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

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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,