Mimi and the Grands

Educating Through Multiple Intelligences

Insects, Inches, and the Letter I

As I continue working with my four year old grandson, Tahoe, on learning the sounds of the short vowel sounds, I am discovering that I can choose books that help the older grands with concepts they are learning in school (first and third grade). For example, this unit is about the short “I” sound, and some words that begin with this sound are “Insects” and “Inches” which are topics suitable for Kona (6) and Tigger (8). When they come home from school they already have homework, so I am not planning as many activities for them. I just try to fit in some enrichment activities, such as snuggling and reading books with them for their reading logs.

As always, I planned a variety of lessons in all eight intelligences. I try to do two intelligences per day with  Tahoe, one of them always a Linguistic activity. I made this an eight day unit because I had so many books I wanted to introduce and reread with the grands. I usually plan more activities than I can actually do with them, but I always do at least one activity from each intelligence with Tahoe. As you can see, many of these activities do not need a lot of materials or preparation, which is why I love using Multiple Intelligence activities with my grandsons rather than worksheets.

If you would like to see other activities for the short sound of I, you can view these posts that I wrote when Kona was four years old:

https://mimiandthegrands.com/2014/10/18/teaching-short-vowels-the-m-i-way/

https://mimiandthegrands.com/2014/10/27/teaching-short-vowels-the-m-i-way-conclusion/

 

Linguistic (Word Smart)

Read and discuss books-Besides discussing the short sound of “I” with Tahoe, there are many ways academic concepts can be introduced or reinforced when reading and discussing these books with all three of the grandsons. Here are the books I used as part of the Letter “I” unit study:

Fiction:

inch-and-roly-and-hiding-placeInch and Roly and the Very Small Hiding Place by Melissa Wiley is a “Ready to Read Level One” book about an inchworm who hides in a hole with her friends Roly, Dragonfly, and Beetle to avoid a bird. Tahoe loves this book so much, he doesn’t want me to return it to the library (which means I will probably have to buy a copy for him). There are also other books about Inch and Roly. Academic Focus: Retelling the Story and Sequencing-Since the story is very simple and sequential, this is a great book to use to have the grands retell the story in the correct order of events. I also had Kona read this book aloud to me since it is a good book for early readers. There were only a few words he couldn’t decode by himself.

 

inchworm-and-a-halfInchworm and a Half  by  Elinor J. Pinczes  tells the story of an inchworm who loves to measure the vegetables that grow near her home. As she is measuring, she discovers that she needs smaller measurements and meets some worms that represent the fractions 1/2, 1/3, and 1/4. This mathematical story is told in rhyme and has great illustrations that help show the reader how fractions can help the inchworm measure her vegetables. Tigger really enjoyed the mathematical concepts in this book when we read it together. Academic Focus: Rhyming-This is a good book to practice matching rhyming words. (And this book also qualifies as a Logical-Mathematical activity since it describes some basic concepts of fractions.)

Non-fiction:

abc-insectsABC Insects (by The American Museum of Natural History) shows photographs of an insect for each letter of the alphabet with a sentence or two about each of the insects. Some of the critters are ones the grands were familiar with such as dragonfly, queen ant, and grasshopper. Other insects were new to me, such as the velvet ant and waterscorpions. So there is something to learn for everyone in this alphabet book. Academic Focus: Details: Which insects fly and which ones only walk? Tell me something new you learned about some of the insects in the book.

 

if-you-were-an-inch-or-a-centimeterIf You Were an Inch or a Centimeter by Marcie Aboff explains inches, feet, yards, centimeters, and meters in a clever way that my third grade grandson enjoyed a lot. The illustrations are really cute and kept the attention of the other grandsons, but most of the concepts were too advanced for them to remember afterwards. Still, I am glad they all had a chance to experience it and I will probably check this out of the library again for the younger grands when they are older. There is a measuring activity at the end of the book that looked like fun, but we didn’t try it. Academic Focus: Vocabulary: I had the younger grands focus on the vocabulary words “inch” and “centimeter” while I  discussed with Tigger some of the conversion vocabulary, such as: 600 centimeters equals 6 meters.  (And this book also qualifies as a Logical-Mathematical activity since it describes measurement concepts.)

