Thursday, December 15, 2011

Skip Counting Worksheet Generator

I found this cool Skip Counting Worksheet Generator. I'm having Katie practice her skip counting by twos and this is the one that I made for her. To print one just like the image below go to this PDF version here.  To create a different one go here.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November Learning Record

Every 20 school days I have to have a learning record ready for my educational specialist from the charter school I'm working with.  It only has to be a sentence or so long for each of the following subjects: reading, life skills, history, math, science, special interests/field trips/ classes but I have not done very well with being on time with it.  If I blog about it I seem to do better.  Here is the one from October.

I am putting a link to all the content standards for CA here for easy reference.  I also found a nice link for all the kindergarten content standards.

So far my learning record for November looks like this but by no means does it even come close to all we've done.  It is just all that I have typed up.

Reading: Determining the missing letter in a word and writing the letter. Short u, short i and short o practice.
Writing: I created my own leaf printout for Katie to practice.  I really think she needs more practice tracing.  Here is a great site with free printables of alphabet tracer pages.  I think I'll slip them into a clear sleeve and use dry erase markers so we can use them over and over.  You can print a blank practice sheet here and here or here.  I also like this paragraph maker.  You type in your own words and then print it out for your student to trace.
Life Skills: Lesson on germs

History/ Geography: (Read about the 7 continents in What Every Kindergartener Needs to know, directions on a map (north, south, east west))
Math: Adding 1's and 2's.  I printed out this worksheet. Practice with tally marks.   I like this website for extra first grade math practice.Here's another website with free math worksheets. Writing numbers 1-10.  More practice with adding 0-3 using this free print out and this one.  I'd like to make this domino addition matching game soon.  (Friends of 10, beginning addition and subtraction exercises, telling time on the hour and half hour mark, counting by twos.)

Science:  Autumn leaves 

Special interests/ Field Trips/ Classes: Kung Fu Trial classes, Swimming classes

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kindergarten Life Skills Lesson on Germs

I adapted this lesson on germs from the lesson here. It addresses the following standard: "Students will understand and demonstrate behaviors that prevent disease and speed recovery from illness."

Ask the question "What are germs?" Katie said, "if they're the wrong germs you'll get sick." Then I gave Katie this definition: Germs are tiny living things (microorganisms) that can possibly make people very sick. Germs can either be a bacteria or a virus. They are too tiny to see with just our eyes. We would need a microscope to see germs or just a picture of germs. A doctor can tell you if you are sick from bacteria which requires an antibiotic to fight the germs, or whether you are sick because of a virus.

Ask students what you can do to keep from getting sick from germs? Katie said, "stay away and don't get too close." (This comes from the understanding that our little friend Adam has Leukemia and we can't get too close to him.)

Posted by Picasa

Say that you can prevent spreading germs when you:
1. Wash your hands for twenty seconds any time you cough, sneeze, play in the dirt, get ready to eat, play with animals, or go to the bathroom.
2. Cover your face when you sneeze or cough. When you sneeze you can see the mist of germs coming out of your nose in to the air. The best thing to do is to cough or sneeze into your elbow instead of your hands because germs are spread more easily by the palms of your hands. This is because you use your hands to touch things. If you do cough or sneeze into your hands, then you should go wash them right away.
3. Stay at home when you are sick. You could get your friends sick if you go to school. If you have a friend that comes to school sick, then you should do your best to stay at least a short distance away from them.
4. Help clean common areas touched by hands. Help the teacher once per day to wipe down all the door knobs and desk tops with disinfecting wipes. *Note-Create a classroom chart so that the children know whose turn it is to help clean.
Play/ Practice:
Go to the sink and do a practice run of how to wash your hands for twenty seconds. This can be done by washing your hands while singing two verses your favorite song.  We will do "yo me lavo las manos."
Printable worksheet

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pizza Hut Book It Program

We got our book it program materials today.  I got 6 award certificates for a free personal pizza.  Now to figure out what kind of goals I'm going to set in order for Katie to get her reward.  I'm thinking I will use this cute "Reading is yummy" chart.  You color a slice of pizza every day that you do 20 minutes of reading. I sometimes use this stopwatch so that we can see the time going by.  It is nice to be able to pause it for little potty breaks etc... Here is a different chart that is by the book instead of for every 20 minutes.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 18, 2011

