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Unit Study on The Mitten by Jan Brett — Part III

January 15, 2009

Language Arts — For the third day in a row, we read The Mitten, and did the song, rhyme, and fingerplay I posted about on Monday. Again, we did the Montessori-ish rhyming cards I’d made.

Trishy is still struggling with the whole rhyming thing, even though she’s always been read to, listened to nursery rhymes, and such. Because of that and various other reasons, I think we might shell out the money for an auditory processing evaluation at some point, but I’m shelving that thought for now. She’s just barely five, and things are pretty fluid at this age. Besides, I don’t accept the notion that if you do some kind of irrevocable damage if you miss critical windows of opportunity with a young child. Even if we could pinpoint precisely when those oft-touted “windows” are open (every child is different), it seems impossible to deny that a person’s brain grows and changes throughout life. And I certainly don’t buy the propaganda that if kids aren’t ready to read by age 6, they’ll be left behind.

Anyway, she LOVES the cards (what is it with little girls and cards?) so we keep doing this every day, at her request. I don’t object when she just wants to flip them over and match them by color (I color coded the backs of the rhyming cards to make them self-correcting) instead of trying to hear the rhymes. I just highlight the rhymes (“Look! “Frog, Dog, Fog!”) and let her have fun with it.

We also worked with the name cards I’d made (Montessori educators call them nomenclature cards, though they use them a bit differently) — they include the eight animals who appear in The Mitten. There is a card for each in English and another in Spanish. Trishy organized the cards in pairs as I read them to her. She seems to get a kick out of that. Then, at my suggestion, we shuffled them up and played a few rounds of concentration with them.

I introduced a small set of “go together” cards I’d made. I showed her that a card showing a tiny pair of mittens went with a card showing a baby’s hands. Then she paired them herself with minimal help. (big hands/gloves, markers/paper, train/tracks, baby/diaper, etc.) The only one she couldn’t get was dirty hands/soap (surely my kids don’t have a trouble with the concept of soap? *LOL!* Though looking at my son, and his ever-plummeting standards of personal hygiene, one might wonder!) So Trishy got that one through the process of elimination.

Math — When we played concentration, she determined who had won (who had the most matches). I highlighted the words “more” and “less” when she did that.. (concept of “more” and “less,” comparing sets of objects).

She played with her pattern blocks.

(Yes, that’s a slew of play dough stuck to the table)

Last night, she received a wonderful gift from a sweet, thoughtful friend (with a good memory!) who knew we wanted this terrific game:

James taught her how to play. It involved reading numerals and comparing numbers.

Science — We did the Living/Non-Living sorting activity (from A Little Bit of Montessori) again.

She really likes all these cards. Soon, I’ll get my nifty little Montessori trays, and I’ll keep them out on her shelf, encouraging her to play with them on her own, one at a time, and put them back where they belong.

The Mitten shows animals in winter seeking refuge from the cold. Trishy and I made a cave, from chairs and blankets, where we could hibernate together. We crawled in with several books and a flashlight. Then we read two books about animals in winter:

Later, while Big Brother was in Homeschool P.E., we played a variation of “20 questions” called “I’m a New Animal.” It kind of goes like this — “Do you have fur? Yes? So you’re a mammal. Hmmm … do you have sharp teeth? Do you carry your baby in a pouch?” So we’re getting our feet wet with deductive reasoning and animal classification.

Sensory — She wanted to play (AGAIN) with a tray of “snow” (shaving cream and opal glitter) with the plastic animals I’d bought for this unit. So she did. This time I added a toilet paper roll covered with shaving cream as a cave, so the bear could hibernate.

P.E. — Trishy walked on the track, with me and Sarah, while James was in P.E.

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