Monday, May 1, 2017

Weekly Learning Theme: Dentist/Teeth

When Carter got his first teeth I asked our pediatrician when I needed to take him to the dentist. He said after his 3rd birthday so we added him to our dental insurance at that time. I started the search for a pediatric dentist and asked around until I found one I thought would be really good. When I called to schedule Carter's first appointment they said they normally recommend taking your child in for their first visit after their first birthday. I decided to go ahead and schedule Elise for an appointment then too and felt really guilty that we hadn't taken Carter in yet. Elise's appointment was the week before Carter's and all they did was look at her teeth and put some flouride on them. I felt much better after that because Carter's pediatrician has been doing that with him since he turned 1 so he was getting the same stuff done as he would have at the dentist's, we were just doing it all in one place. To prepare Carter for his first appointment and to help him know what to expect, I decided to do a learning them on teeth and the dentist. It ended up being a pretty fun learning theme.

Listed below are the objectives I am focusing on for the themed weeks.  I have revised our objectives to really hone in and focus on specific skills Carter will need to master before kindergarten and are appropriate to his age and development right now. 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. I have added working on his name as his teachers at school have asked us to work on it at home and I want to remember to include working on it in some form during each of our learning themes. I'm also adding in a section for Elise now that she is a year old. I don't considers her bullet points objectives, they are experiences I want to make sure to expose her to frequently. Her experiences are listed below Carter as bullet points rather than numbers.

