Sep 4, 2009

Totschool, A is for apples

My Totschool posts this year are probably not going to be as full of pictures as they have in the past. Daniel moved up into Pre-K this year, so, although they will be doing mostly the same things, I'm going to split them up and give them their own posts this year. I'll try to keep them as non-repetitive as possible...
We started off the year with a week of A, apples, and Creation. We begin every school day with Circle Time. It only takes us about 10 to 15 minutes, but we pack it full of stuff, so the kids stay interested the entire time. Then I send the big kids to do their math, and the little kids get to explore The Box.
This is an idea I got when I was wandering around A bit of this and a bit of that. She had a cool bag full of little objects for every letter of the alphabet. Well, I don't have lots of cool objects, nor cute little bags, but I could fill a box! I was careful to only use objects that start with the short sound... I really wasn't expecting this to go over well, so I kept it short and sweet. I would open the box, have them trace the pipe-cleaner letter (an idea I got from Carissa ) and let them explore whatever they wanted from the box. We chatted about what was there, emphasizing the "a" sound and repeating often, "A says a". By Wednesday, they were reminding me to get the box. I can't wait until they open it next week and see brand-new stuff in there!
Our method of school for the littles is to stock shelves full of stuff for them and they choose what they want to do and when. They also decide when they are done with school. However, they are required to use the materials properly and respectfully. I was amazed at how, even after the summer "off" and being in a totally different environment than last year, they both instantly knew what to do and were MUCH more independent than my first and second graders! I wish I had known about this method when they were little!
Abbie chose the ABC puzzle often this week. Every time, she would put it together without help, and then call me over to sing the song with her. I would have to watch for her to choose this so that I could ID letters for her as she went along.

She also chose coloring a lot. I have crayons, clipboards, stamps, ink pads, blank paper (in two different sizes) and paper with themed pictures on them all in a tray on their shelves. This is a new thing this year, and Abbie loved it. She handled the responsibility well. She tasted not a single crayon! Whoohoo!
During the course of the week, our wonderful Daddy fixed their wooden table and the little kids were able to do their artwork at a table. It was a great improvement over the clipboards and made us all very very happy. We have the best Daddy in the world!
Stamping was quite a hit this week. They had a big A and a small a and the number 1 and all the blank paper they wanted. I insisted on the aprons, but they were so cute that I didn't have to insist very hard!

These apples were numbered 0 to 5 and the kids had to count out raisins (seeds) to match the number. They were both a little bothered by zero at first, but seemed to understand my explanation that zero means none.

The play dough was also chosen often the first couple of days. However, on Tuesday, all three little kids pulled the dough into tiny pieces and scattered it all over the floor. So this work was removed from the shelf and replaced with this...

which I printed from kiz club. Abbie chose this once, did it easily, and ignored it the rest of the week.

Same with the apple sorting. I don't remember where this came from, I used it with them last year and got the same "ho-hum" reaction then, too. Sorting by color is just not something that interests my kids, I guess.

She also chose to sequence apple trees by season,

read books,
and put apples on a tree. She did this so quickly that I had show me each color, and then count each color. Then we sang "One Little, Two Little, Three Little Apples" as we put the apples on and then took them off again. She loves anything to do with singing.

Of course, I had real apples out on the shelf for them to examine. On Friday afternoon, we peeled and cut them and made applesauce out of them! (I have no pictures of this activity for three reasons. One: I was wielding a sharp knife and didn't want to put it down for fear of grabby little hands. Two: My hands were all "appley". Three: Abbie was in such a state of un-dress that I won't post on the Internet, so there wasn't much use taking pictures for you anyway.) But they had a great time examining the different parts of an apple, seeing the "star", watching a cut apple turn brown, and eating the peelings while I worked.

Our group art activity was gluing torn red paper onto apple shapes. They worked on these until I finally refused to tear up any more paper. :)
There were other things that Abbie did that I didn't catch a picture of. Somehow, things seem a little busier around here than last year! Since the big kids are doing "real" school during the mornings, and the teenagers are actually showing up, I don't get to give my tot my undivided, attention all morning. She also poured marbles, put toothpicks in a sugar container, played alphabet bingo, and enjoyed our View-Master.
For lots more Totschool posts, check out Carissa's blog. You will be glad you did!


Kellie said...

I love your apple activities! Thanks so much for sharing!

Kylie said...

Wow you guys are busy. Love your activities. I so can't wait until I can set up trays for my tot. :)

lifewiththelyngs said...

I love the apple tree sequencing. Great stuff!

The Activity Mom said...

Great activities! The Aa box is awesome!

Michelle said...

What a great week you gave me lots of great ideas to use with Emily. Thank you!

Denise said...

Love the a box!

Nicki said...

You did so much stuff! We are doing an apple theme this coming week, so maybe I'll borrow some of your ideas!

Mama Jenn said...

Thanks for the Kidz Club link. I have never been there before!!

Felicia said...

I love A box! I will have to try that! Thanks for sharing!


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