Jan 31, 2011

Letter B for Bear {part 1}

Last week we worked on our Letter B week. The pattern seems to continue in that I plan too much for one week. Combine that with being busier than I thought we would have been (play groups, library story, Kidokinetics class, being sick, baby sitting my neice, etc) and we definitely run out of time! No biggie- we will just extend it to this week too! So here is what we did last week for our B activities.

John practiced putting his pegs in the letter B and stacking towers. He did this once, put it away, and didn't go back to it for the rest of the week. So I think I might pack this one up for a couple weeks since he seems to be bored with it!

Using the Letter Of The Week from Confessions of a Homeschooler, we did a butterfly cut and paste. I cut out the parts and John glued them down. He did pretty well (and thanks to my new table cover I wasn't worried about our table getting glue all over it!)

Uncle Tyler made this golf tee game several years ago and we are now using it with John for his fine motor skills. He practiced putting the tees in the hole and then balancing the golf ball on the pegs. He LOVES golf balls so this is perfect for him!

We used a bean bag to place on different parts of John's body. So, as I called out things like 'head', 'shoulder', etc, he would put the bean bog on that body part. He also would put the bean bag on his bear's body parts. It was cute!

At Kidokinetics (which John LOVES), the kids played with beach balls this week. How perfect was that?! I am so glad I signed John up for this class because he loves to run around and play sports. We also head straight to storytime at the library after this class so it ends up being a really great morning out!

We have been reading The Baker's Dozen (a cute counting book) so we baked cupcakes on Friday. I tried to dye the batter blue, but ran out of blue food coloring so the cupcakes ended up green. haha! I found bear sprinkles at the store which were perfect for the week! John practiced using a spatula to spread out the icing (which was really difficult for him) and he enjoyed shaking the sprinkles on top. Once again, he only ate a bite or two of the cupcakes without frosting and decided he didn't like cupcakes all that much. What a silly kid!

We pulled out the big foam letter floor puzzle and had some fun practicing John's letters. I gathered up all his bears (how does he have so many stuffed bears?! And I have only bought ONE of those for him!) and I would call out a letter and John would put a bear on that letter. After we did that once or twice with all his bears, we would throw the bear on the mat and call out the letter that the bear landed on. John really liked this activity and we came back to this one the next day at his request!

We used the fridge phonics this week and now sing the song that goes with it for the letter B. It has really helped John to learn the sound that goes with the letter! (sorry- no pics of this one!)

This wasn't really related, but twice this week we walked down the street where they are fixing part of the road to see what was going on. John LOVES cars/trucks/tractors and really enjoyed seeing the big construction vehicles. The second time we went, we watched the workers smooth out the cement and watched as they poured the cement from the truck. John just sat down on the sidewalk and watched in amazement. It was so cute! The workers probably thought we were weirdos, but oh well!

Tomorrow starts our Letter B week part II! :) woohoo!

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Jan 28, 2011

Teaching Proportions, Scale Factors and Similarity

My dad, hubby, and brother-in-law work at Southwest Airlines. Brad is an aerospace engineer (smarty pants!) and has been interested in planes since he was very young. We have a nice little collection of model planes in our living room and my dad often gives him small models to add to the collection. Over the weekend, Brad was given this Boeing model.

As I was taking the box out of our bag, I noticed it said '1/200 scale model'. Being that I am also a math nerd (taught high school math for 8 years before staying home with my sweet boys) I immediately thought of how I could use this if I was still teaching. And this is how I would use this in my classes...and this would be applicable to middle school math as well since I think that is where they are first taught to use proportions and scale factors. Hmmm...imagine that...high school kids still need practice on something taught in middle school. Don't get me started...

1. Groups would put together a model. Ideally I would give groups different planes/models so they couldn't 'share' answers with each other. Ideally I would have money to buy all these models!

2. I would give them specific things to measure on their model like lengh of the wingspan, length of the plane, etc. This is great practice in ACCURATE measurement which is also a skill that high school students may need practice doing.

3. I would then ask the students to use their knowledge of proportions, scale factors, etc to figure out what those dimensions would be on a real, full size plane.

4. We would then look online at sites such as this one to find what the dimensions of the planes were and compare our answers.

5. Some ending questions could be 'How accurate is this model?', 'What could be some reasons if your real life measurements weren't the same as you found online?', etc.

This is all off the top of my head and not super thought out, but if you are teaching middle school or high school math, I bet you could use this as a starting point to do a similar activity in class.

