Friday, April 27, 2018

Weekly Learning Theme: Easter

After this I am caught up with all the really old learning theme posts I never finished. We did an Easter learning theme the week of Easter and as usual really enjoyed it! Read about last year's Easter learning theme here, 2016's here, and 2015'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.
  • We started with the word Easter written on a sentence strip. I had Carter blend the sounds together to determine the word. Then he told me how many of each letter was in the word, pointing out which letter was in the word the most. We talked about how the word Easter is capitalized because it is the name of a holiday and how all the rest of the letters in the word are lowercase.
  • The kids had some free play time with eggs. I put eggs in a basket and gave them an empty egg carton. I also put some toys in a basket for them to use with the eggs. There were bowls to pu the eggs in as well as egg tongs to use for picking up the eggs. Elise liked shaking the eggs to see if anything was inside and Carter liked using the tongs. I told him they were good practice for using scissors and Elise liked playing with them too. As they played we talked about what color the eggs were and practiced counting them.
  • I printed some Easter pattern block templates I found here. Carter loves doing them so it works really nicely to have different ones for each learning theme. I printed the templates without color to challenge Carter a little more. As he worked we talked about the shape names and attributes. Elise played with the shapes too. We talked about what color the shapes were and reviewed their names.
  • I had a package to send to Wyatt, my nephew, for Easter. I had the kids make him a card. They practiced drawing bunnies on it. I showed Elise how to draw a circle for the face and ovals for the ears. She loved using the special Easter stamps I found at Dollar Tree and mostly decorated the card with them.

  • I had Carter come up with words that rhyme with bunny. I wrote down the words he said on a bunny head I cut out. He always cracks me up saying some real words and some pretend words. We always talk about how some of the words he said are made up words. The word snee made me think of Dr. Seuss.
  • I did a sight word egg hunt with Carter. I wrote down all the words from his word wall and put each one inside an egg. When Carter found the egg he opened it and read the word. Once he'd read all the words he got to open a special eggs with a treat snack inside.

  • We did the same alphabet egg matching game we did last year. This year instead of just matching a small group at a time we laid out all the eggs and he matched the upper case letter to the lower case letter. He noticed that the upper case and lower case letter were written on the same color egg so he grouped the eggs by color to help himself. Once he had all the eggs matched up he put them in alphabetical order by singing the song to help himself. Then he arranged his sight words under the egg with the letter that corresponded to the beginning sound of the sight word. When he was finished I had him count to see how many words he had under each egg. He told me which egg had the most words under it and which egg had the fewest. When he was finished he wanted to practice spelling a few of his sight words so he used the word written on paper to help him spell out the word with eggs. He was quick to realize he wouldn't be able to spell words that had more than one of a single letter in them since he only had one of each letter written on an egg.

  • I put together a sensory bin with Easter grass as the base. I threw in a few eggs and egg containers, bunny tongs, bunny glasses, and some foam shapes. Elise really got into the bunny tongs and had a blast picking up eggs with them. Carter wore bunny glasses every time he played with it which was hilarious.
  • This year was the latest we've ever dyed eggs, actually dying them on Easter and then taking pictures with them only to take them inside and immediately peel them for deviled eggs. My parents got the kids a kit where you painted the eggs and they loved it.

Posing with their eggs before I took them inside to make deviled eggs.
  • Elise and I played with eggs to practice colors. I took apart a bunch of eggs and asked her to match the colors to put the eggs back together. As she worked we talked about the color names. When she was finished Carter helped us sort the eggs and then count the number of eggs in each group. We compared the groups of eggs, talking about which one had the most and which had the least. Then I helped him line out the eggs to determine how many more or less different groups had than another. We had some different shades of certain colors and I showed them to Elise.. We talked about how they were the same and how they were different.

  • I made some pages for cutting practice. I drew outlines of some of our Easter cookie cutters. Carter's job was to cut around the outline of the shape. On Elise's paper I drew lines to make squares on the page and asked her to cut along the lines to make a square. Then they colored their cut outs and glued them to paper.
  • I pulled out the bunny tangram I made for Carter last year and asked him to make it on his magnetic tangoes board to see if he could make the pattern without placing the shapes on top of the picture. Then he tried making a different bunny out of tangrams using one of the templates that came with his tangoes set. He put the pictures next to each other and we talked about how they looked the same and how they looked different, comparing the placement of certain shapes.
  • I used some Easter stickers for practice with name spelling. I wrote the letters of Carter's first, middle, and last name on stickers and then asked him to arrange them to spell his full name. For Elise I just wrote the letters in her first name on stickers and asked her to match the sticker to the letter written on a piece of paper with her name written on it.

