Each Week is a New Theme!
This week is "Back to School" themed. All my crafts, books, activities, sensory, and games will be planned around that week's theme to the best of my ability. We will also have a letter of the week and a nursery rhyme of the month. The first week of school I do not start off with a letter of the week. However, we did kick off the nursery rhyme and that is: Humpty Dumpty.
Establishing a Routine
As a teacher I always loved the first day of school, but dreaded the first week. I just want to dive right into the curriculum but students need that week to acclimate, to get to know the routine and feel of the classroom. This posed a challenge for me homeschooling because we already know each other so the fun getting to know you games are pretty silly and obviously not happening. Instead, I focused on establishing a routine and allowing for ample teacher directed play as to not intimidate her and build excitement for the fun we will be having.
Social Skills/Basic Concepts
Starting the Day - We start the day with Steve & Greg's "Good Morning Song." (If you are unfamiliar with Steve and Greg you should really YouTube them, I love ALL their songs!) I linked the song here. During the song Lucy hangs up her backpack and puts her lunchbox in her cubby. She knows to then go over and fill out her daily workbook page of name tracing, coloring in her feelings and color the date. The workbook I am referring to I have linked here. When she is done the song is usually finished or just about done and she knows to sit on her sit upon and wait for me to begin calendar time.
Calendar: We do calendar together counting to the current day. We sing the days of the week song (To the tune of Adam's Family), months of the year song, and Lucy dresses Miss. Weather for the day in weather appropriate clothes for the day. Next, Francis the class "pet" (stuffed dog) helps us count to 10 and sing ABC. I make Francis use the pointer and act silly because 1) it engages her and 2) it also quizzes her a little on her letters and numbers. For example in the middle of counting Francis points to the 9 instead of what was suppose to come next. "Silly Francis! No! Lucy help Francis what comes after 5?" "Right, 6 not 9!" She would laugh so hard. Francis is going to have an active role in teaching social lessons in the classroom. More to come on that later! After that, we dive into the theme what the topic of the day is and then I read her a book connecting to the them.
Below is Lucy posing with Francis.
Letter and Writing Work: During calnedar I will be teaching about the letter of the week and dismissing her from calendar time to the table to practice writing the letter along with other letter activities. Since there was no letter of the week the first week back I used that time to assess Lucy on where she is as far as knowing her letters (upper and lower case), letter sounds, writing strategies, numbers, and shapes. Assessments are not exactly fun so I didn't do it all at once I spread it out throughout the week and would give her a brain break after each assessment. Below is one of the assessments I used with Lucy:
Here are more letter/writing activities we worked on this week:
Letter Scavenger Hunt: I mixes various upper and lower case letters in the colorful rice and when she would find them she would match them to the letter on the paper. This was another way I would assess her too to see how many letters she could identify when she found them. She enjoyed the sensory of this activity and liked "finding treasure!" Click here for my colorful rice recipe.
Name Jumble: Super easy to make, it took me only thirty seconds. All I did was write her name at the top and wrote jumbled L's U's C's and Y's and each letter was assigned a different colored circle. Lucy's job was to find the letters circle them appropriately. Great for letter recognition and name identification.
Cereal letters - I wrote letters in marker Lucy traced the letters with Fruit Loops. It was fun, easy, and delicious!
Math Work - During this time we will work on various math concepts such as counting, numbers making a value amount, addition foundations, and shapes. Here are some samples of what we worked on this week:
Pattern Block Puzzle: Working with shapes to create a beautiful picture helps build a foundation for geometry concepts and gives the child a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Number Puzzle: We worked on this 2 of the 3 days this week because it was such a hit. One half of the puzzle has an amount of objects the other half is the number that matches the amount.
Play Time: After all that hard work he brain needs a break so I do a play time. This is not a free for all play it is teacher directed play that will try to come close to the theme as much as possible. This week we played with little people preschool classroom and bus toys. Learning social skills can be challenging with no other students in class so I would play with her and act out the students having issues and asking Lucy how should they problem solve this? For example I had two toy students that both wanted the slide and asked her "what should they do?" she responded with "have the other kid play in the sandbox" so obviously I have work cut out for me (haha!). Scarves were also a hit. We listened to BNL's "Popcorn" song and moved the scarves to the melody when the music picked up we waved the scarf faster and faster and eventually threw them in the air super fast "popping" the popcorn.
Snack: I let her choose her snack in the morning and we pack two of that snack in her lunchbox so we both engage in snack together.
Song: When snack is over we regroup on her sit upon and sing a song. This week's songs were "Wheels on the Bus" "I Am Special" and "The More We Get Together"
Craft: These are the following crafts we worked on this week:
School Bus frame -
8 Popsicle Sticks
Paint (for them to dry fast I used acrylic paint pens)
I had Lucy paint 6 Popsicle sticks yellow, broke one in half and had her paint both halves black, and kept one unpainted but made her write her name on it. I hot glued the sticks together but she helped push them together to stick it.
Family Portrait: To make this extra fun we used scented markers. It was funny having her tell me "you and me smell like cherries and daddy smells like chocolate!"
Friendship necklaces: Yarn I had kicking around the house and a handful of Fruit Loops made the a nice easy craft that she enjoyed wearing (and eating) all day.
Vocab: I will do more with this next week. She is getting 1-2 new sight words each week. This week during the vocab time slot I allotted for more play time.
Religion: We worked on sign of the cross when we pray. We also listened to a "I am Special (God made me as I am)" song on YouTube and danced to it with scarves. You can listen to it here.
Goodbye Song - We will always end with the same goodbye song to let her know this is it. We sing Skin-a-ma-rinky Dinky Dink and end the song with a "see you later alligator (alligator hands) give a hug ladybug (hug) give a kiss jellyfish (silly fish kiss).
At the end of her first day she walked upstairs and I had a special first day of school treat waiting for her at the table - a Reese pumpkin! It was well earned!
Notes on the First Week:
I avoided workbooks (for the exception of the daily morning calendar book) on the first week because I wanted to introduce her that most of our learning will be hands on. I will slowly implement some with letter of the day.
I have a new theme every week and in that week I have sub topics. This theme was back to school and my subtopics were: new school, all about me, and friendship. Next week's theme is farm.
I used a lot of background music during snack, craft, and play. Feel free to ask me what kind of music I used that week if interested. This week I used Steve and Greg on YouTube, The Muppet's Soundtrack, and BNL's "Snacktime" cd.