Monday, August 15, 2011

We Like Kites

Kites are such a fun theme to do with the kids.  There are so many different things to do.  If it's a nice day/week...going outside and flying kites (even as simple as plastic grocery bags with a yarn string) is such a fun way to get the kids moving. 

I decided to have C. read the book for the other children today.  This can be a great benefit for the younger children because then they realize it's not that far away when they'll be reading too!  Anyway, my only issue was that C. tends to talk talk talk and it tends to interfere with the flow of the book for the other children.  So I don't have him read aloud too many times for the other kids.  :-)

 I chose this book as we've been introducing/reviewing the silent e and of course kite was a good example.  For our "moveable letters activity"...we seem to be moving beyond just moving alphabet manipulatives lately but this type of activity can be done with "adding e" manipulative...we used some silent e word cards that I came across. 
I chose a few to use, being sure to include a, i, o, and u vowels and that the words actually were common enough that the children would understand.  Great CVC sounding out practice initially and then adding the e to reinforce the long vowel sound.  These would be relatively easy to make on your own with your own words and font, if you desired.

For a bit of movement today, one of the children asked if we could do the parachute again.  Together, before the final child arrived, we put alphabet kites up on the wall in alphabetical order. FYI: I often encourage the children to start near the end of their sequence to figure out the next letter instead of all the way at the beginning.  By the end of preschool/beginning of Kindergarten they should be able to do this and it's a time saver!  I do the same with counting.  Start at 10 to get to 15 instead of starting at 1 each time. 
 So we got the parachute out and I placed on several kite bows that had pictures on them.  This printable came from  They tried to keep them on the parachute as long as they could.  Then I instructed them to choose a certain amount of bows from the floor.  (We did 3 bows a piece at first-I had created bundles of bows to make the activity go smoothly).  Then they told me what letter the picture/word started with and placed it on the corresponding kite string.  After they got the idea we did two bundles and they picked six a piece.  Had a little fun with the tape.  :-)

For our numeral formation activity, we did the Kite Graphing Book found at  I actually purchased the Letter of the Week "curriculum" from her as it took so long to download the items individually and she has some very nice printables to share.  Just want to take a moment to reiterate that one must be careful of the term "curriculum".  Many of the printable available should be labeled as curriculum support vs. leading people to believe that it's an actual curriculum.  My opinion, of course!  Her Letter of the Week Curriculum is really just the printables she used for her lesson planning for the specific letter they were focusing on. 
 I provided pointers because it makes counting a little more interesting and the bows were small enough that the pointers made it easier to count also.  I encouraged the children to x out the boxes...mainly to save time but also because the two younger ones needed practice forming x's.  That's not an easy letter to write...though it looks easy.  That crossing midline and backwards diagonal.

Art:  We talked about the different kites we have seen and the fact that not all are diamonds.  So, they made a kite collage, including white oil pastel clouds and washed with blue water color. 

Scissor/Word Family Activity. 
I printed a set for each child and on cardstock with the hope that they'll read and sort the cards at home for further practice.  However, you may wish to make one set and laminate.  You can do something similar as we did with the parachute.  Or you can hide the bows around the room.  Or put a paperclip on the bow and create a dowel/magnet "fishing" pole.  If you were planning on making/laminating one set, I would suggest you take the time to cut the bows out as well.  It would be more appealing to the eyes.  However, I knew that my students wouldn't have the time or the interest in cutting out all those bows!  So rectangles it was.  FYI:  on the website, they have many word families available for this activity.

Phonological Awareness: Beginning, middle, ending sounds
This went well and there are multiple things you could do with this simple kite mat.  As you can see in the picture, I used picture/word cards and a chip.  I purchased the cards awhile ago in the school section at Target.  I love them!  Now, they've gotten used quite a bit that a few of them are all coming apart at the perforated edges so we'll soon need to find a new use (maybe use them with our moveable letters!).  But they can fold to just show the picture and then open to check their work when we leave them all together.   Also, for younger students, consider using the mat to practice with sets of 3.  They can place a manipulative on each bow and count them, then set them aside.  You may wish to have small picture cards and do "which is different?" activity.  So maybe a banana on the first bow, a pear on the second and a dog on the third.  Encourage your child to tell you why the one they chose is different.  How about reinforcing rhyming?  Which picture doesn't rhyme?  Or which picture doesn't start with the same beginning/ending sound?  You can add bows to your string and do sequencing or patterning.  If you have time...have the children decorate their own kite.  Use your imagination...feel free to share other activities you can think of to use with this simple kite mat.

Here's one of the products I purchased from Discount School Supply this fall.  Already I love it!
Relatively durable/stable...which I could not say for others I looked at at the stores.  This one came with 10 trays.  The trays are not as durable as the previous ones I purchased but they'll do.  I decided to use it last night by arranging the materials for each activity on a separate tray from top to bottom.  That way I just took the stuff off the tray instead of it being piled on the floor or on the table/counter and so on.  And by the time we got to art we had emptied a few of the trays so I used it as a drying rack so no wet art on my counters as I'm trying to get ready for lunch.  Then instead of making umpteen trips to pile it all up to put away later...I just rolled the cart into the computer room.  :-)  I can see that it would be lovely for a homeschooling mom...especially if their child did well with a visual of when they they will be "all done". 

Today was a great start of the only issue now is the doctor's office has been busy for over an hour (which this is NOT unusual...drives me bananas).  Need to make an appointment so I can get my child care renewal paperwork in.  Have a lovely week! 

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