AWANA verses Sparkies 2011-2012

  1. 1 John 4:14
  2. John 3:16
  3. Psalm 147:5
  4. 1 Corinthians 15:3
  5. 1 Corinthians 14:4
  6. James 2:10
  7. Acts 16:31
  8. John 20:31 and three names for God's book
  9. Psalm 118:1
  10. 1 John 4:19
  11. Genesis 1:1
  12. Genesis 1:31
  13. Romans 3:23
  14. John 17:17
  15. 1 Peter 1:25
  16. John 14:6
  17. Colossians 1:3 We always thank God,
    The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    When we pray for you.
  18. New Testament names of first 8 books
  19. New Testament names of next 9 books
  20. New Testament names of last 10 books
  21. John 3:14a
  22. John 3:14b
  23. John 3:15
  24. John 3:16
  25. John 3:14-16
  26. Joshua 1:9
  27. Joshua 24:24
  28. Ephesians 6:1


Katie has been absolutely loving AWANA.  JD really likes it too. She is on the missionary lesson in her Sparks book.  We had to paste a picture of a missionary in her book.  We put Annie her book.  She is a missionary in the Ukraine at an orphanage.  Annie was a student of mine when I was teaching high school Spanish.  If you feel lead to give to Annie's ministry go here.

I am so proud of Katie that she has memorized so many verses so far at AWANA.

Her next verse is:
Colossians 1:3
We always thank God,
The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
When we pray for you.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Friends of Ten

I am putting a lot of emphasis on making learning fun especially in the early years.  There will be plenty of time for worksheets later on.  (Although we do our fair share of those too.) So I was happy to add "Friends of 10" to our adding facts games.

To play:

I had Katie count out 10 red beans and I used a gold sharpie to color one side of each of them.  I had Katie write the words Friends of 10 on the top of the paper. I wrote the words red and gold on the paper. We put the beans in a paper cup and I had Katie shake them and poor them out onto a paper.  I had Katie tell me how many red beans there were and how many gold beans there were.  For example one time she had 2 red sided beans and 8 gold beans.  I asked her what 8 + 2 was and she started to count until I asked her how many beans we started with.  Then I asked her again what is 8+2.  This time she got it.  I played around with it telling her these were magic beans.  After a while instead of putting them all back in the cup I just turned one of the beans over.  We did 11 different ways of adding to 10 with whole numbers. As we got to ones that were similar like 8+2 and 2+8 I would have her try to figure out the second number without counting, kind of a pre-algebra type of thing, which I think is part of the premise of singapore math. 

Another day I printed out the sheets from here.  I cut them out and laminated them.  Next we played with the various strips showing again the various ways to take two numbers to add up to 10.  My three and a half year old even enjoyed this.

Free Music Theory Worksheets and Virtual Flashcards

I took several years of piano and I could very easily teach beginning piano.  I was happy to find this website that not only has free music theory worksheets and virtual flashcards but it also has free printable music sheets. 

Go here for the free music theory workbook and virtual flashcards.

Go here for the free printable piano music sheets.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

October Learning Record

Every 20 school days I have to have a learning record ready for my educational specialist from the charter school I'm working with.  It only has to be a sentence or so long for each of the following subjects: reading, life skills, history, math, science, special interests/field trips/ classes but I have not done very well with being on time with it.  

I am putting a link to all the content standards for CA here for easy reference.  I also found a nice link for all the kindergarten content standards.

So far my learning record for October looks like this but by no means does it even come close to all we've done.  It is just all that I have typed up.

Reading: Read words with oo as in moon and words with oo as in good.  Words with igh as in night.  Words with ind as in find.

Life Skills: Taking turns, measuring for a recipe

History/ Geography: Read about the 7 continents in What Every Kindergartener Needs to know, directions on a map (north, south, east west)

Math: Friends of 10, beginning addition and subtraction exercises, telling time on the hour and half hour mark, counting by twos.

