Friday, November 18, 2011

Montessori Materials

I was looking into purchasing a few Mathematics Montessori items.  Can anyone recommend a good, honest company with quality materials?
Thanks a bunch,

Friday, September 23, 2011

Alyssa's All About Spelling Updates

Alyssa turns 4 in November! Yikes ... where did the time go?
Please do not use pictures or content without permission. 

All About Spelling (Level 1)
Alyssa is doing very well with the All About Spelling Curriculum.  I read somewhere that you can move onto the second lesson even though the student has NOT mastered Lesson 1 sounds, so ... that is exactly what we did.  Alyssa struggles with the pronunciation of the /c/, /k/, /ck/, and /ch/ sounds.  Notice that all of these letters share the same sound for at least one of their sounds.  She can tell me associated words for each letter or sounds so we moved on and will continue to review them as we go.  I think a lot of it has to do with her age right now.  We just finished lesson 10 today.  My plan was to take it slow but Alyssa had another other plans.  She is zipping through the lessons without any hesitation.  I was planning on doing it every day except for now that she is enrolled in gymnastics on Tuesdays and dance on Wednesdays - those two days are shot and schoolwork is limited.  We live at least 30-45 minutes away from both locations.  We make use of our nights and days that daddy works when she is motivated to do more.  We just started taking the spelling tests and Alyssa has written all the words correctly so far and continues to spell them correctly each day we review.  Her handwriting looks pretty good in my opinion ... actually my family and friends say it is better than mine.  So sad! I watch as she writes the words to make sure she is forming the letters correctly.  If she were to have any problems with letter formation, then I would write them on an anecdotal record that I have ready.  For some odd reason, she started wrote her "f" backwards one day.  She found her mistake and now checks to make sure she is writing it correctly.  I have noticed that she is a bit of a perfectionist.  She gets frustrated when things aren't "perfect" or "right" even though whatever is bothering her looks GREAT.  I have told her from the beginning that it is okay to make mistakes and that they are learning opportunities.  She wrote sentences for the last two tests using two of the spelling words.  She writes the sentence herself starting with a capital and punctuates at the end.  So far, punctuation marks have been correct.  In fact, now that I am thinking about it ... she has decided that for EVERY word she will dictate a sentence during tile work.  This can make lessons a bit longer than they are supposed to be.  Not to mention she also likes to do some sort of physical activity while spelling the word (hop tile to tile, dribble a ball, cheer spell, hop backwards, etc.).  These are just a few of the activities that she has created on her own as we work.  She has been enjoying All About Spelling.  Today I asked her what her favorite part was and she said, "My favorite part is the spelling test. What's yours?"  I will post a pic or two of her spelling work but I am not sure you'll be able to see it.  I always let her choose a sticker when she gets them all correct along with a little treat.
*I had to remove two photos because I didn't realize Alyssa wrote her entire name on the paper.  Oh and this is not my first choice for handwriting paper but it is all that we have so we are making it work.  
I usually link up at Preschool Corner and 1+1+1=1.  Check the links to see what other families are doing this week.
Thank you for visiting and I hope to hear from you soon!
God bless,
Tracey M.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Expressing Feelings

PLEASE do not use the pictures or content on this blog without prior permission - the photos are my own and are copyrighted.  PLEASE provide a link back to my blog if you found something useful or when referring to this content.  The use of small items requires close parent or teacher supervision at ALL times. Thank you and enjoy your visit! 

Excuses ... Excuses
Today is a catch-up day.  We have been traveling to see a family member in the hospital and we have been a bit preoccupied with how she is doing.  Then, each of us became sick.  Alyssa had nose issues (runny and stuffy), Jeff came down with a cold, and I had a migraine that lasted several LONG days.  We also started several reorganization projects and had to help daddy pack for his two week long vacation.  So, my blogging adventures were set aside temporarily.  Not to mention MANY other exciting things have been happening around here ... things that constantly distract me.

Sonrisas Spanish Lesson 2: Hola y Adios
We FINALLY received a few of my interlibrary loan items so we were able to move forward with our Spanish lessons.  I must say ... I didn't realize how long it would take for interlibrary loan requests.  Several of the books I really wanted were not available. While Alyssa and I waited we did additional Spanish activities I created around the themes Sonrisas presents in their curriculum.

My plan is to also teach sign language (ASL) using the thematic units introduced in the Sonrisas Spanish Curriculum (if and when possible).  I would like to expose Alyssa to more than one language this year.  We are thoroughly enjoying the Spanish lessons and of course we had yet another GREAT lesson! The activities seem to engage her attention and I know that she is having loads of fun. She still asks to do school every day and prays before bed that we can do even MORE school the next day.  Her favorite curriculums at this point I believe are Sonrisas Spanish and My Father's World K.

Teacher Manual
The teacher manual has been such a great resource and guide for me.  The format is easily read and well organized.  I love the structure of the lessons and how the lessons aren't so detailed that you want to set the book aside.  The manual tells you exactly what you need to be teaching that day in a concise way.  It also states the vocabulary terms and phrases to use throughout your lesson.  The art lesson is on a separate page which helps when presenting the lesson (using the guide).  Their format also gives me some sort of structure for Spanish lessons or activities that I have created.  I just change out the book and art activities.  I often will add in other subjects as well.

