Thursday, April 12, 2018

Weekly Learning Theme: St. Patrick's Day

How have I still not posted about our St. Patrick's Day learning theme?!!? I was looking through my drafts and saw how behind I am with getting my learning theme posts up. They are just so time consuming, I tend to get other quicker ones done first. Plus I like to be timely with birthday posts so these get pushed back. We did our learning theme on St. Patrick's Day the week before St. Patrick's Day. I would just skip this post but I like looking back at previous years' posts when starting a holiday related learning theme. Read about last year's learning theme 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.
  • I wrote St. Patrick's Day on a sentence strip. Carter looked at it, identifying the letter names and sounds. We also talked about why some of the letters were capitalized.

  • I came across these Green Eggs and Ham bingo dabber pages a while back and thought they'd be fun to do for St. Patrick's Day. There was a page with capital letters in the yolk part of the egg and then blank pages. I gave Carter the one with capital letters and asked him to dab specific letters so he could identify letter names for me. On a blank page I wrote the lowercase letters. That time I had him dab a letter and then tell me it's letter name as he did it. For Elise I drew circles and squares inside the yolk. First I asked her to dab all the squares. Then I asked her to dab all the circles.

  • I also found some math dabber pages I liked here. I printed one for Carter to practice counting and then identifying the correct numeral to represent the number of items. The other page was a graphing page where he counted the number of items in a picture and then made dabber marks on the graph to represent the number of items. When he was finished we talked about which picture there was the most of and which there was the least of. We also practiced with how many more and how many less.

  • I put together a sensory bin with a bean base. I threw in all the gold coins we have along with some green bead necklaces, bow ties, and shamrocks. The kids played with it however they wanted. Then I hid the coins and had them search for them under the beans. When Carter found them all we counted to see how many coins we had. Then we sorted coins with letters on them into one pile and coins without letters on them in the other pile. We compared the piles, deciding which had more coins and which had fewer.
  • I printed some clovers and wrote the letters of the kids' names on them. I gave Carter the letters to spell out his first, middle, and last name. He put the letters in order to spell out his name and kept the shamrocks out to practice with. I gave Elise the letters to spell out her name along with a piece of paper with her name written out on it. She matched the letter on her clover to the letter on the page and glued it down to spell her name. We counted the clovers to see how many letters she has in her name. As she worked I told her the name of the letter she was gluing down. We also talked about what color the shamrocks were.
  • I wrote the sight words I've been working on with Carter down on clovers. We practiced them and then Carter read each one to me as he added it to his word wall. When we were finished he had some blank clovers and wanted to write down words he knew how to spell and then added them to the word wall.

    Writing down the word yellow on one of his clovers.
  • I found some cute printable shamrocks here. We used them for our word wall and for spelling out the kids' names. I also gave them to the kids for cutting practice. I had Carter practice cutting them out by cutting around them. I drew lines on the page for Elise to cut straight lines on the page and make boxes around the shamrocks.
  • Carter made a book using sight words. He wrote different sentences with the "I see a green..." structure. He wrote I and a on shamrocks to make them stand out as the main sight words we were practicing. Then he came up with different green items to list and draw in the illustration.
  • I found a clover pattern block template here. Carter made the clover while we discussed the shapes he used, discussing their attributes. Elise made pictures with shapes. We talked about shape names and color names as she played.
  • I used the same alphabet gold match I used last year. I pretended to be a leprechaun and hid my gold in the living room. Then Carter searched for and found them. As he found a piece of gold, he matched the capital letter on the gold piece to the lower case letter on the sheet of paper. When he was finished we counted the gold pieces to see how many there were.
  • Carter wanted to paint shamrocks using water colors. While he painted I asked him to come up with words that rhymed with green. I listed all the words on a shamrock. Then I said the sounds in pot and asked him to blend them together to make a word. Once he discovered what word we'd made, I asked him to come up with some words that rhyme with pot.
  • Carter practiced blending sounds to read the words pot, green, and gold.
  • I did a green color sort with Elise to practice with the color green. I taped a green piece of construction paper to the wall and gave her sheets of different colored stickers. I asked her to look at the stickers and find all the green ones, sticking them to the paper. It was good practice with finding green in different shades. Carter came in and wanted to play so he helped Elise.

  • On St. Patrick's Day for fun I dyed the toilet water green. Carter didn't seem very impressed but then told everyone about it all day long so I guess he liked it.
  • I had a few different Scholastic Newses about St. Patrick's Day. We read them all and did the activities on the back. The kids' favorite was coloring bubbles to answer questions about a pie chart on the back of the Scholastic News.

