Monday, November 28, 2011

G is for Gingerbread!

Gingerbread Playdough
1 C. flour
1/2 C. salt
2 tsp. cream of tarter
spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves are what we had on hand so used.)
1 C. water
1 tsp. vegetable oil
Mix dry ingredients in saucepan.  Add water and oil.  Mix and cook until a dough forms.

Sure smelled good in this house today!  We made the above "gingerbread" playdough recipe after we got back from the school and as it cooled a bit (in plastic wrap to help keep some of the warmth) we did our calendar, focus letter G work, and heard the story about the gingerbread man.  If you can believe it, I don't have that book!  And when I was at the library they only had Gingerbread Girl and Gingerbread Friends and  I really wanted the classic story.  So decided we'd find one online to listen to.  Well, that was a good thought but do you think I could find one that was similar to the sequencing cards I had and had our favorite repetitive verse of "run run as fast as you can..."?  No way, no how.  :-P  So, K. had to deal with me telling the story vs. hearing from a true story teller. 
Telling stories without a book isn't my strong point.  But it seemed to work out.  After I told the story, K. retold it as I wrote it down.  Always interesting...those retellings.  This time though she got it right down.  :-D  I'll be leaving the sequencing cards out for future retellings!  The playdough mats were from SparkleBox and the sequencing cards were from

Gingerbread Family
I showed them how they could use the different size circle sponges to make a head and then add paintbrush rectangle body, arms and legs to make a simply gingerbread man.  Then I encouraged them to make a family.  When dry they will add oil pastel details.

Gingerbread Fine Motor Cards*
Wasn't going to add these to the blog but after seeing T. using them I decided to.  T. is just shy of 2.5 years old.  Typically he is given these cards and he does exactly what he is doing on the tray.  But today, for the first time, we can see the two that he did before he went back to his typical use.  I was impressed!  2.5 years of age is about when I start to see preschool tendencies.  He's right on schedule.  :-)

Gingerbread Sequencing and Measurement*
I like to add the extra nonstandard measurement task with sequencing cards.  Remember to talk about 1st and last, even odd, smallest-largest/shortest-tallest, etc.

Gingerbread Man Puzzle*
Adding a little "copy work" to her scissors work today.  :-) 

Gingerbread Man Patterning*
She cut all the pieces out and created her own pattern using them all.  It ended up being an ABC pattern and fit across the bottom of a 12"x18" piece of construction paper so I mentioned a crown and she was very excited about it so voila!  The extra step to make a pattern crown.  :-)

Gingerbread Stamp and Roll
You can easily find (or make your own theme related) sheets such as these.  Typically what happens is the child rolls a dice and stamps from left to right until they get until the end.  This time I traced a few more gingerbread at the bottom and wrote the numbers 1-12 randomly onto the gingerbread.  The reason being is that if there is anything K. needs to work on is numeral recognition...for some odd reason!  LOL  So using two dice allow for a little more challenge in numeral recognition but also allows us to practice what "addition" means.  I was also slipping in there that if we know what number the dice is representing, counting doesn't take as long.  :-)  She knows 1, 2, and usually three and four on a dice since we use dice often so today we worked on what 5 looks like on a dice.  Good practice!  By the way, she was giving the gingerbread "belly buttons!"  Love it!

10 Little Gingerbread Men and Sorting/Descriptive Language
This activity had multiple goals.  I really should have made sure this got done in the morning since K. is tired by afternoon and thinking about same and differences was a bit more difficult than it could have been. Keep that in mind when you are working with your child. The children are usually more capable of "academic" type tasks moreso in the morning than in the afternoon.  :-)  First off she sorted the 10 gingerbread into pairs/"sets of 2".  She then told me why she put the two together.  Then I challenged her with "what's different" in each pair.  Great for noticing details and verbal descriptions.  Then she put them into two lines, each with a "set of 5".  She told me that 5+5=10.  :-D  Then after placing the tactile numbers in order from 1-10, she then used a dry erase marker to write the numerals up on the magnet board.  Then we sang the song that went with this activity.  1 little 2 little 3 little gingerbread... the second vs. went along with whatever action word was used at the end of the first verse.  For example...
Run, run, run 10 little gingerbread.
Run, run, run 10 little gingerbread.
Run, run, run 10 little gingerbread.
Run until the morning.  (Clap, twirl, sleep, stomp were some of the action words we used.)