We listen to songs during both calendar and circle time.  Alyssa has learned the words for the Spanish songs that we use consistently.  I never did end up writing the lyrics on sentence strips like I originally thought about doing.  I think what helped was that in my free time I listened to the CD and at times glanced at the lyrics in the manual to help me.  Then, I taught her the correct words as we sang the songs.  In the beginning the songs were still new to us but we are both becoming more familiar with them.  She dances like a maniac to the songs!  Sometimes, I have to remind her to sing. She is doing much better with calendar time.  She can respond in a complete sentence as to what the day and month is for that lesson.  I also ask her in Spanish what the day is today, yesterday, and tomorrow.  I do remind her to speak in Spanish only.  We also create a pattern with our calendar pieces and she predicts what number and picture (in Spanish) will be on the next calendar piece.  We were already doing this during regular calendar time.  I teach her the vocabulary for the calendar pieces ahead of time so that she will be able to respond appropriately.  She LOVES predicting the numbers, colors, or objects that will be next.  I will have to get an updated picture of our calendar soon.

Circle Time
We have been using a different ball to play the Me llamo game.  Alyssa was having a difficult time catching the smaller hacky sack ball so we started using a huge exercise ball. We will continue to play by using smaller balls each time until she is comfortable with catching the larger ones.  This also helps her work on eye-hand coordination.  We have been known to bounce the ball back and forth during the Me llamo game.  We also make sure we practice both overhand and underhand tosses for some extra PE skills.
We found a cute girl puppet for a dollar at Michael's a year or two ago.  We use if during the hola y adios role play activity.  Alyssa adores the puppet.  She has blonde hair and is extremely friendly not to mention very curious and talkative.  I often sneak her in during lessons.  Alyssa likes to play games with her and teach her new vocabulary words. She is so giddy when I bring her out - it's so funny.  Her name is Ana.   

Story Time
I REALLY think I have a problem ... an addiction LOL! I enjoy searching for and thinking about ways I could add in more activities to compliment the already amazing Sonrisas lessons.  This is one of those distractions I was telling you about.  You can find more feelings activities below listed under supplemental activities.  We were unable to find the original book listed in the manual, however the book Cuando Estoy was recommended was recommended by the company.  Alyssa's father joined us for the reading of this book. The book is very basic and was easy to read in Spanish.  Alyssa attempted to read parts of it aloud.

Alyssa has been intrigued with Spanish lately.  She wrote the Spanish words hola and adios on the art activity for this lesson.  She learned additional vocabulary during this lesson too.  The cutting was a bit of a challenge for her but she INSISTED on doing it herself.  The manual has more information about this activity ... I am trying not to give out too much information.

Home Report
Alyssa comprehends and is able to use the terms hola and adios appropriately which was a review for her.  However, now she can also respond in a complete sentence to the question, "Como estas?" I bet you can guess what her response is most of the time. That's right - she is usually happy.

Supplemental Feelings Activities (not part of Sonrisas) 
I printed the Childcareland Feeling Faces to create stick puppets as props for Lesson 2.  I did not add the English translation to the sticks as shown in her video.  I will eventually add the Spanish vocabulary terms to the sticks.
We use them in several ways:
1.) Sing the song Buenos Dias (Track #2). We add additional verses to the song and replace words with different feelings or emotions. There are several instrumental parts in the song where these verses are added and then obviously at the end of the song.
2.) Several times throughout the day I ask Alyssa in Spanish "How are you?" I show her the puppets and she says,"si or no."  Then, she uses a complete sentence to tell me how she feels at that moment.  I try to have them on hand so that I can catch her different emotions. I still ask her if the puppets are not available.
3.) Once the Spanish words are added we will use it as a quick matching game (match puppet to emotion or feeling word).
4.) We flipped the puppet sticks face down on the table and turned one over at a time (took turns).  After flipping a face over and stating what it was in Spanish, we proceeded with acting out the feelings.
5.) I saw a feelings paper plate activity in a Mailbox magazine while browsing teacher resources at a nearby education store.  I do not know which one is was because I never bought the item.  Different facial expressions were created with eye and mouth clip art.  I am sure you could create Spanish expression cards and place them in a pile face down. The child could flip over the card, say the expression in Spanish, and create the paper plate face according to the feeling.  This could also become a drawing activity.
*NOTE: The last three activities could also be done in English.

I will be linking this activity up at Preschool Corner and 1+1+1=1. Click on the links to find out what others did this week.  I hope to hear from you soon.
God bless,

Monday, August 8, 2011

Homeschool Buyers Coop
Homeschool Buyers Co-op
#1 Way to Save

Howdy! I hope you are all having a great day! I just recently posted our curriculum choices for this year so if you are interested in seeing what we are using click on the curriculum link above.

I have to tell you about one way that I save money on Alyssa's curriculum.  I came across this website one day called the Homeschool Buyers Coop.  Even though I was hesitant at first to create a FREE account because it was unlike anything I had ever seen or heard of before ... I did after contacting the co-op with several questions. I don't regret making the decision to join.  I highly recommend you participate and become a member in this co-op opportunity.  My family and I have personally benefited from our membership.  I can't tell you how much money they have saved me just this year.  The cost for curriculum was much lower than the retail prices so I had the chance to purchase a variety of curriculum within our school budget. Alyssa will be exposed to different teaching methods and can learn in many ways.  I am soooo grateful to Brett Walter and his co-workers for dedicating their time to this project.  It's WONDERFUL!

This is how it works: School districts have purchasing power when buying curriculum and homeschooling families DO NOT since we buy items as individuals.  Brett has created a homeschool co-op so that homeschooling families can also have access to affordable curriculum reasonably priced with discounts ... DEEP discounts at times. Membership to this co-op gives us even more purchasing power! So why not join and then let the world know!!! LOL!

The Homeschool Buyer Co-op is a free homeschooling organization for both new and veteran homeschoolers.  Co-op membership is free and confidential, and entitles homeschooling families to discounts from hundreds of educational suppliers.  The Co-op also sponsors "Group Buys" for curriculum packages that can save homerschooling families lots of money. On the site you'll find lots of free information, such as databases of free curriculum, field trips, and educational contests and scholarships. 
Click here for more information.

