Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Kindergarten Literature List

For the most part, picture books are for The Kid to read aloud to me. The chapter books are for me to read aloud to The Kid.

Picture Books (listed from lower reading level to higher, we will read them in this order with exceptions for some seasonal titles)

Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore
The Dot by Peter Reynolds (we will read some of his other books as well)
Two Times the Fun by Beverly Cleary (four longer stories in one book, less pictures)
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
Zen Shorts by Jon J Muth
Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein
George and Martha by James Marshall
How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
The Lion and the Mouse by Bernadette Watts
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
Andy and the Lion by James Daugherty

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
New Coat for Anna by Harriet Ziefert
Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff
Three Little Pigs by Paul Galdone (we'll read a variety of other folk tales by Paul Galdone as well)
The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Anderson
Anansi the Spider by Gerald McDermott
Frida by Jonah Winter
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

Three Questions by Jon J Muth
A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams
Abuela by Arthur Dorros
Chanticleer and the Fox by Barbara Cooney

The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie dePaola

Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss
Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
Alexander and the Terribly, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Cinderella by Charles Perrault

Diego by Jonah Winter
Eyes of Gray Wolf by Jonathan London
The Shell Book by Barbara Hirsch Lember
Island of the Skog by Steven Kellogg
Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke
Elizabeth Leads the Way by Tanya Lee Stone
Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting

The Girl Who Spun Gold by Virginia Hamilton
The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry
Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola
The Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter
Dogteam by Gary Paulsen
True Story of Stellina by Matteo Pericoli
Woman Who Outshone the Sun by Alejandro Cruz Martinez
Cherry Tree by Ruskin Bond
Koko's Kitten by Francine Patterson
Planet Earth/Inside Out by Gail Gibbons
Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse by Leo Lionni
I Can Hear the Sun by Patricia Polacco
Verdi by Janell Cannon
How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning by Rosalyn Schanzer
Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
Toy Brother by William Steig
Jack and the Beanstalk by Steven Kellogg
Quiltmaker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau
Sea Chest by Toni Buzzeo
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems
Dragonfly's Tale by Kristina Rodanas
Going Home by Eve Bunting
Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles
How the Stars Fell Into the Sky by Jerrie Oughton

Longer/Chapter Books 
Minpins by Roald Dahl
The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame
My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett (there are sequels to this)
Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
Bunnicula by Deborah Howe (there are sequels)
Stuart Little by E.B. White
Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelance (there are sequels)
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner (there are sequels)
The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary (there are sequels)
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
Tumtum & Nutmeg by Emily Bearn (there are sequels)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Accelerating All About Spelling

We will be finishing up level 2 of All About Spelling soon. My daughter is an early reader and a fairly good speller, but she wanted to be "taught" spelling. I chose All About Spelling because the letter tiles made it easy to adapt for a non-writer. However, we learned fairly quickly that the letter tiles are also s-l-o-w. I started having her spell the words aloud and then we moved to having her type out the words and sentences on the iPad. Sometimes we use the letter tiles for new teaching, sometimes I simply write on a whiteboard.

I discovered early on that the program starts out pretty simply. For some students, this may be a great confidence booster. For other students, this may create boredom. My daughter fell into the latter camp. We've accelerated the program in two ways.

Acceleration Option #1:
Complete only a portion of work from each lesson. We generally settled on all of the new teaching, 1/2 the main spelling words, none of the extra words, and 1-2 dictation sentences. Review was limited only to rules she had more difficulty with. We generally covered a full step in one lesson this way.

Acceleration Option #2:
Pretesting. I know that some people pretest using the full list of words for each step, but I wanted a quicker assessment. For each step, I choose 2-3 words from the main spelling lists that are great examples of the rule being taught. Pretesting 5 lessons at a time therefore has a list of 10-15 words. I do include ALL of the rule breakers that are covered in any lesson. If she gets the 2-3 words from a lesson correct, then we put a sticker on the progress chart for that lesson and we're done with it. If she gets any wrong from that lesson, we cover the lesson on another day. If a rule breaker is correct, we move on; if a rule breaker is incorrect I teach it along with any lesson coming up. We would cover a step in one lesson.

Here is an example of how Option #2 worked for us in practice:

1. Pretested steps 10-15 in Level 2. (Step 11 contained a word bank, but no new rules, so this covered five steps of new rules.)
          Pretest words: rule, June, size, rise, grapes, hoses, been, queen, deep, cold, child, her, super
2. Look over pretest. She missed grapes, hoses, been, super. These are from steps 12 and 15, plus one rule breaker. I went ahead and taught the rule breaker immediately. We marked steps 10, 11, 13, and 14 as completed on the progress chart.
3. The next week, we covered step 12. I taught the rule for pluralizing vowel-consonant-E words, then dictated three phrases and two sentences for her to spell.
4. Next lesson, we covered step 15. I covered the new teaching, dictated three phrases and two sentences.
5. Next lesson, we did a pretest for steps 16-20. Repeat as above.

Anyone else accelerated All About Spelling? How about with higher levels?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Pre-history Year

Kindergarten is a great time for learning about dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals! I wanted to start with the Big Bang and go through early man - basically everything before Ancients.

