We are Thankful for…

Last week, I had the extreme privilege of subbing for my son’s 1st grade classroom for the afternoon.  This Mommy Teacher really misses the classroom so I was really excited to jump back in… if only for a little over 3 hours.

Well, it just so happened, that I had planned a Thanksgiving craft with my kids that evening, so I decided to bring some supplies and do it with James’ class, too… after all, this was one of my favorite activities to do in my own classroom each November…

I spoke to the kids about the month of November and it being a time to give thanks.  I explained what thankfulness is and gave some reasons about why I was thankful.  I then had each of the students say one thing that they were thankful for… guiding those who couldn’t think of something new.  My favorite?  “I am thankful for opportunities to be helpful,” referencing the different tasks the classroom helpers rotate each week. (And, of course, James being thankful for his mom ranks pretty high, too!)



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I cut feathers out of construction paper and gave 3 to each student.  The students had to come up with 3 things they were thankful for and write each on one of their feathers.   At the end of our activity, we glued the feathers down and had a beautiful turkey!  It gave James a great picture of what our own finished turkey would look like after 28 days…

That’s right, we are taking the whole month to make our turkey… two feathers at a time (one for each of my boys).



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Day 1:  James (6) is thankful for his little sister, and Leyson (4) is thankful for, well, Leyson!  Since we are a few days into November, use your first day you do this activity to play catch up to get the kids used to talking about things they are thankful for.

One thing I am thankful for?  All of our wonderful mommy teachers out there!  Thank you for stopping by The Mommy Teacher!  Please share your Thanksgiving crafts with us on Facebook!

UPDATE:  This is Jessica (The not-artsy Mommy Teacher) wanting to share the printable I made tonight so that I could do this tomorrow.  This is for the UN-artistic people who want to do this 😉 – (cough cough) namely for me and my kids !



Turkey Template



 

Click here: Turkey Template Printable to get the simple turkey template for this activity  OR click on the image above! 😉

 

Summer Break Curriculum: Ocean Life



1st month of summer



Summer break is about halfway over here in Louisiana!  If you are just now joining our summer quest to never hear the phrase, “I’m bored,” please go back and read Part 1 and Part 2 of our summer learning curriculum and activity schedule.  On the right hand column, you will see all of the summer schedule posts neatly organized for you to have quick access!

WEEK 5:  OCEAN LIFE

So I apologize for the delay in the post about Ocean Life. I’d love to give you my reasons (my computer crashed so I’m having to sneak around to borrow one and we went on a vacation) but no one wants to hear those!

The kids had a great time learning about Ocean Life despite the fact that they never really showed too much interest in Finding Nemo – I’ve tried… what’s not to like about it?  But as you all know, kids tend to have their own opinions about things no matter how much we try to mold their little minds ;-).

A

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nywho, our favorite activity from the week was our Ocean Life PUPPET THEATER!  This activity was super cheap and was instant entertainment for DAYS!  It is also a great way to encourage storytelling which increases skills in reading comprehension, writing and illustrating stories (this skill starts as early as kindergarten) and oral communication.

Materials:

Painters Tape, poster board, scissors, long skewers/craft sticks, 1 blue and 1 yellow plastic table cloth, black sharpie marker

To make the puppets, I used a foam board.  YOU, however, should NOT use a foam board.  

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That sucker was a pain to cut out all of the fishy shapes with all of the twists and turns.  I ended up breaking most of the fish when cutting them out and had to play “doctor” to fix them all back together (great tie-in to our Community lesson).  Just use 1 white poster board and it will save you time, energy, and unnecessary frustration.



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I drew the fish onto my board using a black sharpie.  The kids painted the fish and then went down for their naps (good timing on my part so they didn’t have to wait for the paint to dry).  I cut the fish out and taped the long skewers to the back of the fish.  (I ran out of skewers and used Popsicle sticks for the starfish, crab and crawfish* since they don’t swim too far from the bottom of the ocean anyway).

*I understand that crawfish are not normally found in the ocean, but as they have been raised in South Louisiana, my kids insisted we have a crawfish in our puppet show.



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After nap time, the kids could not WAIT to put on the puppet show!  My daughter’s room was the PERFECT theater because 1. she had the audience (stuffed animals galore) and what show would be complete without an audience? and 2. her closet made the perfect stage for the show!

We took the blue table cloth and hung it with tape from the clothes rod, and the 2nd table cloth (we used blue and taped yellow tissue paper to make “sand” but just using a yellow table cloth would be so much easier) was taped across the doorway of the closet at door knob level. This gave the kids enough space to crouch under and behind the yellow (sand) curtain and in front of the blue (ocean) curtain.