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Jan 27, 2011

Library Resource!

Do you visit your local library often? We go to the Frisco library and LOVE IT! They have the best baby and toddler storytimes. I took John when he was only about 2 months old and was so impressed with the Babies and Books session. That is where we started up on sign language, finger plays, and nursery rhymes. Plus I love seeing what books they pick for us to read since we read the ones at home over and over again about a billion times.

We now go to the toddler storytime and although I like the baby session better, John loves storytime and asks to go to the library. I thought I would share the link to their handouts today. Each week has a different theme with a couple books listed and some songs or rhymes. So, if you are trying to plan a specific theme for your tots, this might be a starting point for brainstorming!

Hopefully a library near you has similar programs and have some of their material posted online as well. If you have a link handy, I would love for you to share!

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Jan 25, 2011

Workout Wednesday #2

Here are some new workouts to try!

1. Start with legs shoulder width apart and light weights in hands with arms down. Complete calf raises with arms extending up at sides, arms stopping at shoulder height and palms pointing down. To make it harder, stand at the end of a step with heelings hanging off the back. Do 3 sets of 10.

2. 'goal post’- Start next to step with left foot resting on the step and arms in a 'goal post' position, holding light weights. As you step up on your left foot, arms press up from goal post to shoulder press and right leg goes to a small side lift with flexed foot. Do 10 reps and switch sides. Do 3 times.

3. 'Change Mind' lunges- Lunge forward with your right leg and then 'change mind' and immediately move to a back lunge with your right leg going back. Your left leg will remain stationary. Do 10 times and then switch sides. Do 3 sets.

4. Lunge kicks- Start with feet together, then lunge back with your right leg. On the way back up, kick front with the right leg (like a fun karate kick!!) and land back in a back lunge position. Repeat 10-15 times and then switch sides. Do 3 sets.

5. Squat with a big balance ball in hands straight out in front of you. On way up lean ball up to right (over your head) and leg lift to side with left leg. Do 10-15 times and switch sides. Do 3 sets.

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Toddler Art Tuesday

My sister and I decided to set up an arts and crafts day for our kids. Well, Matthew and Lilly are still too young for arts and crafts, but John and Bella are having a blast so far! {Remember last week's snowman prints?!} Each Tuesday we are alternating hosting duties and planning a craft for our 2 year olds. So, I am going to start showcasing their beautiful artwork each week! If nothing else, Mom will enjoy the pictures. :)

Last week's project was using cookie cutters to make stamping prints. We are trying to work on colors with Bella so we made sure to talk about each color as she stamped away. John lost interest after only a couple minutes, but still ended up with a pretty picture!

The steps are easy- load up cutter with paint, stamp on paper, and admire artwork!

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Jan 24, 2011

Play Table Cover

Santa brought John and Matthew a new table and chairs this year. Isn't he sweet?! I am still in the phase of trying to keep it clean (we will see how long that lasts!) so I made a table cover for it to use when John is painting, glueing, coloring, etc. Since we are about to start some Valentine's activities for tot school, I made this cover with Valentine's material. I will make another more generic one (and less girly!) after February is over.


Table cloth (I got this one for $5 at Walmart and ended up with TONS left over. I will probably make a mat out of it to put down to protect the new wood floors!)
**Could also use oil cloth but I was already at Walmart and didn't want to run to JoAnn's!**
Heavy Duty sewing needle
Table duh!
misc sewing supplies like thread, sewing machine, scissors, etc

1. First I turned the table over and laid it on the back of the table cloth. I figured I needed to make the cover 7 inches bigger than the table (to cover around the edges and have room to make casing for elastic), so I marked 7 inches around the table.

2. Using my marks, I cut out a circle from the table cloth. It wasn't very exact but it didn't matter that much since it would be gathered and hidden.

3. Fold over your cloth to make a casing for the elastic. My elastic was 1 inch wide so I folded the cloth over 1.5 inches and pinned all the way around.

Here is what it looks like when it was pinned all the way around.

4. Sew around your casing at the end of the fold closest to the CENTER of the cover. Remember to leave an opening when you sew so you can insert the elastic! I make an 'X' with my pins so I remember to stop sewing otherwise I get into a sewing trance and will keep going without leaving the opening...and then I get upset when I have to rip out stitches!

5. Attach a big safety pin to the end of your elastic and start pulling it through the casing. This was the longest and most boring step for me!

