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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A is for . . .

I know - - Daniel is only going to be 2 - - I am hoping to make learning part of playing and will start introducing letters, numbers and colors to him this fall.  So, I am working on items for an "A" basket. 

Some of the materials we will be using are:

1.  An Alphabet of Catholic Saints by Brenda & George Nippert
2.  1 is One by Tasha Tudor
3.  Alphabet letters cut from sandpaper (I cut out letters and glued to cards)
4.  Moveable letters (I will probably buy some wooden magnetic ones)
5.  Color cards, blocks, etc.
6.  Printables from Montessori Printshop

I am also in the process of making an apple puzzle (I have it cut and sanded, I need to paint it.)

As part of our "A" learning basket, I am going to put things in that begin with the letter "A".  I have an apple that I needle felted (directions can be found here).  I am on the lookout for an alligator and possibly an astronaut.  I have letter/picture matching cards that I downloaded from here.  Along with these, I painted St. Anne (along with Mary as a child) and St. Anthony to add to the basket and our Saint friends collection.  These will be in the basket for the time we are doing the letter A and then come out for feast days.  I used the picture in Nippert's book as inspiration for how I painted St. Anne and Mary (giving credit where it is due) so that Daniel could identify them from the picture.  I may try to needle felt the alligator (shouldn't be too hard, I hope!)
Needle felted apple, St. Anne with Mary and St. Anthony

Lacy, at Catholic Icing, has some neat ideas for crafts.  And, I will certainly look at Elizabeth Foss' site for her Along the Alphabet Path story and as suggested by Jessica at Shower of Roses, I will be painting a saint to go along with the book. 

The other thing I hope to do is to start introducing Bible stories.  The Catholic Toolbox has Bible Stories from A to Z, with links activities, coloring pages, songs and more.  It has so much that I will probably be able to mine this little gem for years!

That Resource Site also has some Catholic Alphabet posters, but unfortunately, these cannot be used for letter/sound recognition since they don't really correspond all that well (like a is for altar, e is for eucharist) for teaching beginning sounds. 

I also downloaded some Montessori printables from Montessori Printshop.  I have the Alphabet cards, the Autumn matching card, and Apple Life Cycle cards.  I am not sure how long I will spend on one letter, but was thinking perhaps 2 weeks, unless interest slows.  I also hope to find picture books that will go along with our theme.

That will be our language tasks.  For numbers, we will simply read and count things - starting with one and going up.  The Tasha Tudor book is absolutely lovely and I was happy to find it at the homeschool conference I attended this past weekend. 

We will also practice some practical tasks, like pouring, setting the table, making the bed and dressing.  I plan on making a "placemat" for Daniel that shows him where to put his fork and napkin, plate and cup.  This way he can learn where everything goes.  It's not that easy though since you also have to show how to handle the plates, forks and glasses so that things don't break (can I go back and teach the others?).  Making the bed shouldn't be too hard since Daniel now has his own little bed and just has one or two covers to pull up.  Dressing will probably be the hardest.  I hope to make my own "dressing frames" which shouldn't be tooo hard, just takes time.

For our sensorial, I am hoping to buy the pink tower, which we will stack, arrange and rearrange to our hearts content.  I had bought a set of nesting blocks hoping these would work and while they help to teach size and stacking, there are some limitations.  I will also be making the geometric shapes trays - - with Dave's help.  I have printed the color cards and will also make touch boards.  Many of these templates came from Teaching Montessori in the Home:  The Preschool Years by Elizabeth Hainstock.  Highly recommend it.  I know it is an older book, but she gives great practical advice for making your materials and how to use them.

For Culture, we will be working with land and water trays (I hope to make these or will use a tub for a sand/water table).  I also printed off the Land/Water/Air cards from Montessori Print Shop.

I wish I had looked into this for the older kids when they were younger, as I am sure they would have benefited greatly.

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