Free Membership Includes:
Exclusive Discounts from Suppliers
Group Buy Discounts
Free Homeschool ID Cards
Free Homeschool Resources
Free Classifieds
Smart Points and the Reward Center

You can find out how to earn Smart Points and what you can do with them by clicking the links above.  Make sure you read all the terms so that you understand the process well.  I purchased my husband's promotion books through a company listed under the Smart Points Get Em' tab - scroll down to the bottom.  I was awarded Smart Points and they were used for a recent Art purchase.  I definitely plan on utilizing this feature around Christmas time. Last year I purchased most of my gifts online ... because I just don't like crowed areas and the seasonal shopping attitudes.  This year I can do the same thing and receive Smart Points for purchasing items from popular shops I already use.

You REALLY SHOULD check it out soon! Right now, they have some pretty amazing deals including but not limited to:
1.) Rosetta Stone until August 11th, 2011
2.) Family Time Fitness until Aug. 29th, 2011.
3.) Little Passports until August 17th, 2011
4.) ABC Teach August 29th, 2011
5.) Math Mammoth until August 22nd, 2011
6.) IXL Math
7.) Let's Go Learn DORA and DOMA
8.) Atelier Art until August 2nd, 2011
9.) Intellego Unit Studies K-8th Grade
10.) Discovery Education Plus
11.) Teacher File Box until August 31st, 2011
12.) Explode the Code Online
13.) Click N Read Phonics (Lifetime)
14.) Home School in the Woods

Others offers posted include companies such as BJU Press, Alpha Omega, Brain Pop, Critical Thinking Company, Simply Music, Door Posts, etc. You know that you are already drooling - so just go and see what I mean for yourself.  Click on the logo or link above.  It doesn't hurt to look ... mull it over and decide for yourself but if your interested in one of the time sensitive discounts above join before the deals end. There is no guarantee that deals will be back at another time.  Certain curriculum offers have expiration dates while others are ongoing (for now). 
Possible Offers Coming Soon
1.) Reading Eggs
This deal will be super sweet and save you a bundle!  Alyssa absolutely LOVES this website. She enjoys earning eggs and their cute critters.  I purchased my subscription from the actual company in February.  I wish I had known this deal was coming! I can't transfer or extend Alyssa's progress or subscription otherwise I would jump on this deal in a heart beat.  I tried the two week trial to see if Alyssa would be interested in this program ... and she was.

2.) Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett
They are currently working on an agreement to launch this one in possibly a couple of weeks.  Be on the look out! 

Those programs are just the ones that am interested in ... YOU should see if they have any deals listed for your child's age group.  

After we purchased Rosetta Stone for the family we used those Smart Points and ones I had saved up from previous purchases to buy Meet the Masters.  This may not be available anymore but you can always ask the HSBC or make a curriculum suggestion to them.  I make suggestions all the time!  I only paid a service fee of $1.95 for their time and service to set-up the account.  Meet the Masters is a 3 year online art curriculum and I am super excited about trying it with Alyssa.  We have made several other purchases from the HSBC including the Right Start Math curriculum and Explode the Code online to name a few. Alyssa enjoys the online Explode the Code subscription and I can track her progress to learn how to meet her needs better.  We both love the math program and I am happy to say that she is not stuck doing seat work all day. The math curriculum teaches mental math and we play lots of games to practice concepts.  I am blessed to have found this co-op.  It was easy, secure, and safe! I hope to one day purchase Discovery Education Plus from them ... but just can't afford it right now.     

Disclosure: I will earn Smart Points if you join through my blog ... that gives us the opportunity to purchase additional curriculum for Alyssa next year.  You are also awarded 100 points just for joining.  So if you decide to think it over please return and join through my links. I would really appreciate it and of course there is no obligation to join.  I won't know who joined and who didn't unless you personally tell me. Thank you so so much!  Have a great day!  

Thank you,
Tracey M.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Curriculum 2011-2012

Eclectic Curriculum Choices
This year I wanted to participate in the Not Back To School Blog Hop hosted by Heart of a Matter.  This is the week that everyone posts curriculum choices for the year.  I love hearing about curriculum choices and I really enjoy seeing how different people organize their school materials.  Yes, I am also a curriculum junkie and I am completely addicted to teaching and the learning process.  My curriculum choices are very eclectic - curriculum choices were made based on Alyssa's abilities, interests, and learning style.

I have been racking my brain for a couple months (well, it has been longer than that) trying to decide how I want to organize our school time, how to organize the classroom, and what curriculum I should use with Alyssa. I have been making purchases and looking for deals for over two years.  I have FINALLY made some choices. Several of you will probably think I am CRAZY, but I am following Alyssa's interests and abilities. Please do not judge me.  I would NEVER EVER force learning on my daughter nor am I in a rush. I am sure that things will change over the year so things are not set in stone - these are tentative curriculum choices. We will probably eliminate curriculum - I will adjust things as we go because I always plan too much. We will also continue using the workbox system by Sue Patrick to organize her subjects. It works well for us and has since Alyssa was 15 months old.  I will be putting one subject in each container for her to complete.

All About Alyssa
Right now as I type this, Alyssa is 3 years and 8 months old. She absolutely LOVES school and literally begs for school on a daily basis. She would do it ALL day if I let her. I am serious!  She is an avid reader. She loves everything reading, singing, dancing, art, math, etc! I believe her favorite subject right now has to be either Reading or Spanish. She is currently reading Aesop's Fables by Sheila Carroll and Reading Literature: The Primer by Harriette Taylor Treadwell (Yesterday's Classics).  These two books are read by her almost every night.  Her favorite story from the Primer is "The Pancake."  I love the way she reads it and hope one day to record it.  Daddy had the pleasure of hearing it last night.  