The highlighted objectives below are ones Carter received exposure to during our theme this week:
  1. Begin to organize and focus on writing. (Dictate stories, plan out a story, draw pictures and scribbles to create a book).
  2. Understand same and different.
  3. Accurately tell stories as well as retell the story from a book. 
  4. Use age appropriate scissors.  (I'm moving on to looking for a thumb and forefinger grasp with writing tools and holding scissors appropriately)
  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 with one-to-one correspondence, begin to identify numerals, being to use ordinal numbers (first, second, last). 
  8. Recognize the letters in name, arrange them to spell name, begin to write name.
Experiences Elise was exposed to during our theme this week are highlighted below:
  • Play make believe/Imitate the behaviors of others (adults and children).
  • Know the names of and be able to point out body parts.
  • Groups things together by size or color/matches like objects, understands hard and soft.
  • Names common objects and is able to point them out.
  • Begin to hold writing tools and scribble spontaneously. Can draw a line. Differentiates between a circle and square.
  • Follows simple instructions (focusing on words such as in, on, beside, under).
  • Others: counts to two, refers to self by name. These I want to start to expose her to, but she isn't quite ready to master then yet.
  • We started off the learning theme with the words dentist and teeth written on separate sentence strips. I told Carter we were talking about dentists and teeth. I then showed him the words on the sentence strips and asked him to point out the word he thought said dentist. He listened to me say the word and picked out the word that started with the letter d. Then I did the same with teeth. I asked him to tell me all the letters in each of the words.
  • During this week we practiced with the letter Dd for dentist. Carter loves writing letters on his dry erase notecards. While he worked I made the letters out of yarn. When he was finished he ran his fingers over the letters and said "Dd, /d/ /d/ /d/." Then I hung the letters on the back of our front door. We also reviewed the letter Tt for teeth.
  • I had a few different large Scholastic News magazines about teeth. Carter enjoyed reading through them all. One had a chart to read on the back which we talked about together. Carter counted the checkmarks to answer questions about the chart. The other Scholastic News showed children using their teeth and mouths to show emotion and Carter enjoyed pointing out their faces and describing what emotion was displayed on their face.
  • I found a really cute chart here for keeping track of when you brush and floss your teeth. Carter enjoyed coloring in the boxes to show he brushed his teeth for about a week. Then he didn't want to do it anymore so we stopped. We then used the chart to count and see how many times he had brushed his teeth that week and how many times he had flossed. During this theme I let both kids practice brushing their own teeth after I had brushed them first. Elise also practiced using toothpaste and spitting her toothpaste into the sink when she was finished.
  • I'm not big on worksheets but when I find ones that are cute and I know the kids will enjoy, I'm all about them. I found an awesome Tooth Fairy pack here and we did quite a few different pages from the packet. Carter enjoyed them all. We started with a page that showed a row of tooth-related items where they were all the same except one that was different. I had Carter point out which item was different and explain to me how it was different. Then I asked him to tell me what about it was the same as the other items. Then we discussed how the other items were the same. We also used a couple pre-writing pages where Carter drew on dotted lines to make different kinds of lines and then to draw certain shapes. When Carter was drawing the different kinds of lines he kept declaring, "I brushed you nice and clean!" each time he finished drawing a line. I looked closer at the page and realized he was saying that because the line was connecting a picture of a toothbrush to a picture of a tooth, it was so cute! When he drew the shapes we talked about what shape he was making and how many sides it had. Then I asked him to tell me what the picture was inside the shape.
  • It worked out great that Elise went to the dentist before Carter because I was able to take some pictures and show them to Carter so he knew what it would look like. We also watched a few videos on youtube of dentist visits so he could see the equipment and how it was used. I made sure to watch the videos first to make sure no one cried and nothing traumatic happened. I'd even just show him clips of videos. We talked about what we saw and what he could expect. I think what helped the most was him seeing the balloon and bag of toys Elise brought home from her appointment so he was excited about that! 
  • I printed a sorting page here where Carter sorted capital and lowercase Tt's onto a page. It was great practice with sorting as well as review on the letter Tt. As he worked we talked about how the capital and lowercase Tt's looked the same and how they looked different. Elise worked on sorting by size while Carter sorted the letters. Elise sorted different sizes of teeth. There were small, medium, and large teeth. I liked that both the sorting activities included a sorting sheet for the kids to place the pieces onto.
  • From the packet I also chose to print a couple of puzzles. I liked that the puzzles had a number on each piece of the puzzle so Carter could work on recognizing numerals as he put the puzzle together. I pointed out the numbers to him and he would tell me what number he needed next and would look through his remaining pieces to find the correct number.
  • We also did a pattern page from the packet where Carter got to cut pictures off the bottom of the page and glue them in the empty box to continue the pattern. He would point out the pattern shown on the line and then choose the correct picture to glue in the empty box.
Cutting out the pictures to glue onto the page.
  • I used a couple of the pages as dabber activities. When one child is using a bingo dabber, the other one wants to as well so I found a page for each of the kids and they loved it. Elise dabbed empty circles on a capital letter T to fill the letter in and then she went free for all on the rest of the page to decorate it. Carter dabbed all the letter Tt's on his page. He did a great job. His only mistake was dabbing a letter f. We looked at the lowercase f and compared it to a lowercase t. We used it as an opportunity to talk about how they looked the same and how they looked different.
  • I made a lacing tooth out of a printed tooth which I glued to cardstock and punched holes around the outside of. Carter loves lacing and is really good at it so he got right to it when he found it on the table. Elise is getting to where she can string the lace through one or two holes and did it a few times. She chose to do it while hiding under the table so it was hard to get a picture of her.
  • We read lots of books about the dentist and discussed what the dentists looked like and what they used. Carter noticed they wore masks and rubber gloves and we discussed why they wore these things and played around with similar objects when pretending to be a dentist. 
  • I printed a book to color and let Carter color it. He looked at the word in color on the page and colored in the toothbrush on the page accordingly without any help. Then I read him the book and he was so proud to read it back to me, even grabbing it to read to Ty when Ty got home. We read the book a few times with Elise and really pointed out the color of the toothbrush on the page for her, asking her to repeat the color name after us.