Science: Planted seeds

Special interests/ Field Trips/ Classes: Pumpkin patch and corn maze

**On a side note I found out today that one of the vendors for our charter school is American girl books and magazines.  I'll have to file that away for later.  Other interesting vendors were:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book Review of Close Enough To Hear God Breathe by Greg Paul

I recently had the opportunity to review the book "Close Enough To Hear God Breathe."  What an awesome title for a book!  I was looking forward to learning how to be closer to God and hear his voice. I often have a hard time even hearing my own thoughts with 3 kids 5 and under around. First off, my overall impression of the book was that I thought it was a good,  smooth, easy read and that it provided me with some great analogies to help me better understand how God views his children.  This book did deliver what I was hoping for.  I like to read for a little while just before I go to bed and I like to read books that help draw me closer to God. Among other things this book reminded me that it is often easier to hear God's voice when it is still and quiet.  For me that comes when I am walking or just having some alone time.  I like this book enough to take it in one more time and give it another read.  One of my favorite parts came early in the book when the author says, ", in these recent days, he speaks to me "in Son."  Whispering through every Scripture, and into the intimate details of my own daily experience-- for it is his life he is abreathing into me, and my life he wants to redeem."

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A prize for Reading and a Preschool Activity

Each time Katie reads a new story in her hooked on phonics books she gets to pick out a prize. I bought some of these at the 99 cent store and others for sometimes even cheaper at Michaels.

While Katie is doing school JD works on various preschool type activities. Here he is doing one of his favorites, using tongs to put dice into an egg crate. Sounds strange but it works for us.

Posted by Picasa

Easy Science Experiment

Today (9/19/11) we did an easy science lesson on chromatography. (Fancy word right?) Basically chromatography is a way of separating mixtures of different chemicals. For example, pen inks are often made up of a range of different colors.

I cut up several paper towels. (I've read coffee filters work great too.) Then Katie and I colored pea sized dots in various colors toward the bottom of the paper towel strip.  I put about a half inch of water in a cup and then we taped the strips to the top making sure the ink did not touch the water but that the bottom of the paper towel did.  Then we watched as the water climbed up the paper towel and separated the ink into different colors. Obviously we were able to see the most colors come from black and brown. We also saw colors separate from purple and grey.  We used this as a chance to talk about primary colors (red, blue and yellow: colors cannot be mixed from or formed by combining any other colors, and they are the basis for making most other colors.)  We even used primary colors in the experiment to demonstrate that we most likely would see no other colors.  There is the possibility of seeing another color but that is if it was not a true blue, yellow or red color.

After we saw what happened with each color I had Katie tell me what other colors she saw come from our dots.  She wrote these colors on a sheet I made.  You can print one here

I want to do the experiment again because 1) Katie really seemed to enjoy it and 2) I can make sure Katie grasps the idea of primary colors.
I also thought it would be fun to have her solve some sort of mystery when doing the experiment.  Read more about that here.

*If you do this make sure to use a separate container for each color.
Here is another way to do the experiment.

My happy homeschooler! 

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Story About Ping

I have not yet received my FIAR (Five in a Row) guide but I just got some of the books. Since I know the basic premise of FIAR we are starting without the guide (but I can't wait to get it. I have a couple bids going on EBAY.) The reason I wanted to do this curriculum is that I knew I could easily include my 3 year old on some of the activities. So we are starting with The Story about Ping. I remember reading this when I was kid. Both kids seem to like it on the first read through. Katie wanted to know why the last duck would get spanked.

Later, after reading it I was excited to have Katie get started on her first Draw Right Now book. I asked her if she wanted to draw Ping. She did a great job! and was motivated to write one of the sentences. The first duck on the left is Ping in a boat with a flag on top.  The other ducks in the water are Ping's sisters.

Tonight we read the book again and this time I asked questions as I read. I also emphasized how the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and I had both kids do hand motions going from "east" to "west".

Since Katie learned how to draw a duck she enjoyed being able to illustrate "Behold the Duck," by Ogden Nash.  This is such a cute little poem. First I read it to her.  I asked her what animal clucks and made sure she understood the word lacks, dines and sups.  I also asked her why the duck was bottoms up when it ate.  Then I had her repeat it line by line.  Then we read it together.  Finally I asked her if she would like to draw Ping again.  She was happy to do so.  Isn't it cute?

