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!  :-)


  1. I think your activities for this book are great. I agree with you about teaching is more than you think. My kids have great teachers and I see the thought and work they put into their lessons.

  2. And we SO appreciate those like you that are aware and are supportive of what we are doing with the children. Thanks!