This is it…the last letter of the day post. Not sure where I will go from here. Lots rolling around in my head about the rest of the summer and then the fall. Who doesn’t have lots of questions about the fall? I think for the rest of July and the first part of August I will post fun activities that don’t feel academic, but are! Who doesn’t like a learning activity that doesn’t feel like a learning activity? Stay tuned!
Can you believe we are almost done with the alphabet? Guess that means we are almost done with summer too. This year is so hard with so many questions about what to do next. The only answer I have is do what is best for your family. AND in turn be supportive and accepting of other families who are also trying to make this tough decision. No one knows if it is best to stay home or go back. Not every family has the luxury of this choice. We need to practice being supportive so we can stop being judgmental. So… onto the letter Yy
Capital Y– start at the top, slant to the right and middle and back up to the top (forming a v), go down to the point where the two lines touch and draw a straight line down. (most children can form this letter after they are shown how, they often want to make it in three strokes by going left-> middle, right -> middle, down. If they are struggling to determine where to stop, draw a dot for a guide mark)
lowercase y– start on the left, short slant to the right, jump up to the right, longggg slant to the left. (this letter is often tricky as the children want to make a smaller version of the capital or end up making a v with a short tail…. the other issue is swapping the long and short slants. It takes practice!)
Today’s activities: Yak and Yuck
I found two books that both cover the same topic… Yaks who think everything new is yucky!
The Yak Who Yelled Yuck by Carol Pugliano-Martin: (this is a story written to focus on the letter Y). A young yak thinks everything new is yucky until she learns a yummy lesson
Yuck said the Yak by Alex English: Alfie doesn’t seem to worried when a Yak pulls up on a bike, but when the Yak says yuck to everything Alfie offers Alfie thinks the yak is very rude.
Today is a great day to test out new foods! No child wants to be like the yaks and say yuck to everything. It is a great time to encourage children to try foods they have never tried before.
Other Y words/activities:
Yum…well if we did Yuck we might as well do yum
Yellow— create a yellow collage. This is a great way to practice scissor skills and review colors
Yelling– practice working recognizing different voice levels
yo-yo– this is a fun and challenging fine motor activity
Ugh… Xx is such a hard letter. People don’t always even know to pronounce it never mind what activities to work on when teaching it. To answer the first part… Xx is pronounced /ks/ like in the end of ax, box, and max. The second thing… that is harder. The sound of Xx is heard at the end of words not at the beginning. So what to do, what to do… a bit of both?
Capital X — start at the top, slant down going left to right, jump back to the top right above where you finished, now slant down to the left crossing the line you just drew. (if your child struggles to cross the midline, they will struggle making the letter x)
lowercase x– same as the capital, just smaller!
Today’s activities— Xxxxxx
What to Do With a Box by Jane Yolen– a box can be so many things. Children love boxes and boxes allow children to explore with their imagination.
Provide your child with a box, or multiple boxes, and let them be creative. Ask questions. What are you doing? Where are you going? How will you_____? Why? Let them play and encourage the to change their play.
Jessica’s X-Ray by Pat Zonta- Jessica hurts her arm and needs to have an x-ray. She learns about the various ways to look inside (x-ray, CAT-scan, MRI and ultrasound). This book was written by an x-ray technologist!
Have your child choose a body part to look at via x-ray (google images has a wide variety), then provide cotton swabs to have your child use as bones to make an x-ray picture. Gluing onto a sheet of black construction paper helps it show up better.
X Marks the spot… Make a treasure map. You can either make a pretend one or even better… hide something in your yard and make a map for your child to follow to find the item.
Capital W- Start at the top, slant down to the bottom, slant up, slant down, slant up. Sometimes people will write it Straight down, slant up, slant down, straight up, but the lowercase is all slants, so it is easier to teach them both the same way (IMO)
lowercase w- slant down, slant up, slant down, slant up
Today’s activity— WATER!
Water is such a great topic and can go in so many directions. It is also typically a big chunk of two areas of preK standards– needs of plants, animals and humans (drinking water) and the water cycle.
Hey Water by Antoinette Portis– A girl explores her world and sees water everywhere. She notices how the water moves and sounds.
Create a bubble map of all the places you can see water.
A Cool Drink of Water by Barbara Kerley — Everyone across the globe depends on water to drink. This National Geographic book displays people across the globe gathering and drinking water.
This is a great opportunity to talk about how plants, animals and humans need water to survive.
Other water activities:
fill the sink and let your child wash their toys (dolls, cars, or other washable toys)
play outside in a sprinkler
have your child help water the plants
test out items that will sink or float (fun item to try… a peeled and not peeled orange!)
Capital V– start at the top. slant down to the left then slant up to the right. (I often have the children draw a dot at the bottom where I want them to stop and change directions when they start learning how to form this letter. The challenge is to not stop between the two slants.)
lowercase v— same as the capital, just smaller!
Today’s activities: Volcanoes!
