Monday, January 18, 2016

Weekly Learning Theme: Colors

Jeremy Update:

Today Jeremy was officially changed from being listed as critical to stable! That was a huge step. The ICU has 3 tiers with the 3rd tier being in the worst condition and he is still in tier 3 but at least he is listed as stable! I feel like we have moved from struggling for survival to the recovery phase now. Jeremy has been intubated through his mouth as he wasn't stable enough to be intubated through his trachea. Now that he is stable they will be switching him over as they prefer to intubate through the mouth for 2 weeks or less due to the risk of infection. They are planning to do the procedure tomorrow morning after rounds. Once that procedure has been completed they plan to begin decreasing his pentobarbital again. They had planned on trying again today but decided it was best to wait until after the procedure as it will likely cause stress and could possibly cause spikes in his ICP. He spent most of the day today with his ICP at 8-11 with only one spike up to 18 when he was being cleaned up and rolled around because a nurse had accidentally sprayed water on him and the bed when adjusting his Zoll machine. Now onto our weekly learning theme on colors which turned into 3 weeks with everything we've had going on lately...  

For Carter's birthday he requested a purple cake. When we made his cake we added blue and then red food coloring to the batter. He thought it was the coolest thing to watch the batter turn from white to blue to blue and red and finally to purple. He would randomly tell people, "Blue and red make purple." Then he started asking me what different colors mixed together would make. I had written down ideas for doing a second week on colors, read about our first week here, with an emphasis on mixing colors or creating secondary and tertiary colors. Seeing Carter's excitement after we created purple I knew it would be the perfect learning theme to do after Christmas so that's exactly what we did! With Carter I focused on mixing colors and with Elise we focused on telling her color names and pointing out things that were different colors.

Listed below are the objectives I am focusing on for the themed weeks.  I have updated our objectives a second time because I felt like we were ready to focus on something new.  I plan to continue to implement activities to practice and reinforce our previous objectives while putting more emphasis on our new objectives.  Some of them won't necessarily be targeted with specific activities during our weeks, but I wanted to list them to help me remember to practice them continually.  The highlighted objectives are ones Carter received exposure to during our theme this week:
  1. Continue to improve fine motor skills and drawing (specifically I'm looking for him to be able to copy a circle and a square as well as draw a person with 2-4 body parts).
  2. Understand same and different.
  3. Accurately tell stories as well as retell the story from a book. 
  4. Use age appropriate scissors. 
  5. Develop a better understanding of time (for example, be able to describe when things happen using morning, afternoon, night)
  6. Group objects based on a category (sort by defining feature).
  7. Count and understand what the numbers mean.  
  • Our first activity was to create a color wheel. I had leftover paper plates with the center cut out from the lion mane craft at Carter's party so we used one of those. I sectioned out each color and wrote the name of the color in the middle written in that color marker. Then I told Carter there are 3 primary colors which we use to make the other colors. I told him they are red, yellow, and blue. I had him find the section for each of those colors and then color it in. He wanted it to be perfectly colored in so after he colored a little bit, he wanted me to color the rest.
    Coloring in the primary colors on the color wheel.
  • Once the primary colors were colored in, I asked him which 2 he wanted to mix first. He chose blue and red. I asked him what color he thought they would make and he said purple. I pointed out that purple was in between them on the color wheel. We mixed food coloring into shaving foam to discover what color it made. Once we made purple we colored it in on the color wheel. I then asked him which colors he wanted to mix next and asked him what color he thought they would make pointing out the color in between them. We did all 3 secondary colors that way and Carter had a blast. When we were finished and the entire color wheel was colored in, he asked what colors made brown. I told him any colors across from each other or opposite each other on the color wheel make brown. I showed him the colors that would make brown by pointing and asked him which colors he wanted to try. He picked red and green.
    Carter adding food coloring to the shaving foam.
    He got so excited watching the colors appear.
    Making an E for Elise in the shaving foam.
  • We had so much fun mixing colors by using food coloring and water. I made small glasses of each of the primary colors. Then I gave Carter clear bowls to mix different primary colors in. He loved mixing the colors and telling me what color he made. When he was finished he asked what color it would make if he mixed all the colors so we tried it out and he was excited to see that it made brown. When we were finished mixing colors I let him play with the water, pouring it from one bowl to the next and splashing in it. He always loves playing in water!
  • Carter had such a blast mixing colors. He would sit down with his marker and talk about mixing colors while he tried it out on the paper. I would hear him say things like, "I'm wondering what blue and green make," and then he'd mix them on the paper and excitedly share what he found.
  • I found some small stuffed animals in Carter's toy box and pulled them out so we could act out the story "Mouse Paint". We pretended the stuffed animals were mice and we dipped their feet into paint on a piece of paper to mix colors just like in the book. As we turned the pages and read the book, Carter acted it out with his stuffed animals. He thought it was a lot of fun!

