Very easy to make. I created this in ten minutes while sitting on the floor with the children during free play. It's something I've seen on the Internet over and over, especially on Montessori homeschool sites, and have wanted to make but never took the time. So it's not the most beautiful job since I was in a hurry but it is a nice little activity...especially for toddlers! I added the possibility of making a pattern for my preschoolers. Simply cut the squares of felt. Sew a button on the end of a ribbon and one of your felt squares on the other end. Cut slits in the felt squares to fit the button size.
Snake Circle Map (Thinking Map)
This is one of the simplest of the eight thinking maps. Simply put your main topic (we chose snake but I've seen them use circle maps with the letters in the alphabet so we could have done the sound /s/). The goal is for the children to "brainstorm" everything they know about that topic. It's very similar to the K in a KWL. I did add simple pictures (excuse them...I'm definitely not an artist!) but one of my goals with activities like this is to help them make the connection that everything we say can be wrote down. It's also a great way to model conventional "rules" with writing/spelling and I can "sound out" a word to reinforce that as well. And the children ALWAYS love to see what they are dictating, written down. It makes them feel important...as it should! The bubble map, which is one of the few I hope to use next week, is great for "prereading" if done just right. They'll be able to "read" sentences and that's awesome. Always are teaching that these are tools as well, not just "decorations". You probably can't see the actual sentences on the map very clearly. One was "Slither by some rocks and get a new body!" She was so excited to tell me that. So that conversation went on for a bit...talking about what has happening there.
This activity turned out really nice! The cutting was a little difficult for the newly turned 4 year old as the lines were narrow and there was a lot of turning but it was relatively easy for the older 4 year old. This pdf. file has both the upper and lower case letters. I used the upper case snake for the younger child and the lower case snake for the older child. If I was just doing this 1:1 with K. I would have had her write the letters on the stickers for practice with those lowercase letters. But since we were "working together" today and needed to be somewhat completed with the activity at around the same time, I went ahead and wrote the letters. I wrote them on the stickers in a left to right-top to bottom pattern to reinforce that for the younger 4. I would definitely do this activity again. Using the stickers was great to add a little more fine motor to the activity!
We practiced creating snakes the dry erase board, because they have a tendency to draw small, then we drew a big one on a large paper. The snakes above are the ones they drew. :-) I helped with the patterning...they told me what kind of patterns they wanted. I encouraged them to use markers to section up their snake. We talked about different types of patterns. Polka-dots (K. had on a polka dot shirt, yeah! Worked out to be a lovely introduction to the activity), stripes, etc. Then they were encouraged to use a different pattern in each section of their snake. The outcome wasn't exactly what I expected after they did the one on the dry erase board with me but they were excited and proud about their work so it was a success in my opinion. :-)
Loved T.'s letters. He handed me a marker and I thought he was having a hard time with the cap so I took the cap off and handed it back to him. He shakes his head no and tells me, "write you T here" Then "O" then "G" then "again G" and "again G" and eventually "'nother G" until we wrote all those G's and I distracted him by singing the alphabet song. He started wanting those letters when the kids started writing "snake" on their paper. Interesting, I see in the picture...K. wrote "sMake". She was sounding out the word herself before I wrote it on the board (that's why she knew to put the e at the end since she hasn't mastered the knowledge of silent e.) Today in our reading lesson she was interchangeably using /m/ and /n/ for the letter n. So I know something to work on with her! Really watch and listen when you can to your child when they doing their "own work" and you are just an observer. You'll learn alot about what they have truly grasped and what you may need to spend more time with! Sidenote...the picture on the bottom left has an addition to the end of his body. :-) H. decided to add a rattle!
All Tuckered Out!
Been trying to keep her awake in the afternoons. Today she was doing okay, I could tell she was tired and we weren't going to get much done in the afternoon without it taking a long time and perhaps some frustration taking place so after our reading lesson she occupied herself for a bit. Eventually I went and got her some thick Disney books to look at since she enjoys looking at pictures, especially of stories like Cinderella, Bambi and etc. Well, I went into the other room to take care of a few things on that end and came out to see she had moved all the books to the floor and , well, guess she decided to take a nap. :-) Wishing it was me! But something about licensing rules and sleeping while children are in attendance seems to hold me back from napping during the day. :-)
Hope you have had a lovely week.