Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Weekly Learning Theme: Poetry/Rhyming

For National Poetry Month during the month of April I wanted to introduce Carter to poetry. Each learning theme during the month I incorporated a little bit of poetry based on our theme. Then at the end of the month we did a learning theme on poetry. We focused on rhyming and exposing Carter to rhyming words. I also wanted to look at different kinds of poetry. Carter decided his favorite kind of poetry is songs. Since we had Mother's Day as well as teacher appreciation week during the last week of April we had a hard time fitting all of our activities in so I took our time with this theme and ended up stretching it into 3 separate weeks. That was also partially because Carter wasn't fascinated by this theme like he had been some of our more recent ones like bees, sea turtles, and Easter so I didn't want to put too many activities into one day and cause him to not enjoy poetry. So we really took our time so I could hit all the activities I wanted while still allowing Carter to enjoy them all. 

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 out with the words poetry and rhyming on sentence strips. I said each word, really emphasizing the beginning sound and asked Carter to point out which word he thought I was saying. We talked a little bit about poetry and how we had read and written some poetry already. Then I explained to him what it means for words to rhyme, that they sound alike, usually because they have the same ending sounds.
  • I found some neat poetry coloring pages here and here. I read the poems to the kids and we talked about what in the poem made the person picture what was drawn on the page. I re-read the poems and we highlighted the words at the end of the line which rhymed and talked about how those words looked alike and how they looked different. Then the kids each picked which page they wanted to color.
  • I wrote rhyming words down on sentence strips and cut them apart. Then I read the words and showed them to Carter. I had him look at the words and tell me how they were the same and how they were different. We counted to see how many of the letters in the words were the same and how many were different. He wanted to practice writing some of the words so he did. Then I wrote the words and underlined the letters that were the same and we noticed that the beginning sound was all that changed. We went through and said the sounds in the words and then blended the sounds together. I asked Carter to think of another word that would rhyme with our words written down and he came up with a couple more words.
  • Later in the week I used the words I had written on cards as a sorting activity. I read a word from each word family to Carter (I did _at, _ap, _ug, and _op). I placed the four words I'd chosen on the table. Then I pulled a word from the pile and read it to Carter. I asked him to match it with the word it rhymed with and read him each of the 4 words followed by the word on the new card so he could match the word on his card to one of the words on the table. I meant to have a word family for each vowel but ended up doing a twice and no e, not sure what I was thinking. Carter got tricked up on a couple _ap words which he thought rhymed with _at and got all the other words sorted with ease. When he was finished I wrote one of the words on our chalkboard and asked him to come up with a word that rhymed with it. Then I wrote the word he generated and drew a line under the part of the words that was the same. He really enjoyed that which surprised me.
    Carter sorting rhyming words into word families.
Carter coming up with other words that rhymed.
  • Carter practiced writing acrostic poems and then drew pictures to go with them. He made a poem for each of his grandmas and it was so cute to work with him and help him come up with words that started with each of the sounds he needed.
  • I pulled out my poetry folder from school with a lot of the materials I used in class. One of my favorite activities was inferring for meaning with poetry. I knew that it's a skill that would be difficult for Carter to grasp but thought it would be fun to do some of the really easy poems I had used in class. I told him that I was going to read him a poem and I wanted him to use what he already knows along with what the poet says to help him figure out what the poet is talking about. As he said things out loud, guessing about the animals in the poem, I wrote them down on the notes section of the page. At the end I had him tell me what animal he thought the poet was describing and why he thought that. I wrote it on the bottom for him and he wrote his name at the top of the page.
  • I introduced the word visualization to Carter. I told him when I'm reading I make a picture in my head of what the writer is saying and that mental image is called a visualization. I told him that poetry is wonderful for creating mental images because of the descriptions and colorful language poets use. I read him a poem about a snake and asked him to make a picture in his head while he heard the poem. Then I gave him a piece of paper with the poem on it so he could draw his mental image as an illustration for the poem.
  • In one of the poetry books we had from the library I showed Carter lots of different kinds of poetry and read them to him. We talked about how the different kinds of poetry were the same and how they were different. I asked him which kinds of poetry he liked best. He said he liked the take-off poems and songs the best. Since Carter liked the take off poems I read him some different examples. I think he liked them because they were all based on songs or poems he was already familiar with. Then we decided to do our own take off poem. Carter chose to do a variation of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
    Carter's take off poem.
  • This week we worked on the letter Pp for poetry. Carter practiced writing it on his dry erase notecards and I created Pp's out of yarn for the door.
    Practicing the letter Pp.
  • For Mother's Day Carter wrote an acrostic poem for me and for each of his grandmas. Then he drew a picture to illustrate his poem on the other side of the page. He wanted to write Oma, Gma, and Mommy along the side of the page for his acrostic poem so he got practice writing letters there. He also signed each one which gave him some practice with writing his name.
    The poem Carter wrote me for Mother's Day.
Special Snack:
  • I let Carter choose a candy out of his Easter stash to write a poem about. He ate the candy and described it to me for a poem, telling me how it tasted, smelled, looked, and sounded.
    Carter eating a sweet tart.
Carter's poem about Sweet Tarts.
Make Believe:
  • We found a wonderful poem about the ocean in one of our poetry books. It was called Sitting in the Sand by Karla Kuskin. It sounded like a fun one to act out so we decided to do it. I filled our sensory bin with water and we pretended it was the ocean, acting out the poem by scooping up water in our hands.
    Acting out our poem.
  • I sang Carter Carter, Bo Barter and Eesey Eesey, Bo Beesey for the kids. I had Carter listen for the words that rhymed as I sang. We also sang songs and listened for rhyming words as well as put some poems to songs.
  • We played a game where Carter had to find the word that rhymed here. I also downloaded some poetry apps on my phone and let Carter play around with them. His favorite was one where you could write a poem and then draw a shape and the app would arrange the words of your poem into the shape you drew.
 Field Trip/Interactive Experience:
  • We went out for a poetry walk. Before heading out I asked Carter to try to look around with poet's eyes, searching for interesting things to describe with all his senses. I reminded him his senses are sight, hearing, smelling, and tasting. He decided he wanted to write a poem about clouds and made up a poem as we were walking which I typed up in a note on my phone and then wrote down when we got home.
    Headed out for a poetry walk/ride.
Carter's poem about clouds.
  • Bear Hugs by Karma Wilson
  • What Rhymes? by Rookie Toddler
  • Truck Duck by Michael Rex
  • Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas
  • UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings by Douglas Florian
  • Lullaby by Langston Hughes
  • Birds of a Feather by Jane Yolen
  • Go! Poetry in Motion by Dee Lillegard
  • Honey, I Love by Eloise Greenfield
  • Goodnight Songs: A Celebration of the Seasons by Margaret Wise Brown
  • You Read to Me, I'll Read to You by Mary Ann Hoberman
  • The Llama Who Had No Pajama by Mary Ann Hoberman
  • Knock at a Star: A Child's Introduction to Poetry by X. J. Kennedy
  • Nasty Bugs by Lee Bennett Hopkins
  • Cold Stars and Fireflies: Poems of the Four Seasons by Barbara Juster Esbensen
  • Animal Poems by Valerie Worth
  • All the Small Poems and Fourteen More by Valerie Worth
  • Pug and Other Animal Poems by Valerie Worth
  • Love Letters by Arnold Adoff
  • Sunflakes: Poems for Children by Lilian Moore
  • Hi, Koo! by Jon J. Muth