So here are our choices for this year ...

1.) Horizons K Reading and Phonics ... so far too easy ... hoping it will challenge her soon so that she doesn't get bored with it.  I also didn't realize it was so workbook intensive. She is in the phase where she likes worksheets, so we are good for now.  I place the worksheets in sheet protectors and use things like bingo chips and wikki sticks to give it some flare.  I am still on the search for an appropriate curriculum for her - no luck yet!  She adores the little readers. We snuggle up in a bean bag chair. I have her look at the title and picture to predict what the story might be about. Then, she reads the story for the day. There are currently no comprehension questions but I always make up a few and she does well with them. I have been adding in activities here and there to compliment the lessons to make it more hands-on.
2.) Itty Bitty Bookworm (Literature-Based Author Study)
We will try to study one author per month instead of the two listed to make it last longer and for a more in depth study.  This is the Year 3 Bo curriculum.  I waited and purchased during one of their BOGO offers.  
3.) Reading A-Z
4.) Read Alouds (Book Lists Available Online)
     MFW Kindergarten Literature Collection
     Sonlight Read Aloud Book List (Core A)
     Living Books Curriculum Book List K
     EpiKardia K
     Simply Charlotte Mason
5.) DEAR time (Drop Everything And Read)
6.) DORA Reading Assessment

Sight Words
Note: Since she can already read most of the sight words ... her goal this year is to learn how to also spell them and use them in context.
1.) Rainbow Words (more on this later)
She has already learned to spell the first color level of words and has received her reward.  The second color level is just as easy so I am sure she will complete that one soon. I plan to purchase the second level upon completion of Level 1.
Other Sight Word Resources:
2.) Ready2Read from Moffatt Girls
3.) Spell City
4.) Sight Word Games and Activities
*I would love to purchase Heidi Songs Sing and Spell!
1.) Explode the Code Book 1
I have a feeling she will zip through this book since she uses their online program. She passed their pretest in the book with flying colors. She is currently working on Lesson 6. She reads the directions to me and completes the pages without help.  I do supervise and watch for correct letter formation so that bad habits are not formed early. We place the worksheets in the Crayola Activity Center (used a Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon to purchase). 
2.) Explode the Code ONLINE (K-4)
She is about to start book two online.
Other Phonics Resources:
1.) AlphaPhonics 
2.) Frontline Phonics
*I wish I could try Rocket Phonics.

1.) All About Spelling Level 1
She knows most of the sounds represented in Lesson 1 and we are currently working through Lesson 4 to assess letter formation.  We play lots of games to help her learn the letter sounds represented in the AAS lesson and we use a lot of hands-on activities from HWOT to practice letter formation.

2.) Rainbow Words (see above ... more on this later)
3.) Spell City

2.) Handwriting Without Tears Get Set For School Pre-K (T, Th)
I believe Alyssa can already write almost all of the letters both capital and lowercase so I think she will zip through both of these levels if we consistently use them)
handwriting.gif     GSS.jpg

1.) Sentence School (HWOT - 3X  per week)
2.) Wordly Wise K (daily)
99_375_large.jpg    a772ccaaef653266b9d5421e.jpg

1.) Grammar Tunes (McGraw-Hill Reading and Language Arts)
2.) Grammar Tales (books)
3.) Sentence School (HWOT)
4.) Morning Message
5.) First Language Lessons Year 1 (Focus on Nouns/Poems)        
My hope is to find games and activities that compliment the
lessons taught.  Any suggestions?
6.) Homeschool Creations Poems for FLL

Poetry Binder
1.) K-1 Poetry Notebook created by Busy Teacher Printables
2.) Homeschool Creations Poems for FLL
3.) MFW K Theme Related or Seasonal Poems

Poetry Basket
2.) Idea borrowed from My Montessori Journey

Tentative Daily Poetry Activities
Mondays - Pocket Chart Choral or Shared Reading
Tuesday -  Highlighting Work
Wednesday - Cut Apart Envelope Work
Thursday - Retell with props
Friday - Share with Daddy (read or memorize) 

2.) Math U See Primer (Th, F, Sat. or Sun.) 
3.) Calendar Time (Spanish and English)
4.) DOMA Math Assessment    
index.asp.jpg     primer-instruct.jpg

Other Supplemental Math Resources:
1.) Math Mammoth Complete Curriculum or Light Blue Series
2.) Saxon, Mathematics Their Way, EB Singapore
3.) Math Tub Exploration and Discovery
4.) Math Games, Center Activities, and Gross Motor Acitivities
5.) School Bell's Number Tubs 

Bible (History and Science) - parts of each curriculum
1.) My Father's World K (M, W, F ... Science Animal Units) 
2.) Weaver Interlock (T, Th, Sat./Sun.)
3.) Little Hands to Heaven (supplement or morning devotional)

Nature Study 
1.) Nature Walks and/or Hunts
2.) Research and Living Books
3.) Anna Comstock Nature Book
4.) Handbook of Nature Study for Young Children
5.) Charlotte Mason Nature Study or Ambleside Nature Study
6.) Nature Narration, Journaling, or Scrapbooking

Holiday Study (9 Historic American Holidays)
I Love America Volume 1
I Love America Volume 1.JPG.jpg

