enjoy playing outside in the snow that never melts.

We decided to track the weather with a simple Weather Chart from PreKinders.

She also did a few printables throughout the week.  I put those together like a book so they don't take up as much space in her notebook.  We did a few pages throughout the week from the Jesse Bear Printables from Homeschool Creations.  I try to keep it light and informal, but she does like stuff like this.

I left the Bear Family Dress Up Puzzle out all week.  It's one of those toys that's a little on the young side for my kids, but still gets pulled out occasionally, and it works for this book.

Of course she dressed Jesse in his red shirt and blue shorts - but he was sad here, because after we read Guess Who's Coming Jesse Bear, he was sad that his cousin Sara Bear was leaving.   Mommy was happy because she was trying to cheer Jesse, and Dad was dressed for work of course.  (We didn't do the fabric pattern activity in the manual--I'm not a sewer or quilter and don't generally have patches of fabric hanging around the house, but playing with the colors and patterns in this set is along the same lines.)

The first day, she said she wanted to learn about bears, so later in the week we did animal classification like described in the manual.  There are free animal classification cards that you can print online (and I think the updated manual includes animal classification cards now) but I wanted her to be an active participant in the process, so we will make our own cards as we go!  We print a black and white clip art picture, and she colors it and glues it to an index card.  Then we write out facts on the back of the card.  She loves telling me facts and looking through her cards!

We read another Jesse Bear book, Let's Count it Out, Jesse Bear one morning.

Later in the day we referenced the illustrations in our primary book to discuss the shapes lesson as per the manual.  She then made a couple of bears (inspired by Bear Shape Printable) for her notebook.

I did manage to cover shapes on the same day big sis was doing the shapes/square lesson in her row of Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, and they both played with geoboards for awhile.

A fun little book for preschoolers is The Shape of Things, about how you can see shapes in everyday things.

That evening, the girls wanted to do art, so I adapted the manual's potato stamping.  We used cookie cutters from our play-doh box.  It then turned into finger painting, and the final picture was then given to daddy who took it to work before I snapped a picture.  The girls love giving him artwork for his office!

She also painted Jesse Bear (in the middle) catching butterflies with Papa Bear (right) and Mother Bear (left) on a snowy day!  I think she's just used to snow as part of our landscape now . . .

She was "reading back" the book with me and acting it out, on her own volition.  The book has some great parts to act out!  We also read Better Not Get Wet, Jesse Bear at the end of the week.  I kind of felt sorry for Jesse Bear in this book . . . he was never allowed to have any fun!

She wanted to eat the food that Jesse Bear had for lunch in What Will You Wear, mostly because she really wanted to eat rice--it's one of her favorites!  Without planning a Jesse Bear snack ahead of time, we did our best to put together something similar to what he had for lunch.  We had an apple, carrots, rice, a few teddy grahams (because BEARS) and milk to drink.  We didn't have "celery crunch" but she loves green bell peppers so she had those for her crunch!  (She asked for a picture, but hid her teddy grahams behind the apple and her bell pepper strips because they weren't part of Jesse's lunch!)

I left the counting/sorting bears out all week so she could play with them at her leisure.  We have an old set of all one size from when my oldest was her age, and we acquired another set of 3 sizes.  This allows for all different types of patterning and sorting activities.  {If you need activities or printables to go with the bears, The Measured Mom has printables for 2-8 years old.}

You can check out my previous row of Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? with her older sister, or all of our Five in a Row Fun here.

©2011-2020 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening {FIAR}

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It's been so long since I've posted, but moving halfway across the country, at the holidays nonetheless, can really throw you for a loop!  We're starting to settle in, we're getting into a routine, and my first grader is back with Five in a Row.

We tried something else this school year, and while it wasn't a bad fit, it just wasn't as free-flowing and natural as I prefer, and when I needed to shake things up after the move, I realized I wanted to be using FIAR for her.

So our first row after the break was Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.  I started with this book because it's winter and the snow just hangs out around here, and it's also a shorter/lighter row, so it was a good one to ease back into things.  Some of these lessons are from the manual, and some are additional activities. You really need the guide to do FIAR as designed.

I focus on my first grader for rowing, but my PreK kiddo (who is doing Before Five in a Row) does join in on occasion.

Language Arts
Poet-Robert Frost; Poetry
We started the week off by reading the book of course, and talking about how it's actually a poem.  We then talked about poetry and what makes a poem.  After that, I introduced her to Robert Frost.  We didn't go into much detail, just read through a few of his poems--we came back to this book a few times throughout the week.

The guide gives a few different suggestions for children's poetry, and we read a few random poems from Now We are Six and When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne.

We printed a copy of the poem for our notebook, and she also wrote her own animal poem.

 (Cat Stickers, which we also used when rowing Papa Piccolo.)

Animal Tracks/Animals in Winter
We expanded on the lesson in the manual by reading some Let's Read and Find out Science books and doing an animal footprints matching activity.

           Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft        Big Tracks, Little Tracks by Millicent E. Selsam

As we've had quite a bit of snow sitting around, we also looked for animal tracks.  Dog tracks are the easiest to identify of course!