K. is getting more of a "homeschool" experience vs. a preschool experience since my numbers are so low and I'm not filling the spaces.  That has pros and cons.   Academically she is really progressing.  Socially, she'll be fine, I'm not worried but it is something to keep in mind when you are deciding what is the best experience for your child would be. 

* Gingerbread Baby printables packet.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

G is for Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!

We didn't get to everything I wanted today but that's how it goes.  We made cookies (see below) and well, they took a bit of time for making and baking and cleaning up.  Ha!  Yep, the clean up probably took the longest!  But it was a fun-filled morning with lots of learning going on...starting with the well received book...
The Gobble Gobble MOOOOOO Tractor Book
by Jez Alborough
Check this book out if you haven't seen it before!

A cute little song that we were singing all morning! 

Tune: Pop Goes the Weasel
The turkey is a silly bird.
His head goes wobble, wobble.
He only knows one funny word.
Gobble, gobble, gobble!
The Gobble Gobble game that this blogger posted was a hit here too!  They spun the paperclip on the spinner and put the corresponding colored feather on the turkey. If they landed on "gobble gobble" they had to put all the feathers back on the tray.  They continued until they got all the feathers on the turkey.

Another crafty item we did this week.  I've seen it here and there on the Internet.  Tissue paper, modge podge, dollar store candle holders and battery operated tea lights, wooden knob and hot glue. The tissue paper/modge podge process was great for fine motor with a bit of sensory added in there.  :-P

Turkey cookies the children made from scratch today.  I didn't care for this particular sugar cookie recipe so I won't share it but if anyone knows of an excellent sugar cookie recipe I'd love it if you'd share it!

Shape Review
Simple little book in the Turkey Tot Pack that allowed for review of basic shapes and also the literacy concept of letters making words and words making sentences.  Sight word reading for K. also!  After they finished their booklet they started exploring with creating shapes on the Cordz LapBoard.  Actually I've had this Cordz product since they clearanced them out a LONG time ago.  Been in my "gift" tub and I thought, why not?  Let's use them ourselves.  What a hit!  Simple to use!

Number Order Puzzle
Not sure why blogger is rotating my picture.  It isn't this position originally.  ??? Anyway, it gives you the idea.  I like these number order puzzles!  Helps them self-correct.  This is one of Madonna and Amber's free printables in their Thanksgiving packs.  They also have 11-20 as well. 

Sight Word Turkey
Excuse that we didn't reallly think ahead about how the words would actually look on the feathers.  :-P  Next time we'll take that into consideration.  These were words that she remembered and wanted to write.  Kind of a neat (very simple-great way to use scrap paper)way to review!
Since our 3 day week turned into a 2 day week, we'll be exploring with the letter G again next week as it's more unfamiliar than some of the others.  Future themes...Gingerbread Man, Gumballs, Three Billy Goats!

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

G is for Goldilocks!

Been a little while since I've done any "educating" so maybe will take that route today.  I find that some people really do not understand what goes into teaching.  There is more to it than searching the Internet to find an activity that will slip into a certain category.  :-)  We think (or maybe I should say "I think") much more deeply than that when we create our lesson plans and implement our lessons.  So today's thought is about asking questions to extend a child's thinking.  There are pictures below to show other activities we did today.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears are one of K.'s favorite book so wanted to incorporate it this week.  One of my goals with K. was to do an activity to help extend her thinking process.  I'd really like to see a bit of growth in creative thinking.  :-)  And so this time we spent a lot of time talking about the book and characters, asking questions, that also included "what if" questions.  For those with a bit of education background...we know there are many theories about how learning takes place.  Most theorists agree that children usually have to master one skill before they can truly move onto the next.  And as teachers...yes, we see and agree with that.  It's not that we don't allow for the children to be exposed to the other skills...we do...but when we evaluate and individualize, we understand that if a child has not shown mastery of one skill then we need to work on that skill before we can expect the child to move on.  One theory is called "Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning Domains".  Maybe just put a little note of reminder in here that there is not just one "theory" that I go with.  I find that over the course of 15 years of working with children, I've created my own smorgasbord batch of theories.  I take a little from one theory and a little from another.  Very typical for most teachers.    So, in a nutshell, Bloom felt there were three learning domains.  Cognitive-knowledge/mental skills; affective-attitude/emotional development; psychomotor-skills/physical development. Most theories that have more learning domains usually are just breaking these three categories into more specific areas.  It's very good to familiarize yourself, whether you are a parent or a teacher (or both) with the various ways people learn so that you can best provide for your child.  So today, I decided to take Bloom's thought on cognitive development.  His team came up with 7 levels of difficulty.  So, with the thought in must master the first before being able to master the second...I went through a series of questions with K. that would go along with these levels of difficulty.  Was interesting!  I highly recommend that you think about the questions you ask your child and be conscious of providing your child with experience in creative thinking!  This with highly benefit them in life.  :-)  Until you become a natural at question asking, remember it is definitely okay to right a list down of questions you want to ask and keep it near you after reading a book.  :-)  Eventually, you'll begin asking the different levels of questions naturally, all throughout the day, not just after reading a book. 