All About Volcanoes from SciShow Kids — this shows information about how volcanoes are formed and erupt.
Time to get out the baking soda and vinegar! This is a favorite. You do not have to build a volcano to do this experiment. Put baking soda into a dish (glass dish, baking pan, something with high sides). Next you need vinegar. I typically color this with food coloring, but you do not need to color it. In school, we use pipettes which works on fine motor control, but you do not need to buy these. Have your child
scoop it out with a spoon or even pour it slowly. As you add the vinegar to the baking soda you will see a chemical reaction! Vinegar is an acid and baking soda is a base, so this is causing the reaction. It is creating carbon dioxide, which is the same thing that puts fizz in your soda. Read more here!
When you finish, have your child draw a picture of what happened and then tell you what they saw. It is during this conversation that you can get deeper into the chemical reaction occurring.
My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook– Louis has lots to say. But, he doesn’t know to wait his turn. He interrupts and blurts out anything and everything in his mind. But, he learns to wait and be respectful of providing others a turn to talk.
This is a skill that is hard when children begin going to school, and for some even years into schooling. Children love to share what is on their minds, and while teachers love to listen to their stories, 18 children talking about 18 things at the same time is tough. Children need to learn to wait their turn to talk. This isn’t just in school, but in life. There is a give and take of conversation that children need to develop and learn when to interject and when to stop and listen. It is worth practicing at home.
I hope you are still enjoying the letter of the day activities. I need to start thinking about what we will do next as after today we only have Vv, Ww, Xx, Yy and Zz… that’s it! Any suggestions on where to go from here? My goal is to continue with some review and then take time off in August so I can switch gears and then begin again in early Sept to match what I’m teaching in school.
Capital U- start at the to go straight down almost to the bottom, curve in a smile line, go straight back up to the top
lowercase u– down, curve, up, down on the same line to leave a tail
Activities today— Unicorns!
Unicorn Day by Diane Murray– the most important part of unicorn day is to have fun! When they discover an impostor in their mist… what will they do?
How would you celebrate unicorn day? Have a day for rainbow, glitter, and all things fun.
Never Let a Unicorn Scribble by Diane Alber (read by Diane Alber!) The little girl gets a unicorn and wants to teach it to scribble, but others say she should not… will the unicorn scribble?
Children often need permission to be creative. When children draw we need to recognize that it may not look like what adults expect it to look like, but it is perfect to the child. Children need to feel pride and acceptance in the drawing stage they are already in!
Scribble-(18 months to 3 years)–random exploration of art materials. This helps develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor dexterity, independence and much more
Pre-Schematic Stage – (2 to 4 years)– drawing are simple, but are begin to look more like objects. Color plays a more important roll. Most drawing is outlines. People are heads with arms and legs (Mr. Potato Head people). This continues to work on the previous skills, but adds in observation, problem solving and pencil grip work
Schematic Stage (5-8 years)– more details are added including background and correct coloring. Learn to draw things in a specific way and use it over and over (always draw a house the same way etc). There are typically stories to go with the illustrations. They now work on trial and error, patterns, and interpreting illustrations
Pre-Teen Stage (9-11 years) –Drawings are more detailed, realism and spacial perspective. This is that point where children typically feel they can or CAN’T draw.
Capital T– start at the top, straight line downnn, back to the top (but, on the left of the line), draw a line across the top past the center line
lowercase t– start at the top, straight line downnnn, up to the middle (but, on the left of the line), draw a line across the middle past the center line
Today’s activities: Transportation!
Before you even start, talk about the word transportation. Ask questions:
What form of transportation would you use to travel to Disney World? School?, Grocery Store?, Alaska?, the mailbox? … When asking these questions, ask why. When children answer questions they will often give you a one word answer, but we need to push for the reasoning…. why would you choose that? Why did you not choose ______? Why would you not use an airplane to go to the mailbox? Why would you not use a cruise ship to go to the grocery store? Encourage your child to think beyond the one word response!
Create a graph of different types of transportation. Have your child pick 4-6 types of transportation you might see in your own neighborhood. Take a walk and collect the data of how many of each type of vehicle you observe on your walk.
When you return discuss the graph. Which vehicle did you see the most? Why do you think that was the result? Which did you see the least? What else can you tell me about the graph? How many more cars were there than trucks? How many more planes would you need to see to match the number of bikes?
If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen– Jack describes all the things he would include if he
built his own car.
Encourage your child to create his/her own car (or other vehicle). They can use whatever they want… Lego, loose parts, draw it on paper, whatever. Encourage them to be creative… think outside the box. Then say “Tell me about your car”. If they can’t figure out how to start ask “What does this do?”
Crossing the midline is a skill that is normally developed by 4. Your body has two invisible midlines… down the center of your body and across the torso. Children need to be able comfortably cross the midline to correctly write letters, draw shapes and so much more. Your child needs to be able to fluidly move their limbs across the midline (move your left hand over to the right side of the body in one fluid movement).
