March 20, 2010

Our First Tot School!!!

I've decided to participate in the tot school blog community if I can get organized enough to blog on Saturdays. I just love all of the ideas they have for the under served preschoolers! So, of course, I must contribute!

This week the boys did the Brown Bear, Brown Bear Tot Pack in addition to their regular tot studies. We had such a blast. I haven't decided to go all the way and laminate the projects yet, but I'm feeling really tempted because these are quality resources that I'm pretty sure we'll come back to time and again.

We read the book page by page as they colored their coordinating coloring book. This was great for Haven to choose his colors by matching with the picture. My mom sent us a hug freezer bag full of colored pencils a while back, and so Haven was able to see how many shades of each color there can be.

He got really excited saying, "That's a green. And THAT's a green! And THAT's a green..."

Hunter did the head and tails card on his own. I was a little surprised at how little he cared for this game. I imagined it to hold his attention for at least 5 minutes. But about 3 animals in he was saying, "Let's do counting bears!"

Haven did the heads and tails cards later on in the floor and he loved it. IT gave him quite a thrill each time he got one right. At least one of 'em loved it!

Next we ordered our number cards. Haven and Hunter tried to tag team this one, but Haven was just messing up Hunter's work (which was a shock because it's usually Haven telling Hunter how to do things correctly) so Hunter politely asked Haven to do something else.

Once Hunter did it on his own, he was quite pleased to see how things shaped up.

Hunter had really been hankerin' for the counting bears all week, so finally we decided to let him get it out of his system by placing the correct amount of bears on each number card. There were no brown bears, but it was still bears and colors. All very fun. And once he had done it, had released the need to play with counting bears, he could focus on other things.

This just reminds me of my first days as a student teacher in a first grade class. I had no concept going in of how a kid at that age is literally incapable of thinking of anything else until they can tell their totally off topic story about their grandma's doorknob. I would not call on a kid when I suspected they'd be off topic and then I'd see for an hour that they were bursting at the seams and had no clue what the rest of the class was working on. You simply must let them do what it is that they want so that they have the capacity to do what it is that you want them to do.

With counting bears out of his system, Hunter could focus on other activities like letter tiles. I love these! It's a jar of a ton of letter on plastic tiles and what's great (and hard to find) is that it contains both upper and lower case! You wouldn't believe- or maybe you would- how hard it is to find these sorts of games with lower case letters. It still uses the denelian 'a' which makes me crazy! I went in with the Sharpie and made the hook at the top. Why, oh why, America, do we teach our kids to read and write a ball and stick letter a and then expect them to automatically get it when they read books that that funny thing with the hook on the top is an 'a'?

For this, I take out all of the letters that the boys already know from our Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons sot that they are not confounded by all the extras. Then I say a word that is made up of only those letters. They still can't break it down on their own, so after saying, "mat," I say, "!" They repeat the slow sounds and then go to town with the letters. A lot of times they put the letters in the wrong order and then we go back and say it slowly while we order them properly. Both boys can do it this way, and I think it gives them a little confidence in their reading so that they want to keep up the good work.

So, that was out tot school week! To see what other moms are doing with their little ones for tot school, click the link down there!!

Tot School

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