In the above Picture Katie is showing off Ping's family.  This is where we incorporated some math.  She had to color Ping's mother, father, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins.  After coloring the mother and father Katie asked, "how do I count 42?"  Ah.  She realized that when we got to the cousins she'd have to count to 42!  Great memory.  At first I wondered why the sheet did not already say the number of ducks to color but after that I was glad. It forced Katie to recall the number of cousins, aunts, uncles and other family members that Ping had.  She very patiently colored 68 ducks!  She enjoyed doing it too!

Jane Clair, FIAR creator, has used Ping as an example of how to use FIAR. She says, "Ask your student if he knows where China is. If he does, then let him show you on a world map. If he doesn't, then help him find China and the Yangtze River on a world map."
(So a world map will be on my next list of items to order from my charter school.)

Clair says, "Now continue by asking your student if he has ever heard of people living on boats like the one in the story?...Some of the people of China live on their boats and fish for their dinner and eat whatever they catch. Ask your student if he would like to live on a boat and never know what he was going to have for dinner till he went fishing each day."

"Share how the author used a special sentence several times in the story. Read the sentence and ask your student if he can remember where else that sentence was used in the book? If he can't, just find the places in the story where the sentence is repeated and show your student how the author uses the same words in the middle of the story and again at the end. Explain that authors sometimes use an interesting sentence several times in a story to make it fun...we call that repetition (like repeating), etc. An author wouldn't want to use repetition too much, but a little repetition can make a story interesting...

Ask your student if he would like to write a short story (or you can work on it together) using an interesting sentence at the beginning of the paragraph and again at the end? This story can be very simple. The idea is to give your student a chance to try using repetition as the author in The Story About Ping did.

If you are keeping a running chart of "Choices A Writer Can Make," list repetition as one of those choices. You can add to this list each time you have a lesson on "Techniques Used by Writers" and your list also gives you an easy point for review! Later, when your student wants to write a story of his own, he can go over the list and be reminded of the special ways that great authors have created stories that are interesting and enjoyable. You will see him begin to use some of these techniques in his writings, too."

Can you see why I'm loving FIAR and I don''t even have the guide yet!

Printable Activity Guide for The Story About Ping
Resources from the home school mom
Home school share resources
Learn all about Ducks 
Sink or Float Chart

Before we're done with Ping Katie will:
Learn about bouyancy
"Buoyancy is the ability to float in liquid (or air). A ball full of air is extremely buoyant, where a lead ball is not buoyant at all. It's because the ball of air is less dense than the water."(ask kids definition)
Learn that "Yangtze" means "yellow".
Vocabulary : beggar, barrel, scurry, paddle
Learn about obedience and consequences.
Sing "Trust and Obey".
Color a map & flag of China.
Learn about customs of China.
Learn more about ducks.
Learn about repetition as a story element.

Other bloggers on the story about ping:


Even more great ideas

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cut and Paste Days of the Week

Kindergarteners love to cut and paste.  Here is a free printable I found in which you cut out the days of the week and then paste them in order. Click here to print.

While you're at it play this Days of the week song.  It is sung to the tune of the Adam's Family.  Once your kids hear it a couple times they'll be singing it around the house.  (You too.)  Want to know how to sing the Spanish version of this Days of the week song?  Go here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Easy Science Lesson Plan for Kindergarten

For science this week we are going to use a Lakeshore lesson plan to learn more about the parts of a plant. Here are the objectives for this lesson plan:

  • Students will identify the parts of a plant and how plants grow.
  • Students will determine what plants need to survive.
The printable activity page has a plant that needs to be labeled by cutting and pasting the following words onto it: leaves, roots, seed and stem.

I think we will also do the extension activity

Children's Coins Song

Fun!  A song that helps kids learn the names of coins.  I talked a little about this coin song here.  My kids really liked it.  I made sure each of them had their own penny, nickel, dime and quarter so that when the song said "show me the money" they could hold up their own coin.  My 5 year old has had more practice with coins and had no problem with this.  I needed to help my 3 year old mostly with the nickel and quarter.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Labor Day Kindergarten History Activities

So this week will be our second learning record meeting with the E.S. (educational specialist).  I can't believe it is that soon already.  To read about why we are meeting with an E.S. go here.  This time the focus is on math and history.  I have to provide an example of each for the E.S. to put in her portfolio.  Math is simple but to be honest I haven't really thought that much about kindergarten history. So I decided to check out my trusty What Your Kindergartener Needs to Know book.  Here the author says that, "For young children we need to emphasize the "story" in history." and that "The goal in to orient the child to the past and plant the seeds of knowledge that will grow in later years." 

