I have always admired artists and dabbled in some pitiful attempts to paint, draw, and the like.
My husband actually found a painting that I did and thought his sister gave it to us and said “This is by far the ugliest painting that Kelsey has ever done.” Yeah, I’ll probably never let that one go.
But, that same sweet husband helped me paint words on the walls of our new business, and he isn’t an artist either.
After my years in the classroom, I was gifted an overhead projector from my superstar mother-in-law. This came in handy. I printed the words (in the font that I wanted) onto transparencies (at Office Depot), and then simply projected the image onto the wall.
We then just painted over the shadow of the letters and it nearly looked like someone with art skills had something to do with it. Murals can also be done this way. My friend painted the sportsman fleur de lis onto my son’s wall using our projector too.
James’ class studied astronomy this week (which is probably one of his favorite subjects). For Christmas, James got a kids-size space suit from NASA and told his teacher all about it throughout the week. He was so excited when she agreed to let him bring it to class to show his friends! (I think he was also excited to have a platform to “teach” his class… no fears of public speaking for this guy!)
Even though the kid loves the spotlight, I thought it would be good to prepare him for his show and tell presentation to help him stay on track with the information he wanted to share with his classmates.
We googled “orange astronaut suit” to learn more about it. We read some information together and I asked him what he learned from it. I told him it would be a good idea to write a few questions down so that he could remember to answer them while speaking.
You will notice that some public speakers, pastors, leaders and politicians will state their bullet points in question form; this is a great way for kids to give and receive information as well.
James grabbed his pencil and paper and wrote:
1. When do astronauts wear these suits?
2. Why do they wear these suits?
3. Why are the suits orange?
Little brother wanted to write a speech too…
He worked really hard to write his question down 😉
It also helps to practice a few times (but don’t over-do it because that can add to the nerves). Give them short and simple reminders to speak slowly and loudly so everyone can hear.
Anyway, I wouldn’t let James just bring the astronaut suit to school shoved in his backpack, so I brought it to school for him (and of course I waited to see him give his presentation, camera in-hand). Y’all… my heart was just so proud…
You gotta love when you – I mean, when Santa spends all that time and energy on the “right” presents (and not to mention the expenses) so your kids can play with the boxes they are packaged in, or the pillows on your freshly-made beds.
Santa is starting to think he should have given the kids a nook or an iPad as opposed to the extra plastic and clutter lying around the house, but their wish-list tricked him.
Still, many of our presents are still providing lots of entertainment. To name a few…
My sister bought this science kit for Sean Patrick:
And we love it. It comes with cards to tell you how to do science experiments that are kid-friendly. When my toddler goes down for a nap, Sean Patrick can’t wait to do his experiment.
Learning how to make pennies shiny!
Cleaning our science tools.
He even likes to clean the tools. How could I not be excited about that?
My mother-in-law got us the learning tower that he stands on to do the experiments and the dish-washing. I used to think only hippie-parents would want this and that I would never want it because it takes up space, but y’all…. I am in love, and I was wrong. Or maybe I am a hippie?
Anyway, my kids stood on it for a half hour after we took it out of the box saying “This is awesome! This is AWEsome! This is aweSOME!” repeatedly.
And I love that they no longer try to climb onto the counter tops or pull chairs to the counters.
Sean Patrick is also loving his Jake and the Neverland Pirate Ship. It’s been fun hearing him attempt to talk like a pirate “Ahoy matey” is stinking adorable. AHH, I have to drop stinking from my vocabulary… help! Sean Patrick calls me out on using a potty word when I’m not in the bathroom and it is humbling haha.
As far as Mckayla’s presents go, her pretend makeup is the absolutebest, pretend makeup that exists on the market:
It is completely pretend but it seems totally real. So perfect.
Finally, I made the kids some colorful ribbon streamers and it has also been a BIG hit as a dancing accessory.
Thanks to everyone who commented on my Facebook page about what gifts your kids are using most…. it gives me good ideas for my kiddos birthdays in 2014.
Following up with Tracing the ABC’s tips about coming up with little sayings to help form the letters, I wanted to share a COUPLE quick tips about differentiating “b” and “d” because they are so easily confused among young learners….
Every time I draw lowercase “b” I say a phrase I picked up from Shannon Hannaman (K Teacher- Baton Rouge) “Baby ‘b’ fits inside of Momma ‘B’s Belly.” This phrase has never let me down. Once kids learn this phrase they seem to automatically know “b” from “d” – You can also say “Baby ‘d’ doesn’t fit in Daddy “D”s belly.” Ooh, and maybe “Papa ‘P’ and Princess ‘p’ wait patiently in line.”
I also wrote the word “bed” on an old little tikes bed and it is a word that will be ingrained in my kid’s minds from seeing it so often.
Please continue commenting with your experiences…. I love to hear this and it gives me some tips for my little one too 🙂 What are your tips to differentiate “p” and “q”?
A Mommy Teacher named Meg shared this comment yesterday on the Tracing The ABC’s Book Post– “Just wanted to say that I purchased this yesterday, printed it off, laminated it at home and my 3 year old did every single letter! I did not expect that at all. I thought she would get bored, but she loved doing it! And we had fun coming up with little sayings about each letter (P was a man and then he put his hat on, etc).”
So maybe if “p” is a man/”Papa P” who puts his hat on then “q” is a queen whose hair flips out ! Share Your Thoughts…. 🙂
Great learning opportunities do not have to be completely planned out nor do they necessarily have to require much time at all. They do not have to come at a certain time of the day and do not always have to be over-the-moon exciting. Great learning opportunities DO need to have a goal in mind and this one, in particular, needs to be routine.
I give you the every-time-we-leave-the-house-4-second-learning-opportunity…
My kindergartner came home with his first day of homework. He had to trace the word RED three times, color the picture red, and do a word search where he had to find the word 4 times. After, I asked him how to spell RED without looking at his paper… r-e-d. Perfect.
The next day he came home with his homework for the color BLUE. After completing the same tasks as he did with the color red, I asked him to spell BLUE, but he couldn’t remember.
Then I remembered a teaching trick I used to get something to stick in my Pre-K and Kindergartners’ heads: repetition. How can I guarantee that I remember to enforce this repetition? Through practiced routine. And what better routine is there in a classroom than how to enter and exit the classroom? It is, in fact, the most rehearsed and the most repetitive… going in and out and in and out all day long.
I always had a sight word of the week (Kinder) or letter/number of the week (Pre-K) posted on the door frame and any time a student entered or exited the classroom they first had to hit the door frame and say (and spell) the word/letter.
For your beginning reader…
“B-l-u-e! Blue Blue Blue!”
or for your 1-3 year old…
“Big A, little a, /a/ /a/ /a/!”
You can even have just a colored piece of paper and use this repetition to teach colors. Or math facts…
“2 x 3 = 6!”
Or Bible verses! Or pictures of animals for toddlers! The learning opportunities are endless! Keep your one word/letter/color/number on the door for the entire week and any time you and your child leave, make sure to hit it on the way out! Be careful, though, it’s super easy to just remember the SOUND of this repetitive activity without looking at the actual word/letter, so make sure your child is also LOOKING at the card on the door frame to also remember its visual representation as well.
What other things can you teach using this 4 second activity?