Monday, August 7, 2017

Weekly Learning Theme: Rainbows and Colors

One day Carter asked me some questions about where rainbows end and if there's really a pot of gold at the end, a bit unexpected since it had been months since St. Patrick's Day. I started forming a learning theme about rainbows in my head and thought it would also be a great opportunity to hit on color names while working with Elise since she's starting to pick up color names other than "lellow". She's not one to answer my questions or to in any way show me she's retaining anything we talk about when I attempt to get her to show it to me (just like Carter at her age and I assume most 2 year olds). So I don't even try. I really look more for her to show me just randomly when she's talking or noticing things around us. I'm always so excited when those moments take shape. Toward the end of our learning theme we were coloring and I went to hand her a crayon and she said, "No, not lellow. I want geen." I was so excited! In one comment, she showed me she recognized two different colors and knew their names!

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.
  • I wrote rainbow on one sentence strip and colors on another. I had Carter point out the letters and letter sounds. Then I had him guess which word said rainbow and which one said colors. When we were finished I asked him which word he thought had more letters in it and then we counted to see if he was correct. He really loves it when he has an idea about what our learning theme is going to be and then I pull out the sentence strips so he can say the sounds he knows and then slide his finger along under the word pretending to sound it out and come up with the word. It's so cute!
  • A favorite activity for the kids is playing with shaving foam. I let each of them pick a primary color and I put food coloring in their shaving foam for them to mix up. Then they started talking about mixing colors so we played around with that. While they were drawing I asked Carter to write his name. When he was done he started practicing with other letters as well. I showed Elise a circle and asked her to draw one. Then I drew a few other shapes and told her their names.
    Mixing to make purple and orange.
  • Another favorite activity for the kids is having colorful baths. I let them pick a color each night and then we talked about the color's name as we played. I had Carter help me sort through the bath toys and only choose the toys that matched the color of the bath water. I tried to get Elise to help us but she was only interested in grabbing toys she wanted to play with and didn't care what color they were. The whole time we played I mentioned the color of the water and the color of the toys over and over. When we started making secondary colors I had Carter tell me which two primary colors we needed to add to the bathtub to make the color we wanted.
  • One of my favorite activities was making rainbows outside using the hose. We read a few books about rainbows that described how rainbows are made. Then we went outside and tried making some of our own. Carter was so excited and loved it. Then it turned into spraying himself with the hose. When it was Elise's turn to make rainbows Carter wanted her to spray him and he was really excited to see a rainbow formed around him.
  • We spent some time playing with sidewalk chalk. I told Elise the colors of the chalk and then wrote their names on the sidewalk with the corresponding color while accentuating the beginning sound for Carter so he could tell me what letter the name started with. Then we drew a rainbow and I had Carter help me remember the order of the colors in a rainbow. I wrote the word rainbow and we talked about the letters in the word.
  • Carter has gotten more interested in playing card games so we incorporated Uno into our learning theme. It was great practice for Carter to match up cards not just by color but also by number. We talked about the colors and numbers and he identifed what number was represented on his cards. I dealt Elise in and while Carter and I played Elise matched her cards up by color. I talked to her about what color the cards were and helped her count to see how many cards of each color she had.
    Elise matching colors up as Carter and I play.
  • When I first started planning out this theme I kept wishing I had a prism we could use to make rainbows. Eventually I decided to go ahead and order one from Amazon with our Discover reward points. I was so excited when it came and it was a very sunny day which was perfect for making rainbows. At first I just let Carter play around with it and try to make rainbows. Then the next time he played with it I linked it back to what we'd read about in books and discussed how the prism bent the light rays so we could see all the colors in light. I know he doesn't really understand right now, but it's always good to introduce some of those bigger concepts. Elise wanted to play with the prism as well but didn't understand how to move the prism in order to bend the light quite like Carter did. She was able to make a few rainbows just not as easily as Carter did. We also talked about how the light looked different once it went through the prism and we compared the rainbows we saw inside the prism to the ones we saw outside the prism. As Carter worked we discussed how the rainbows looked the same and how they looked different, some were longer than others, some we only saw a few colors, some we saw all the colors we normally see in rainbows. Carter enjoyed seeing how many different kinds of rainbows he could make.
    Carter making a rainbow on his foot with a prism.
    Elise trying to make a rainbow with the prism.
  • Ty helped me make a lacing rainbow by drilling some holes in really thick cardboard. I drew the colors of the rainbow in order on the cardboard and then had lacing strings of all the different colors of the rainbow in a basket next to the cardboard. Both kids enjoyed lacing the rainbow and Carter had no problem matching the colors up. When Elise played with it I would tell her what color string she had grabbed and then point out that color on the cardboard telling her it was also that color. She is getting really good at lacing objects and pushing string through a hole!
  • I had planned for Carter to write a book about rainbows, fiction or nonfiction whatever he chose. Without me ever mentioning it, he told me he wanted to write a rainbow book for the children's librarian at the library right by our house. I was so excited he was self motivated to write a book! He told me what to write on each page and then he added pictures. When he was finished I asked him what the title of his book was and he said, "The Rainbow of China." That was a bit random but also awesome! I used it as a way to talk about how rainbows are universal and no matter where you are they will look pretty much the same with the same colors in them. While Carter worked on his book Elise sat down to draw. She impressed me by making a bunch of circles and one that even looked like a lowercase e! I added a dedication page to Carter's book and he had me write "Dedicated to Ms. Tanzy because she likes books so she will like this book."

