Archive for the ‘Original resources’ Category

Free Resources: Letter Puppets

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

I mentioned in Saturday’s post that I do not intend to follow Slow and Steady Get me Ready to a T.  This week’s activities are a perfect example of how I might adapt the ideas presented in the book.  I opened up to “Age 4 — Week 12″ and found that the week begins by introducing the letter D.  Thanks to Starfall, Levi has been able to identify all of the letters and their sounds since he was two years old.  Two years later, he is beginning to put words together using alphabet blocks.  Last week he even wrote his name on his magnetic writing board!  You will see in the picture at the left that he has an issue with spelling: he does not understand letter order.  We wouldn’t want him to go around signing things “Vile” or “Evil,” now would we?  One activity suggested in the text is to look through magazines for words that begin with a particular letter.  I think this could help.  We may also try cutting out the words and making a collage?  Too ambitious?  Maybe.  I’d also like try digging in sand for letters, mostly because it sounds like fun.

To introduce each of the letters, Oberlander asks parents to make “letter puppets.”  When I think of a puppet, I think of the figure of a person or animal; I would generally describe these as “flashcards on sticks.”  However, I will refer to them as puppets to prevent confusion.  While I don’t find it necessary to introduce each letter, the author suggests other activities to do with the puppets, so I decided to go ahead and make them.  Being the nerd that I am, I made them electronically.  If you’d like to save some work, or aren’t particularly fond of drawing, you can download my version from the Resource Center.  Just cut the sheet in half between the two letters and have your child color it.  Then, fold it in half and glue the sides together with a stiff cardboard “stick” or a craft stick in between.  Voila!  Instant letter puppets!

I’ll report later this week about how the activities work.

Thoughts About Slow and Steady Get Me Ready

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

I have a confession to make: I got so excited about being about being able to download Slow and Steady Get me Ready for free that I failed to thoroughly read through the text before sharing the link.  I think that by posting a progress chart, I may be misrepresenting the way in which we plan to use the book.

Let me emphasize that we do not intend to precisely follow each week’s activities.  I created the chart as a concrete record that Levi is receiving instruction long before it is required by law.  It will also help me develop the habit of tracking his progress so that by the time school is legally required, it will come easily to me.  As with any curriculum resource, I plan to draw upon its ideas and adapt them to each child’s needs and abilities.  I will share my adaptations so that others may use what they find helpful.  I will leave the chart in the Resource Center, but please understand that I am not encouraging anyone to follow the book perfectly.

Nate and I are also slightly concerned with the author’s tone.  For example, in one place, she spoke of having to “unteach” what she called “improper printing” (I would argue what she calls “improper” is more a developmental stage on the way to “proper” printing.)  While the author may not have intended it so, I sense a condescending undertone toward parents.  I will not reject the entire book because of this.  The author does present some interesting activities, and overall, the book makes a good reference.  After all, it was free!

Free Resources: Slow and Steady, Get me Ready

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Thumbnail of Slow and Steady Get Me Ready progress recordThe Well-Trained Mind, at least the version we own, recommends using Slow and Steady, Get me Ready by June Oberlander as a preschool curriculum.  The book describes one developmental activity for each week of a child’s life from birth through age five.  It covers everything from developing gross motor skills to packing a travel bag.  Not only is it well-recommended and comprehensive, it’s free!  You can download a PDF copy from the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC).

Levi will only benefit from one year of the activities, but I intend to try some of them with the younger kids as well.  If nothing else, it will give me fresh ideas to entertain them.  To keep track of their progress, I created a spreadsheet with cells that correspond to each week the program.  I’ve shared it here in PDF and Excel formats. Feel free to customize the spreadsheet, print it out, make copies, and share with your friends!