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A Show of Hands……(and feet)

Hi everybody!  Here’s another post I’ve been looking forward to doing; a Sing-along!  Every activity plan in Clever Clovers and Reaching Roses (coming soon) has a sing-along included (with song ideas and lyrics provided at the end of each activity plan).  Singing with your baby is so beneficial for so many reasons but this post is focused on the language development component (mainly vocabulary).

Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Clever Clovers curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: Hands & Feet

Activity Description: Sing Along: Sing songs about hands and feet. (See song list following the lesson plan for ideas).

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Language

Specific Skill: Connecting language to objects and motions

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 17 months + 2 Weeks

1. As many of you know, I often use a sing-along as part of our learning routine.  That is, I use it as a warm-up activity to whatever main activity we are going to do.  I find this works because they get to know the songs better (with a lot of repetition) and it prepares them for what will follow.

Pictures from today’s sing-along.  (I love how expressive they are becoming)

If you're happy and you know it, shout hooray!

If you’re happy and you know it, shout hooray!

M "sings"

M “sings”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O & random, silly singing sounds

O & random, silly singing sounds

You're funny, you're funny too!

Looking at each other while singing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O: "You're funny M!"

O: “You’re funny M!”

M: "You're funny too, O!)

M: “You’re funny too, O!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silly falling-down during the hokey-pokey!

Silly falling during the hokey-pokey!

I couldn't NOT include the spontaneous kissing shot!

I couldn’t NOT include the spontaneous kissing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to teach songs to babies: (excuse my voice…I almost didn’t post these for fear of annoying you)

 

 

  • When singing, don’t be afraid to “pause” the song to give encouraging instructions.  For example, if your baby is not responding or doing the actions, you can pause after each line and say “do it like this!” or if your baby is just starting to participate you can pause and say “well done, good clapping!”(ex), then continue singing the next line.   This strategy is evident in a couple of the videos above.  Below is a slight example of this (in this case, they were being very silly so I had to pause and remind them of what they should be doing)

 

  • Personally, when I introduce a new song, I don’t use a recording of it.  I find it too fast and often distracting (in the case of language acquisition).  Once my babies/students become more familiar with a song, then I add music and/or a recording.

 

Extended Learning:

As a final activity, to sum up AND to calm them down, I sat them down to review the parts of the body they have learned.  We have already completed the My Face! activity plan, so this was a great opportunity to bring that prior learning of language/knowledge/comprehension forward. (See: Bringing Language Forward, pg.4 of the Clever Clovers Curriculum Guide)

Tube Talk

Today’s focus is cows!  (and moooooooooooo)!  We had a lot of fun doing this activity, it’s simple, and can take as little or as much time as you want (FAQ, question 5) .  On a different note, O seemed a bit annoyed by the cameras today and was reluctant to participate when I was filming/photographing….so the videos kind of center on M today.

Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Clever Clovers curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: Farm Animals

Activity Description: Using some cardboard or plastic tubes, moo, baa, oink and quack into the tubes to amplify the sounds. Show and say the corresponding animal before, during and after tube talking.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Language Development

Specific Skill: Experimenting with vocals

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 17 months

1. Our warm up activity was singing the songs included in the lesson plan and I used farm animal figurines to play with as we sang.

M singings farm songs and plays with figurines

M sings farm songs and plays with figurines

2.  Next we got right into the activity.  I did consider decorating the tubes as an activity with them (with cow & other farm animal stickers and what-not) but I decided against it because I know my girls – that is,  I know they would have been focused on destroying them …a hem, I mean, age appropriately taking things apart ;0) …… or eating them….. which is exactly what happened.  I did however put duct-tape around the edges of the cardboard tube (to slow the process of eating) and around the edge of the plastic bottle to keep them safe from the sharp edge.  So they are not the prettiest things I’ve ever made, but they work just fine!

O eating/talking!

O eating/talking!

M tube talkin'

M tube talkin’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Videos:

1. Reviewing cows and mooing.  Introducing the tubes and how to use them.  Giving it a try!

 

2. Moving on to different animals.  I ask them to find a pig.  M disappears but the pig is right under O’s nose so I continue to encourage O to find the pig…watch what happens.

I included the little bit at the end to show how using a sound (if you have it available) can be used as an aid.

 

**When we were finished with the animals they still wanted to play so we tried making different sounds or saying other words they know.  I think this activity is great for encouraging experimentation with their vocals which will lead to singing!

Try it out with your little one and let me know how it goes!

 

If It Looks Like A Duck and Walks Like A Duck…..(we’ll call it a duck, even if it’s not)

Okay, so we’re moving on to the Clever Clovers Farm Animals activity plan.  Today is all about ducks!  My girls are pretty familiar with ducks already (one of their favourite books from birth was a book about ducks that makes a quacking sound).  I also feel like I didn’t document this activity very well with relevant videos and pics.  It was bit difficult to keep them together, off the ice and video and take photos and push the stroller and answer everybody’s questions about twins who wanted to stop and talk to them and….. you get the picture.

Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Clever Clovers curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: Farm Animals

Activity Description: Outdoor Activity: Go for a walk in your local park and feed the ducks

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Social Learning

Specific Skill: Caring for others in your community

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 17 months

1. Our warm up activity was done in the car; we sang Old Macdonald and I explained to them that we were going to go to the park and they could walk around and that we have some food to feed the ducks because they are hungry.  I knew quite well that they understood because when we got there and I opened the car door M was shouting “duck” and when I tried to put O in the stroller, a tantrum ensued (I had said that they could walk).  I had to explain to her that she could walk around after we got to the duck pond….

2. In this lovely park where we take walks regularly, there is a pond that is ALWAYS FULL of ducks (even in the winter).  Hmm….well, we went there today full  of excitement and there were no ducks to be found!!!!  But there were geese, which the girls referred to as ducks, so I just went with it.  I don’t think it matters at this point if they know the difference between a duck and a goose.

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O pointing at the “ducks”

3. So, um,….. the activity was to feed the ducks…. but there were no ducks and we didn’t feed these geese because I have seen them be quite aggressive……..unsuccessful activity?  NO WAY!  It is important as a teacher and parent to be flexible; work with what is presented to you in each moment.

4. They were so excited to see the “ducks” and explore their surroundings.  It was amazing for me to watch them seek and discover things.  Social learning at its best……..

Here are the words I heard them using:

  • duck
  • quack
  • water
  • Wow!
  • hello & bye bye (to passers-by)
  • dog (there were several dog-walkers)
  • and of course…uh, oh

Here are the new words I was able to introduce in context (as a result of our surroundings):

  • fly/flying
  • wings
  • sky
  • ice
  • dirt
  • bicycle (there were a few cyclists)

Here are some other things I saw them do:

  • explore textures with their hands and feet (touching the mud, dirt & gravel, and seeing what it is like to walk on them)
  • actively look for the “ducks” (through fences, trees, up in the sky, etc.)
  • react to and recognize sounds (barking, various birds)
  • interact with other people
  • communicate with me and each other about what they were experiencing
  • Oh, and at one point M was attempting to count the “ducks”  (just amazing, I thought to myself, with a smile)
M watching the "ducks"

M watching the “ducks”

M enjoying herself

M enjoying herself

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple of small videos to help illustrate our adventures today:

1.  The video below will demonstrate how to add language to what your baby expresses an interest in.  In this case, they hear and notice a bird flying through the sky.  So I put words to what they are experiencing.

Your baby will notice and take interest in so many things each day, narrating what they are experiencing and feeling is a wonderful way for you to acknowledge their communication and to teach them language.

 

2. This next video shows general interaction.  I acknowledge and put words to what O is trying to express when she says “uh oh” and I try to get them to use the focused language (duck, quack) in context (to their experience).

The way you hear me speak to them is not exactly how I would normally communicate.  I slow my speech slightly, I annunciate more and I use words they are more familiar with.  It may seem like a lot of work but it is just a habit.  Get into the habit of communicating with your baby in this way and you won’t even need to think about it, it will come naturally.

 

Leave a comment to tell me about your attempts to communicate this way (& the outcome, of course!)

 

Red Is Best

A couple of notes before I begin today’s post. I decided to continue with the Primary Colours (+1) activity plan for a third week because I felt the babies could use more practice with the concept before we move on (another demonstration of how flexible the Clever Clovers Development Program is).  Monday’s colour has been yellow but since you have already seen a couple of yellow activities I decided to do Tuesday’s activities today (red).  Ideally, I would have dressed in red too but I only have red pj’s and since this is going on the web, I chose not to be seen in my pj’s!

Also, I have wanted to share a reading activity for some time now to demonstrate different techniques to effectively & interactively read a story with your baby; promoting early years literacy.  Today I attempted to do this, and was met with camera issues on 2 occasions (the first one ran out of battery and the second one ran out of memory) – poor planning on my part.  So I was only able to capture a fraction of what we did with the story but I hope it helps give a couple of ideas.  I promise to post more reading activities in the future.

Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Clever Clovers curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: Primary Colours (+1)

Activity Description: Read the story Red is Best (Stinson) and talk about it as you go.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Emotional Learning

Specific Skill: Exploring preferences

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 16 months + 3 weeks

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1. First, I sat with them and quickly reviewed their red clothing and gave a quick introduction about what the book is about. (Love it when M says, “la la la” to the word Elmo.  – if you don’t know, it’s part of his song)

 

2. In the clip below, you can see a few important things.  One, when M proclaims “ock” (for sock), I acknowledge her understanding and communication by repeating it with the correct pronunciation “socks”.  The second is that I am asking them to find the socks in the picture.  Sock is a word they know.  It would not be very productive to ask them to find something that they are not familiar with.  O points to something else first (either out of interest or as an incorrect response).  I still acknowledge her communication.  I don’t say “no, you are wrong”.  I give words to what she is doing.  I say, “this is the girl”, then continue back with the question, “can you find red socks?”.  Thirdusing the limited language they have, I am attempting to explain the concept of the story and today’s specific emotional learning skill (exploring preferences) .  I say things like “red, yes, yes, yes” with a smile on my face.  And when it is a different colour I say “no, no, no” without a smile.  These words are not in the story.  I am using the language that they already have an understanding of to help them understand the story’s meaning what it is to “like or prefer” something.