Spanish (M, W, F)
1.) Sonrisas Spanish School Curriculum
This curriculum was recently updated and released in July.  I have been blogging and posting pictures about our experiences with this curriculum.  See posts here. Check it out!
2.) Thursday Bilingual Story Time at Library
3.) The Complete Book of Starter Spanish (Pre-K-1) and The Complete Book of Spanish (Grades 1-2).
yhst-58088773600178_2162_169588.jpg     ref=sib_dp_pt.jpg

Other Spanish Resources:
1.) Little Pim (DVD 5) We won this last year from their blog!
2.) Spanish Champs Level 1 - may use after or at the same time as Sonrisas (not sure yet).
3.) Muzzy (Alyssa likes this ...)
4.) Rosetta Stone Latin America
She will sit in while her father learns Spanish for his job. We found a deal at the HSBC - it continues until I think Aug. 11th.
5.) Mango Languages
This is a FREE online program available through our library (Check to see if yours has it or Rosetta to save money! This may
also be listed under computer or Accountable Kids ticket time.
Sign Language Resources (T, Th, S.)
1.) Signing Time Classroom Edition - Unbelievable Ebay deal!
Other Sign Language Resources:
1.) Wee Signs (ABC, Nursery Rhymes, Colors, Numbers, Animals)
OMG! I was at our local teacher store searching through their
60% off piles and I found three Wee Signs DVDs!
2.) Starfall Alphabet Sign Language
4.) Sign Language Wall Charts (in binder) and Books 
Centers (on days off or whenever time allows)
1.) Fine Motor Skills - Montessori Methods and 1+1+1=1
2.) Math Games
3.) Reading Games
4.) Phonics, Phonemic Awareness, Fluency, and Comprehension

Computer Time (limit 30 minutes per day)
1.) Explode the Code Phonics (M, W, F) Book Two
2.) Reading Eggs (T, Th, S/Sun.) First round almost finished!
3.) Click n' Read Phonics (lifetime subscription) Please mention
my name Tracey Masters and they will pay a small referral fee so that I can eventually purchase Click and Spell.  Sorry I had to ask.
4.) Starfall (FREE sections)
5.) Mango Languages (FREE - any and all languages)

Creative Art (T, Th.)
1.) Artistic Pursuits K-3 Book 1
2.) Atelier Level 1 Module A, B, C
10_k-3_1.jpg     level-1-curriculum.jpg

Theater, Museums, and Galleries 
1.) Magik Theater Productions and Guides (plays on stage)
So far she has only seen Pinkalicious, but the plan is to purchase a family membership in August to save money in the long run.
2.) Field Trips

Art Appreciation and Picture Study
1.) Meet the Masters (3 Year Access)
2.) Child-Sized Masterpieces (AKA Mommy, It's a Renoire)
3.) Come Look With Me Series

Music (W, Sat. or Sun.)
1.) Music for Little Mozarts 
2.) Music Made Easy - Guitar Alpha Omega
3.) Pfeiffer Music Curriculum K-6 (lesson once a month)???
4.) Introduction to Classical Music with Art (Part of MFW K)
*I would love Kinderbach or the Pianimals curriculums!
Note: I am super excited! I made curriculum purchases with the credit card and then paid my hubby for it out of the school budget. When we use our TOYRUS credit card we earn cash coupons back.  I have been saving them up for months. Last night, they had 20% off all musical instruments so I took all 8 of my cash back coupons ($80) in to buy my daughter a keyboard for lessons for the first curriculum listed and eventually to use with Kinderbach once we can afford it. We got it for FREE! I love it when things like that happen.

ref=dp_image_0.jpg     ER2021_L.jpg

Physical Education (M, F, plus daily outdoor activities)
1.) The P.E. Challenged Mom (Activities and Sport Study)
2.) Family Time Fitness Core and Workbooks K 1-4
3.) Learning in Motion K, 1: Teaching LA and Math through Movement (found these both 50% at our Education Station)
4.) PE Connections by Thomas M. Fleming
5.) Ready-to-Use P.E. Activities (K-2) By Joanne M. Landy
6.) Swimming (Daddy is trying to teach her how to swim)
7.) Gymnastics OR Dance
*NOTE: The first two are on sale for a limited time now at CurrClick!!!! Family Time Fitness is also on sale at the HSBC this month only. 

25482.jpg     product_info.php.jpg

Typing - Considering Read, Write, and Type or Word Qwerty by Talking Fingers for use at a later time. What did you think?

Library Options (1X - 2X per week)
Choices depending on our schedule that week
1.) Canyon Lake Preschool Storytime (W)
2.) New Braunfels Storytime (T)
3.) Bulverde Storytime (M)
4.) New Braunfels Bilingual Storytime (Th) or
5.) Bulverde Bilingual Story Time (Th)

Chore Chart (Teaching Responsibilities ... Save Spend Donate)
1.) Accountable Kids ( I think they also give referral fees)
I really wanted to purchase this new and personalized, but when I found it on Ebay for a GREAT deal I couldn't pass it up. We may personalize it later. My daughter has been completing her chores off and on depending on how many tickets she already has on the board. She has been pretty consistent with it so far. She uses the tickets she earns after scripture time, after school, as a break from school, or before bed. I really just watch her and see how she is doing. We do not have the full system in play yet.  More later!


Ha ... ha ... ha ... I wish - That's so funny! This girl NEVER wants to nap and really never did when she was a baby. She has quiet time which is a time when she reads or plays with her other toys.

Now, if I only I could find a weekly lesson plan (planner) that works for me.  Satori Smiles recommended Homeschool Skedtrack on her blog.  I like the fact that it has an automated scheduling feature that enables you to easily reschedule everything once a lesson is missed.  I also LOVE her blog! I might try that?????? Suggestions?