Resource List: Books 
(I bought the first four on this list, the others were obtained through the library)

- Usborne Encyclopedia of World History
- Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Dinosaurs by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart
- Life Story by Virginia Lee Burton
- Evolution by Joanna Cole
- Our Family Tree: An Evolution Story by Lisa Westberg Peter

 Resource List: Videos
(all available through Netflix)
Walking With Monsters series
Walking With Dinosaurs series
Walking With Beasts series
Walking With Cavemen series

The Planned Sequence for 36 Weekly Lessons 

  1. The Story of Everything: From the Big Bang Until Now in 11 Pop-up Spreads by Neal Layton
  2. Usborne 14-17; Dissect owl pellets and discuss how it relates to how scientists deduce information about the past
  3. Life Story by Virginia Lee Burton
  4. Usborne 18-19; Our Family Tree: An Evolution Story by Lisa Westberg Peters
  5. Usborne 20-23; Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution by Steve Jenkins
  6. Usborne 24-29; Walking With Monsters: Water Dwellers
  7. When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life Long Before Dinosaurs by Hannah Bonner
  8. Usborne 30-33; Compare megalodon and great white shark, including comparing their sizes using a sidewalk and chalk. (Activity from Intellego K-2 unit on Evolution)
  9. When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life Before Dinosaurs by Hannah Bonner
  10. Usborne 34-37; Walking With Monsters: Reptile's Beginnings
  11. Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Sharks and Other Sea Monsters by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart
  12. Usborne 38-41; Walking With Monsters: Clash of Titans
  13. When Dinos Dawned, Mammals Got Munched, and Pterosaurs Took Flight: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life in the Triassic by Hannah Bonner
  14. Usborne 42-43; Walking With Dinosaurs: New Blood
  15. Usborne 44-47; Walking With Dinosaurs: Time of the Titans
  16. Usborne 48-51; Walking With Dinosaurs: Cruel Sea
  17. Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Dinosaurs by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart
  18. Field trip to zoo, focus on reptiles and birds, discuss evolution
  19. Usborne 52-55; Walking With Dinosaurs: Giants of the Skies
  20. Usborne 56-57; Walking With Dinosaurs: Spirits of the Ice Forest
  21. Usborne 58-59; Walking With Dinosaurs: Death of a Dynasty
  22. Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons by Sara Levine
  23. Field trip to museum to see fossils, including dinosaur bones
  24. Usborne 60-65; Walking With Beasts: New Dawn
  25. Usborne 66-69; Walking With Beasts: Whale Killer
  26. Usborne 70-73; Walking With Beasts: Land of Giants
  27. Usborne 74-77; Walking With Beasts: Next of Kin
  28. Field trip to Wild Cat Sanctuary, discussion of evolution
  29. Usborne 78-81; Walking With Cavemen: First Ancestors
  30. The Human Body: How We Evolved by Joanna Cole
  31. Usborne 82-85; Walking With Cavemen: Blood Brothers
  32. Field trip to the zoo, focus on primates, discuss evolution
  33. Usborne 86-89; Walking With Beasts: Sabre Tooth
  34. Usborne 90-93; Walking With Cavemen: Savage Family
  35. Usborne 94-97; Walking With Cavemen: The Survivors
  36. Usborne 98-101; Walking With Beasts: Mammoth Journey

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Kindergarten Curriculum and Resources

My Butterfly has decided that she wants to start kindergarten. Next week.

*shrug* Okay. Whatever you want, kid.

She says the difference between kindergarten and what we have been doing is that some stuff will be required instead of optional and she will get to do "trickier math".

Reading (3x weekly)
Read alouds from a mom-made reading list at her ability level

Math (3x weekly)
RightStart B
Time-Life I Love Math series
MathStart level 2 books by Stuart J. Murphy
Considering a subscription to Dreambox

Spelling (1x weekly)
All About Spelling 2 and 3, with adaptations for handwriting

Science (1x weekly, but she'll request more and do these much more than "planned")
Lego Education Early Simple Machines
The Private Eye
The Happy Scientist videos
Building Foundations for Scientific Understanding
Caterpillar-to-Butterfly kit
Child-friendly Microscope
Various Thames and Kosmos sets 
Memberships to local children's museum and the zoo

Spanish (1x weekly)
Salsa Spanish
DuoLingo This moved too fast for my daughter and she became frustrated. She asked for something that we did together and not something online. So we added:

Risas y Sonrisas

Handwriting (1x weekly)
StartWrite software

History (1x weekly)
Mom-made Prehistory year (Big Bang to early man)

Art (every other week)
Usborne Big Drawing Book
Usborne Complete Book of Art Ideas
Artistic Pursuits preschool level

Music (every other week)
The Story of the Orchestra

While we are taking the summer off from lessons, in the fall she will likely continue swim, gymnastics, and violin.