    Carter cracks me up with his tongue when he works!
Carter reading the book when we were finished.
Carter reading the book to Ty.
  • We made a model mouth as a craft and then used it to help us sort foods. I pulled out different foods and had Carter sort them based on whether they were good for teeth or bad for teeth. I had him tell me why they were good for teeth. He gave answers such as crunchy and a fruit or vegetable. Then I asked him to tell me why the others weren't good for teeth and he said they had lots of sugar or they were sticky and would get stuck to your teeth. When he was done sorting he fed the foods that are good for teeth to the model mouth.
  • After Carter's trip to the dentist I had him write a story about his trip. He did a great job planning it out and then telling me what to write on each page. He asked me to help him illustrate so I drew a couple pictures while he drew a picture of a dentist on the first page. When he was done drawing the dentist he decided to take a break and finish the illustrations later.
  • Carter loved a dinosaur teeth poster I had from a Scholastic News. The poster showed the actual size of a few different dinosaurs' teeth. Carter used different body parts to compare to the teeth and get an idea of how big they were. Then we looked at each tooth and compared them to each other, discussing why the dinosaurs would need teeth like they had. We talked about the difference between the carnivore's teeth and the herbivore's teeth. Then we discussed how they looked like ours and how they looked different.
  • We practiced flossing by putting Play Doh between sections of Duplo. We talked about how floss helps us get food out of places that our toothbrush can't reach. Carter really enjoyed playing with it and when he was done we moved on to playing with Play Doh.
  • Since April was poetry month we read "This Tooth" by Lee Bennett Hopkins. Then I asked Carter if he would like to write a poem about teeth. He dictated what to write and I put his poem down in writing for him.
  • I wrote the letters of Carter's first, middle, and last name on teeth. I didn't separate the letters into piles for each different name, I just mixed them all together and put them in a pile on the table. I reminded Carter that his first name goes first. Then I just stood back and watched as he searched out the letters in his name and glued them down in order to spell out his full name. When he was done we discussed the fact that the first letter of each of his names was a capital and I had him point them out. While he worked Elise drew while sitting next to him.
  • There was a fun clip counting game in the packet so I printed it for Carter. I set the cards on the table along with a pile of clips and showed him how it worked. Then I watched as he went through the pile of cards, counting the items on the card and then clipping his clip to the corresponding number. He asked me for a little help identifying a couple numbers. I had him point out the numbers he knew on the card which then narrowed it down to the number he was looking for.
  • I printed tooth-related pictures and we used them to play a game of memory. Carter is getting so good at playing the game and his memory is pretty darn good!
  • I found a really cute book about healthy teeth here. I printed it and read it to Carter. He enjoyed going back to the book and rereading it from what he remembered I had said along with clues from the pictures.
  • We made a model mouth like one I saw here. I decided to just put 20 teeth on the mouth since that's how many teeth Carter has. We talked about how many teeth he has and how many I have. We made our mouth out of construction paper and mini marshmallows. I drew circles where the teeth went and Carter counted to see how many there were. Then Carter glued the marshmallows down. When he was done I helped him count the teeth in his mouth and we talked about how that is the number of teeth he has in his mouth. Later when Elise was awake I heard her say yummy so I looked over and saw that she was pulling marshmallows off the mouth and eating them, glue and all! I had to put the mouth up and gave her a few marshmallows to eat.
Special Snack:
  • I told Carter if he did a good job at the dentist's office we could go get a bagel because my mom had a free bagel every day in the month of April on her My Panera card. He said he'd rather get a doughnut so we went out for doughnuts at a new doughnut shop after his appointment.
  • Carter and Elise were both super impressed with the special mouth snack I made out of apple slices, peanut butter, and marshmallows. The apple slices were lips and the marshmallows were teeth. I used peanut butter to hold the pieces together. They thought they were delicious so I tried an apple slice with peanut butter and marshmallow and it was really good!
Make Believe:
  • We played dentist throughout the week, taking turns being the dentist and the patient. We also used stuffed animals as patients at times. We practiced opening wide to show our teeth to the dentist, following directions, and keeping our mouth still so the dentist could put instruments inside.
  • We sang a song I found online called Clean White Teeth by Jean Warren which was sung to the tune of “I’m A Little Teapot”
    I’m your little teeth,
    Clean and bright.
    Please brush me
    Both day and night.
    First you make your brush
    Go up and down.
    Then on each tooth,
    Go ‘round and ‘round.
  • We also listened to Elmo's Brush Your Teeth song and I changed the lyrics to be about Carter or Elise, whoever was brushing their teeth at the time.  
  • I found online teeth games here at Colgate online. Carter enjoyed playing them all.
 Field Trip/Interactive Experience:
  • Carter had his first visit to the dentist and Elise went with us. Carter did a wonderful job following directions and was really excited that he also got to have x-rays done on his teeth! Carter said the best part of his visit was getting to play on the pirate ship in the waiting room. He also said the dental hygienist was really nice and he liked her.
  • Franklin and the Tooth Fairy by Paulette Bourgeois
  • Bear's New Tooth by Karma Wilson
  • I Lost My Tooth in Africa by Penda Diakite
  • Tooth on the Loose by Susan Middleton Elya
  • Curious George Visits the Dentist by Monica Perez
  • Dentists by Cecilia Minden
  • A Trip to the Dentist by Penny Smith
  • ABC Dentist by Harriet Ziefert
  • The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan Berenstain
  • Visit the Dentist! by Katie Marsico
  • Vera Goes to the Dentist by Vera Rosenberry
  • Teeth by Beth Ferguson
  • Teeth by Rebecca Rissman
  • Pony Brushes His Teeth by Michael Dahl
  • Alan's Big, Scary Teeth by Jarvis
  • Book o' Teeth by Donald B. Lemke
  • Brush Your Teeth! Healthy Dental Habits by Mary Ann Salzman
  • Caillou: I Can Brush My Teeth by Sarah Margaret Johanson
  • Maisy, Charley, and the Wobbly Tooth by Lucy Cousins
  • At the Dentist by Mari C. Schuh
  • The Tooth Book by Theo LeSieg
  • The Tooth Book: A Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums by Edward Miller
  • What to Expect When You Go to the Dentist by Heidi Eisenberg Merkoff
  • Doctor De Soto by William Steig
  • Open Wide: A Look Inside Animal Mouths by Catherine Ham
  • Open Wide Tooth School Inside by Laurie Keller
  • Arthur's Tooth by Marc Brown


  1. Carter looks so tiny in the picture getting his teeth x-rayed. The other pictures were pretty cute. The donuts looked good too. Did you get pictures of Elise at the dentist?

    1. I didn't get pictures of her at the dentist because she was sitting in my lap and the visit was so short.