Monday, February 27, 2012

A new kind of teaching

We are just starting our third week at home. I should probably stop counting the weeks now. This is the new normal. It's definitely interesting to see how we are all adjusting to the new lifestyle. I'm slowly relaxing and realizing that I don't have to hurry up and do stuff. Jack is starting to realize that he has a LOT more time with mom and dad, so he's not acting out as much for attention. Reid is figuring out a nap schedule, and a nice one at that. And Steve, well, he's trying to get over a rotten cold that has not been helped by traveling for work.

Last week I planned out a week of activities around the theme of Ocean Animals. With the help of Pinterest, it was lots of fun to plan and do. I'm really following the model of Little Wildcats Day Care. They do such an amazing job with kids, and we miss our friends and activities there. Monday was Octopus Day; Tuesday, Jellyfish; Wednesday, Sponges; Thursday, Fieldtrip to the Shedd Aquarium; and Friday, Sharks. I'm pretty sure both Jack and Reid enjoyed the week.

In case you are interested, here's a rundown of what we did each day, with some pictures thrown in.

Monday - Octopus
Steve was off for President's Day, so we took a family trip to the library in the afternoon.  But we started the day with Octopus math and making a paper plate Octopus. We picked up an octopus book at the library that we read later in the day. The library was pretty cool. We found all kinds of fun books about the animals we were going to "study" as well as an Iron Man book. There was also a Fun with Frogs program going on, so we stopped in there to see some Tree Frogs, Toads, and Frogs.

Tuesday - Jellyfish
We read our Jellyfish book and learned about feeding arms and zapping tentacles. I also found a fun little song about 5 little plankton and a jellyfish. I think Jack had already learned it at Little Wildcats. He sang it with me to Reid, much to Reid's delight. For a craft, we made cool paper bowl and ribbon jellyfish that I found on Pinterest. It was a little hard for Jack to put together, but he liked the painting part.

Wednesday - Sponges
Jack had preschool in the morning, so we saved our sponge activities for after our rest time. We read a book about sponges and made sponge balls. Jack had fun creating patterns with the sponge sticks. Later, he had fun with the sponge balls in the bath.

Thursday - Fieldtrip to the Shedd
We invited Pepere to come along with us as we headed for the city. The Shedd has a special exhibit on Jellyfish right now. It was pretty cool to see lots of jellies, although the exhibit seemed pretty small overall. We walked through the whole thing in about 10 minutes. We also saw the sharks and stingrays, beluga whales, penguins, and even the arm of a hiding octopus. I think the most exciting thing for Jack was seeing the scuba divers cleaning the tanks in the Wild Reef exhibit. He loves scuba divers. It was a pretty fun trip. Jack loved the jellies and the penguin play area. Reid loved the neat light coming from the exhibit tanks. Pepere and I loved the quiet ride home.

Friday - Sharks
I think this was my favorite day. I had set up play stations on our table all week, and Jack would kind of check them out, but he wasn't really that intrigued until Friday. I found a shark chomping letter game on Pinterest. I made the shark while Jack was eating breakfast. He loved the game. He picked up and named every letter and letter sound before feeding the letter to the shark. If he didn't know the name of the letter, he would trace it with his finger and then I would tell him what it was. He stopped me from telling him until he had traced the letter with his finger. He told me this method would help him remember. I love this kid!


We also set up a shark bean bag toss. A simple poster board and the old Nemo lovey made for lots of fun. We played the bean bag toss all weekend!

We also made an ocean jello snack: blue jello with fruit snacks suspended in it. The fruit snacks got a little too hard and didn't maintain their flavor. But that didn't stop Jack from enjoying fishing them out. I think next time I'd use a real fruit instead.

To top off this day, it was Jack's first snow day from school. I don't think it meant much to him though since he doesn't go to school every day any more.

Overall, a pretty fun week. I also had some other fun letter tracing and recognition activities on the iPad and on the table. But I think I've bored you enough already with the details! I'm really enjoying turning my teacher brain focus to Jack and Reid. It's reminding me that I am a teacher at heart, no matter who or what I am teaching.

1 comment:

Amy and Alan said...

I cannot wait until Eli gets old enough that I can "steal" some of your ideas for him! You are such a great mommy :)