  • Carter and I used our Easter stamps to practice making patterns. I'd make a pattern and would have him choose which stamp would come next to continue the pattern. Then he did the same for me.
  • Each of the kids wrote a book about their Easter. Before Elsie wrote her story I asked her to retell our day. I had her focus on what we did in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night. Then I had her think about her day to come up with her story. Elise dictated words and I wrote them down. Then she drew illustrations. Carter sometimes draws pictures first and then tells me what to write and other times wants to tell me the words and then add pictures. This time he told me what to write and then added the pictures.
  • I had Carter blend the sounds e and g to make the word egg. I also had him blend bun and ee to make the word bunny. I asked him to try segmenting the words into their sounds after he'd blended them together to make a word.
  • We went to a playdate and a friend's house and she had foam bunnies for each of the kids to make. They were so cute! Elise sat and finished hers while we were there. Carter started his at the playdate and then wanted to take it home to finish.
  • Carter got to make a special tomb craft at school and loved it. He had so much fun having everyone read what it said and then making Jesus pop up.
  • Carter wanted to make and decorate a construction paper egg. He got a piece of paper and cut an oval out. Then he decorated it with markers. Elise saw him working and wanted to make one too so he cut an egg out for her to decorate which I thought was sweet.
Special Snack:
  • We had a snack egg hunt. I put raisins and fruit snacks in eggs and hid them for the kids to find. They had such a blast and wanted to keep doing it so we did it again with just raisins.
  • One day I was really wanting some homemade bread so we decided to make bunny bread. We made homemade bread following a recipe here. Only later to find out from my mom that we used to make bunny bread as a kid using store bought rolls, that would have been much faster and easier! Waiting for the dough to rise was a killer because I wanted to eat them right away! Elise impressed me by cutting the ears for the bunny on her own and doing a wonderful job! We made enough that we ate a few before Easter and still had some left for both our Easter dinner with Rocky and Leina and our Easter dinner with my family.
Make Believe:
  • Carter had so much fun pretending to be the Easter bunny and hiding eggs for us to find. He would put the bunny ears on every time he hid eggs which cracked me up!
  • We listened to Easter songs in a YouTube Easter station for kids. Carter also sang some songs he learned at school.
  • Elise played an egg decorating game I found here. At the end she got to hide the eggs she decorated and then search for them which was fun. She had to remember where she hid them.
 Field Trip/Interactive Experience:
  • We went to an Easter egg hunt the weekend before Easter while visiting my parents for a wedding. My friend, Erin, met us there with her kids which was exciting for Carter and Elise. Carter was so sweet, running up to a boy who was crying with an empty basket and throwing some of his eggs into the boy's basket. I love his sweet heart and his care and empathy for others.

  • We went to messy art club at the library and got to dye eggs. It was fun because they did it a different way by putting food coloring in shaving foam and then rolling the eggs around in it to make spiral patterns on the eggs. Elise mostly just liked playing in the shaving foam.
  • We also went to a special Easter storytime at the library complete with an egg hunt and an egg craft. This was the only egg hunt Elise actually picked up multiple eggs at other than the ones we did at home. I don't know if it was because there wasn't anything in the eggs to distract her or if it was because there weren't so many kids to overwhelm her. The craft was to decorate construction paper eggs with tissue paper. Elise ended up cutting her egg up but Carter decorated his very nicely.
  • We went to the Easter fair at our church. It was awesome! there were a bunch of crafts set up. Elise did every craft and Carter did some. They got to pet dogs and hold a rabbit. There was a doughnut walk (cake walk with doughnuts). They had an egg hunt for Elise's age and an Easter themed obstacle course for kids Carter's age. At the end of the course you had to take a carrot bean bag and throw it into a basketball hoop. Carter got it in on the first try all 5 times. I was super impressed. There were other games and Carter also did really well with them. They had car racing and bounce houses as well.
    Carter completing the obstacle course.
  • The Little Rabbit by Judy Dunn
  • The Little Rabbit Who Liked to Say Moo by Jonathan Allen
  • Little Chick by Lauren Thompson
  • Little Chick by Amy Hest
  • Peep! Peep! by Charles Reasoner
  • Hank Finds An Egg by Rebecca Dudley
  • Lamb's Easter Surprise by Christine Taylor Butler
  • 5 Busy Ducklings by Rookie Toddler
  • Hatch by Katie Cox
  • That's Not My Bunny by Melanie Watt
  • The Bunny Rabbit Show by Sandra Boynton
  • Bunny My Honey by Anita Jeram 
  • Hatch, Little Egg by Edouard Manceau
  • The Easter Ribbit by Bernice Chardiet
  • Bunny Trouble by Hans Wilhelm
  • Easter Eggs Everywhere by Steve Metzger
  • Easter Egg Hunt by Abby Klein
  • Olivia and the Easter Egg Hunt by Cordelia Evans
  • The Night Before Easter by Natasha Wing
  • Happy Easter, Little Critter by Mercer Mayer
  • Easter Bunny's On His Way! by Brian James
  • How Spider Saved Easter by Robert Kraus
  • The Best Easter Prize by Kristina Evans
  • The Littlest Rabbit by Robert Kraus
  • Last One Is a Rotten Egg by Diane de Groat
  • The Easter Bunny Is Missing by Steve Metzger
  • The Cow That Laid an Egg by Andy Cutbill
  • Pig's Egg by Katherine Sully
  • The Berenstain Bears' Baby Easter Bunny by Jan & Mike Berenstain
  • Peter Cottontail's Easter Egg Hunt by Joseph R. Ritchie 
  • The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
  • I Hatched! by Jill Esbaum 
  • Llama Llama Easter Egg by Anna Dewdney
  • Spot's Easter Surprise by Eric Hill 
  • Easter Egg by Jan Brett 
  • Paw Patrol: The Pups Save the Bunnies by Ursula Ziegler Sullivan 
  • Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
  • White Rabbit's Color Book by Alan Baker
  • Brown Rabbit's Shape Book by Alan Baker
  • Brown Rabbit's Day by Alan Baker
  • Black and White Rabbit's ABC by Alan Baker
  • Gray Rabbit's 1, 2, 3 by Alan Baker
  • Puppies and Piggies by Cynthia Rylant 
  • Marshmallow by Clare Turlay Newberry
  • Egg by Kevin Henkes 
  • Shake a Leg, Egg by Kurt Cyrus
  • Peter Rabbit's Happy Easter by Grace Maccarone
  • Happy Easter, Little Critter by Mercer Mayer