James had the idea to make a sign with the title and performers names and hung it on the closet doors for all of the audience (stuffed animals) to see.  He also had the idea to use one of our lamps as the spotlight and designated his Mimi to be the lighting technician.

There are several different ways you can perform plays with your kids!

1.  REENACTMENT:  You can take a story that your kids know really well (a great one for this theme would be The Rainbow Fish or even Finding Nemo) and  your kids can reenact the story.  To simplify this, you can make sequencing cards for your kids to act out:

1.  Nemo and his dad lived in an anemone.

2.  Nemo swims out to sea and is captured by the scuba diver.

3.  Nemo’s dad and Dori search for Nemo and meet a lot of friends on the way.

4.  Nemo makes his great escape.

5.  Nemo and his dad are reunited.

2.  MAD LIB:  You write a short story out and leave blanks for the kids to fill in.

Once upon a time there was a fish named name.  He was color and color.  His best friends was name the ocean animal.  Together they liked to activity.

3.  NARRATE:  You can narrate the story and the kids can move and talk for the puppets.

4.  STORY WRITING:  This is great for older kids!  Your kids write the story and include a beginning, middle and end!

5.  TAKE TURNS WRITING THE STORY:  Each person adds a new adventure to the story!   Things can get a little crazy here!

Person 1:  “Once upon a time there was a fish named Bob.”

Person 2:  “Bob loved to swim to the middle of the ocean.”

Person 3:  “He made lots of friends along the way.”

Person 1:  “His best friend was a starfish named All Star.”

Person 2:  “All Star loved to play basketball in the water.”

As for my kids?  They preferred to #6, JUST PLAY!   Sit back and see what your kids come up with!  This is my favorite and each of my kids had such different ideas for the puppets that they each took turns playing puppeteer and audience member.  They loved watching what the other came up with and would build off of each other’s stories!  I love how these little minds work!

James’ story was great (says the biased mommy)!  It was about a little fish who met a shark who wanted to eat him.  All of his fishy friends decided to go talk to the shark to stop him from eating their friend.  They offered him a peach instead.  The shark enjoyed the peach so much that he never ate a fish again and the little fish and the shark became best friends.  The play was called “The Fish, the Shark and the Peach” (fitting).

Leyson’s story took place in the river (Mr. 3-year-old wanted to create his own setting) and his fish spent the whole time swimming up and down the river.  And then the rest of the time his play sounded very similar to big brother’s play.

CRAFT TIME FAIL:



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Another activity we did was a near-complete failure.  I say near-complete because the kids could care less that it didn’t work as it was intended.

My kids and I ATTEMPTED to make sensory-bag fish bowls.  We cut out a hole in a paper plate and glued it to another paper plate – then decorated the plates, of course.  We filled plastic zip-lock baggies with blue hand soap (gel probably would have worked better) and put small plastic fish inside.  Then we placed the bags inside of the paper plate hole and made “fish bowls,” but yeah, they didn’t work.  The kids DID enjoy squishing the fish around in the sensory bags!  But then they started leaking because Mommy bought the cheap bags.  ::womp womp::

Here is the craft that gave me the idea to make a sensory bag, but I should have just stuck to these directions instead:

“Read it again, Mom” has so many great book ideas, songs and crafts for this theme!

Summer Break Curriculum: Community



1st month of summer



While a lot of students across the country are just kicking off their summer, Monday starts week 4 of our summer vacation!  If you are just now joining our summer quest to never hear the phrase, “I’m bored,” please go back and read Part 1 and Part 2 of our summer learning curriculum and activity schedule.

WEEK 4:  COMMUNITY

This week we are learning all about where we live and the people who keep our community safe and functioning.

Vocabulary:  community, map, doctor, dentist, teacher, police officer, fire fighter, waiter, waitress, chef,  mail person, garbage man/woman, plumber, electrician, cashier, construction worker, librarian (the list is endless)

Role Play/Dramatic Play:

“Dental Health” From the Hive
Use Jumbo Legos, play dough and yarn to floss your patient’s teeth!

Role play different occupations so your little one can get a better understanding on what roles people play in our communities.Use an old purse as a doctor bag, head phones as a stethescope, ace bandages, bandaids, thermometer, medicine dispenser as a shot, etc.

Use a play tool set to pretend to be construction workers and discuss the different types of things that need to be fixed in a community:  houses, buildings, roads, signs, etc.

Take turns being a chef/waiter/customer, cashier/shopper, teacher/student, doctor/patient, etc.

Here is a great resource for dramatic play as community helpers:  Growing by Grace.

