Sunday, December 31, 2017

Weekly Learning Theme: Birthday

I absolutely love doing birthday learning themes for the kids' birthdays. It is so much fun to turn their birthday into a week-long theme with activities and fun centered around celebrating their birth. I also like it because it helps me remember to do things like measure Carter's height on his height chart each year on his birthday. Just as every year, this year's learning theme for Carter's birthday was so much fun! Read about last year's learning theme here, 2015's here, and 2014's here.

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:

Writing Skills:
  • holds a pencil with 2 fingers and a thumb grasp.
  • draws a circle, plus sign, and square.
  • uses scissors to cut a 4 inch line. 
  • uses pictures to write a story.
  • writes name.
Reading Skills:
  • blends sounds to say word.
  • chunks words into syllables.
  • hears and identifies rhyming words.
  • recognizes and names uppercase and lowercase letters.
  • isolates and identifies beginning and ending sounds in spoken words.
 Math Skills:
  • counts to 20.
  • counts with one to one correspondence.
  • represents a number of objects with a written numeral (0-10).
  • compares objects in sets with more, less, or equal to.
  • creates and extends patterns.
  • identifies shapes and describes attributes. 
  • understands that addition means adding to.
  • understands that subtraction means taking from.                   
 Experiences Elise was exposed to during our theme this week are highlighted below:
  1. Continue to improve fine motor skills and drawing (specifically I'm looking for her to be able to copy a circle and a square as well as eventually 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 such as size, color, hard, soft).
  7. Count and understand what the numbers mean.
  • I wrote the word birthday on a sentence strip. I had Carter tell me what the beginning sound would be. Then I chunked the word into birth and day. I asked him to blend them to discover the word. Next I had him try saying birthday without the day and then birthday without the birth. That is tricky for him with some words and easy with others. He had a hard time with this one.
  • I got out the photo book I made using pictures from Carter's birth as well as his first few weeks of life. We went through the photo book and looked at the pictures as I told him the story of his birth. He loves to hear all the details of the story and feels so special when he sees how many people came to visit him and meet him right after he was born.
  • We used scrap paper to make confetti for our sensory bin. Elise was super excited that she got to use scissors. Carter lost interest with cutting after a while but Elise continued cutting until the sensory bin was full of confetti. Sister sure loves to use scissors! I used all scrap paper from projects with construction paper as well as paper from our paper recycling bin. We even used some boxes I broke down. The kids played in the sensory bin leading up to Carter's birthday and then on his birthday we dumped the confetti over his head after counting down from 5.
  • For Carter's birthday we came up with words that rhyme with Carter. He came up with some funny ones like fur. When we were finished I sang the "Carter, Carter, Bo Barter" song and we listened to other words that rhyme with Carter.
  • I put some birthday hats in the sensory bin for the kids to play with. I used the hats and  the confetti to practice colors with Elise. I'd show her a party hat and ask her to identify the color name. Then I had her find a piece of confetti that matched the color of the hat and she's show it to me. She has blue down really well but most other colors I had to remind her of the color name and then she was able to find the matching color on her own to pair them up. 
    Elise looking for a blue piece of confetti to match the blue party hat.
  • I saw some pattern block designs online where they had created different numbers so I decided to put together a 5 design for Carter to create using pattern blocks. I also made a birthday cake for him to create. He got so excited when he saw the number 5 because he was so proud to be turning 5! As he worked we talked about the shapes and discussed the shapes' attributes.
  • I found some Paw Patrol playing cards at Dollar Tree and got them for Carter to play with. I showed him the numbers 1-10 all mixed up and asked him to identify the number. Then I laid them down out of order and had him put them in order from 1-10. Once he had them in order I asked him to identify the number that showed how old he was. Then we talked about how old he was last year and how old he'll be next year, talking about how we'd take one away or add one to the number 5 to find those numbers.

  • I picked 3 sight words off the Dolch prekindergarten sight word list to practice with Carter. I wrote the words on candles and introduced them to Carter. Then he practiced the words. He knew a and I since they are the same as the letter names. Then I helped him say the sounds in the word and. We practiced segmenting the sounds and then blending them together to say the word. I had Carter count the candles to identify how many words we were learning.
  • Just like in previous years I hung streamers in Carter's doorway to surprise him on his birthday. He didn't get as excited as he usually does since he was sick but he still enjoyed going in and out of his room so he could walk through the streamers.
  • I had Carter write his name on a piece of paper and then draw a circle and a square. I showed him how to decorate the circle to make it look like a balloon and then how to decorate the square to make it look like a present. We talked about the attributes of both shapes as we drew. I also had him write the date and a 5 for his age on the paper. Elise drew a circle which I decorated to make look like a balloon. I wrote her name and a square in pencil for her to trace. I turned the square into a present.

