Thursday, April 25, 2013

"I liked this homework"

I got myself on another obsessive binge yesterday and today. This time, it's about picture books. I've been writing for a friend's picture book blog, and I'm loving it. It's really opened my eyes to the amazing books that are out there. This binge, though, it's about an old favorite.

I love Mo Willems. I'm not sure which book we read first, but I can tell you we have never read a book by him that we didn't enjoy to at least some extent. The best laugh you will ever hear from Jack (aside from when Steve tickles him) is when he laughs at Trixie trying to talk in Knuffle Bunny. Or when he laughs at Piggie announcing that he is "not a happy pig" in the rain. Or when the pigeon has a fit because he can't drive the bus.

So yesterday and today, Jack and I have been browsing and playing on Willems' websites. There are cool games to play and fun things to download. Best of all, there are all kinds of materials for teachers and parents to print out that go with the books.

I downloaded the activity kits for Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and The Duckling Gets a Cookie. These are the two newest Willems books in our house (both entered in the last week).

So I had to print these bad boys out, but we don't have a printer at home. Not to get off on too big of a tangent, but I have lamented the lack of a printer since I stopped teaching almost a year and a half ago. I still haven't done anything to remedy that. Normally I just don't print. But I was determined, so we needed to hit the library to print. And we did.

$9 or $10 later, we have two packets and several beginning word writing worksheets. Tonight, while I gave Reid a bath, Jack got to do some of the Duckling activities and to practice writing "an" words.

It was amazing. Reid played nicely in the bathtub. Jack sat in the hallway right outside of the bathroom completely engaged. And we did this for a full 15 minutes. No crying, no drenching mommy, no yelling. It was bliss.

Jack found the five differences in the pigeon and duckling pictures. He completed the maze so the pigeon could get his cookie. He counted the cookies and wrote numbers. He did these things all by himself. He asked questions, but he did not insist I do it for him or sit over him while he worked or say that it was too hard. I was so proud of him.

And it continued. I got Jack a coloring page and an "invent a cookie" sheet. While I read to Reid and put him to bed, Jack traced his "an" words and then wrote them on his own. He then colored the pigeon a beautiful blue and the duckling black. He drew about a dozen chocolate chip cookies. And he didn't once yell for me. He was still working when I came out of Reid's room.

I asked him what he thought of the activities. And that's when he said, "I liked this homework. We should do it again." I never mentioned homework. That was all him. I hope he always likes being challenged like this.

We then continued the normal routine of shower, books, song, bed.

Tonight's bedtime was nothing short of perfect. So now I need to go find some more author websites and fun printables. Look out library printer, you're going to get a workout.

Since I'm a proud mom, here is a selection of the work from tonight.




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