 

3.  The next clip shows an example of how to get your baby interactively involved with a story.  This helps with comprehension and gives them a break from sitting and paying attention.  (They get to move their bodies)

– Again, to begin, I only give them commands that I know they already understand (jump).  New commands can be slowly added in over time.  It wasn’t caught on camera but on another page I asked them to run.  They weren’t quite sure what that meant so I took their hands and ran back and forth with them, saying “run, run, run”.

 

4. The following is an example of changing the vocabulary in the story to suit your baby’s understanding.  In the story the word “jacket” is used.  My babies don’t know this word but they are familiar with “coat”.  So when I’m reading, I change the words.  You will also see me use an action when I say “cold”.  This helps with comprehension.  You will notice M pointing to her red sweatshirt at the end.  This shows that she is empathizing with the girl in the story and that she understands.

 

5.  The last clip I have, shows another example of changed vocabulary.  The story says “boots”.  I say, “shoes”.  You can’t see it because M is not on camera but she points to the top of her head, indicating “hat”.  I acknowledge her communication by indicating that the girl in the story has a hat but it’s not red.  In retrospect, I would have preferred to say something like, “yes, this girl has a hat, it’s green and white”.  (To frame it a bit more positively).

 

6. As I mentioned above, I was not able to catch the rest of it on camera but as the story progressed, they began to comprehend the “no, no, no” to other colours and “yes, yes, yes” to red.  They were nodding along and smiling when the colour was red. And shaking their heads and index fingers when it was not red. I hope some of these tips will help you engage your child more through reading activities.

Please leave me a comment to let me know how the tips worked for you!

Learn to Count in a Flash

I am making an effort to post activities that involve all the different skills that are presented in the Clever Clovers curriculum.  Some activities like gross/fine motor and creative skills are fairly easy to document with pictures, others are quite difficult (like language skills, emotional skills & story time) because there is so much parent/teacher involvement and because, well, you can’t know what the baby is verbally saying by looking at a picture.  I am considering putting up videos for these kind of activities instead…..

Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Clever Clovers curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: Counting to 5

Activity Description: Use the picture side of number flashcards to count. Encourage repetition.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Language Skills

Specific Skill: Mimic sounds

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 15 months + 3 weeks

1. We began today with a few counting songs (lyrics are included in the activity plan).  They are getting pretty good at the actions and are even starting to sing (not real words but change their voice so it sounds like singing).

2. Next I did a quick minute of traditional flashcard use (hold up the card, say what it is and have the learner repeat).  For example, I held up the card with 2 giraffes and I said, “Two.  Two giraffes.  One, two.”  I was expecting them to repeat, they didn’t but they did count along with me as we got into the higher numbers (3,4,5).  Their counting sounds like (qwa, doo, doo, cour, yay!!)  Next, I laid them out in an ordered row and tried to get them to repeat again.

Cards laid out in order to review again

Cards laid out in order to review again

3. They were very interested in the flash cards so I let them manipulate them and commented on what they were holding or pointing at.  I was saying, “let’s count” and they would count along with me.  Because this is a language based activity I would attempt to correct their pronunciation.  For example, they say, “cour” for “four” so when they say “cour”, I say “fuh”, “fuh, fuh, four”.  Can you say, “fuh, fuh, four”?  They make funny faces when they try to pronounce different sounds!

4. Next, I stuck the flashcards to the wall (hanging from the tree).  They watched as I stuck each card and again, I attempted to get them to repeat after each card.  (Ex. “Four.  Four flamingos.  One, two, three, four.) They still didn’t repeat but they would count along with me.

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5. I then asked M if she could find “one elephant”.  BUT…they both jumped up and began excitedly ripping all of the cards down!

Flashcard frenzy!

Flashcard frenzy!

6.  We regrouped.  I asked them to focus.  “Look at Mommy and listen to Mommy”.  I explained and modelled what they should do.  With help, they were able to complete the task. (They sometimes tried to get the wrong card – so I would count with them the card they chose then gently say, “No, that’s not the right card.  Let’s try again!)

7. Next I decided to put up the number card beside the picture card.  Again, they watched and counted with me as I put up each one.

Picture & Number flashcards

Picture & Number flashcards

8.  We did the activity again and to my surprise, they completed it perfectly!  Without any help at all!  I was really, honestly, quite surprised!

9.  We repeated the activity a few times because they were enjoying it so much!

Flashcards can actually be a helpful and fun learning tool.  There are so many ways to use them that I think I will make a whole post about different ideas on how to use flashcards effectively and creatively.

 

Click here to see more posts about counting