I hope to hear from you soon!!!!
Thank you, 
Tracey M.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Pick and Draw Spanish Art

Please do not use the pictures or content on this blog without prior permission - the photos are my own.  Please provide a link back to my blog if you found something useful or when referring to this content.  The use of small items requires close parent or teacher supervision at ALL times.  Thank you and enjoy your visit!

Sonrisas Spanish School Curriculum
I most likely won't be blogging on a daily basis about our experiences with this curriculum, but I wanted to share with you an art or shall I say ... drawing activity that we did yesterday.  

Calendar and Circle Time
The second day using Sonrisas Spanish School Curriculum went well again. Alyssa gets SO excited when she sees me place the Sonrisas CD in the player.  She grabs the sombrero and maracas and gets herself ready to dance.  Alyssa also danced with Ana (the girl puppet).  We focused on the recommended songs in the manual for the first lesson.  Alyssa's favorite song was track #4 "Cabeza, hombros, piernas, pies."  Don't forget to listen to their sample songs.  We played several songs over and over again because she LOVES dancing and singing.  She is also trying to memorize or learn the words to the songs.  The tunes are very catchy! We played the same "Me llamo" game and made it a bit sillier using the puppet who was causing a whole lotta trouble.  Alyssa was laughing so hard at the puppet.  She already knew the appropriate response to the Lesson 1 question.  We decided not to choose Spanish names this year. I think we will save that activity for next year when we repeat the curriculum.  
Ideas and Suggestions
1.) You could use different size balls and different colored balls to play the game using the appropriate Spanish terms (pequeno, grande, azul, rojo, etc.) before throwing and asking the name game question.  Please remember that I haven't figured out how to type with accent marks.   

Story Time
We read the story again and I asked her a few comprehension questions in addition to questions about the pictures in Spanish.  It was a bit hard for her to understand some of the questions, so I really had to simplify how I asked them.  At times I needed to respond or answer for her in Spanish.  We also read the book I told you about the other day A mi manera just for fun. 

Art Time
This art activity is not part of the Sonrisas Spanish School curriculum - this is one of my own ideas using other available resources.  I wanted a game that reviewed the facial features in Spanish.  I remembered a game we owned and hadn't played in awhile.  Alyssa and I use to play the game Pick and Draw all the time.  However, I wanted to do another art activity so I decided to put a twist on this game.  I used my photo blocks and Spanish body part Education Cube inserts cards to create a new game.  Education Cubes is a member only subscription website, but it is well worth the price I paid for it.  I added in a stack of cards for ears that I had drawn.  At first, I used a colored dot die that was already prepared from a previous math lesson, but then I remembered that there were Spanish color word card inserts too.  I used the ones with the color words typed in the actual color.  Next time we will use the black and white inserts since Alyssa already knows her colors in Spanish too.  I printed and cut the color word set and Alyssa played the game again.  We extended the activity by naming and labeling the character she had drawn in Spanish.  One of the characters was named after her and the other after her grandfather.  This was so much fun and I am sure we will play the game again to review color and facial terms in Spanish.

On another note, the Pick and Draw game cards are in English - you could replace the top card and make Spanish cards to avoid translation.  I wanted to assess Alyssa's knowledge so as she rolled the Spanish body part die she was responsible for figuring out which card to flip over. She knew what all of the words meant in English and it was almost like it was second nature to her.  The pictures at the bottom are using Education Cube inserts for both of the dice.
P.S. I love the picture where she is pointing to her ears and saying las orejas. 

Click here to read about our experience with the first lesson using the Sonrisas Spanish curriculum.

Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think. 

I will be linking this activity on the Education Cubes Show and tell carnival.

Education Cubes Show & Tell
Visit the Show and Tell to get and share Education Cube ideas!
I will also link this activity on the blogs Preschool Corner and 1+1+1=1.

Thanks a bunch, 
Tracey M.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

First Day Using Sonrisas Spanish School Curriculum

PLEASE do not use the pictures or content on this blog without prior permission - the photos are my own and are copyrighted.  PLEASE provide a link back to my blog if you found something useful or when referring to this content.  The use of small items requires close parent or teacher supervision at ALL times. Thank you and enjoy your visit!

Alyssa's Background Information
Alyssa is 3 years and 8 months old.  She is an eager learner. She is reading at a first or second grade level if not higher (not formally tested yet).  She LOVES learning new languages.  She is currently trying to learn Spanish and Sign Language.  She enjoys reading, music, dancing, singing and drawing (really any and all art projects) just like many or most other children.  Sonrisas Spanish School curriculum includes all of the mentioned items above - it just makes sense for us to review this curriculum.

Review Disclosure
This curriculum was donated to our classroom at no cost in exchange for an honest review on my blog.  The review will be posted upon completion of this curriculum unless the company requests differently.  The opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced by anyone.  I will be occasionally posting about our experiences with this curriculum so please check back often to hear what I have to say. 

Day One Sonrisas Spanish School
Curriculum Information
Our first day using Sonrisas Spanish School curriculum was a BIG hit today! Sonrisa means "smile" and Brooks and Blue Lindner have worked hard to organize a curriculum with content that will make your children or students smile. They want foreign language learning and acquisition to be fun! I know Alyssa has been smiling ... in fact as I was typing this earlier today, I heard her upstairs singing today's songs and dancing with her daddy.  I have a baby monitor turned on so I can hear everything happening when I am not in the room. Sonrisas is a standards-based Spanish curricula for preschool or elementary students in pre-k through 6th grade. We are reviewing the first level which is primarily for pre-k and kindergarten.  The curriculum can also be used for older students depending on their previous exposure to the language. This curriculum is meant to be repeated and used for two years.  Repetition of concepts is very important in language learning as we all know.  The curriculum can be used in preschools, daycares, elementary schools, as extra-curricular or after school programs, as a supplement to any program, and with homeschooling families or coops. I must also say that the organization and format of the lesson plans can be easily followed and are pleasant on the eyes.  The creators of this curriculum also incorporate Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences into their lessons and activities (you can read about it in their manual or here at their blog). What more can you ask for - right?  

