Friday, September 28, 2007

A Favorite Children's Reading Site

Planet Esme
click above to go to site
I love this site. I have used it for years. It is on my sidebar for future reference. I first was acquainted with Esme Raji Codell through reading her book Educating Esme:Diary of a First Year Teacher. The book was an interesting read although it was littered with swear words (she taught in inner city Chicago and did NOT sugar coat the experience) and she was a bit smug and self-promoting.

Regardless, she has a passion for reading and writing and I could literally spend hours looking through all of her great lists, ideas and recommendations. I also just checked out this book from the library. Great info.

Here is a smattering of some lists that Esme has put together:

Books for Babies-age three
Monkey Stories
Girl Power
Books and Breadmaking
Not too scary Halloween Stories

Hints for reading aloud
Read Aloud Resuscitation

There are dozens more. Check it out! I just adore this site.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Daily Masterpiece

Do you have markers?Do you have butcher paper?
I received an email when I was teaching in Provo about the Daily Herald ridding themselves of newsprint ends (the picture below), Call your local paper and ask about it.
I have also bought this.
On Monday, tear of a large piece of butcher/art/newsprint end paper and let your toddler go at it. The next day, use the same sheet again. Wednesday, the same.
**Hint to the wise: Markers are MUCH more fun to color with according to The Schmeese. When he is drawing with them I give him no more than 2 at a time and make him put on the lids right after he is done with those colors. Taking off and putting on the lids is half the fun. If your child struggles with the whole lid thing, encourage them and keep saying "you can do it" until they do. And oh how they love to finally "get it". If you let them just go for it with markers, crayons or whatever, you are asking for a MESS and you are also overstimulating your child.
I stood one marker on end and Schmeese was intrigued. At first he had a hard time learning how to make them balance, and then he spent 15 minutes balancing markers in a row. The key is to not let them give up and keep encouraging.
After lining them up, have your child touch the top of each marker gently as you count out loud or say the colors out loud.
Color practice:
Mommy: Schmeese, can you give me the
blue marker?Mommy: Schmeese, can you color on the red circle? (this didn't work so well the first time around, but we will keep working at it)Would marker time be complete without making marker wands?Who didn't do that as a child?
By the power of Grayskull!!!!!!!!!!
Hang up your art on a window or wall until the next day. Working on the same big piece of paper all week creates one large masterpiece, saves paper, and saves you the hassle of trying to scrounge around for more drawing paper all week. Below is four days worth of art time.
Be prepared for this when Daily Masterpiece time is over.
Variations: 1)Use different mediums/techniques each day: markers, crayons, colored pencils, stamps, stickers 2)place an eraser, a spoon, a matchbox car, or other small object on paper and have them color around each object on the paper. 3)Draw lines together on the paper and have your child follow the lines with a small car or doll. 4)Draw circles and have your child put objects in each circle (a piece of macaroni, a cheerio, a coin - be sure they are of age to not put it in their mouth though).
**Older children can work on a mural all week long, adding scenery and characters daily - Fairy land, pirate ship, battle scene, princess castle. There is such novelty and potential in that huge piece of paper.... let them go with it!

Other ideas for daily masterpiece time?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Water is free, water is fun

Out comes a pitcher of water.
Out come the plastic measuring cups.Out comes a dishpan.
Out come the ice cubes.
Don't worry if you get thirsty because you have icy cold water.
And you can ask your mom to play with you because you have already been playing in the water all by yourself for over an hour.
The next day you can add neighborhood friends.
And paintbrushes.
And play "paint the deck".
We don't mind getting wet on
a hot September afternoon.
Do you?
**Be prepared to fill up water pitcher/dishpan/ice cubes at least a dozen times
variations: paint the sidewalk, paint the house, paint the front porch, measure water into different size cups, make ice cube soup, use ice cubes to scribble onto the hot pavement