Interpersonal (People Smart)

Dramatic play: I will encourage Tahoe to use the “I” words we have learned during his dramatic play with his brothers. A possible idea for a story starter might be, “An insect wanted to build an igloo…” 

Inches Scavenger Hunt: This activity is planned to have the grands work together. I will give each of them an “inch” ruler and tell them they have five minutes to work together to find as many items in the house that are ____ inches long (this number can be varied). In order to qualify for this “Scavenger List” all three grands must have measured and agreed that the item is ______ inches long. At the end of five minutes they have to show me all the items they found. (This can also be played in reverse. Their parents and I can be given five minutes to find items that are _____ inches long and the grands have to measure all the items we found for our list to make sure we measured correctly.)

Bodily-Kinesthetic (Body Smart)

Physical Games or Activities:  I found some “insect related” games to try with the grandsons at this website:

http://www.preschooleducation.com/gbug.shtml

Cooking: Part of being “body smart” is being able to create healthy snacks for the body so I found these easy “bug snack” ideas to use with the grands: http://thecraftingchicks.com/back-yard-bug-snacks/

Pantomimes: Tahoe and I practiced several “I” words that are easy to pantomime such as: insects, inchworms, iguanas, and igloo. Tahoe will show them to his brothers and have them guess the word he is pantomiming.

Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

 

Songs for Listening:

http://freesongsforkids.com/videos/sassy-cicada

The “Inchworm” song is from the Danny Kaye movie Hans Christian Andersen. It can be found as a video online.

Songs for Singing:

The “Insect Song” is a children’s song that can be found online at Funtastic TV. 

The “Garden Song” aka “Inch by Inch” is a American folk song that has been recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary, John Denver, Peter Seeger and many other artists so it is easy to find online.

 

 Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

20161109_091106Craft: Practicing the Letter i: I had Tahoe practice making the lowercase letter “i” using construction paper and pom poms.

 

 

Craft: Insect Drawing: Tahoe decided he wanted to draw the insect “dragonfly” since that was one of the characters in the books we read for this unit study. I showed Tahoe a step by step video from another website (artforkidshub) and he worked on this project by himself, stopping the video whenever he needed to do so in order to catch up with the steps. Besides drawing the dragonfly, he also used watercolors to complete the project.

 

Craft: Inchworms: Tahoe was given lots of choices to make three different inchworms. He chose to use pom poms, dot paints, and some smiley stickers his mother had in her craft supplies. He used a pencil to draw the legs on his inchworms, but he also was offered crayons, markers, and pipe cleaners as materials for the legs. Later this craft was used as a logical/mathematical activity.

Craft: Create an Insect: Just before I published this post, I saw this idea on my Facebook feed from another blogger and just had to share it. It is something I plan to do with the grands in the future. http://www.cuttingtinybites.com/2015/08/invitation-to-create-build-bug.html

Videos: I am always able to find lots of short videos on the Internet that teach the sound of the letter I am teaching the grands. We also found short, educational videos on inchworms and insects. 

Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)

Field trips: Our local college has an insect exhibit that we visited. Sometimes there are exhibits to visit in other places in the community such as the library, museums, or parks.

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt- We can take a walk around the neighborhood or local park to find different insects. The grands can draw or take pictures of the insects and then later we can try to identify the different insects they discovered by using a field guide or the internet.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number Smart)

Counting activities: Using the book ABC Insects, Tahoe counted the number of insects with wings in the book. 

Measuring: Using the Inchworm art project we created for our Spatial Intelligence, I had Tahoe and Kona measure each inchworm in inches and centimeters. Tigger worked on conversion of centimeters to meters using the book If You Were an Inch or a Centimeter and fractions using the book Inchworm and a Half (see Linguistic Intelligence).

 

 Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

Independent reading: The grands love to look over the books we have previously read throughout this unit of study on their own time.

Favorites: I asked the grands which of the books from our book study were their favorites. Tahoe’s favorite was Inch and Roly and the Very Small Hiding Place. Tahoe also had a favorite insect (dragonflies) while his brothers liked butterflies.

 

I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.

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Letter “E” Activities: Elephants and Engines

My youngest grandson, Tahoe (4), is learning the sounds of the alphabet, so for this unit we focused on the short sound of the letter “E” using the themes of Elephants and Engines. I am planning most of my study units this year for Tahoe since he is the only grandson not yet going to school full time and I watch him three days a week. I still do a few activities with Tigger (8) and Kona (6), but since they have homework after school each day, my time with them is limited for other enrichment projects (although sometimes I can do more when I have them over to our house for a sleepover during the weekend). I usually have time to read with Kona and Tigger on school nights, so I use the books in this study unit during those times. 