  • I pulled out lots of different toys that were different colors for Elise to play with. One was her music cube which has a different color on each side of the cube. I'd point out what color she had pushed when music began playing. Then I asked her to find and push certain colors which she actually did for a little while!
  • The kids took a bubble bath during our learning theme and Carter was so excited when he found a rainbow inside a bubble in the tub. We talked about the shape of a bubble and I asked Carter how he thought the bubble was able to make a rainbow. I talked to him about how the shape of a bubble must be able to bend light waves just like our prism and raindrops do.
  • All through out our learning theme I made it a point to talk about colors a lot. Instead of just talking about items, I added what color they were. So instead of saying, "Let's put on your shoes," I'd say, "Let's put on your pink shoes." When we were walking instead of saying, "Elise get in the grass," I'd say, "Elise, get in the green grass." It was fun and a mental challenge to continuously remember to add in the color descriptors. It really seemed to help Elise by immersing her in color words while pointing to the colors every day because she started describing things with their colors as well. She now uses yellow (lellow), blue (boo), red, green (geen), and pink quite frequently. Purple is an on occasion. I'm thrilled with that since I was just hoping to add in a couple other color names to go with yellow. 
  • I was excited to read one of our newer copies of Hello magazine with Elise because it was all about colors. We read each story and I really emphasized and pointed out the colors. On the find it page, Elise actually pointed out the pink, blue, and green balloons on the find it page but then when she moved over to the opposite page to find them in the picture she got distracted pointing out the dog and then the boy and then the spotted balloon and then the striped balloon. It was cute!
  • Carter painted a rainbow using water colors. I drew arcs on the paper for him to make the colors inside. When he was ready for the next color I'd make the beginning sound of the color name and have him figure out what color came next by listening to the sound. He was so excited about it and loved guessing which color came next. It was his painting that inspired him to write a book for our librarian because he wanted to use it as the cover. While he worked on that I worked with Elise, helping her match colors on a rainbow to objects I had sitting out. Then she glued them to the correct spot on the rainbow. I chose 3 different objects in each color of the rainbow thinking that may be more than she was interested in and I was right, she was done after completing 2. For the most part she glued the objects to the matching color or would at least point to the correct color. A few times she wanted to glue them in the space below the rainbow and I redirected her. She was pretty proud of her work and wanted to use the water colors to decorate around the picture but accidentally knocked the water cup onto her picture. With Carter we counted to see how many colors there are in a rainbow (we skipped indigo on pretty much everything). With Elise we counted to see how many objects she had glued onto each color.
  • To practice with writing our names, we wrote our names alternating the colors of the rainbow. I showed Carter how he could lay the colors out in order and then just move the color he had already used to the end to make it easier to keep them in order. I wrote Elise's name on a piece of paper and told her the letters in her name and then sang her the name song I made up for her. Then I showed her how to trace the letters. She decided to just color on the page instead which I figured she would do anyway but wanted her to see her name in writing since Carter was working on his name. When Carter was finished he went over his letters and colored around them so much that you couldn't tell he had drawn his letters with the colors of the rainbow. When he was done with his paper he colored and traced on Elise's page.
    Moving on to trace Elise's page for her.
  • A while back my mom bought the kids some different colored bingo dabbers. They have been awesome and we've used them for so many different activities! I was looking in our craft supplies for something and saw them and just knew we needed to make a rainbow using our dabbers. I drew arcs on a piece of paper for Carter to make a rainbow and again told him beginning sounds to help him put the colors in the correct order. We had all the colors except for orange and indigo (we were skipping indigo anyway). I had Carter tell me what colors mix to make orange and then he mixed those dabber colors to make orange. Elise used the dabbers to make a picture while Carter worked. I had her tell me what color she wanted before I handed her a dabber. She kept trying to just point to which one she wanted but I had her say the color before I gave it to her. When she wasn't able to tell me the color, I'd say, "Would you like purple?" and then have her repeat the color of the dabber for me. By the end she was saying all the colors correctly. Carter wanted to practice with color words in Spanish so he'd tell me what color he wanted and would then ask me to say it in Spanish for him as I handed it to him. He loved repeating the words in Spanish after me.
Special Snack:
  • We read Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes and then The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear. As we read we talked about colors and pointed out that strawberries are red. While we read the mouse book I pointed out the strawberry on each page and had Elise say red. Then we ate some strawberries of our own and talked about how they are red.
  • When my parents came for my birthday they brought a big fruit salad to go with dinner. I was looking at it and thought what a beautiful fruit rainbow! So for snack the next day I decided to make a fruit rainbow for the kids. I cut the fruits into the right shapes to make an arch and laid them out in the correct color order. Carter was so excited when he saw his! Elise stood on a chair at the counter and "cut" fruit for me with a butter knife. She loves to help!
Make Believe:
  • We had a lot of fun acting out Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. I surprised Carter by walking into the room with his Pete the Cat puppet while wearing the white shoes from Elise's birthday party. Then I acted it out by stepping onto different colored blankets while saying the words of the story. When I was finished Elise wanted a turn and actually said a few of the words. Then Carter took a turn and did a wonderful job acting it out.