There are many skills and activities that practice this skill. But, today I’m going to share one… lazy eights (infinity signs). Having your child draw these in the air or with materials is a great way to practice. But, you can also have your child drive the lazy eight. They need to do it in fluid motions with only one hand at a time. (children who cannot cross the midline will try to swap hands in the middle) The bigger (within a child’s arm reach) the 8 the easier it is for them to drive. This is a great sidewalk chalk activity… create a lazy 8 on the sidewalk and have your child drive their vehicles on the eight.
The letter Ss means sunshine, sandcastles, the seashore and…
Letter Ss song by Jack Hartmann
Printing the letter Ss
Capital S — start in the same place you start capital c, make a little c, before you finish the c, start curving back the other way. (S is one of those letters that you have to do over and over and over to get the muscle memory on how it is formed. Some children see the process easily and others struggle with the motion)
lowercase s– start where you start a lowercase s… follow the steps of the capital, just smaller!
Today’s activities: Seahorses!
Seahorses by Nicole Corse– this is an informational text about seahorses. Learn facts about seahorses.
One Lonely Seahorse by Joost Elfers– The seahorse learns that she has friends as she counts all those she encounters. The illustrations in this book are created from fruits and vegetables.
Capital R- start at the top, straight line downnnn, jump back to the top curve to the right and in at the middle, then slant to the right (Children often struggle with doing the bump and slant in a fluid motion. They want to make the line come out of the bottom of the bump or at a different spot on the straight line)
lowercase r– straight down, up on the same line almost to the top, curve to the right a bit and STOP
Today’s activities: Robots!
Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot by Margaret McNamara– This is a fractured fairy tale based on The Three Little Pigs. It is a great way to compare and contrast stories and introduce the concept of the solar system to your kiddo.
Two easy activities to do with this story would be either a story map or a Venn diagram.
Story Map– have your child illustrate the steps of the story. Talk about characters, setting, and the main idea of the story. You can also discuss beginning, middle and end. While reading the story, have your child make predictions to see if they can guess what will happen next. Since it is set against a familiar text format, they should have an ideas about what will come next.
Venn Diagram. Children at this age are beginning to explain the similarities and differences between many things… including stories.
Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman– Boy meets Bot in the woods. They have a great time together, when Bot get switched off, Boy does everything he can to help his friend feel better. Boy falls asleep and Bot powers back on, now Bot is worried that Boy’s powers is low and tries to help him.
This is a great book to talk about empathy and how to help others.
Roll and draw/roll and make: The children roll a dice and then have to use that shape to make a part of his/her robot. They can draw the parts or you can have them prepared ahead of time and have him/her glue the pieces as needed. When I do this, I do not say… ok now roll for your head. Ok now roll for your body etc… But just have the children roll. Some may start at the top and work their way down, but others may go all over to figure out where they pieces fit. Plus, they may add items you would not think to add.
R is for Robots: A Noisy Alphabet by Adam Watkins — Silly robots build the alphabet and represent the letters with noises. B- beep boop, K- kapow, R- rattatat
Have your child think of other words and sounds that can represent the letters of the alphabet.
Practice Robot Speak to review syllables.
Transform an empty box into a robot, robot head or even robot costume
Qq is often a letter that is hard to teach. There are some great Qq words, but they are more abstract for kids… quarter, quartet, quarantine?? I don’t typically like to go with queen either so… here we go
Capital Q- start like capital C, close it up, jump inside the bottom right of the “O” and draw a slanted line from left to right
lowercase q- start like a lowercase c, go up just past the start, back downnnn on the same line, give it a hook to the right
Quilts is typically a topic I teach in January. This year I did not since I taught polar animals instead. It is a fun topic and easily allows for math, writing, and art projects… so here we go!
Today’s activities: Quilts!
The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy Tanya loves listening to her grandmother talk about their family quilts. Grandmother collects fabrics from the family clothing to collect memories. When Tanya’s grandmother becomes ill, Tanya teacher herself to quilt in order to finish the quilt.
** Make a paper quilt. Her are two suggestions…
Name quilt. Provide your child with a paper that has a grid on it. Have your child write his/her name in the squares on the grid over and over with a marker. Then color each letter to create the quilt pattern… see the photo. Point out that this creates a pattern.
Geometric quilt- provide your child with a paper and have your child use geometric shapes to create the quilt. Squares, triangles, rectangles, hexagons, rhombus and other shapes work.
The Kindness Quilt by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace Minna’s teacher asks the students to work on a kindness project. Each child is asked draw and share and act of kindness. Minna cannot decide which to share, so she makes a “quilt” of all of her examples.
**Create a family kindness quilt. Have each family member create a square or two or more to show acts of kindness. This is a great way to focus on how we each can do more to be kind to each other.
What else can you do?
Make a quilt fort
Take a quilt outside and have a picnic
Make your own family quilt
learn to sew (paper with holes punched into it and shoe strings are a great way to start)
cut images out of magazines into squares and/or triangles and use them to make a quilt