  • I measured Carter on his special height chart and compared his height to his daddy's from when he was 5. Carter was about an inch taller than Ty was at 5.

  • I did a birthday interview with Carter and compiled his answers in a post here.
  • On Carter's birthday he had a special birthday bath with color tablets, bubbles, and balloons. We also got out some finger paint soaps.
  • Carter told me what to write in thank you notes to his friends for the presents they gave him at his birthday party. Then Carter signed his name on each thank you note. It was a lot of practice writing his name!
    Signing his name to a thank you note.
  • Carter wrote a book about himself like he has the past few years. It was cute to go back and read what he wrote about himself the past few years. He didn't finish his book about himself. I'll add a picture of the pages when he's finished.
  • I asked Carter if he wanted to paint a birthday shirt this year like he has in the past and he said he did. He wanted to wear it on his birthday but not at his birthday party. He picked to paint with blue, pink, and purple. We showed him his shirt and had him identify what number was on his shirt. Elise wanted to paint too so I got her finger paints to paint with while Carter painted his shirt.
  • I had a birthday cake page I pulled out to do with Carter where he'd color in a birthday cake and candles and then cut out the appropriate number of candles to glue onto the cake. I was so bummed because I couldn't find the page anywhere when we went to do it. I either put it somewhere and forgot where it was or one of the kids found it before me. Instead I drew a picture of a cake for Carter to color. He drew the appropriate number of candles on top of the cake. I also had him practice writing the number 5 to show how old he is.
Special Snack:
  • Carter was supposed to take doughnuts to school for his special birthday snack. I placed an order for 24 doughnuts spelling out "Happy Birthday" and then the rest of the doughnuts made into the number 5. Since Carter was sick I ended up cancelling the order. I also skipped bringing him a marshmallow with a candle in it to his room when he woke up since he was throwing up, but he did get to pick out a special lunch for his birthday and thought he could stomach macaroni and cheese so I made him mac and cheese for lunch. He picked out lemon cake with lemon frosting for his birthday cake and had a few bites of it.
Make Believe:
  • The kids played with Carter's wooden cake. We counted the slices of cake, cut the cake, and decorated it. We made patterns with the cake toppings and talked about what patterns are. Elise loved cutting and serving the cake to others. They had a lot of fun pretending it was different people's birthday and singing them Happy Birthday as they served up the cake.

  • We sang the traditional Happy Birthday song as well as Tom Chapin's Happy Birthday song. I also sang Carter Happy Birthday in Spanish and then we listened to it in various other languages.
  • Carter played the same candle counting game on the computer he played last year. The game can be found here.

 Field Trip/Interactive Experience:
  • Carter had a big birthday party at a place with inflatables. He invited his entire class along with his friends from outside of school. He had a lot of fun. You can read more about his party here.
  • On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
  • Happy Birthday, Little Pookie by Sandra Boynton
  • Moira's Birthday by Robert Munsch
  • Birthday Zoo by Lynn Munsinger
  • It's My Birthday by Liesbet Slegers
  • It's My Birthday by Helen Oxenbury 
  • Birthday Mice by Bethany Roberts
  • Birthday Traditions Around the World by Ann Ingalls
  • The Birthday Queen by Audrey Woord
  • Birthday Rules by Laurie B. Friedman
  • Happy Birthday, Moon by Frank Asch
  • How Many Sleeps til My Birthday? by Mark Sperring 
  • The Best Birthday Ever! by Charise Mericle Harper
  • The Best Birthday Present Ever! by Laura Joffe Numeroff
  • Happy Birthday, Bunny by Elizabeth Garton Scanlon
  • Curious George and the Birthday Surprise by Margaret and H.A. Rey by David Shannon
  • Puppy Birthday to You by Scott Albert
  • Big Brown Bear's Birthday Surprise by David McPhail
  • Bears and A Birthday by Shirley Parenteau
  • Guinea Pig Party by Holly Surplice
  • If You Give a Pig a Party by Laura Numeroff 

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