Level 1:  Knowledge/Recalling information
   What was the little girl's name? 
Goldilocks.  (An extension to that question...why do you think her name is Goldilocks?  This was something K. could not answer.  Past experience plays a big part in how children answer questions.  K.  really didn't understand that "locks" could mean strands of curly hair.  She also did not connect the word "gold" to the color of her hair because in all the books we have, Goldilocks hair is "yellow"  not gold. It was neat to see her expression when we began to talk about the name!)

Level 2:  Comprehension
  Why were there three bowls on the table? 
K. first retold the section of the book about the three bowls and papa's being too hot and etc.  So I acknowledged what she said and asked the question again.  She then told me "the bears left to take a walk so the porridge would cool." 

Level 3:  Application
   What do you do when your cereal is too hot? 
This took K. a little bit longer ask she was a bit tired this morning and had a hard time getting past the whole story retelling.  So after hearing a bit about the story I asked the question again emphasizing your cereal/food/soup.  We do eat oatmeal once a week for breakfast but it's never "too hot" for her.  So changing it to soup worked.  And she responded with "You wait for it to cool."  So, I asked, what do you do while you wait for it to cool.  She said, "eat something yummy".  :-)  Well, knowing this child...she definitely prefers bread over any other type of food and thus...that's yummy and what she normally eats first, while the rest is cooling.  Anyway, eventually, she did say, "Sometimes I blow on my food."  Yes!  That is definitely an answer that would go along with the application question.

Level 4:  Analysis
   List three differences between Papa Bear's cereal and Baby Bear's cereal. 
So, I expected a little difficulty here.  Why I expected it was because verbally stating reasons for sorting materials past one obvious difference has been a challenge.  Pretty typical for this age group but something I'm working on.  She did state two differences.  Papa's was too hot and Baby's was just right.  After a bit of time I finally said, "Tell me about the bowls." and she came up with another difference.  Papa bear’s bowl- was big baby bear’s bowl- teeny teeny bit small.  So 2 out of 3...pretty typical for 4 years old.  By the end of the school year she'll be able to think more analytically because that is one of my goals for her.

Level 5:  Synthesis
   How would it have changed the story if the Three Bears had been home?
This was a very hard question for her.  Again, she was retelling parts of the story.  So I made it more personal and I said, "If you peeked in the door and saw a family of bears...what would you do?"  This isn't the exact same type of question but I wanted her to think more creatively.  She said she'd be scared and run away.  Oh!  Of course I led that back to what Goldilocks might have done if she saw the bears.  And K. added, "She has to go away and be a little scared." 

Level 6:  Evaluation
   Was Goldilocks smart to go into the Bears' house?
No.  Because her mommy said no.  (So, as you can see level 4, 5 and 6 are not yet mastered yet).  But we did extend that question a bit more talking a little about strangers and going into people's houses without them inviting us and not letting people in Ms. Amber's house, even if we know them, unless Ms. Amber has seen who it is and have given permission.  We had that situation recently.  She was really just trying to help but that's a big "uh-oh" here.  Safety comes first.  So, good to reiterated that safety rule!