One thing that is usually done in kindergarten classrooms is to talk a lot about holidays that take place throughout the year.  Labor Day is the first holiday in September.  According to Fun Social Studies "Labor Day is a day of celebration to pay tribute to the working people."

I think we'll talk about when it was first celebrated, 1882, 129 years ago.  I'll write the number so Katie can see it and then I'll write how old she is and maybe how old Daddy and Grandpa are.  Then we'll see if she can say who or what is oldest.  (This should be easy for her.)  As suggested by other kindergarten teachers and bloggers I think I will take this opportunity to talk about some of the different jobs people in our community have.

We read most of a biography about George Washington and later watched/ sang this song about coins on youtube. 

Next I think we'll do a listen and read activity on scholastic.  She can learn about 8 different occupations but I'll maybe just choose a few or have her choose.  There are also 10 American history listen and read books on the same site.  I think I may have her listen and read about what a president does and then tie in Teddy Bear Day, September 9. (Who knew there was an actual Teddy Bear day?)  Where is the tie in?  Well you probably already know that Teddy Bears were named after our president Theodore Roosevelt. The story goes that in 1902 President Roosevelt went on bear hunt and refused to shoot a small bear.  A toymaker saw a cartoonist's depiction of the event and created “Teddy’s Bear.”

Finally I think I'll have my kids go on their own "bear hunt" by having them find 10-20 teddy grahams, counting them and putting them on a numbered chart before they can eat them.  I could have Katie read clues like I did another time to find them if I have the time to set it up.

How bout you?  Have you done any fun History lessons with your kindergartener.  Feel free to leave a comment below.


For the portfolio I ended up having Katie color a picture of George Washington and doing a crayon rubbing of a quarter.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Preschool through 2nd grade (and beyond) Bible resources

Deuteronomy 11:18-20

18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates,

Why do we need to fix God's word into their hearts and minds?  Couldn't we just leave that to their  church group or AWANA?  Children learn by example and so we can't get away with leaving it to someone else.  I have begun putting verses on 3x5 cards and posting them in places where I know I will read them like on the refrigerator :) and by my computer. 

Here is one verse that I have up:
Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. " 

Does anyone else need to be reminded to be patient?    I noticed recently on a long walk home with my 3 kids that when I responded with frustration because they were starting to whine or complain that it only made matters worse but as soon as I started responding positively they did much better.  (Go figure.)  In fact once I started being positive and continued they did not whine or complain the rest of the way home.  

I definitely need this reminder (daily) and not just with my kids. For whatever reason I am, by nature, a defensive person.  I tend to automatically think that a comment someone makes to me that is less than positive is a cut to me personally.  I often am most defensive with my husband which doesn't make sense because he is so on my side it is just silly to think otherwise.  But I have noticed that lately since I have been "meditating"  more on this verse that I have been less defensive.  Hurray!  That is not me.  That is not my nature.  That is the effect of God's word in my mind.  I have not perfected this and never will but I can see the effect.  

So what do you do for your preschool through 2nd graders (or beyond)?

I am very interested in what a friend of mine is doing.  She uses the Jesus Story Book Bible deluxe version that comes with an audio CD.  I listened to a sample and it sounds perfect for this age. As of this post date there are 61 5-star reviews on Amazon and 3 4-star reviews.  To see what my friend is doing, go here.

Raising Olives compiled a great list of verses for our kids to memorize.  She says that they always begin with Proverbs 1:7-9. " 7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
   but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
   and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. 9 They are a garland to grace your head
   and a chain to adorn your neck." 

Seems like a pretty great place to start to me. ; )
Other verses she recommends are:
Check out her full post here.

Make sure to leave a comment to let us know what you do or use.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Skip Counting

Homeschool Creations has some great skip counting charts that I plan on incorporating into our routine very soon.  They cover the numbers from 2-12 and begin with a cute little rhyme.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Free Passes to Bay Area Museums

If you have an Alameda County Library card you should soon be able to access free passes online to many museums and cultural institutions in the area.  The program is called "Discover and Go."

