Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tot School - Ocean and Beach Theme

Well, this is my first official "Tot School" post. Our boys are 28 months and 51 months old. My older son has been diagnosed with PDD-NOS and along with the issues that coincide with his diagnosis he also has some learning difficulties. Although he has been attending a special education pre-school I personally feel that they do not focus enough on his actual learning of skills. He is very smart in some areas and lacking in so many others. This is why I am committed to taking a bigger role in his education and in turn hopefully making him better prepared for kindergarten.

We have always focused on learning new skills a small part of everyday but we never actually had a game plan. Now I think we do, or at least I am working on it now. My oldest's school works off of the Creative Curriculum which is theme based so I will try to work along this schedule possibly staying a week behind so I can follow-up with anything they have missed.

Here is our week 1 -

Beach/Ocean Theme

We worked on the letter F - for Fish, this week using some writing template that I printed from my membership at Kid Soup (although it is a premium site with a fee it is a great resource for printables and little games; we use it constantly).

If you look closely you can see where he did his letter in pencil.

I printed out these fish patterns also from my membership at Kid Soup to make this file folder game for matching capital and lower case letters. I broke up the letters into three folders. Since I planned a lot of ocean themed activities we will definitely work on this one again several times since me son has trouble with letter recognition.

My son did an open-ended art picture to work on his imagination.

We also made some fun sea creature crafts together this week. Since my sons loves to make things with me I generally use craft time to work on fine motor, listening and attention to direction skills. You can find my original post on these crafts here (lobster and crabs, jellyfish collage and paper bag whales).

The boys and I read the following books. My 4 year old really loves the facts and details that are in the Cat In The Hat Learning Library series so we read two beach/ocean themed ones this week, it is a really great series for kids who are into technical fact based information (which my son thrives on).

For Some Quiet Time (also known as must get dinner on the table time) the boys watched this:
and we watched this one for family movie night!


greedygrace said...

What a great theme unit! I think I'm going to try a few of these ideas with my daughter!

I came by to welcome you to SITS! We're happy to have you with us!

carma said...

fun crafts...

Stopping by to say hi and welcome to SITS. I know that you will enjoy being a part of this vibrant community of bloggers!
carma :-)

TheRockerMom said...

Too many great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

Shannon said...

What a fun theme! My goal is more themes for tot school once we get home, but we're on vacation for another week.

If you have a Dollar Tree or Michael's near you, your boys might like the pellets that grow into foam sea creatures. My kids did that about a month ago, then we made under sea pics with them!

Susana said...

I love the fish file folder game and the jellyfish craft you guys did this week! Super cute blog too:-)!!

Michie said...

This post made me smile. I think it is awesome that you are taking such an involved interest in your son's education.

I am an intensive needs special education teacher, so I am curious - what do you think they are missing at your son's school?

JM - The Princess said...

Hi Michie - I have to say that is a tough question but a good one. I think that his school is trying to work more on the sensory aspect and social skills and his regular education gets pushed aside. I do understand that he needs to act properly in a social setting especially school but he is very bright, very inquisitive and his vocabulary is astounding although he still has trouble counting to 10 which at his age should be so easy for him. We have asked the district for a SEIT or an ABA therapist to come to the house for extensive training but were denied. The district feels that if we can get him to sit still long enough he will learn, I agree to a point BUT so much time is slipping by and I don't see how it will all get "fixed" by next year. My dream would be a regular kindergarten class with no assistance. Is it possible? We'll see.
P.S. I did not know you were a special education teacher - two thumbs up for you!!!! and you wonder why you have been stressed :)

Penelope said...

Welcome to these ideas! and your banner!


jd6405 said...

Welcome to Tot School!! I love you crafts this week! What a fun theme!

Michie said...

Thanks for the kudos. I haven't worked with many kids on the spectrum - I work more with multiply handicapped students. However, I guess professional curiousity got the best of me!

Although I don't know anything about your son's school, I will say it is very hard to pack everything that you need to work on in special education into one day. It sounds like they are currently working on social skills with your son, probably figuring that if he has the social skills to be in a regular ed or inclusive classroom, he will then be able to learn the academics. (Just a guess from what you've told me.) However, I don't know that "sitting still" equals learning. Many students learn through movement and doing - and perhaps your son could work on his numbers that way, by playing games that encourage him to run around? I could ramble on and on here, so I should stop. :)

In any event, I think it is great that you want to help supplement your sons education. He's very lucky.

Raising a Happy Child said...

It's nice to meet you via Tot School. We are doing Ocean Theme this week - our first foray into thematic week, and we also read some of the books on your list. I loved your whale - maybe I can fit it into our schedule too. Happy teaching!

The DeMarcus Family said...

I love your blog! We have a playgroup and I love to use different themes for the week!

I read a few of the comments on this post ( about your sons education) it seems like Montessori would be a good fit for him. I know that is how Maria Montessori started was working with Autistic children and had them working at a "normal" level. The best part is that they don't sit still.. the learning in that environment is all about exploring.
Thanks again for having such an inspiring blog! I can tell you love your children so much :)