Another creative thinking activity we did today was remembering that there were three bowls of porridge on the table and "what if there were 3 cups and 3 plates?"  I asked her to draw what the bears might be eating for breakfast along with their porridge.  This was difficult so I switched it too, what would you like to eat at breakfast time.  She colored the cup pink for strawberry milk, added pink applesauce (huh?  I can't get her to eat applesauce lately!), a brown pancake, and black sausage on the plate.  Sounds yummy to me!  :-D

Here's a retelling activity I quickly created out of construction paper.  Excuse the folds in the roof.  :-)  I was trying it one way but it just wasn't working so ended up just stapling another 12x18 piece of construction paper on the top and cutting it in half so we could open up the house.  The door is only glued on half of the house so it can open. It took a little while since I created the simple pieces as she was retelling so we could use the colors she wanted.  :-)  She thought about what she'd see on the outside of the house and together we added details.  Then she added a table with 3 bowls of porridge, 3 chairs (big, medium, small), 3 beds (big, medium, small) in the "rooms" of the house.  She then colored a Goldilocks and the three bears.  Then to add a little more creativity  and thus made it a little more difficult for her today was to think about and add details.  What else could they have in the kitchen?  What else would be in the livingroom/bedroom?  She eventually added drawings of pictures (there was a page in the book with the bears' pictures on the wall), lights in every room.  I loved how she started to draw the ceiling fan in the bedroom.  Stripes on the wall in the kitchen.  And then she retold the story from the beginning to the end with the different voices (papa-big, loud, mama-medium size voice, baby-high voice).  T.-2 years, LOVED it!  And that activity is going home today.  No way was she going to let us keep it here so we could retell the story to the other kids.  LOL 

Goldilocks and the Three Bears Calendar Numbers
So, what do you do with flash cards?  We don't use them much for "memorizing flashcard style" but they do work nicely for many activities.  Today I hid these "calendar numbers" throughout the living room and K. and T. went on a hunt.  When they thought they had them all I encouraged K. to put them in order from 1-15 (there was a pattern there also).  Well, she soon found out that she didn't have them all so off she'd go looking for another one.  :-D  Loved hearing the squeal when she found one.  Anyway, she really has down odd/even from our daily calendar activity using the counting(craft) sticks.  And recently we have been doing more "skip counting".  Today, she had passed the 21 counting sticks around and as normal she laid hers out to find out how many she has and whether it was even or odd.  For the first time, she pointed to her three pairs of sticks and counted 2, 4, 6, and added 7 for her last stick!!!!  WOW!  So to reinforced that skip counting I decided to have her pull down the even numbers after she had the numbers 1-15 in order.  Exciting least for this lady!

Simple patterning activity that I created a long time ago to use with our counting bears.  Simply placed corresponding colored pairs in a pattern on a strip and laminated them.  This was a good 'no brainer' activity for her this afternoon since she had a sleepy brain.  :-D  Just reviewing how to extend a pattern.  She usually makes her own patterns and so extending them tend to get set aside so wanted to review it and glad I did since she was copying the pattern vs. extending it onto the next strip.  So I'll be sure to add some more patterning extension activities in to our plans for awhile until I'm sure she understands what "extends" is.  When we learn to pattern the first step is to copy the pattern but typically I have them copy underneath the first pattern to keep the confusion down and then they move to extending the pattern (next to the initial strip) then they move to creating their own.  Always good to review to keep those brain connections working! 

Yes, we do some "crafts".  I'm not a big craft person, mainly because at the preschool and younger ends up being the adult's work vs. the child's so I like to keep crafts for school-agers.  But crafts do have a place.  Here, sewing is excellent to help with eye-hand coordination and help strengthen those muscles in their hands.

5 Senses Bear
We actually did not create this one today.  This bear is a couple years old and was my son's.  But I did pull it out today because we went on a "nature walk" just like the 3 bears.  As we went on our walk we talked about what we saw, hear, smelled, touched, and couple possibly taste.  Great conversation!  The picture isn't all that clear so here are the words.
Tune:  BINGO
We use five senses every day to help us learn and play.
See, hear, sell, taste, touch.
See, hear, sell, taste, touch.
See, hear, sell, taste, touch.
We use them every day!

When we created this simple 5 Senses Bear we used sand paper for the bear (touch), added google eyes (see) and a bell (hear), scratched cinnamon sticks on the sand paper (smell) and drank cinnamon spiced apple cider (taste). 

We again made use of magnet sheets to reinforce our focus letter and for T. the number three.  Three is his favorite number right now.  He has to have 3 night-nights, 3 candy corn, 3 everything and he knows if you don't give him three!  LOL  Anyway...after using the magnetic chips we explored with the rest of the set of magnets.

