Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Using the Planning Journal

In case you don't already know, I have a deep love for our monthly thematic study from 
Mother Goose Time.  Each month I try to do all 20 days.

I have failed every month... for 7 months in a row thinking each month will be different.
Obviously I can't do it all.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

I am not insane, nor do I want to set myself up for failure every month.  It's time to analyze what I am doing, change how I am doing it it, and see where it takes us.

As I was thinking about starting Sweet Pea's newest unit on Ponds, (so excited...this weather is perfect), I remembered back to a blog post from another Mother Goose Time blogger, Keely.  She too realized she couldn't get it all done, so she decided to let her kids pick out six bags of their choosing and she also includes the Celebration Kit.  If they had more time at the end of the month, great!  Grab another bag and let's go!  But if not, that's okay too. 

This.  This is what I needed!  Now the question was:
How do I even choose?  Sweet Pea is only 2.5 years old, and not the best talker.  She just started saying "I like this" last week! Having a conversation with her about what was in each bag and letting her choose, wasn't in the cards for us (yet). 

Here's how I answered that question and planned for March.

I get these two awesome guides every month.  I always use the teacher guide, but I had not figured out how to make the Planning Journal work for me, until today.
This post is all about the Planning Journal.

The Planning Journal has this bad boy in it- The Daily Art Projects, an array of crafts and invitations to create.  I love looking at this page.  This is the only reason why I would open the Planning Journal... to see this beauty.  But not today. 

The Planning Journal also has a calendar that you can follow to help you plan your days throughout the month.  We have a lot of set outings that don't allow us to follow this plan daily, so I needed to choose which days were top priorities.  This calendar helps with that! 

I needed to choose the things that Sweet Pea most loved about MGT.
Monthly book (day 7)
Puzzle (day 7)
I Spy (day 2)
Science card or Cooking card (day 9)
I Can Read book (day 14)
My Little Journal (day 3)

Those are the days I highlighted below.  Only 5 days.  I knew we could fit 8 daily bags.
I want us to fit 8. 
How do I choose 3 out of so many?
I turned to another blog to help me figure it out-- Stacy and her monthly "What's in the Box" post.

By looking through her post,  I could see better what each day had to offer and decide which 3 days Sweet Pea might like the most. I also turned back to the Daily Art Project page looking at what Sweet Pea might like to create.  She absolutely loves painting, so I decided to add:
Duck (day 5)
Alligator (day 19)
Fish (day 20) 

3 craft days and 5 Invitations to Create.  In the words of my girl, "I like this."

I flipped back to the Calendar page and highlighted all the days so I could really focus on them.
Reason 1,347, 987 on why I love MGT: I don't have to use the bags in order.

Now I needed to plan which days I wanted to do when and in what order. 

The Blank Calendar page.
The beauty of MGT is you can make this stuff work for you and your life.  
I decided it might be wise to give myself 2 days per bag.  It allows me to go further, or do an activity more than once, or if the afternoon is beautiful and we want to go to the park and not do MGT, we can do that too.  

I filled in a few days where we will do school with the local co-op in town.  I teach 2-4 year olds arts and crafts and that is when we will use our Celebration Kit!  I just love MGT.

That's our month.
All planned out. 
Now the question is:  Will things go according to plan?
Guess you'll have to keep up with us in March to see how things pan out. :)

Until then,
Happy Planning!

Be sure to follow our adventures on Facebook and grab ideas on Pinterest!


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Tot School: Play-based Assessment

That word used to give me the heeby-jeebies when I taught public school.
Now assessment means something totally different.
Play-based and present observation.

When I assess Sweet Pea and whether or not she knows a skill, I just observe her playing.  Playing! As a former public educator, playing in the classroom is not something incorporated into curriculum or worksheets.  Playing must be intentional but so much learning and fun will be had!  It's something I strived to do in my classroom, especially when I taught 6th grade Science, Math, and Social Studies.

Today I am a stay at home mom.
My little girl learns through play with the help of Mother Goose Time which we love.
She doesn't even realize she's learning, but she is.

What am I doing?
I am playing right alongside her.  Observing her.  Changing things as we go to either challenge her or simplify what we are doing.  Sometimes I just sit back and watch and just thank the Lord for little moments where I get to see her study.