We didn't follow the lessons in the manual, but this still fit well.  As we looked through the pages, we saw many animals, especially birds, and particularly a cardinal.  

We found this winter cardinal that was great for the girls (5 and 7) to do on their own.  They didn't quite get enough white crayon on the page for the "snowflakes" to resist the watercolor, but overall they were happy with the project.  

Another afternoon, she was just flipping through the book and asked if she could draw the fox.  I found Draw Write Now Book 7: Forest Animals and she drew the fox, complete with grass and flowers!

I'm hoping to work more handicrafts and/or cooking into our rows, and homemade bird feeder ornaments just went well.  Since the illustrations show the man feeding the animals, the Bible supplement mentions Proverbs 12:10 and being good to animals.  We discussed this, and since birds are featured throughout the book, we went with that . . .

The girls loved this project.  Most recipes call for gelatin, but I looked for a few without, and this is what we did.  I melted about 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, and while that cooled they measured out 4 cups of birdseed.  I used a smaller cup and asked Eleanor to convert first, which was great because she was doing fractions in math anyway.  Eloise counted out the number of scoops. Then I poured the coconut oil in and they used spoons to mix it up.  Finally, I added a couple tablespoons of peanut butter.

We only have two of the really large cookie cutters, but we used some single serve ice cream bowls for the rest of our seed since they're fairly deep.  We poked a hole through each and popped them into the freezer on the cookie sheet.

The ones in the plastic cups were the easiest to remove, while the flower was the most difficult, but it did look nice.

They lasted at least through the next day--we watched birds at one, but it wasn't long before a resident squirrel found them and was probably the one who decimated them so quickly.  At least he came back to clean up his mess.

There weren't really any social studies lessons, but we found Vermont (for Frost's hometown) for our story disk and reviewed the locations of the previous books we'd rowed.

I previously rowed Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening about four years ago with the boys, or you can see all of my documented Five in a Row posts here.  I will continue to update as I can.

©2011-2020 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Handwriting Practice for Young Learners {review}

Channie's Visual Handwriting and Math workbooks, developed by Chan Bohacheff, offers a unique visual guide for helping children with handwriting.  The method offers a visual representation with vertical dotted lines and colored blocks in order to assist with proper letter formation, consistent sizing and spacing, and even punctuation.

We were given the opportunity to choose from a few interesting products, and I settled on the following to review:

Channie's Dry Erase Flashcard for Alphabet & Number

Channie's Dry Erase Flashcard for Sight Words

I have reviewed Channie's cursive handwriting in the past, so I was intrigued to try these dry erase cards aimed at a younger audience.  The specialized grids and green shade block help maintain uniform sizing of letters and straight printing.

Channie's Dry Erase Flashcard for Sight Words
I requested these cards because my six year old is still practicing her reading skills, and her reading curriculum actually recommends using dry erase boards before writing on paper, so these are a great supplement.  The cards are appropriate for children as young as three, but are ideal for beginning reader and writers.  The set includes 100 sight words, and the format allows children to read, trace and write the word.

 Although I have never used flash cards in the traditional drilling method, these particular cards are a valuable resource to her language arts curriculum.  Her curriculum actually shows how most "sight words" can be phonetically decoded, and she already knows quite a bit of these words or can "sound it out" so we jumped right in.

Not only does she read the word, she traces it, and then she can practice writing it using the guided grids.  There was a blank card so we could work on any other words as well, meaning she can use this for her Spelling List words if she wants to write them out, instead of spelling with letter tiles.

Channie's Dry Erase Flashcard for Alphabet & Number 
I chose these dry erase flashcards for my four year old!  She's always wanting to do school like the big kids, but she's not quite ready for formal learning.  These seemed like a good compromise.

The cards are designed for Pre-K through 1st grade, and contain 26 alphabet cards and 10 number cards.  The cards are color-coded, and include green for capitals, blue for lower case letters, and yellow for numbers.

The letter cards have a corresponding picture and word, so you can work on simple letter sounds.  The number cards have objects that allow for practicing counting.

Being four, and never having any formal handwriting practice at all, it has taken some time for my preschooler to figure out the whole "size and space" aspect of the grid, rather than just getting the shape of the letter/number, but she is making progress.

These have been a good option for her to have nearby while her siblings are doing school, especially when her big sister using the sight word cards.

What Did We Think?
These cards have been a great resource for both my four and six year old.  They love dry-erase markers, so it makes the chore of writing a little easier, especially for perfectionists.  The unique grid offer a helpful visual guide for spacing and letter formation.  The boards are sturdy and durable, and easily wipe clean, so I see them lasting awhile.  These are easy to use for independent work once the child has mastered the grid.  I'm pleased with this product, and think they are a great idea for preschool and early elementary classrooms and homeschoolers.

To learn more about Channie's, you can read my review of Easy Peasy Cursive, find Channie's online, or read more crew reviews.

Alphabet, Number & Sight Word Dry Erase, Neat Numbers & Page a Day 2 Didgit Multiplication. {Channie's Visual Handwriting & Math workbooks Reviews}

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©2011-2019 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.