To learn more about this program go to

Here is a list of participating destinations:
Marine Mammal Center (discount only)
Tech Museum of Innovation (discount only)

Totally Honest Monday

It is a little after 9:30am.  Katie did her dot to dot, colored it and enjoyed doing it. I gave her and JD (3 year old son) oatmeal.  Then I had Katie do a little work out of her math book.  She had to write 6 numbers in the 40's and that was definitely enough for her. (She'd already been through learning to write her numbers with KUMON math.) She then wrote the names of some characters in her math book to match them with the correct bag but this was like pulling teeth.  She gets angry, frustrated when I correct her in how to properly hold her pencil. So after this I asked her if she wanted some fruit.  She said yes, with yogurt.  So I was cutting up her fruit, JD was asking for help putting crayons away and the baby was crying.  I gave Katie her bowl of fruit and said I wasn't giving her yogurt right now. (I was going to go get the baby.)  She said, then I'm not eating.  I lost a little of my cool and raised my voice to her telling her I didn't like her talking to me like that.  Then she cried.  This is not quite how I hoped today would go and it is not quite 10am. 

Our day turned around after this (thankfully).  We went outside, planted some flowers, watered, played, had lunch, played starfall and then did the scavenger hunt.  The scavenger hunt was definitely a hit and I plan to do this again soon.  It is such a great way to get your young reader to read.  I'm thinking I'll incorporate some of her newer hooked on phonics words the next time.

Yep.  I lose my patience sometimes.  That's why I'm thankful I can rely on God. I need to think on these verses:  

2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”   

James 1:5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." 

James 1:20:22 "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." 

Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. " 

Learning about coins game

Penny, Nickel, Dime
Kindergarten-Grade 1

This game came from the US department of Education website. 

What You Need
  • Die
  • Pennies, nickels, dimes
What to Do
This is a good game to play with the family.
  • Have each player roll the die and say the number. Then give the player that number of pennies. Explain that each penny is worth one cent.
  • When a player gets five pennies, replace the pennies with a nickel. Explain that five pennies have the same value as one nickel—that is, five cents. When she gets five more pennies, replace the pennies and the nickel with a dime. Help her to see that the value of five pennies plus the value of a nickel (five cents) equals 10 cents, which is the value of a dime.
  • The first player to reach a set amount—25 or 50 cents, for example—wins.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

1st day of "official" Homeschooling

It is crazy but tomorrow is my "official" first day of homeschooling my almost 5 year old daughter.  I've been homeschooling her since she was born. She knows how to read and is in the 2nd grade level of hooked on phonics.  I've teamed up with a charter school to home school for kindergarten in order to get a little help with money for materials and curriculum.  I learned about doing this from a friend.  It is pretty cool.  Basically once you are accepted to the school an educational specialist comes to visit you about once every 20 school days.  They check on your progress and are there to offer support and answer questions.  Plus you get $800 to spend on curriculum and resources including activities such as gymnastics, art, dance, swimming and even horseback riding if you choose to spend your stipend this way.  Anyway tomorrow is my daughter's first "official" day of kindergarten and I am her teacher.  It is funny because I feel some of the same butterflies I felt before the first day of school each year that I taught high school Spanish. So far I have the following planned:

1) ABC Dot to Dot flower
2) Learning About Coins Game
3) Scavenger hunt for snacks.  My daughter will read each clue and at the end find her snack.  Here are the clues if you are interested:

- Go to the place where you take a bath.

- The next clue is in your room under the place you lay your head.

- Good job!  Now go the the room where you eat and find the wall with words.

- Open the door under the t.v. to find your next clue.

- Way to go!  Now go find your snack under the place that you eat.

A couple of the resources I'm considering taking advantage of through the charter school are the five in a row curriculum, (Here's a good resource to go along with FIAR) right start math and swim lessons.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Starfall is great! Now what?

If you don't know about Starfall and you have a pre-reader/ early reader then you really need to check it out.  In fact recognized Starfall as one of their top five educational websites.We've been using starfall for over a year now and I find it to be an awesome FREE resource for teaching kids to read and reinforcing phonics skills.  I finally bit the bullet and even bought the extension.  I'm glad I did.  It is loaded with all kinds of goodies including math, stories, poems, nursery rhymes and more.  Since I have a new baby this is a great way for me to have my kids (ages 3 and almost 5) do something educational as I care for the baby.

