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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bountiful Boynton

I would first of all like to thank my sister-in-law for passing down all her Sandra Boynton board books to us for the baby. These books are wonderful! Fun to read and so much to learn. From rhyming to alliteration, to body parts, to position and direction words, to animals sounds, to counting, to opposites, to ABCs to predicting. These books have it all! They are great for infants and toddlers as well as preschoolers. Also passed down to us were the book and CD Rhinoceros Tap and Philadelphia Chickens. I have yet to listen to the CDs, but I hear they are lots of fun. I would recommend these books to anyone with young children or teachers of young children. There are so many things you can do with each book, I am not even sure where I would begin. I think I might have to just read one and see where the kids go with it. And I especially love that they are board books. I never really appreciated the true worth of board books until my son was born and I realized that literally everything goes in the mouth, not to mention paper tears really easily.
I would also like to mention briefly (since I know not everyone has a Nook), that the Nook Color app of The Going to Bed Book is AWESOME! It is interactive, but not in the same way I have seen other Children's Nook Books where you can click on something and it says the word aloud. This actually has moving things in the pictures that you can click on and make things happen. Great value for $3.99.
One last mention is that Barnes and Noble is actually having a great sale on toys and games. Lot of educational board games that would be great for the classroom!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summertime Schedule

Ahh, Summer is finally here. Time to have fun and play all day! Vacations, trips to the pool, and sleepovers. So what happened to that schedule we got so used to during the school year? It is easy to slack on keeping our kids on their normal routines during the Summer and sometimes that's ok. Just make sure they know your expectations of them. It's ok to tell the kids, we are on vacation, so bedtime is a little more flexible, but make sure that you still have a set time for bed (even if it varies from day to day depending on your activities)and that you still take a bath brush teeth and read a story (or whatever your routine is). The harm from getting too lenient on following a schedule is that if the child begins to learn that anything goes, then when it's time to go back to the old routine, chances are you are looking at some major meltdowns. Another example is screen time. You may be kicked back in your lounge chair gettin some sun on the beach and not notice the kids are playing video games or watching TV for 12 hours a day as long as they are staying out of your hair. Just know that the moment you realize they need to get out and get some exercise, they are probably not going to want to put down that DS or their device of choice... So just make sure you try to keep some kind of schedule even if it is a little more flexible and keep the kids involved in what is going on so they know what to expect.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Children's Lit Corner

First of all I would like to start by saying to all my loyal followers, I have not desserted this blog. It is however for teachers, our off season :) I will be posting now and then during the Summer, but probably not as much as during the school year.

As you should well know by now, I am a huge Eric Carle fan. Special thanks to my sister for enlightening me about the fact that there are Youtube videos of people reading Eric Carle books. Some are just turning the pages while others are animated versions of his illustrations. There is even a video of "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" read aloud by Bill Martin, Jr. Please look these up and use them with your children, I know my baby LOVES them, especially "The Very Busy Spider." I think he likes hearing the animal noises.

Also, I would like to talk about a classic book that I would have never thought to read to my preschoolers, "The Poky Little Puppy." I have it on board book for my baby and as I was reading it to him tonight, I decided there are a lot of things for infants as well as toddlers and preschoolers to learn from this book. First of all, there is the obvious lesson about following directions with the underlying lesson about the Poky Little Puppy getting what he deserves in the end. But if you look more closely, there are direction/position words, life science, counting, the 5 senses, and some great vocabulary in this book also!

I would begin a lesson on this book with making signs. Have the children decide who they want to keep out of a certain area of the room or what instruction they want to give and help them write it on a sign and actually post in the classroom. Next, there is a wonderful opportunity to do some sensory experiments. Have the children act out the story the way it is in the book and then let them make their own version using their senses to hear, smell, feel, see, or taste something that the mama dog is making for dessert. Also, discuss what body part we use for each sense.  Use the positional words by giving them a puppet and having them guide it THROUGH the meadow, DOWN the road,OVER the bridge, etc.

There is some really descriptive vocabulary in the book as well. Ask the kids what "happy as a lark" means and why they was the puppy so happy? When was the last time you used the words roly-poly, pell-mell, tumble-bumble? Ask the children what they think it means and have them come up with more descriptive words. They can describe the animals the puppies see coming up the other side of the hill, use felt board pieces to retell the story or use cards to sequence the order that the puppies encountered each animal.

Overall, I feel this is a great book and should not be overlooked as an old book, but should be brought back to life and used to the fullest extent in the classroom.