As always, I planned a variety of lessons in all eight intelligences. I try to do two intelligences per day with  Tahoe, one of them is always a Linguistic activity. I made this an eight day unit because I had so many books I wanted to introduce and reread with the grands. I usually plan more activities than I can actually do with the grands, but I always do at least one activity from each intelligence with Tahoe. As you can see, many of these activities do not need a lot of materials or preparation, which is why I love using Multiple Intelligence activities with my grandsons rather than worksheets.

If you would like to see other activities for the short sound of E, you can view these posts that I wrote when Kona was four years old:

https://mimiandthegrands.com/2014/10/18/teaching-short-vowels-the-m-i-way/

https://mimiandthegrands.com/2014/10/27/teaching-short-vowels-the-m-i-way-conclusion/

 

Linguistic (Word Smart)

Read and discuss books – I decided to focus on two themes for the letter E: elephants and engines. The grands have always had a fascination with train engines and firetruck engines so I thought they would really enjoy these books and activities. (And of course, who doesn’t love elephants?!) Besides focusing on the short vowel sound of “E” with Tahoe as I read the books to him, I also used the books to teach other literacy strategies.

Fiction:

elephant-in-the-darkElephant in the Dark retold by Mina Javaherbin narrates the story of a local merchant who brings an elephant back from India. The villagers have never seen an elephant, and the merchant promises the villagers they can see the magnificent creature in the morning. Since the merchant is tired from his trip, he places the elephant in his barn for the night.  However, the villagers can’t wait to meet the creature and take turns in the dark barn trying to “see” and report back what the creature looks like. Of course, all the villagers find a different part of the elephant and the villagers report back that this creature is like a snake, a tree trunk, a fan, etc.  Academic Focus: Drawing Conclusions: I discussed with the grands whether the villagers conclusions were correct (and why each villager’s conclusion was different from the others).

maisys-fire-engineMaisy’s Fire Engine by Lucy Cousins is a fun book about a mouse named Maisy and her fire engine. As she and her friend Cyril try out the water hose from the fire engine, a little cat is frightened and climbs up onto a roof. Maisy and Cyril are on the job and rescue the scared cat. Academic Focus: Main Character Traits: I had Tahoe discuss what we learned about Maisy from what the characters say and do in the book. 

 

clemence-and-his-noisy-little-fire-engineClemence and His Noisy Little Fire Engine by Jessica Spanyol is about a brave little bug who loves to play with his noisy little fire engine.  He and his friends examine all parts of the engine to make sure everything is in working order. Then Clemence and his friends have adventures with the fire engine including the retrieval of a kite from a tree. The illustrations are adorable in this little book that Tahoe really enjoyed. Academic Focus: Fact and Fiction: I discussed with the grands the way the author uses facts (the names of the parts of the fire engine) with fiction (bugs don’t drive fire engines or wear shower caps) to create this story.

elephants-cant-jumpElephants Can’t Jump by  Jeanne Willis tells the story of an elephant who wants to be able to jump like his other friends. But no matter how many ways he tries to jump, he is not successful and gets reminded by his friends that, “Elephants can’t jump!” However, a situation arises where jumping gets his friends in trouble and elephant saves the day using a skill that elephants can do. Academic Focus: Problem and Solution: The grands and I discussed the main problem in the story and how it is resolved.

 

Non-fiction:

elephants-by-grace-hansenElephants (Abdo Kids: Animal Friends series) by Grace Hansen explains some basic information about elephants and contains vivid photographs of these animals. Information contained in the text includes how elephants care for each other and protect the matriarch, which was a new vocabulary word for all the grands. This book also includes text features such as a table of contents, index, and glossary. Academic Focus: Details: The grands and I discussed details about the elephants after reading the book. Text features: I always try to point out and discuss text features whenever I find them in a book that I read to the grands.

 

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)

Counting activities: Using the book Elephants by Grace Hansen, Tahoe counted the number of elephants that were protecting the matriarch in one of the photographs. 

Measuring:  Elephants can suck as much as 2 gallons of water into its trunk at one time. Before filling the bathtub at bathtime, I had Tahoe measure two gallons of water (using empty and clean milk containers to measure the water) so he could see how much water that would be. I also discovered the water hoses on fire engines can be 10, 14, 24 and 35 feet long. We measured some of those amounts on the sidewalk in the front of the house.