  • I saw an experiment with milk, dish soap, and food coloring here. You were supposed to add food coloring to the edges of milk in a bowl and then add dish soap into the middle. The dish soap stays on top of the milk and mixes the colors together. We were excited to try it, but it didn't quite work out. I'm not sure if it was because we have skim milk or what, but we ended up just mixing it with our fingers which Carter thought was great fun.
  • Throughout the week we spent a lot of time reviewing the color wheel. We'd talk about which colors were primary colors and which ones were secondary colors. Carter loved looking at the color wheel and discussing it. He was so proud to point out that yellow, red, and blue were primary colors and will randomly tell people which colors are primary colors while he's playing. 
  • Normally when we play Play Doh I make a big deal about not mixing the colors and we only get out one or two colors at a time. It was very exciting to Carter that we got to mix colors with Play Doh and I also used it as a learning experience about why we don't want Play Doh to get mixed up. I pulled off small pinches of primary colors for Carter to mix up. Once they were mixed together I had him see if he could separate the colors and he couldn't. I told him that's why we don't want to mix our Play Doh, we can't separate it back out when we're done. He really worked on his fine motor skills as he attempted to pull the colors back apart before they were fully mixed up.
    Mixing blue and yellow Play Doh to make green.
  • My favorite activity during the week was doing the color clouds with shaving foam like we did during our first color week. We did it later on in the week so Carter had a lot of experience with mixing colors. I used the activity like a science experiment. We talked about how making an educated guess in science is called a hypothesis. We made a little experiment sheet for each set of colors we mixed. I drew which colors we would mix and then had a marker of each secondary color out for Carter to make his hypothesis on what color would be made. He was so proud that each of his hypotheses were confirmed. As we worked I told Carter how we wanted to control the amount of food coloring we added to ensure our experiment was valid. Just like before, it was so much fun to see the food coloring travel through the shaving foam and then mix down below in the water. Afterward I wished I had made a third line on our experiment cards that said actual so I could have had Carter color to show what had actually been made.
    One of Carter's experiment sheets.
    Watching blue and yellow mix together to make green, confirming his hypothesis.
  • To make sure he got to experiment with multiple mediums, we also mixed colors with watercolors. This was an activity where I gave him the watercolors and paper and let him explore on his own. As he created colors we talked about it some, but for the most part I just let him try things out. When he started to mix colors and I asked him what color he thought they would make, he told me, "Let's check it out!" It was so funny!
  • Using the color wheel we discussed warm and cool colors. I pointed out that our warm water faucet has red on it and our cold water faucet has blue on it. That is because we think of those colors as being warm and cool. On the color wheel I pointed out that green, blue, and purple are cool colors while red, yellow, and orange are warm colors. We talked about how the warm colors looked the same and how they looked different. We also talked about how the cool colors looked the same and how they looked different. I had pulled different colored items for Carter to glue onto his color wheel. Before he glued them on we sorted the items into two separate piles, warm colors and cool colors. To help him as he sorted, I turned the color wheel so the three warm colors were on one side and the three cool colors were on the other side. Once all the items were sorted, we counted to see how many items we had in each pile.
    All the items sorted into warm and cool before Carter started gluing to his color wheel.
  • For Elise I created a sensory bin using different items in each of the primary colors. I chose items with different textures such as feathers, fabric, Duplo blocks, foam, and buttons. As she picked items up I'd tell her what she had found including what color it was, for example, "You found red fabric!" She had a blast. Although I did end up taking the buttons out because I thought they were big enough I wouldn't have to worry about them, but she could fit them in her mouth. Her favorite was getting pieces of foam and chewing on them. Carter actually liked playing with her sensory bin with her. When he would grab two items I would ask him what color they would make if they could be mixed together.
  • Elise and I also played with toys that had various colors. We played with her eggs and talked about what color each of the eggs was. We also built towers with blocks and talked about what color each of the blocks was.
    Playing with blocks and talking about colors.
    Talking about colors while playing with her eggs.
  • As another fun way to mix colors we put baking soda with food coloring in the bottom of a jar and then added vinegar so as the colors mixed together, the mixture bubbled out of the container.
    My dad took a picture of us doing this experiment as he was leaving for the hospital.
  • We also tried out mixing colors with white to make them lighter and black to make them darker. Carter acted like it was amazing every time it happened.
  • Using the items I had collected, Carter sorted the items onto the color wheel where they belonged and then chose which items he wanted to glue onto his color wheel. He had a blast cutting the pipe cleaners to fit and, of course, using glue! Some of the items were heavy enough that I had to reattach them later with a hot glue gun. I added ribbon to turn the color wheel into a wreath for our back door. Carter loved how it looked and would pull a chair over to stand and admire his work.
    Ripping paper to add, gotta get those fine motor skills prepped for cutting with scissors.
    The finished color wheel.
  • One of Carter's favorite activities was a free explore with finger paints. I gave him little dabs of different colors of finger paints and he went to town mixing and painting with them. At the end he wanted to mix all three primary colors to see what color they made. Once he had brown he played in it and drew in the paint. I showed him how to make a square and he drew his first square! We made brown by mixing different colors on the color wheel. We compared the shades of brown and talked about how they looked the same and how they looked different.

