Sunday, April 14, 2013

Co-op: Week 1

I tried to be good about taking as many pictures as I could, but things got hectic and, well, I just forgot. Sorry. But here are a few...

Our schedule

Ms. Jeree (or Mystery, as I like to call her), is trained in teaching Handwriting Without Tears. They have these awesome FLIP Crayons that are teeny tiny, which make it nearly impossible to grasp them incorrectly. This week, she assessed the Big Kids' pencil grips and ability to write their names. She also introduced the wooden letter shapes: big curves, little curves, big lines and little lines. These are also made by Handwriting Without Tears, and are used as manipulatives for making letters.

E showing off his pencil grip

B writing his name on a paper strip

B & E exploring the Handwriting Without Tears shapes: curves & lines

Sensory Play: 
The toddlers enjoyed chasing and popping bubbles this week. We played some classical musical in the background. 

I assessed each of the boys on sight words. Most of the boys didn't know many, if any at all, so I only assessed them on the first 10 words. 

I introduced the sight word for this week (a) and explained that it is a letter, but it is also a word. The boys used push pins to make the shape of the word on cardboard. The activity was a hit!

We read the book "A Park" together and I had the boys point to each word as I read. I then gave them flashcards with the word a and pictures from the story and we played a little game of fill in the blank. "I like to play with a friend on _  ______." (a seesaw) They had to complete each sentence with their flashcards and read their answers, pointing to each word. 

I then had each child read the book to me one-on-one before they were excused from the lesson. This allowed me to quickly assess which boys had mastered reading the word a and whether or not they could point to each word as they read. They all did fantastic!

Modifications: This book was below L's reading level, so I gave him flashcards with only words and no pictures. He really enjoyed the game alongside his peers, as it was a little more challenging for him without the pictures. 

Resources: I have a class subscription to Reading A-Z. I am able to print assessments and books for each of my students. The subscription is reasonable considering how much you get for the fee. For about $80 a year per class you can print as many books, worksheets, assessments, etc. as you want. You can also try it out for FREE for a week. I highly recommend this resource! (No, they are not a sponsor for MTLM, but they should be!)

Materials for the reading lesson

E working on his push pin board

L showing off his work
The Little Kids and I sang "Old McDonald Had a Farm" and made animal sounds. Then, we played instruments to music from The Beatles.

B shaking a maraca

L sharing a microphone with Ms. Amy
Motor Play:
Ms. Jeree & Ms. Holly set up a light-box for the toddlers and used white printer paper with shapes traced on them and magna tiles to introduce shapes. They also had translucent bugs, leaves, and other object to use on the lightbox. Sorry, I don't have any pictures of this, because I was teaching the reading lesson!

Ms. Holly reviewed shapes with the Big Kids and talked about what shapes we can find on a playground. They looked through books about playgrounds and pointed out as many shapes as they could find. They also completed a couple of coloring activity pages that went along with the lesson.

Week 1 was a success, but here are some things that we learned....

  • You have to be comfortable with the other moms correcting and redirecting your children. We rotated which moms were with the Big Kids and Little Kids at any given time; therefore, a child's mom was not always present when needed. This is perfectly OK, because learning to obey other adults is one of the skills that we are trying to teach our children. 
  • Toddlers are MUCH harder to entertain than preschoolers. Have more moms with them than with the older kids. If possible, have separate learning spaces for each group. 
  • Keep lessons short, engaging and age appropriate! 
Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. If you want for me to keep sharing what we are doing for our co-op each week, then please give me some love. "Like" MTLM on Facebook and leave me a comment or question below. If I think no one is interested, I won't spend any more time writing these posts! 

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