My daughter is in the second grade book of hooked on phonics and I have been wondering about other programs that have reading in them since my daughter is pretty much past the starfall reading.  (It is still great reinforcement for her though and she does it while my 3 year old happily observes.)  Today I found Click N Read Phonics.  The program states that it is "designed for children as young as 4 years old and teaches the complete K-3rd grade phonics curriculum taught at USA public schools."  It is not free like starfall but it looks pretty reasonable and you can test out 4 of the lessons.  (2 of these lessons are for Click N Spell.)  My daughter tested a couple today and she was totally engaged.  For example, in the spelling lesson it said a word, said it in a sentence, showed how it was spelled and then my daughter had to type out the word.  Then it said the word for a second time (without showing the word this time) and my daughter had to type it out again.  Fantastic!

I love that there are no CD ROMS to use and nothing to install.  You can try out the four lessons with the click of a button.

I'm also pleased to see that it has a bunch of awards.  These include the Parenting Media Award and the Practical Homeschooling i-learn awards.
Untitled Document

Please share in the comment section what you have used as the next step after starfall or to coincide with it.

Here's what the company has to say...

"ClickN KIDS, Inc, an Agoura Hills, CA based firm that develops online educational software, has introduced ClickN READ Phonics. ClickN READ Phonics contains 100 precisely sequenced, research based lessons designed by nationally recognized research professor Dr. J. Ron Nelson. The result is a beginning reading program that is beyond compare and has redefined computer based instruction. It is the first of it's kind to simulate live instruction. Each lesson is taught by ClickN KID, a goofy and lovable “Dog of the future.” ClickN KID helps children gently through a learning journey of systematic lessons set in colorful, futuristic classrooms. Each lesson contains four engaging learning environments that progressively teach alphabetic understanding, phonemic awareness, decoding, and word recognition."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Core Curriculum Guide

What Your First Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good First-Grade Education (Core Knowledge Series)Did you know that you can download a free copy of The Core Knowledge Curriculum by E.D. Hirsch?  These are guides for what children need to know in language arts, history, geography, visual arts, music, math and science from preschool through 8th grade.  This is an excellent resource if you don't have the What your ---- grader needs to know books.  Actually it is a nice reference tool even if you do have the book.

Don Quixote (Core Classics Series)Besides the curriculum guide you can also find several teacher guides to go along with the core classics series of books.  I looked at the Don Quixote guide and it seems to do a fabulous job.  It says it is aimed at fifth-grade students but I'm sure you can adapt it for higher grades as well.  It contains vocabulary lists for each chapter, study questions, suggested activities, vocabulary activities and a summary of each chapter. 

Here are the teacher guides:

Frederick Douglass
Don Quixote
Gulliver's Travels
King Arthur and the Round Table
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Robinson Crusoe
Robin Hood
Sherlock Holmes
Treasure Island 
Purchase Rats, Bull & Flying Machines Guide

Monday, June 27, 2011

Initial Blend Dominoes & Matching Game

I found this Initial Blend Dominoes Matching Game on the A to Z phonics blog.  This is another game that will go along perfectly with my daughter's hooked on phonics.

This game will help in practicing the following initial blends:

bl- br- cl-cr- dr- fl- fr- gl-gr- pl- pr-sc-
sk-sl-sm-sn-sp-squ-st- str-sw-tr-

I can't wait to make this game.  My daughter's biggest motivators are games and competition.

Check out our other hooked on phonics game.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hooked on Phonics Game

Yesterday I created a new reading game to help my daughter work on her Hooked on Phonics.  First we made these cards. Go here to create your own cards with the same look.  I made about 4 different pages, cut them out and laminated them with our own little laminator.
Next I printed and laminated a game board.  There are tons of them out there.  Here are a few examples:

Car Race Board
Fall Game Board
Bees and honeycomb printable board game

We used a penny and a nickel as our game pieces and stacked the cards face down.

Here is how we played.

- On your turn grab the top card and read it.  Roll a die and move your piece.

Pretty simple right?  But it worked.  My daughter hasn't been very cooperative reading her words out of her workbook lately but since it was part of a reading game she had no problem with it. By the way my daughter is 4.5 and is working out of the first grade hooked on phonics books.  I've been slowing down with her lately because she has shown some resistance and I don't want her to have a negative experience.