Previous Knowledge
Alyssa still remembers Spanish vocabulary that I taught her a long time ago which has been reinforced continuously through the use of games and activities.  She has already been exposed to the colors, numbers, months, and days of the week along with several other vocabulary words. Today's concepts were a review for her but she REALLY enjoyed EVERYTHING!

Scope and Sequence
Click on the link to see the Scope and Sequence with samples for Level 1.  After viewing the scope and sequence, if anyone has any resources including games, activities, charts, visuals, etc. that could be used in conjunction with this curriculum please let me know. I have a membership to Education Cube Inserts and plan on using their resources for games and activities. I hope to post ideas soon! If you are also a member check back later to see how I use the inserts.

Lesson One
Props Used:
1.) A Girl Puppet (for reading and games)
2.) Maracas (music activities)
3.) Sombrero (time for Spanish/other activities) 
4.) Train whistle: Days of the Week Song
5.) Pointers and funny glasses for calendar chart reading
6.) Small Pocket Chart from Target with the calendar phrases:
     Hoy es ...
     Ayer fue ...
     Manana sera
a.) I cannot get my computer to type Spanish accents so please  ignore the spelling accent errors. 
b.) This is a bit advanced for her now, but as the lessons progress I think she will catch on quickly.
c.) The Spanish charts below are posted near our school Calendar time area.  
7.) Calendar Charts: Days of the Week, Months of the Year, and Colors
a.) I actually plan on changing the days of the week chart hopefully sooner than later.  I am looking for a colorful train template with the Days of the Week in Spanish (Sparkle Box has an editable train template - but I am having a hard time with the file. Twinkl also has an editable train template but I cannot get it to work either. Please help someone!  If anyone can get this to work I would LOVE a copy of the files with the train carriages starting with Monday and the engine smoke having the words Los Dias de La Semana (with accent marks of course). Thank you!  This would become our new Days of the Week chart or visual for Spanish class.  Any other link suggestions or resources would be greatly appreciated.
Company Suggestion: You could also create colorful calendar charts and visuals to assist educator during Circle Time.
b.) I do teach Alyssa the other Spanish words for orange, pink, and brown.
c.) I wish that the Days of the Week chart seen above started with Monday instead of Sunday.
d.) I will add on a number, season, and weather chart of some sort soon (most likely from Sparkle Box Language Resources or from a Twinkl).  I was recently reading Julie's blog, The Adventures of Bear.  She posted a math activity using materials from the Twinkl website.  After exploring their website, I found Spanish resources available too. Thank you Julie for posting this helpful resource on your blog!

We are planning on using this curriculum 2-3 times per week for 30 to 60 minutes depending on the lessons. It is important with any curriculum to develop a consistent routine and Brooks and Blue encourage you to do the same thing for your Spanish lessons. I will be working hard to provide a consistent routine for Alyssa. We actually lost track of time because we were enjoying the lesson so much. Therefore, I am not sure how long our lesson actually lasted today. I will have to pay more attention to that in the future.  I plan on following the format as mentioned in the manual even if we do an extra day a week. For example, I will continue Lesson 1 on Wednesday. But, then I will start Lesson 2 on Friday and finish it on Monday. I am planning on doing Spanish on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday unless otherwise noted.  Hopefully, all will go as planned.  If not, I will change Spanish lessons to Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Greetings and Roll Call
I walked in the classroom wearing my sombrero yelling Hola in a very excited voice! Alyssa immediately wanted her own sombrero (this was to let her know it was time for Spanish class).  I told Alyssa good afternoon in Spanish and we shook hands. We then discussed who was present (Alyssa, mommy, and the dogs) and who was not present (daddy). She ended up taking off the sombrero because it bothered her neck - I may cut off the ties or not tie it at all. I actually took mine off too after all the singing and dancing because my head was sweating. LOL! This was just an idea I read about somewhere on a Spanish teacher's blog. The sombreros were found at Hobby Lobby.   

Calendar and Circle Time
At this time Alyssa is learning calendar concepts while participating in songs and playing games.  Everything is done orally to improve communication and language acquisition.  The curriculum encourages you to speak Spanish 90% of the time (thank goodness I have a degree in Spanish - I am not fluent ... but it does help).  She LOVED dancing to the songs on the CD's and her favorite song so far is track # 6 on the Sonrisas CD.  We added in the maracas and moved are hips side to side when singing "Cha, Cha, Cha." We chose several songs from both of the CD's and we used the props above to make learning more enjoyable and active. Another favorite song of hers was track #2 on the Sonrisas CD. Click on the links below to hear song samples on the CD's: Sonrisas CD or Canciones Culturales. We did the recommended game and I encouraged Alyssa to back up each time we threw the ball to each other asking the appropriate lesson question.  We were practicing distance throwing and catching skills at the same time (we sat and stood up).
Thoughts and Ideas: We also brought the puppet in at this time to play the game. Another thing that you could do is lay out family photos and toss the ball on the photos. Your child can say the family member's name using different voices or intonations with the phrase Me Llamo ... (the child acts as if they are the person in the photo speaking).  You could do the same thing with story character dolls or pictures (any doll for that matter).  
1.) I definitely need to spend time learning the lyrics to the songs ahead of time so that it will be easier for me to teach them to Alyssa during Circle Time.
2.) It might help if I wrote the lyrics to the songs in Spanish on pocket chart sentence strips to familiarize ourselves with the words.  This will serve as a guide for us both in the beginning. 
Company Suggestion: Create a big book with song lyrics as part of the curriculum price.
3.) Typing the season and weather poems for the student to see as I read aloud may also be helpful when learning this information. I will also use weather and season visuals when reciting the poems.  See Sparkle Box and Twinkl resources above. I have another website with resources but have to look up the information before posting it here.  
Company Suggestion: Add a FREE special linked website for curriculum users containing resources made specifically to accompany the lessons. The enlarged weather and season poems or song lyrics could be added to this section.  Additionally, the calendar concept visuals could be added. 
4.) I need to teach Alyssa how to blow the train whistle without covering it with her entire mouth. 
5.) She uses the charts during calendar song time (with and without special pointers).  She is dancing in the second picture. 