Reading:  LMNO Peas by Keith Baker







Check it out on Amazon! 

My kids absolutely love this book and I love this book because it talks about different community roles with each letter!

Visit your local library and you can find books on each different occupation.

Writing and Field Trip:  Write letters and teach your older child how to address envelopes.  Decorate a box to use as a mailbox to deliver the letters.  Take it a step further and visit your local post office to learn how the post masters deliver mail.

Field Trip:  Schedule a field trip with your local fire station!

Safety:  Help your child memorize your address and phone number and Mommy and Daddy’s first and last name.

Teach your child how to dial 9-1-1 in an emergency (and also teach that we do NOT dial 9-1-1 if it is not an emergency).

“Dental Health” From the Hive

Math:  Counting teeth.  Roll the dice and add the correct number of marshmallow teeth.

Subtraction:  “Sally lost 3 teeth.  How many does she have now?”  Use “pliers” to pull the teeth like a dentist.

Social Studies:  Draw a map of your neighborhood/community and give it to your child as you walk around the neighborhood (or since we live out in the country, as we drive around our town).

Reading Craft for Social Studies:  Make a book.  Either draw simple pictures or use your camera (or Google clip art) to take pictures to illustrate your book.  Each page builds on the bigger picture of where you live.

I live in a home.  My home is on  ________ Street.  My street is in a neighborhood.  My neighborhood is in a town/city.  My town/city is in a stateMy state is in country.  My country is on the continent.  My continent is on the planet Earth.

I will be posting our completed crafts and activities soon from the past few weeks, so please stay tuned!!!  I also pinned BEAUCOUP activities and crafts for Community Helpers!  Please visit The Mommy Teacher Pinterest Board for an overwhelming amount of incredible ideas!  Comment below with any other ideas for activities to teach about our communities!

Summer Break Part 2: A Theme a Week

Yesterday I posted about SUMMER SCHOOL and how we will be bridging the summer gap between Kindergarten and 1st grade for my older son, with my 3-year old tagging along in our school adventures, too.  However, yesterday’s post was mainly about desk work which will only be taking up no more than 20 minutes per day.

Each week we will have a different THEME which will allow us to EXPLORE in depth different things that kids already ask a bazillion questions about.  The days will be filled with discussions, field trips, science experiments and art projects that go along with that week’s theme.  Will you join us on our journey to have the best summer ever???

1st month of summer





the mommy teacher



Below I have posted activity ideas for weeks 1-3!  Enjoy and help me brainstorm more ideas and comment below!

ABCteach.com

WEEK 1: SEASONS  (May 27-31)

Here are a few ways that we will be exploring seasons:

Music:  Four Seasons by Harry Kindergarten

And Dr. Jean’s song Macarena Months.  If you remember the Macarena, you can do those motions along with this song.  Who doesn’t love Dr. Jean and the Macarena?  Double bonus!

Art:  4 Seasons Art Project:  We will be gathering lots of random items around the house to design landscapes for each season (ex.  cotton balls for snow, green leaves outside for summer, Popsicle sticks for trees, etc.)

Math and Gross Motor Skills:  Sorting Clothes and dressing for each season!  We haven’t put away all of the winter wardrobe yet, so we will sort through clothes and create outfits for winter, spring, summer and fall.

Writing:  “What is your favorite season?”

Vocabulary:  Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall/Autumn, temperature, months of the year

Science/Math:  reading a thermometer, exploring the tilt of the Earth and how it affects the seasons

Math:  Calendar – taking a look at the summer months and seeing what we have planned

Reading:  We will be heading to our library each week to choose books to accompany our themes.  This is where it’s great to get to know your local librarian because he or she can help you find the books you need – maybe even before you get there!

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ABCteach.com

WEEK 2:  WEATHER (June 3-7)

Music:  Weather Song For Kids: “The Sun Comes Up!”  from Dream English Kids

“Weather Song” from Have Fun Teaching!  This one is very informative and catchy!

Science and Math:  charting the week’s weather by observation, predicting what the weather will be later in the day and tomorrow

Art:  painting different weather scenes

Gross Motor Skills and Science:  playing in the sprinkler (rain) and making rainbows

Vocabulary:  temperature, precipitation, weather, sunny, cloudy, windy, rainy, storm, types of clouds, meteorology, meteorologist

Science:  making water tornadoes with 2 -liter bottles.  Fill one 2-liter 3/4 of the way and duct tape the two openings to the bottles (leave the caps off) together, turn your bottles upside down and gently move the bottles in a circular pattern to make a water spout inside.