Making an H for Harper.
  • We used finger paints to make a book about mixing colors. My original plan was to put a primary color on my hand and a primary color on Carter's hand. Then we'd rub our hands together to create a secondary color. That didn't work out because my hand was too big to fit on the paper with his handprints and my hand was so much bigger than his, I had to put paint on both of his hand and have him rub them on mine to make the amounts of primary colors equal. We did one page with red, orange, and yellow. Then I switched to just putting dabs of paint on our fingers and mixing them that way.
    Carter and my attempt at a handprint color mixing books.
One of the pages from our mixing book.

Special Snack:
  • A few different times we added food coloring to snacks or drinks. I would ask Carter what color he wanted his drink or snack and if it was a secondary color, I'd have him tell me which colors we needed to mix to make it.
Make Believe:
  • When we played with the Play Doh we pretended like the balls of Play Doh were like Little Yellow and Little Blue in "Little Blue, Little Yellow" by Leo Lionni. We made them talk and pretended like they were friends.
  • We sang a Gummy Bear Song I found here with a free printable of cute little bears to go with the song. The printable had yellow, red, green, purple, and orange bears so I traced and colored a blue bear. Each time the bear was a secondary color, I had Carter tell me which colors mixed together to make that color. The song goes like this:
Down at the candy store, what did I see?
Five little gummy bears smiling at me.
Along came Carter with money one day.
He bought a (insert color) one and took it away.
Showing me which colors mix to make purple.
Field Trip/Interactive Experience:
  • We went to the art museum for a program. We arrived before the museum opened so we walked around on the grounds, looking at statues and searching for colors. When we found colors I would ask Carter which colors we would have to mix together to make the color. It was really funny because at one point he was doing it to me and asked me what colors made yellow. Then he said, "That was a trick, it's nothing! Yellow is a primary color." I was impressed and also cracked up laughing! After the program we looked around at paintings and talked about what colors we saw and what colors the artist may have mixed together to make those colors.
    Carter pointing out purple flowers.
  • Mix It Up! by Herve Tullet
  • Critter Colors by Ashley G.
  • Colors for Zena by Monica Wellington
  • White Rabbit's Color Book by Alan Baker
  • Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni
  • Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh
  • Color Dance by Ann Jonas
  • Magic Colors by Patrick George
  • The Wonders of the Color Wheel by Charles Ghigna
  • Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin
  • Experiments with Color by Salvatore Tocci
  • A Book About Color by Mark Gonyea
  • Ruby, Violet, Lime: Looking for Color by Jane Brocket
  • The Mixed Up Chameleon by Eric Carle
  • Andy Warhol's Colors by Susan Goldman Rubin
  • The Color Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Museum Trip by Barbara Lehman
  • The Game of Red, Yellow, and Blue by Herve Tullet
  • The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
  • Hello, Red Fox by Eric Carle
  • Is It Red? Is It Yellow? Is It Blue? by Tana Hoban


  1. That's amazing your brother got upgraded! Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery from here on out :)

    1. Thank you, I sure hope so! The set backs are so hard!!!!

  2. Your teacher's mind astounds me still! Your children are lucky!