Story Time
Unfortunately, I will be using the library and the interlibrary loan exchange to obtain necessary books for story time because I cannot afford the books at this time (although it would be awesome to eventually have a library of Spanish books). One of our libraries charges for this service and I was happy to find out that the library closest to us does not. This may slow down our lessons since we might have to wait for books to become available. I will use other Spanish resources or activities to fill in the wait time. I will also keep my eyes open at our Half Price Bookstore. We have already spent the bulk of our curriculum money on previous purchases. Although I do highly recommend making it easy on yourself if you can afford it by purchasing the storybook set available through the Sonrisas Spanish School website. I checked out the first two books from our local library ... then I realized that the book for lesson one was not the correct book (it was by the same author and the cover looked very similar however the title was A mi manera (My Way): A Margaret and Margarita story. I was VERY LUCKY and found the correct book at Half Price Bookstore for an extremely reasonable price. I contacted the company for a second book recommendation for lesson two since I was unable to get the book. I found the second recommendation at the library.   
We snuggled up in the bean bag chair. I introduced the book for the week and we read it first for enjoyment since she seemed to be so intrigued by the book. She did repeat several of the key vocabulary words in the book. I will ask questions in Spanish during the next reading since there is only one book suggestion for this lesson. Here is a picture of Alyssa engaged in the book after story time. She was reading the English parts and apparently "the puppet" from our game activity was trying to read the Spanish parts. She did very well reading both - LOL!
1.) I would love more than one book suggestion for the first two lessons.  Most lessons have more than one book recommendation. 

Art Time
Alyssa completed her self-portrait and labeled it on her own. She used the white board to learn how to label the portrait.  I modeled how to draw a self-portrait on the white board and labeled my picture (I jumped the gun before I realized that was part of the next lesson). She already knows the parts of the face so as she drew her picture she was telling me the Spanish words for her facial features. Her handwriting is looking better every day. She was in a hurry to label it because daddy was on his way home and she wanted to show it to him. There are several pictures below of the self-portrait activity.
1.) I am not sure what we will do for art on Wednesday since Alyssa completed the first and second day art activities during the first lesson. There is no other suggestions listed, but I might come up with an additional activity. We'll see!
2.) Company Suggestion: In regards to using Spanish 90% of the time it may be helpful to include Spanish vocabulary phrases or signs for art projects online as a FREE resource accessible to educators and parents.

P.S. I love that she added a heart and a belly button to her drawing. She learned how to draw people from the Handwriting Without Tears Curriculum (Mat Man Lesson). I noticed later that she was missing arms so I will ask her in Spanish if she has arms during the next lesson and we'll see if she adds them or not. She originally labeled her picture with her name in pink and then added the complete sentence after viewing my model on the board. I am not sure why she drew her hair black and brown but she told me that the pink was her pony tails.  Her pony tail holders were white. 
1.) I should have given her a mirror so that she could see her reflection and draw what she sees. 

We had to say our good-byes in Spanish although Alyssa did not want to stop the lesson.  We ended the lesson by giving each other a high five!  Then, Daddy came home and it was Alyssa's turn to be the teacher! 

Homeschool Connection (Home Report)
This was so much fun! Alyssa shared her work with daddy. She actually made him go through most of the lesson (including songs and calendar time).  Talk about keeping him involved! I am surprised she did not have him create his own art project (although that may happen later at some point).  Her daddy was so happy to see her learning Spanish and having fun while doing it.  He is also thankful and appreciative for the opportunity to review this curriculum. Learning a second language is top on our list of educational goals.  Jeff, my husband, also wants to learn Spanish so I think this may become a routine for us if he is not too tired after a long day's work at the fire station or at the construction site. He did have a hard time with us not using English during lessons with him, but he saw that Alyssa caught on very quickly so maybe that will encourage him to do the same.  He kept asking me for translations ... I continued to speak in Spanish and began using gestures or drawings to communicate with him. I wish I actually had taken some pictures of him participating. It was so cute! Alyssa made him wear the sombrero and hold the maracas. She tried to get him up to dance but he was exhausted. 

Homeschool Families
Homeschooling families can also choose to use this curriculum to teach their students or family Spanish.  Click on the link above to see why.  Here is the link to the FREE lesson plan for the first lesson if you would like to try it with your child.  It doesn't include calendar time activities.  See what you think and let me know in the comment section. I would LOVE to hear your thoughts soon! 

More Information
For more information about this curriculum visit any of the links above or click on the Facts and Questions. Don't forget to sign-up for their newsletter or if you have any other questions please contact them. Let them know that you heard about their curriculum from my blog.  Don't forget to check out their blog too!

Please check back later to hear more about our experiences with this curriculum. I hope to hear from you soon!

Thank you, 
Tracey M.