Computer:  Interactive Weather for Kids:  http://www.theweatherchannelkids.com/

Weather Wiz Kids:  http://www.weatherwizkids.com/

ABCteach:  Weather:  http://www.abcteach.com/directory/subjects-science-weather-10012-2-1

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ABCteach.com

 Music:  “My Whole Body Can Move” by Jack Hartmann

Dr. Jean’s “A Tooty Ta” always gets everyone moving and shaking!

Science and Vocabulary:  Discovering Outside Body Parts (arms, legs, hair, skin) and Inside Body Parts (heart, brain, lungs)

Art:  Bones Project (creating a skeleton using Q-tips)

Chalk Outlines:  we will trace our bodies with chalk in the driveway and will add hair, face, clothes, shoes, etc.

Hand puppets:  we will make sock puppets to use on our hands using old socks, yarn, googly eyes, markers and more

Stick Figures:  drawing specific objects is a learned skill so I will be teaching my kids how to draw stick figure people

Math:  counting fingers, toes, eyes, nose, mouth… What do we have the most of?  How many fingers do you and I have together?

Science:  the 5 senses:  Hear(listening for sounds), Taste (e





ating salty and sweet snacks), Touch (feeling different textures), Sight (turning off the lights and shining flashlights on different objects), Smell (flowers, different foods)

Reading:  My Body by Angela Royston and Sally Hewitt

Gross Motor Skills:  Exercise!  Practice hopping, skipping, jumping jacks, bending, and moving your body in every way!  Talk about how important it is to exercise and move your body to stay in shape!

Science, Health and Nutritionhttp://www.nutritionforkids.com/

ChooseMyPlate.gov has information on nutrition for families, eating healthy on a budget, daily food plans, sample menus and recipes and more!  Amazing resource!

Field Trips:  Bowling!  Check your local bowling alley to see if they have the Kids Bowl Free summer program!

Find a local inflatable warehouse for your child to let loose and jump away (great for long naps later in the day)!

Playgrounds with equipment for climbing and balancing!

Computer:  http://kidshealth.org/kid/htbw/

Please post below if you have any other activity ideas for our first 3 weeks of summer!  I hope you will join us on our quest to have the Best Summer Ever!!!  Stay tuned for updates on our activities, projects and ideas for the our other themed weeks!

Rainy Day

I had planned to run errands today, but alas, the thunderstorm has dampened my plans.  (Under the definition of “parent” you can find the word “flexible” in bold print.)  You know that opening scene of The Cat in the Hat where the two kids are just staring out of the window?  Yes.  That was us today.  Even me.



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I brought some paper and markers over to the window for us to draw what we saw outside – a simple activity that throws in some drawing skills, vocabulary, sight words, colors, descriptors and more.

Mommy Teacher:  “What color is the sky today?”

Without thinking, Leyson said, “Blue!”  But then he looked more closely… “Das not blue!”

I explained to him that the clouds are covering the sun and they are filled with water which made the sky look gray.

Mommy Teacher:  “And when the clouds fill up with water, the water drips out.  That’s called rain!  When it is raining this hard and you hear the thunder, that is called a storm.”

I drew  a picture of some gray clouds and had him do the same on his paper.  Then we each drew rain falling from the clouds, just like we saw outside.  I wrote the word “storm” on my paper, and he did the same.  Sounds easy enough, right?  Because it is!  The activities you do with your child do not have to be Pinterest-worthy; they just have to be age-appropriate and fun!

Drawing a picture of what you see and what you are talking about in conversation helps reinforce what you are teaching.  Prompt your child to talk about what he/she is drawing.  You will need to model both the drawing and the conversation…

Mommy Teacher:  “To draw a cloud I am going to make a lot of humps.  On the top it looks like lowercase m’s and on the bottom it looks like lowercase w’s.  I am drawing gray clouds like we see outside.  Can you draw a gray cloud?”

I told Leyson that when the sun comes out, we may be able to see a rainbow.  He decided we should also draw pictures of a yellow sun and a rainbow with lots of colors.  I wrote each of the words at the top and he did the same on his papers.  We talked about the different colors too.  He then also decided that we needed to draw one more picture of a cloud and we wrote the word cloud.

Mommy Teacher’s pictures…



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Leyson’s pictures…



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I am going to keep these pictures up for a few days so we can continue to talk about the weather.  We are experiencing a huge temperature drop too so I am sure we will be talking about warm and cold.  With an older child you can explain about cool fronts and warm fronts and check out some weather maps online!

Here are some great interactive websites for your older kids:

The best thing about a rainy day?  It’s perfect nap weather!  Nighty-night!



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