Each month we go over 2-3 new letters, a new shape, and a new color with Mother Goose Time.
I love to combine these and make a game outdoors. We do this pretty often.  It's great time to play, work on fine and gross motor skills, exercise, enjoy the outdoors, and assess what she knows.

I draw shapes on the ground in different colors and place a letter we have learned inside the shape.  I ask my girl to run to a certain letter, or color, or get into a particular shape.  On this particular afternoon, Sweet Pea really wanted to play with her sand.  So I incorporated it!

"Can you pour sand onto the letter that has the /i/ sound? (short vowel)"- this was a challenge that she was able to do!
"Sweet Pea, can you pour sand on the letter R?"- easy to do
"Can you bounce on the letter B?"- working on jumping, a gross motor skill

Soon it was time to try something different with the sand... stamping! 
She worked on pressing shapes into the sand and seeing what was left behind.  I would ask her what shape it was, assessing if she knew what it was.  "Riangle"

 I am so impressed with all that she knows.
Sweet Pea's Sunday School teacher was amazed that Sweet Pea knew all her colors!  I'm amazed too.
I know a lot has to do with Mother Goose Time supplying us with such fun ideas and curriculum.  It's so nice to just open a bag instead of spending hours on Pinterest and coming back with nothing because I got distracted.  Tell me that happens to you too.

Want to see more fun or get great ideas?
Follow me on Pinterest or Facebook!

Happy Assessing!


Monday, February 20, 2017

Tot School: Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is such a fun day to celebrate with kids!
My husband and I don't celebrate Valentine's Day at all, which is fine by me;
however, I do want Sweet Pea to know what the day is about and why.
I still want to make it special for her, but I didn't want to spend money. My desire was to spend some really good quality time talking and making things special for our Love day.
Mother Goose Time to the rescue! 
Every month we get a Celebration Kit in our monthly box that helps us celebrate the holiday/season of that month. Enter in our Valentine Celebration Kit!  We used this kit for several days last week spreading out the activities and adding some more to celebrate the day of love.

On Monday, we met up with a bunch of our homeschooling and stay at home moms and had some fun craft time making our little LOVE BUG Headbands and then we made our own strawberry jam! 
(I couldnt take pictures since I didn't have permission, but here is Sweet Pea's creation)

After making the headband, we placed 3 strawberries and a little bit of sugar into a sandwich size bag. All the tots worked on their smashing and poking skills as they created their own strawberry jam, which they then placed on some homemade bread!  It was a delicious and fun snack! 
You could take it a step further and use a heart shape cookie cutter to cut the bread before spreading the jam.  Some kids did this, but not Sweet Pea.  Once that bread was in her hand, it was to her mouth... she doesn't mess around with food! Ha! 

On Tuesday, which was Valentine's Day, Sweet Pea and I worked on making Daddy a card using some of the supplies from our Celebration Kit.  We also used the Heart Stamp Mother Goose Time sent as our monthly shape stamper...Perfect!

As soon as Daddy walked in the door from work, Sweet Pea started hollerin, "DaDa card! DaDa card!"  It immediately put a smile on his face.

Growing up, breakfast for dinner was always such a special treat.  So that's what we did to make the day a little more special and different without spending money.
Sweet Pea LOVES to help in the kitchen, so she worked hard on stirring the pancake batter together with a touch of pink food coloring for just a little more pizzazz!  I used a 1/4 measuring cup to pour the batter into a heart shape.  We served our pink pancakes alongside scrambled eggs with cheese, smoked breakfast sausage, heart shaped bacon for daddy and me, and strawberry milk thanks to Nesquik!


To end the day, we did one last activity out of our Valentine Celebration Kit... a letter heart matching game.  Sweet Pea is into matching... in fact, she likes to match her bows and socks to what she is wearing that day! This activity was really easy for her, but she still enjoyed it.

At bedtime we read a few of our favorite LOVE books.

What a wonderful way to celebrate without spending more money on stuff!
Next month the Celebration Kit is on St. Patrick's Day and you can download it here! All you have to do is fill out the form!  It's a FREE download!