6. I then put the cover on the table to see how tight I wanted the elastic to be. Once I found a length I liked, I pinned the elastic, removed the cover from the table and sewing the elastic ends together. Cut excess elastic and then sew up hole on the cover.

...and you are done! Your very own custom cover! It was really easy to make, took less than an hour, cost very little to make, and now the boy's table will stay clean for a little bit longer.

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Jan 21, 2011

Meal Cards

I stumbled upon Lunch It, Punch It and loved the idea! So I created a card for our family for lunch and dinner instead of just our lunches. (Lunch It, Punch It offers free cards too!) The goal is that we have to eat 10 dinners before we can eat out for dinner and 10 lunches before we can eat out for lunch. Brad and I are counting up our lunches seperately since we usually don't eat lunch together. Here is the card I made up that of course I will lamanite so we can check off the boxes and reuse when it is filled up. Brad said the only reason I made this is so I can laminate something. He may be right.

Here is a blank one if you want to use it and add in your names!

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Jan 20, 2011

Another Valentine's Day Find!

Matthew and I had fun plans on Monday that involved going to Walmart! Don't be jealous of our exciting day out. :) While I was walking around looking for things I didn't really need to buy (and I can only do that kind of lazy shopping when John isn't with me!) I saw these heart cookie cutters.

I thought they would be perfect to use with John in several different ways so they seemed like a good deal considering they were relatively cheap. Here is what I thought of so far...

1. Put in order from biggest to smallest.
2. Put them in order by nesting them. (maybe use only 3 hearts at first and then add in more?)
3. Use them to make hearts in play doh.
4. Bake cookies with them!!
5. Make art prints by using them as stamps.
6. Make hooks out of pipe cleaners and go fishing for hearts.
7. Float them in a bowl of water and practice spooning them out with a slotted spoon.

What else could we do with these???

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Jan 19, 2011

Workout Wednesday #1

Ok, so I am just going to jump right into some workouts for you! But, first, let me just say that my workouts the last couple days were the best I have had in a LONG time simply because I planned my workout prior to going to the gym. Duh. Why didn't I do this before? So now instead of just kind of wandering around thinking 'what should I do now?', I have my set workouts that I do and then head home. Easy peasy and it is so much more effective! So if you are in a workout slump, try writing out a plan. I am also keeping track of how many sets I did and how much weight so I can see my progress over the next couple weeks (because I am a nerd like that!).

I realized that telling you all the workouts I did over the past week is kind of ridiculous and quite overzealous on my part. Instead, I will just share a couple each Wednesday and then we can build a nice little repertoire.

Here are a couple that are easy to do in your own home (which I did last night when sweet Matthew went to bed a little later than usual and I didn't want to go to the gym that late).

1. Squats with hammer curls: Using light weights, start with feet together, arms down by sides. Squat while completing a hammer curl. Then step to the right and squat with legs wide with hammer curl. Repeat back to center and to the left. So, one rep is a total of 4 squats. Try to do 3 sets of 10.

2. Lunge/Squat/Lunge: Start with feet together, light weights optional. Lunge to the front with right leg, then bring right leg to the side to do a plie' squat, then bring the right leg back to do a back lunge. That is one rep, then going straight into the foward lunge to start the 2nd rep. Do 10 on the right, then 10 on the left.

3. Jump Squats: Start with feet shoulder-width apart and complete 5 jump squats (from squatting position jump up and land back in squat). On 5th jump squat, jump so that you are now facing the right and do 5 jump squats. Repeat back to center, left, and center. Do this 2 or 3 times.

4. Hopping: Hop on R foot for 30 seconds. Try to hop slightly side to side. Repeat on L for 30 seconds.

Hope these work for you! Did you do a workout that you found challenging this week? I would love to hear about it!

...and just so you know, I am not claiming to be a pro at workouts or a certified trainer. You are completing all these workouts at your own risk!

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Jan 18, 2011

My Precious Babies!

My sisters are super lucky and both got DSLR cameras for Christmas from my parents. Brad and I opted to be very practical and got a new dishwasher because ours sounded like a hurricane was blowing through our house. So while we can actually watch TV AND HEAR IT now while the dishes are being washed, I totally have camera envy! I had to share some of the pictures from the last week or two of John and Matthew, along with their precious cousins Bella and Lilly. I love that John and Bella have so much fun together and I think that Matthew and Lilly are going to be best friends too!

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