Friday, November 4, 2011

C is for ...

C is for Crocodiles!

Crocodile Trace and Race
The other day K and I had a few extra moments so I had created alphabet strips just for this type of occasion and we were going to do the Trace and Race game.  This is where we roll the dice and trace that many parts of a letter starting at A.  For example, if she rolled a 6, she could trace A (3 parts /\-) and B (3 parts).  But if I rolled a 4 I could only trace A and the stick of B.  Then the "race" was on to see who could get to the last letter first.  Well, I get the strips all out and see that we are both missing a J.  ???  LOL  Whatever, can't (well you could but I won't) do it without the whole alphabet and it would have taken too long to print another one so we set it aside.  I decided to do it today with a crocodile. The letters are a lot smaller than my initial strips and if you have a younger child who is not ready for small letters, please use the strips so you can create the size you want.  K. has great penmanship for a four year old and is choosing to write smaller on her own so the smaller letters worked just fine for her.  Great way to reinforce sticks/curves and letter formation.

Crocodile or Alligator?
We learned that crocodiles have more of a triangular look and alligators are more boxy/rectangular (actually, if you want to get specific, the difference is more like V and U.  I'm thinking I'll bring that back up when we learn the difference between the letters U and V).  So she snipped a few crocodiles and sorted into their own "lake".  Also, though they are both from the crocodylidae family, crocodiles' glands on their tongue work better than alligators (to excrete excess salt) so you'll find them more in saltwater lakes and alligators in fresh water.  We didn't really get into the color differences but if you are doing a complete study of the two, crocodiles are more olive green and alligators are so dark of a green they almost look black.  Of course, adding a little more to the activity, she wrote the words "crocodiles" and "alligators".  Also counted and wrote the numbers and added whether it was more or less.

Speaking about more or less.  The book we read was called Counting Crocodiles.  All ages seem to enjoy this book!  It's a rhyming and counting book about a monkey who lives on an island with only a lemon tree but he sees a banana tree across the Sillabobble Sea and then decides to be clever and get those bananas by counting crocodiles.  So we incorporated Monkey Math into our work today, prior to doing the crocodiles and alligators sort.  The crocodile more/less sign is from  K. has a good grasp of more or less but the balance is a great visual to teach or reinforce this concept.  Any balance will do!

And, of course, if we are going to read a book about monkeys and crocodiles we MUST do the rhyme...5 Little Monkeys Sitting In a Tree!  When K. saw my monkeys and crocodile she jumped up and down and said "I LOVE that song!" and started singing a version of it.  :-D  I added magnets to the back of my monkeys and alligator and drew a little scene on the magnetic-dry/erase board so we could "act" out the song.  I couldn't find my container of dry-erase markers so used washable markers instead, which work in a pinch but smears easier than dry-erase markers. 

For art today we talked about filling a paper and how some people sketch out a drawing first before painting.  Cute!  She saw the fuzzy blue yarn we were using for our croc/alligator sort and wanted that for her waves.  That brought a big smile to my face...using her imagination and adding to a project!  So, OF COURSE, after the paint dried we added yarn waves to her sea.  :-D  I also love how she tells me she is done with her work.  She'll look at it, with hands on either side and cock her head and say "It's perfect!". 

Oh yes, Croc Teeth! has many playdough mats if you are interested!  This is one of them. (Ha!  In this picture I said, "give me a crocodile smile!")  The words on the top say, "Roll a dice and give the crocodile some teeth!"  So that's what she did.  Another little tidbit of information regarding alligators and crocodiles...a crocodile's 4 tooth on either side shows when their mouth is closed but if an alligator's mouth is closed you can't see any of the their teeth.  This was the planned activity prior to exploring with play-doh without Ms. Amber's "interference".  :-D

And because of illness on both children and my parts...we got way behind in our letter crafts.  So K. did three of them today to catch up.  :-)  Amongst other things since we have PM activities with her also for learning how to read.  Needless to say, K and I are very busy most days and when she told me my computer room was "a mess, AGAIN!"  I had to remind her that the reason why it's a mess is because she and I do so much and I have no time to put it away!  LOL

B is for Butterfly.

R is for Raccoon.

C is for Caterpillar
(We ran out of time yesterday since it was taking us so much longer to do the other activities as we had a very tired lad here.)  I can tell here that we need to work more on writing the letter C.  I actually did not do the exact Handwriting Without Tears routine this week with letter formation.  Hmmmm...this is the first letter that she really has not mastered by the end of the week.  Interesting! the time we are done with O, Q, G and S she will definitely have that magic c motion down! 

Another activity we did this afternoon that I'd like to share with you as it might be useful for some of you and that is sorting letters by whether they are chicken, giraffe, or monkey.  Some handwriting theories use this thought and the thought of the penmanship lines as a road.  So the chicken are those letters that are small and do not cross the road.  The giraffe are the letters that are tall and go from one side of the road to the other and the monkey tail letters are the ones with "monkey tails" below the line.  Nice little visual for children.  K. is ready to advance to writing on lines so our first activity was to really look at those letters and decide if they were chicken, giraffe, or monkey tail letters.  This was relatively easy for her as I've used the "monkey tail" phrase before and we've done a lot with sorting by sticks and curves.  The printable is at  I just cut the chicken, giraffe and monkey out and placed at the top of the paper to make columns and she sorted our tactile lowercase letters.

Another quick activity we did this afternoon was listening for beginning and ending sounds.  I'm always on a search of how I can use vocabulary cards ( differently.  Typically we clap out the words (word chunks) or use them with our read, build, write mat.  But today, K. put the /c/ sound words up on the wall and told me what the beginning sound was (soft or hard /c/) and the ending sound.  I thought that would be a little more difficult but it came easier than I thought.  I think I'll incorporate more of that type of activity- beginning, middle, ending sounds.  I also think I'm going to try to include the word "end" with "last" when we talk about what's first and last in a line of objects because that is still difficult for her to figure out.  She seemed to understand what "end" meant so maybe that'll be the key to help her understand what last means.  :-D  

Oh, so much we do in a day but not enough time to share it all.  I'm sure this child really sleeps well at night.  :-D  I'm always looking for signs of her being tired or not interested but she's almost always seeking more and soaks it up like a sponge and I'm so enjoying myself!    I've actually went back to the Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons this last week because she is so interested in the actual reading of books and I see her "reading" to T. frequently.  So, we'll slip that in our PM activities along with sight word, vocabulary word, writing activities and whatever else gets planned for the afternoons.  :-D  Yep, now you know why I have a disaster of a computer room every single day.  I get it all put away and then the next day's stuff is set inside the door to be put away.  Never ending laundry! 

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