Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Over, Under, Beside, Behind....

No, I'm not talking about Sister Rosemary teaching us prepositions in the 5th grade!

For the past few days, Luke and I have been playing what he likes to call "The Hiding Game." I have him leave the room, and while he's gone, I hide one of his toy hot wheels cars.

My older kids like to call this the "Hot & Cold Game" and when I play with them, we use degrees of temperature to indicate how close the seeker is to finding the hidden toy. But Luke, who just turned 3, was pretty confused with the entire concept of "hot or cold," so I thought this would be a fun way to practice concepts such as "on" and "behind" and "beside" and "under."

So when Luke comes into the room, I give him clues using those words. I tell him is car is "behind" something. If he goes to the chair that is next to the couch, I tell him that his car is not behind the chair, it is behind what is NEXT TO the chair. Continuously giving him clues until he "wins!" by finding his toy car.

This is a fun game that he loves to play over and over and over.

I've just got to find more places to hide his car!


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Friday, November 9, 2007

Repetition, repetition, repitition...

When I was in the 5th grade, Sister Rosemary was my English teacher. On the first day of school, she handed out a list of 3 columns of words titled "Prepositions." She told us that we would be required to memorize these 20-odd words.

Every morning, after attendance was taken and morning prayers were recited, we got our preposition list out and, as a class, read the list of prepositions.

Every morning.

Every day.

About 5 or 6 weeks into the school year, Sister Rosemary told us that we could NOT take our papers out that day; she wanted to hear us recite the prepositions without looking at them that day.

Well, let me tell you.... about, above, across, after, against, among, around, at, before, behind, beside, between, beyond, by, down, during, except....

I remember that entire list to this day!

The routine I've adopted with Luke (3) involves lunch, then a book or two, then a song, then nap. Everyday for the past few weeks, I've been softly singing the ABC song to him as he lies down to sleep after we finish reading. Sometimes I sing it several times. But it's become our routine.

Yesterday, we were running errands in the car, when I heard a little voice in the back seat, singing, "A B C D E F G...."

I guess this repetition thing really works!


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Friday, November 2, 2007

Feelings. Nothing more than feelings.

We've been in need of a lesson on empathy around our home lately.

Not sure if it's because of the impending holidays, or because my businesses have been keeping me busier lately, resulting in (bad mom! bad mom! bad mom!) Luke spending more time watching television while I get work done.

Whatever the reason for the less than stellar behavior, I thought it was time I worked with Luke on how his behavior affects other people.

I made this simple print out. Basically a circle with a nose. The 2nd page has a collection of eyes and mouths. By cutting out the eyes and mouths, I was able to make a "Mr. Feelings" for Luke to play with.

Of course, he had fun making funny faces with "Mr. Feelings," but I used it as a teaching tool by showing him how his brothers and sisters felt when he broke their toys; or how mommy feels when he refuses to listen; and how Daddy felt when Luke gave him a big kiss before he left for work this morning.

I think it's so important that we teach our kids how much their behavior affects other people.

I'd love to send "Mr. Feelings" to anyone who's interested. No cost, just send me an email at and I'll send him right to you.



Thursday, November 1, 2007

Is there a lesson in there?

If your kids are anything like mine, they are completely FIXATED on their booty of Halloween candy they brought home last night.

So, how do we turn this dentist's delight into a learning experience for our children?

And I'm not talking about teaching nutrition here (although that would be a good lesson, too). I'm talking MATH CONCEPTS!

Here are a few ideas:

First, my kids have a 5-pieces-of-candy-a-day limit. (You may find that's too much, but in my opinion, they faster they get rid of this stuff, the better!). So this morning, they each got to select FIVE pieces of candy. 1-2-3-4-5. They chose the candy they wanted and counted it out. Counting, 1-2-3-4-5.

But now that they've selected the 5 pieces they will eat for the day, there are still lots more fun learning ideas inside that orange plastic bucket!

I had Luke (age 3) pour all his candy out onto the floor, and then he sorted out all the suckers.

Then, I had him sort the candy by colors: Orange candy wrappers in one pile; brown candy wrappers in one pile; red candy wrappers in one pile, etc.

The older kids (11, 9, and 6) were able to sort their's even further...chocolate candy in one pile, suckers in one pile, fruit flavored candy in another pile.

Another idea....M&Ms and Smarties and Skittles are fun to sort and count. Sort by color, then count how many of each color are in the bag.

Then eat them!!!


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