Thursday, February 27, 2014

Preschool Literature List

Do you get lost in the library trying to find good books? I certainly do. I can't remember if we've read it before, I have no recollection of the books I read in early childhood and therefore don't remember which ones I liked, and I always want a good mix. I referred to a lot of other lists to compile a list of my own, including the reading lists from Moving Beyond the Page, Sonlight, Five in a Row, and Read Aloud America. I took recommendations from posters on discussion boards that I frequent. These were nowhere near all the books we've been reading for our preschool year, but they were the ones I considered worthwhile to put on a list and make sure I checked out throughout the year. I kept this to 52 books - one for each week of the year, though we didn't necessarily do one per week.



1.       Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs (Tomie DePaola)
2.       A Pair of Red Clogs (Masako Matsuno)
3.       What Do You Do With a Tail Like This (Steve Jenkins)
4.       Angus Lost (Marjorie Flack)
5.       Caps for Sale (Esphyr Slobodkina)
6.       Rosie’s Magic Horse (Russell Hoban)
7.       A Splendid Friend Indeed (Suzanne Bloom)
8.       The Glorious Flight (Alice Provensen)
9.       Owl Babies (Martin Waddell)
10.   Dandelion (Don Freeman)
11.   Nurse Clementine (Simon James)
12.   Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree (Gail Gibbons)
13.   Little Bear’s Little Boat (Eve Bunting)
14.   Grandfather’s Journey (Allen Say)
15.   Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse (Kevin Henkes)
16.   Ella Sarah Gets Dressed (Margaret Chodos-Irvine)
17.   Petunia (Roger Duvoisin)
18.   Dinosaurs Big and Small (Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld)
19.   Papa Piccolo (Carol Talley)
20.   Swimmy (Leo Lionni)
21.   A Rainbow of My Own (Don Freeman)
22.   The Cat in the Hat (Dr. Seuss)
23.   Dogger (Shirley Hughes)
24.   Zin! Zin !Zin! A Violin (Lloyd Moss)
25.   My Lucky Day (Keiko Kasza)
26.   Little Blue and Little Yellow (Leo Lionni)
27.   An Extraordinary Egg (Leo Lionni)
28.   Not a Box (Antoninette Portis)
29.   Little Red Riding Hood (retold by Trina Schart Hyman)
30.   A Bus Called Heaven (Bob Graham)
31.   There’s a Wocket in My Pocket (Dr. Seuss)
32.   Toot and Puddle (Holly Hobbie)
33.   Tiger Can’t Sleep (JJ Fore)
34.   Umbrella (Taro Yashima)
35.   Curious George (H.A. Rey)
36.   Amber on the Mountain (Tony Johnston)
37.   When I’m Sleepy (Jane R Howard)
38.   Night of the Moonjellies (Mark Shasha)
39.   Wheel on the Chimney (Margaret Wise Brown)
40.   Ride a Purple Pelican (Jack Prelutsky)
41.   Farfallina and Marcel (Holly Keller)
42.   The House on East 88th Street (Bernard Waber)
43.   The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge (Hildegarde Swift)
44.   It’s Mine! (Leo Lionni)
45.   Cranberry Thanksgiving (Wende Devlin)
46.   Bear Shadow (Frank Asch)
47.   And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street (Dr. Seuss)
48.   Mouse Soup (Arnold Lobel)
49.   Mole and the Baby Bird (Marjorie Newman)
50.   Beatrice Doesn’t Want To (Laura Numeroff)
51.   Frog and Toad Are Friends (Arnold Lobel)
52.   Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Advanced Reading for Preschoolers

Since my critter started reading, she's really taken off. I was having trouble keeping up with her and finally found two tips that saved my sanity (for now).

Tip #1: Stop looking at lists of "books for _____ graders" as those quickly got into books that my daughter was not interested in/ready for. Just because she can read at a third grade level does not mean she has any interest in books with few pictures. She is still a preschooler! Better is to look at lists of "read-alouds for preschoolers/kindergarteners" and just acknowledge that she can be the one reading aloud instead of a parent.

Tip #2: Organize! I'll find a great book, know that there is a series, and then forget all about it. So, in the spirit of organizing, I started a few GoodReads lists. You can use these as reference or add to them yourself!

Preschoolers Reading at First Grade Level
Preschoolers Reading at Second Grade Level
Preschoolers Reading at Third Grade Level

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Scheduling Without Actually Scheduling Part 2 - Daily To Do List

Last post was about how we schedule the outings in a week. Today is about how we do a daily to-do list. Here is a picture of a day's list (with the Critter's name removed):



This list is typically the more "academic" stuff I want to get done in a day - reading, math, spelling, science, fine motor skills. It does not include lots of other playing, but rest assured that plenty of off-list stuff happens every day! Some of the things are in a code of sorts - "number games" means RightStart Math and "Activity sheets" is a selection of Kumon fine motor skill sheets, Mad Libs, and Can You Find Me? sheets.

The list is in no particular order. If something needs to happen at a particular time, such as gymnastics, that is written on the board. Otherwise, Critter can pick things in any order and we erase them as we finish. There is no requirement that everything be done and often the list is altered during the day. Sometimes she wakes up and declares she wants something added to or deleted from the board, which is fine. Sometimes we just get to the end of the day and didn't get to things, which is also fine. But the list manages to put a lot of control into the Critter's hands regarding what she does when and keeps me on track for remembering to do something.