So, that's some of what we did.  Was a busy day with those activities and the normal ones also.  K.'s doing great with her reading.  Not sure if I mentioned that we went back to the book Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegrfried Engelmann.  This book is popular amongst the homeschooling group.  I've used it with two of my children and now coming back to with with K.  It can be considered "dry" but if you use it as a guide they will definitely be reading at a 1st grade level by the time your finish it.  So if you are looking for a resource for teaching a child how to's a relatively cheap one!  :-)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Q is for... (and a few turkeys)

This week we worked with the letter Qq.  Sharing just a few highlighted activities.
One of the cutest projects we did this week...
Handprint Queens
For whatever the reason, I went searching for the image I initially saw (the site isn't on the image I saved) and I can't find it.  ???  Not sure why.  So if anyone knows of the site, please inform me so I can give credit.  Thanks.  Gold metallic paint on the four fingers for the crown, and skin colored paint for the palm.  Do not paint thumb.  After dry add details.  We used glitter glue and tiny beads (that I purchased thinking they were much bigger than they are) as "jewels".  FYI: I do not purchase skin tone paints due to expense.  I make mine by mixing white, brown and yellow.  We also looked at the book Children Just Like Me: Celebrations by Barnabas and Anabel Kindersley prior to printing our handprints so that we could note various skin colors.

With K...we took the letter Q a step further and did quite a bit with the concept that Q and u are together in almost every word.  And the sound is /qu/ vs. /k/.  We did a King/Queen word sort and learned the little song
Q-U Are Friends
Tune: Twinkle Twinkle
Q-u, Q-u friends are they; and together they will stay.
U will always follow q, as most good friends often do.
Q-u, as in queen and quit, like a hand in glove they fit.
Q-u, Q-u friends are they; and together they will stay.

Color Crowns
Scissor activity combined with patterning and color review.  Loved that K. began to sing our little color mixing song as she was placing the small squares on the big ones.
Red and blue make purple.
Red and blue make purple.
Heigh-ho the Derry-o.
Red and blue make purple.

Painted Quilt
Just googled quilt block template and found one that would work and printed nine.  Placed a variety of colors on a tray, each with their own paint brush.  K. painted the blocks.  When dry, we trimmed and glued to construction paper.  Hole-punched around the end, tied with yarn and voila!  A quilt!

Sight Word Quilt
She really enjoyed this!  I created a simple quilt in Print Shop with the review sight words and new ones.  To add a little more fine motor, I printed two copies and cut one set of sight words apart and placed them in "purses".  She would open the "purse", take the sight word square out, read it, match it to the word on the quilt and then trace the word herself.  She used a roller stamp around the edge to make a border and stamps in the blank "blocks" to finish off her "quilt".

"5" Little Ducks Went Out To Play
After reading the book, I pulled out the laminated mother duck and ducklings.  We sang the song again (and again and again! :-D) as H. chose a different set of ducklings to follow mama duck and matched the tactile number to the set.  Something I was excited to see this time, for the first time, was that H. did not have to put his finger on the ducklings to count them up to a set of 3.  Definitely a milestone!

Q is for QUACK!
A quickie activity that combined scissor skills, reinforced the letter Q, and touched on the concept that some letters together make words.

School-agers were here once this week.  We didn't do Q activities but we did do some turkey stuff.  :-)
Parachute Turkeys
Ha!  Just stuck 4 feathers into orange styrofoam balls.  They did enjoy this.  Prior to playing with the turkeys and parachute, the children each had two turkeys and we went around telling something we were thankful for before tossing the turkeys into middle of the parachute.

Turkey Lunch

Foam Cup Turkeys
Very simple and they enjoyed the process and playing with them later.  In the morning we marble painted the paper to use for feathers.  They also painted the foam cups.  In the afternoon they cut out the feathers and "hot" glued it all together.  :-)

Non-Turkey Activities that were enjoyed...
This cornstarch/water mixture is ALWAYS a favorite.  It's something I consider a "clean mess".  It's messy, yes, but does clean up relatively easy as it will "melt" with warm water or can be swept up.

Body Doodlers
Pretty self-explanatory.  :-)  They fade after a few hours and washes off completely, eventually.  :-P

Hope you all had a good week.  Mine went relatively okay until I typed up the blog and went view it after I posted to see that somehow all the activities but one had "disappeared".  ???  My goal to do highlighted activities of the week on Friday was to save time.  Well, I wonder how much time was saved this week!  :-D

Thursday, November 10, 2011

O is for...

O is for Ovals and Octopus!

