Wednesday, September 18, 2013

'E' is for Elmer, Our Mascot This Week

Today we started letter 'E'!This curriculum comes from a whole alphabet kit  called "Letter of the Week" and I purchased through Confessions of a Homeschooler

It's almost like starting a whole new curriculum because from here on out these letters are new to Vada and I. However, the work inside of these binders are pretty similar to every other binder so its not too new but its still exciting to be making progress!

Our memory verse this week comes from the book of Proverbs 20:11, Even a child is known by His doings.

We also got to read and look at a new page from our Big Thoughts For Little People book. 

"E is for everyone. God loves us all. The black and the white and the short and the tall."

I really enjoy reading these pages along with the LOTW curriculum to Vada. However, this specific poem made me pause for a second. I have friends who don't like to be referred to as being black and I also have friends who are Caucasian and don't like being called white. Neither preference is insignificant, they both have their own reasons behind their own preferences. This poem made me wonder even as the Christians that they are, would they be turned off from this book because of this poem even though this book is clearly geared more for followers of Christ. Clearly our skin colors vary in tones and are more than just a simple name or title to a large category of tints and shades...and there was where I solved my own personal question... this poem and the usage of "black and white" described a persons skin color in two large lump sums. I had to go back to my elementary art classes where I learned about colors and where I was taught that 'black' and 'white' were not considered colors but a shade and a tint. This poem is just saying that God loves everyone no matter what their skin color is.

For me, Im kind of pinkish but I prefer to just be called "white". Tonight, right before I wrote that last sentence, I looked up from my laptop and asked my husband "what color is my skin?", I was hoping he would give me some details but he just went with "White". Yep, I'm white and God loves me regardless.
Sometimes, I think that I just worry too much about other people and sometimes I think that I just think or read too much into things!

 'E' is for elephant and since we already had an Elmer the elephant, I thought that we would use him as this weeks mascot.

Vada likes him, so she was game for inviting him into our classroom.

After some one on one time with Elmer Vada began coloring her color recognition pages for her letter 'E' book that came from

There were quit a lot of color pages to do, no more than normal but we were having a lot of loud noise coming from the outside construction and Vada was having a hard time staying focused on coloring. So we cut this activity short for today and will finish the remaining pages tomorrow.

Next we worked on some puzzles. I think this one actually came from Wal-Mart and quite some time ago but I chose it because it had a elephant on it and 'E' is for elephant! Vada and I worked on this puzzle three times in a row together.

We also did an alphabet puzzle. I had Vada take all of the pieces out one by one and as she did I said what the letter was. Then I had her point to what piece she wanted to fill. Each spot had a picture of an object that began with what ever letter that happened to fit into it. So I would say something like "That's an apple. Apple starts with the letter 'A'. The 'A' says ahhh.". This is the way we did the whole puzzle! 

i like to throw in learning activities whenever I can and if I can do it without it being known I like doing it even more so! We have snack time a couple of times throughout the week. Today we had animal crackers for our snack. I thought it was a fitting snack for an elephant themed week. Last year I couldn't put any kind of snack food, let alone Gold Fish in front of her, without her eating it immediately! Now however, we can count each piece of food out and she will put each single piece of food into her bowl or onto her plate. Its great!

As I am looking at this next photo I think it's kind of funny how I could of read both of these for letter 'A'. However, I chose these two books as starter books and before we went to the library because they both had elephants in them. Just staying with the theme.

Vada cuddled with Elmer, ate her snack while listening attentively to the two stories.

Before snack time I asked Vada to pick out two different colors of bowls to put our animal crackers in. She chose purple and orange. Those are going to be the two colors that we will be focusing on this week. I brought out those two colors of baskets from our Farmer's Market game and had Vada attempt to sort out the fruit and vegetables. 

She did alright with the Farmer's Market color sorting activity but she didn't want to put much focus into what she was doing (it wasn't fun or interesting enough today). After her first full attempt we moved on.

I figured since we had these two colors in our crayon sorters and hadn't used them yet, now would be a good time. 

She really likes the mystery of what's inside so this did keep her attention.

I started with the orange crayon and then we moved onto the purple. We kept all of the colored objects separated by their colors until the very end and then I mixed them up. 

One by one I handed her an object. I named the object, "this is the big fish". Then I named the color, "this fish is purple". I would then ask her to put the object into the appropriate crayon container, "Vada, will you put the big purple fish into the purple crayon container".  She did much better with this activity than she did with the Farmer's Market activity. We will do both of these again at least once, of not more, throughout the week.

We started working on single number recognition today. I brought out many visual stimulants for Vada today. Awhile ago we purchased TouchMath Texture Cards as well as TouchMath 3-D Numerals, these two things came in very handy today and were the first to be introduced to Vada for our 'number one' lesson. (We will be focusing on zero some as we go through the numbers but mainly after we have completed number nine.)

Another great thing we used today was the number peg board, this actually came in a set which was purchased from Discount School Supplies.

After we examined the flashcards, the TouchPoint numeral and put the one peg into its place on the peg board I brought out many different objects to count. Some of these counting objects were specific to math, like the disk, the ring and the Numicon, others were just random toys and every day objects. 

I also threw in the uppercase and lowercase letters of the week, letter 'Ee".

Once we were done counting all of our objects we moved on to a numbers workbook that I ordered last year before our classroom was even complete! This was kind of an accidental order (you can purchase a individual set or a classroom set). I did mean to order the books but I meant to order the individual set. So now I have like fifteen of each, or something like that! 
Anyway, the booklets came from Handwriting Without Tears and I figure that this large quantity is a benefit to us. We can go over the number books as much as we need to. I don't need to do any extra copying and Vada will get lots of practice!

Today, we went through the whole booklet, its pretty short, and traced all of the number one's and then we began to go back through and look closer at the pictures and color them. Tomorrow, we will spend more time coloring the pages and counting the pictures and then on Thursday we will start on a new packet but on number one again. Hopefully, her tracing skills will be slightly improved and maybe even her pointing/counting skills as well. That's my goal for her, for now.

We added the upper and lowercase letter 'Ee's to our Alphabet Center and sang the alphabet song three times today! 

Vada is very good at letting me be first at singing the song now. She waits patiently and follows along with the pointer and then when it is her turn she seems to get a ton of letters correct when I am singing the song for her, I am uncertain if this is by chance or not but I have noticed it many times and with the same letters, so I am thinking that things are clicking for her! 

Were are going to just continue with what were doing. Im not going to stop and try to quiz her and see what she knows and what she doesn't. I am going to keep doing what works, step it up a notch here and there where I see fitting for her and go with her pace. I think, as her mom and teacher, that she is making great strides and I am so pleased to be able to home with her and to be teaching her. In return, she is also teaching me!

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