  • We listened to some different songs about color on Youtube. We also listened to a rainbow song as well.

  • Elise played a Sesame Street color game called Okay, Go Color here. She got to pick which color she wanted to paint with. Then when she picked two primary colors it showed them mix together and make a secondary color. She loved getting to pick colors and touch the screen. She loves any opportunity to use technology. While she played I said the colors aloud and asked her to repeat me. She did a few times.
  • I found a Cat in the Hat Chasing a Rainbow game here. Carter liked watching the video clips that went with it and then choosing the colors it asked him to catch. I liked that it also included indigo which gave us an opportunity to talk a little more about what color that is.
 Field Trip/Interactive Experience:
  • It rained one morning and we decided to go on a rainbow hunt once the rain cleared. We thought we might find a rainbow but it was still too cloudy and overcast so there wasn't enough sunlight to make a rainbow. Carter was a little disappointed at first but perked up really quickly when we turned it into a color walk/puddle hunt. He loved pointing out colors he saw along the way and playing "I Spy" with colors. Elise actually played along a little bit too.
  • Kites by Bettina Ling
  • White Rabbit's Color Book by Alan Baker
  • Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley
  • A Rainbow of My Own by Don Freeman
  • How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow by Monica Sweeney
  • Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
  • Rainbows by Kristen Rajczak Nelson
  • The Rainbow and You by E. C. Krupp
  • If Kisses Were Colors by Janet Lawler
  • The Deep Blue Sea: A Book of Colors by Audrey Wood
  • Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin
  • Rainbows Never End by Laura Lyn
  • First Colors by Little Tiger Press
  • A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni
  • Pocket Piggies: Colors! by Richard Austin
  • Carry and Learn Colors by Sarah Ward
  • Colors/Colores by Eric Carle
  • Little Critter Colors by Mercer Mayer
  • Thomas and Friends: Colorful Friends by Bendon Inc
  • Cars in Color by Bendon Inc
  • Inside Out: Colorful Emotions by Bendon Inc
  • A Good Day by Kevin Henkes
  • Colors Everywhere in Nature by Dalmatian Press
  • Colors by Bendon Inc
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
  • A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka
  • Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin
  • Freight Train by Donald Crews
  • The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood   
  • All the Colors of the Rainbow by Allan Fowler