Well, didn't have time to post yesterday.  'Twas quite a day.  Anyway, I'll just include two of our oval activities along with some of our octopus activities that we did today.

Quick...change the circle to an oval!
This was a very simple activity that they really got a kick out of.  I added a number component by putting a different number of beads on each pipe cleaner circle.  First we started with talking about the pipe cleaner circles and singing our circle song..."This is a circle, this is a circle, how can you tell, how can you tell?..."  And then I took one circle and quickly pulled it into an oval.  They know what an oval is so it was just reinforcement but that's needed also.

Oval Song
Tune:  Up On the Housetop
I am round, this is true.
But I just might fool you.
One way I'm thin, one way I'm tall.
If you stand me up, I'm sure to fall.
I am an oval, this is true.
I am an oval, did I fool you?
One way I'm thin, one way I'm tall.
If you stand me up, I'm sure to fall.
   Gayle Bittinger
End result, these pipecleaner ovals/circles are perfect for counting.  I will definitely use the bead/pipe cleaner task again because they can move each bead as they are counting.  Perfect!  Love this picture.  The number ten oval is the only one that I created a pattern with.  I'm always trying to slip things like that in to encourage them to look for details.

Oval Frame
Before exploring with circle/oval sponges with painting, I reinforced the shape oval by providing an oval piece of paper to lightly tape on a large rectangle.  She sponge painted around the oval edge and then covered the rest of the paper with paint in order to create a "picture frame".  When dry, K. drew a picture of her "family" inside (which ended up being Grandma, herself, a "new" brother, and a toy octopus  :-D).

Okay, now to Octopus.

5 Little Octopuses
We started out by watching this animated story from  I like their animated stories, most of the time.  They do highlight the words as they are reading them.  They are often repetitive which is good also.  Simple stories.  So I printed off the booklet from their sister site (Kids Soup) for the children to cut apart for a scissors task today.

Orange Octopus Playdough Mat
Great for rolling out those "snakes"!  Reinforce the 8 legs fact.  They thought the fact that an octopus can grow back another leg if they lost one was pretty neat.  Of course, they had free exploration with playdough after this task.

Sensory:  Water Play
Well, I forgot to get my octopus from the garage this morning.  Oops.  It was neat to see them use their imagination though.  They turned a globe shaped container into an octopus and a sponge as well.  So turned out well.  Love to see their creative thinking.  Another child used both hands together to be an octopus and wiggled their fingers in the water to make waves.   I think this came from the fact we created a handprint octopus today.  Love to watch them explore!

Handprint Octopus
This is how ours turned out.  I provided oil pastels for them to use for seaweed.  Stickers for the fish.   We had used a sponge to add the blue...oops, it was purple LOL..."texture" to represent water on the paper.  O is for orange so we chose orange paint to print with.  They wanted googly eyes, which they ask for whenever they get a chance.  :-P  Cute.    

We did free exploration on colored fingerpaint paper today as our true art project.  :-)  Actually, I usually use black fingerpaint with this paper because it has more of an effect than other colors.  But!  This was exciting for me...H. is working with the black fingerpaint and said, "Ink! Look this octopus sprayed ink!"  :-D   I hadn't even thought of that!  Yeah!  And of course I wore cream today.  Why, why, why?  Obviously I don't plan my wardrobe around our activities because I could safely say that everytime the kids use black fingerpaint I'm wearing cream or white.  Blah!  LOL

The giant orange octopus.

What's Different Strips
These are so easy to create yourself with clip art.  I love them because it's an easy way to reinforce first/last in a line as well as encourage descriptive language.  I find that many times the children can point out which item is different but when I asked them to tell me why...they have a hard time describing/telling me the reason.  It comes with practice.  Last year K. couldn't tell me the reasons but after a few "what's different strips" this year, she is quick to tell me why they are different.  Making you own allows you to be progressive in the difficulty.  Not sure if you can see it here but the first strip I did had a completely different (including color) octopus.  The second strip was a different octopus but still orange.  The third strip was an upside down octopus.  The fourth strip was a smaller octopus and the fifth strip was a flipped octopus and that one was hard for them.  It was just a very small change...they had to notice the bubbles or the eyes.

Perhaps I'll stop here for now.  Hope you all have/had a lovely day!  We enjoyed watching the short lived snow!  Half day for the boys today...they were bummed that the snow was done by the time they left the school.  But I see more clouds rolling in, they may be in luck.