Friday, June 19, 2015

Making Up For Lost Time

Every summer, I give my best shot homeschooling my kids.  And when I say "homeschooling", I mean that I spend a little time teaching them something, and then we go out to play!  I mean, if I didn't teach them something, I would feel a little guilty when I told my student's parents that they need to make time to work with their kids at home, right?

Well, since I have an almost-3-year-old, I feel it's most important to just learn the basics:  letters, numbers, and shapes.  When my oldest daughter was 3, I used to have time to purposefully teach all this through the year, but now that I have two, it's just not that easy, so we cram over the summer.

So, I decided to go the flash card route just to get some baseline data.  I created flash cards for all the letters (upper and lowercase), number (through 20), and shapes.

I went through all the flashcards.  It took me several times to get this data because I have one silly and squirrely 2-year-old!  But, we did it, and when we were finished, I hung my head really low when I discovered that my child knows about none of her lowercase letters and not even all of her capital letters. I also noticed that there are some shapes that are just not developmentally appropriate for my daughter (like octagon and hexagon, because they look too similar, and I'm pretty sure she doesn't understand when I say, "Let's count the sides").

I collected the data on this simple little chart to see where she began, and we will continue to do this each week throughout the summer.

I do not plan on drilling and killing this stuff all summer.  We'll do some cute activities, draw some letters and numbers in shaving cream, do some puzzles, play some games, and as always, we will make meaningful discussions of our everyday activities.  But, I will use these data collection sheets all summer to see where we end up.  If you have littles and want to use them, click here.

Hope you all have a wonderfully relaxing summer!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Graphing with Stickies

This is a great and super easy way to introduce bar graphs and dot plots!  For these graphs, I got the dot stickers and little 2 by 2 sticky notes from Target.  :)  That's all you need!

Bar Graph

Materials needed:
*  White board
*  White board marker
*  Small 2 by 2 sticky notes

First thing you want to do is determine a topic.  I chose "Favorite Summer Activity".  Get the kids to help create some categories and write those down.  Then, take a vote to determine how far your graph needs to extend.  Talk to them about why you do this.

Start drawing (and labeling) your graph!  Drawing it with your kids helps them to learn the parts of each graph and helps them to understand how they are generated.  Also, talking about the process as you're going provides a great learning experience.

I drew my scale using the sticky notes (shown above) since that is what the kids were using.  When you are finished, have each student come up and place a sticky note on their favorite activity.  Make sure you mention that their sticky note must line up with the scale.  Some kids will stick them partially on top of another which makes the data appear incorrect.

Voila!  I did different colors for the cute factor, but using the same colors might make the graph easier to read.

Dot Plot

Materials needed:
* White board
* Expo marker
* Circle sticky dots

Just like the bar graph, you want to create your dot plot with the kids.  Show them how to create the scale.  I used index cards to separate the numbers, but you could be good and use a ruler!  It really doesn't matter as long as the spaces are even.  :)

I drew my dot plot on the white board and put the stickers on there, but if you don't feel comfortable putting sticky dots on your white board, you can always laminate a piece of poster board and tape it to the white board.  The dots are not hard to remove; however, I would remove them before the end of the day just in case.

Now you want to determine the topic.  I chose "Number of Siblings" for mine.  Take a vote to determine where your numbers (# of siblings) will begin and end.  On this one, most likely, your smallest number will be 0 for kids who have no siblings.  But for the largest, it might be 2 or it might be 18 (if you have a Duggar kid in your class), so you don't want to assume and write down any random number as your last one.

I wrote number of siblings as the title, but you can also write it underneath the numbers to show what those numbers mean.  I really don't think it matters as long as your kids know what those numbers represent.

Draw your scale (I used an index card)

Then, give each of your students a dot sticker and have them come to the board to place their sticker in the right spot.

**It is important to show them what happens if you don't align the stickers up correctly.  You can do this beforehand if you want to avoid calling anyone out (unless they do it AFTER you tell them!)

That's it!

You can download these two worksheets so the kids can draw their graphs with you!  And if you feel like being extra fun, you can give the kids these teeny tiny dot sticks so they can use them on their plots!  I bought the 1/4 inch Avery Color Coding Labels for this activity.   Here's a pic!