Happy Celebrating!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

MGT: Manipulative Monday Giveaway!

Are you ready for a giveaway?
There's a million great things about Mother Goose Time, but one of our top 5 things we love is the new manipulatives we get each month.  Manipulatives are hands-on objects children use to work out problems.  They manipulate objects to learn. 
Mother Goose Time sends us 2 new sets of manipulatives each month. One set is usually some kind of counter or sorter, such as a batch of pink and red plastic pigs, or an assortment of colored bears of varying sizes.
The other type of manipulative is usually one that deals with reasoning and logic, such as beakers for pouring or tangram pattern pieces.

What's our favorite way to use manipulatives?

Sweet Pea is 2.5 years old.  Right now she loves to match things together and search and find items. Placing our manipulatives in fun textures is one of our favorite ways to use them.  I buried our bears when we did some one to one correspondence which you can read about here.  We've hidden them in sand, and they are always invited into the bath tub or water table for more water play. 

She also loves to match, so finding 2 of the same color or shape is one of her favorite things to do. "Look Momma...2 yellow trucks." 

Ideas on how to use Manipulatives with Kids:
  1. Create Patterns
  2. Sort by a Characteristic
  3. Work out Math Problems  (use 3 red pigs, bring in 2 pink pigs. How many pigs are there now?)
  4. Use them to tell a story.
  5. One to One correspondence
  6. Just play with them! 

So are you ready to win your own 2 sets of Mother Goose Time manipulatives?

Click on the link below to answer 1 question about how you use or would like to use manipulatives with your little one.

This giveaway will be open from 2/13/17-2/20/17. Prizes will be fulfilled by Mother Goose Time and may vary from those pictured. Must be 18 years or older to enter to win, and a resident of the USA. Void where prohibited by law. Winning entry will be checked to verify completion. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to notification of winning. Failure to respond will be considered forfeiture of the prize and a new winner will be drawn.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want more chances to win?  Click on the link below and "hop" to other Mother Goose Time bloggers who are also hosting the Giveaway.  One winner will be chosen from EACH blog!

Be sure to keep up with our latest happenings on Facebook and Pinterest!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

1, 2 Buckle My Shoe

1, 2 Buckle my shoe
3,4 Shut the door
5,6 Pick up sticks
7,8 Lay them straight
9,10 Do it again!

We are absolutely LOVING this month's Nursery Rhyme Unit from Mother Goose Time!
Each day we learn a new little rhyme with motions to go with it.
This rhyme was on our 2nd day, but Sweet Pea keeps coming back to it- she loves to act it out. 
My teacher guide gave some great examples of what to do with learning this rhyme.
"5,6 Pick up sticks"
The first thing we did was go outside to "pick up sticks" and other nature items.  We collected 6 of each throughout our yard, and then "laid them straight" on our driveway.  I sang the rhyme to Sweet Pea as we scavenged for our collection.  Even Peyton, our golden retriever, helped. 
(acutally he provided entertainment as we watched him chase a squirrel)

6 sticks, acorns, pine cones, acorn caps, more pine cones, and black walnuts.

We sat in our driveway and watched the squirrel dig searching for nuts from our oak trees.  We got to watch him nibble on some, and then almost die, because that squirrel would not run from Peyton, and my dog was excited about a new chew toy. 
" Momma, chase!"

After being outside for a good while, it was time to head indoors for our 
"3, 4 Shut the door"
Mother Goose Time sends us the most beautiful graphics and fun supplies for kids to create with.
Because we do these Invitations so often, Sweet Pea has become great at knowing what and what not to do with the paint. I know painting with toddlers is a daunting task, but I PROMISE you the results are so worth the risk!  We use these finger paints and when they mix they produce some beautiful colors.

The sponges were great to try out stamping with the paint, and it really left some interesting results. 

MGT sent the 3 sponges to be used as paint brushes, and I provided a real paintbrush, but eventually Sweet Pea always returns to her favorite method of painting... fingers.

This was only day 2!  I can't wait to see what the rest of the month has in store.
Be sure the check back on MONDAY for a MGT Manipulative Giveaway!

Until then...Happy Rhyming!

This post has been linked to The Gathering Place on 1+1+1=1