  • Each of the kids wrote a book about leprechauns. It was cute to see what they each wrote about their leprechaun. Elise's leprechaun left a present in the toilet which we all got a kick out of!

  • I found a cute St. Patrick's Day book here. I read the book with the kids and then they each colored their pictures and filled in the last page of the book.

  • I taught Elise how to draw a clover by making 3 circles connected to each other and making a rectangle for a stem. She made the circles and then I helped her make the rectangle.

  • The kids took a special St. Patrick's Day bath. I had Carter tell me what colors we needed to mix to make green bath water with our tablets. Then I put some items from our sensory bin into the bath with the kids.
  • I drew a clover on a piece of paper. Then I gave Elise a piece of green construction paper and scissors. She cut the construction paper into smaller pieces and used those pieces to fill in the clover.
  • We made a handprint leprechaun and a handprint pot of gold. I didn't have peach fingerpaint so I helped the kids draw an outline of their hands instead. Then we colored them in to look like what we were making. I meant to leave off Elise's thumb to make the pot of gold and forgot so her pot of gold looked a little silly. Elise used a bingo dabber to make the gold on her pot of gold. Carter colored in his leprechaun and then drew a rainbow on the page.

  • I printed a leprechaun face coloring page here. Carter and Elise each colored one. Carter drew a face on his leprechaun and Elise just colored the picture without making a face. 
  • Carter wanted to paint a shamrock. I drew one for him to fill in with paint. Then he free hand painted some of his own.
  • I used the kids' handprints to make a shamrock. I put green fingerpaint on their hands and made 2 prints of each of their hands to make a shamrock. Then I painted a stem on the picture.
Special Snack:
  • Carter had been asking to make another gingerbread house so I decided to come up with some kind of house to make with graham crackers rather than gingerbread. I searched on pinterest and found an adorable idea for making leprechaun houses. We followed the directions a bit loosely, making our own houses. Ty helped Carter make his and I helped Elise make hers. The directions we followed can be found here. We saved them until the next day. Carter wanted to eat his but Elise didn't want to eat hers.
  • We made green muffins following this recipe. I loved that the muffins were colored with spinach so it was a healthier option than food dye. The muffins had banana and spinach in them so they were tasty and somewhat healthy.
  • Our tradition on St. Patrick's Day is to have green eggs for breakfast while I read Green Eggs and Ham to the kids.
Make Believe:
  • We had so much fun pretending to be leprechauns. I set up a dress up basket full of green clothes and leprechaun themed clothes. We took turns dressing up and then hiding gold so we could have a gold hunt.

  • We listened to a St. Patrick's Day station on Pandora. We also sang some St. Patrick's Day songs I had from my classroom.
  • We played a shamrock hunt game here. Carter and Elise each played, counting the shamrocks as they found them. I had Carter tell me how many he was going to have to find on the next page. The next page always had one more shamrock so he had to add one each time.
  • We also read a Starfall book about clovers here.

 Field Trip/Interactive Experience:
  • We went on a rainbow hunt in our neighborhood. Each kid got a hunt page and looked for items of each color of the rainbow as we went on a walk. Carter drew a picture or wrote the word to show what he found of each color. Elise just made marks on the color each time she found it.
  • The Friday before St. Patrick's Day they had green doughnuts at Krispy Kreme. I checked online for their hot and ready times so we could watch them make green doughnuts but when we got there they were making regular glazed. I had really hoped to actually see them making the green doughnuts but it was still fun to eat a green doughnut. Carter was really excited about how bright the green was when you bit into the doughnut.
    Carter was in school so it was just me and Elise when we picked them up.
  • How to Catch a Leprechaun by Adam Wallace
  • Green, Green by Kana Riley
  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
  • Looking for Leprechauns by Sheila Keenan
  • The Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing 
  • Jack and the Leprechaun by Ivan Robertson
  • Fin M'Coul by Tomie dePaola
  • The Leprechaun Who Lost His Rainbow by Sean Callahan
  • Just a Little Luck by Mercer Mayer
  • There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover by Lucille Colandro
  • St. Patrick's Day by Mari Schuh 
  • St. Patrick's Day by Josie Keogh
  • It's St. Patrick's Day, Dear Dragon by Margaret Hiller
  • Dear Mr. Leprechaun: Letters From My First Friendship by Marvin Nelson Burton
  • St. Patrick's Day Shamrocks by Mary Berendes
  • It's St. Patrick's Day by Rebecca Gomez 


  1. That's cute to look back on. It was odd to see Carter with a brace on his arm and all his teeth. :)