Preschool: the second week, unplugged

Sunday morning we lost power – thanks to Hurricane Irene. Since we have well-water, our faucets were dry too. What a way to kick off the second week of preschool! Thank goodness I prepare my lessons the previous week, otherwise I would have been floundering. Well, as much as one can flounder when teaching a 3-year-old the alphabet.

I started off Sunday on an artistic note… letting the kids paint, with no running water for washing up. Good call!  I had been saving our cardboard toilet paper tubes, figuring they would come in handy for a project, and dug up Look What You Can Make With Tubes to look for something relatively painless to make.  Yes, it was fun, and yes, it was messy – the picture of Josiah doesn’t do justice to the fact that he was covered in paint, sucking on his hand that he had smeared with paint. 

Gwen noticed the animal cage pages – handmade paper bars behind which were put cut-out animals that begin with each letter of the alphabet (these are ancient resources my mother-in-law used in her teaching days).  I had meant to take out the letter A cage the previous week, but we didn’t get around to it.  No matter, we had all the time in the world on Sunday, so we did letters A and B.  Gwen took her task very seriously.  

While the kids were napping in the afternoon, I excitedly put together a bird sensory bin for the week… 

What’s inside:
sunflower seeds
wooden bead “berries”
twigs from the yard
glass dish with blue fabric for bird bath
Scrabble tiles that spell bird and beak
real bird feathers
three pretend birds
a pile of pretend eggs…
…inside a real nest where we watched baby birds hatch

The second week of preschool has been brought to you by the letter B, the number 1, and the color brown.  The theme for the week was birds, and our word for the week was beak.  We continued with the creation story in the Bible, working on Genesis 1:1, the memory verse for weeks one and two.  My fingers were tightly crossed that we would get power by Monday… but no such luck.

Since we we stayed on the creation story, it gave Gwen a chance to memorize her verse: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”  She can’t remember the days of creation, but she has since memorized her verse and our poem from the first week, “Seven Days.”  The latter is a great way to reinforce the week of creation, as well as to teach the days of the week – I use it all the time now when I ask her what day it is.  ABCJLM recommends it in their selection of nursery rhymes and poems, and it’s one of the ones I didn’t switch for something else.  It goes like this (put it to the tune of “Are You Sleeping?”):

“Seven Days, seven days
In a week, in a week
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
Saturday, that’s a week.”

To help reinforce the days of creation, I got the idea to make a creation block using one of the small wooden blocks that my hubby made me from scrap wood.  I had her paint the sides, and mod podged scaled-down numbers for the days of creation that have pictures of what was made on that day.  When it was dry, we practiced rolling it, saying the day, and the appropriate creation.

In lieu of music CDs and DVDs, we sang “This is the Day” – which I sometimes sing instead of a prayer – and “Do You Know Who Made the World?” 

Luckily, it was sunny, so the house was relatively bright during the day. I was excited about using the craft feathers I bought to decorate “B for birds.”  Josiah offered moral support, and then wanted to glue feathers to his coloring page.  With no “B”s or birds on it. 

I made a quick bird lapbook using some of the elements in the bird theme preschool packs at 1+1+1=1Homeschool Creation, and KidSparkz.  In the past Gwen hasn’t had much patience for coloring, but she colored each bird the appropriate color and colored the birdhouses in warm and cool shades.     

She seems to be a fan of sticky stuff, so I velcro-d the matching pieces and included some birdies to cut-and-paste onto a tree.  Oh, and the sensory bin was a big hit – Gwen threaded beads onto the twigs, Josiah scooped seeds and transferred eggs to different containers, and the kids were especially delighted when I clipped the birds to their shoulders. 

When I put together their styrofoam bird plains, they were giddy with excitement that I was Allowing Them To Throw Something.  It’s a shame the birdies weren’t more durable, because they had loads of fun while they lasted. 

We traced the uppercase B while saying ABCJLM’s letter chant, “line, bubble, bubble,” traced the lowercase B and said “bat and ball.”  I have Gwen trace with her finger before using a pencil, crayon, whatever.  These letter chants seem to help reinforce the correct way to write the letters.  Oh, and a fun little tidbit – she’s a leftie, and it’s been fun trying to help her hold the pencil correctly.  My mom got me a few different pencil grips for her, and I think I’ll get a bunch of the Stetro gripsDoes anyone use pencil grips – speficially for a leftie – and have any recommendations?    

We’ve been using the dry erase center almost daily, and Confessions of a Homeschooler’s letter hunt pages from have been a big hit.  I’ve been carrying the idea over to other pages, like the “Little Bird” story/song that was initially part of the lapbook.  I had Gwen circle all the uppercase and lowercase “B”s. 

She attacked the Letter B Do-A-Dot page from Homeschool Creations with gusto, and proudly showed off her work. I’m definitely printing these off every week!

We took advantage of the nice weather to hunt for B words outside and compiled a long list; I added this to an index card holder along with the A words from the previous week.

I’ve continued using the trays I got for the kiddos and have been trying to utilize them in organizing specific projects and activities for the week.  I tend to change one or two of the trays, depending on what we’re going to cover the next day.  On a whim, I picked out a few of the spell-a-puzzles from their box and laid them out, and Gwen went to town, doing them over and over again. 

By the end of the week, Gwen just wanted to go outside – especially since Daddy came home from work – but I did get her and Josiah to do a Buttons & Blue Paper craft.  Such a cute project (see bulletin board photo at the end), and Josiah placed all the button on the glue himself, practicing that pincer grasp.  Afterwards Daddy helped her build a birdhouse; I found little kits for $1 at A. C. Moore (come to think of it, she still needs to decorate it).

“Straight down and then you’re done. That’s the way to make a one!” goes ABCJLM’s number rhyme for this week.  Gwen’s pretty good at counting to one, so we didn’t have any issues this week.  Along with the letter index cards, I got the idea from ABCJLM to create a number matching activity, making a separate index card for each number and putting the appropriate amount of stickers on another card (I’m putting both on one card and will cut them in half later).  Since zero would have been pretty boring, I saved both zero and one for this week.  This took all of two seconds, easy-peasy, and will come in handy when we review later.  To reinforce the number one, I asked questions like, “How old is Josiah?”, “How many brothers do you have?”  etc.  

Ah, good intentions… once again I had planned a snack to incorporate part of the week’s lesson, but with the fridge not working I didn’t go to the store till later in the week.  I have a recipe for bird’s nest cookies that are made with chow mein noodles, chocolate chips, peanut butter… but they aren’t the healthiest.  I saw this recipe for Birds’ Nests using healthier ingredients and was so looking forward to making them, but it didn’t happen.  I did incorporate the color by making chocolate pudding, with which the kids were thrilled.  I got out the file folder games, and Josiah did a great job matching the dinosaurs.

Gwen continues doing her chore chart every day – she’s gotten pretty good at making her bed and cleaning her room without asking.  We’ve been doing the Calendar Activity at Starfall most mornings, and we usually remember to do her weather watching jars in the evening.

Bulletin Board
By the end of the week this is what our bulletin board looked like:

Book Basket 
100 Bible Stories, 100 Bible Songs
In The Nest
The Best Beak in Boonaroo Bay
Unbeatable Beaks
My Beak, Your Beak
Big Red Barn
The Berenstains’ B Book
The Booklets’ Baking Boo-Boo
Burger Boy
Blueberries for Sal
My “b” Book
The Bears Upstairs
Angelina Ballerina
The Fairies’ Alphabet Book
Only One You
One Red Dot
My Number Book
Be Brown
Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?
Big Brown Bear’s Up and Down Day
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Beauty & the Beast  

Linking up…

Tot School

Gwen is 3 years old (44 months) and Josiah is 1 (20 months).


3 thoughts on “Preschool: the second week, unplugged

  1. Amanda says:

    Glad you weren’t more seriously affected/hurt by Irene. It sounds like having some activities up your sleeve helped you all stay sane!

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