   Interpersonal (People Smart)

Dramatic play: I will encourage Tahoe and his brothers to use a fire engine or train engine as part of their dramatic play. (They watch “Thomas the Train” often so I’ll get out the train tracks and let each of them choose an engine to use in their “play” together.)

Pink Elephants on Parade: We will act out part of the song “Pink Elephants on Parade” with the family. I will use the first half of the song which has “active” lyrics such as “Hippety hoppety,” “They’re walking around the bed,” and “On their head.” This would also be a bodily-kinesthetic activity.

 Bodily-Kinesthetic (Body Smart)

(See “Pink Elephants on Parade” under Interpersonal Intelligence for another Bodily-Kinesthetic activity.)

Elephant Walk: I found an Elephant Walk exercise (and other animal walks) that I can use for the grands at this website:

http://lemonlimeadventures.com/animal-walks-sensory-diet/

Pantomimes: Tahoe and I practiced several “E” words that are easy to pantomime such as: elephants, elevator, egg, elbow, elk, and exit. Tahoe will show them to his brothers and have them guess the word he is pantomiming.

Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

Finger plays, rhymes, and songs: There is a traditional nursery rhyme “Engine Engine, Number 9” which can also be found online as as song. Here are the lyrics:

Engine, engine, number nine,
Running on the Chicago Line.
See it sparkle, see it shine,
Engine, engine, number nine.

I found other fingerplays and songs about elephants at this website:

http://www.canteach.ca/elementary/songspoems99.html

Movie Music Fun: I loved the movie Dumbo when I was little and just had to share “When I See an Elephant Fly” and “Pink Elephants on Parade” with the grands.

 

 Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

20161026_115808Craft: E is for Elephant: I read several books about elephants to Tahoe so it was only natural to create an easy elephant craft for him. I basically drew the shapes for him: a large circle, two lowercase “e” cut-outs, two small circles for eyes, and a trunk (Tahoe wanted to do a “J” craft today so I used the “J” as the trunk of the elephant). He cut out all the shapes, glued them on paper, and added googly eyes to the small circles.

 

Craft: E is for Engine: After reading the books about fire engines, it was fun to make a more complicated craft that connected “engines” with the letter “E”. This project used several types of art materials so Tahoe was also using a lot of different fine motor skills. The materials for this projects included:

  • Yellow, orange, and red tissue paper
  • Glue and water solution
  • Construction paper (red, black, and green)
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie pen

Elephant Pancakes: Another fun spatial activity I did with with the grands was to use fruit to decorate a pancake like an elephant. They loved making and eating their final product!

Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)

Field trips: Zoo trips to see real elephants are always fun. At the zoo there are other animals that begin with the short “e” sound such as elk and emperor penguin.

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt- We made a list of “E” words that could be found in nature and took a walk around our neighborhood or local park to find as many as we could. Here is a partial list: elm trees, earth, environment, and evergreen.

 Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

Independent reading: The grands love to look over the books we have previously read throughout this unit of study on their own time.

Favorites: I asked the grands which of the books from our book study were their favorites. Tahoe’s favorite was Maisy’s Fire Engine, while Kona really enjoyed Elephant in the Dark.

 

I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.

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Ants, Alligators and the Letter A

The youngest grand, Tahoe, is four years old now, and has just one more year of “Mimi School” before he begins public school. He can already name all the uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet at the start of this “pre-school” year, so I am gearing his alphabet lessons to increasing his vocabulary, and learning the consonant sounds and short vowel sounds of the letters. In addition, the school year has begun for Tigger(8) and Kona (6). When they come home from school they already have homework, so I am not planning as many activities for them. I just try to fit in some enrichment activities with them as I can, mostly snuggling and reading books with them for their reading logs.

As always, I planned a variety of lessons in all eight intelligences. I try to do two intelligences per day with  Tahoe, one of them always a Linguistic activity. I made this an eight day unit because I had so many books I wanted to introduce and reread with the grands. I usually plan more activities than I can actually do with the grands, but I always do at least one activity from each intelligence with Tahoe. As you can see, many of these activities do not need a lot of materials or preparation, which is why I love using Multiple Intelligence activities with my grandsons rather than worksheets.

If you would like to see other activities for the short sound of A, you can view these posts that I wrote when Kona was four years old:

https://mimiandthegrands.com/2014/10/18/teaching-short-vowels-the-m-i-way/

https://mimiandthegrands.com/2014/10/27/teaching-short-vowels-the-m-i-way-conclusion/

 

Linguistic (Word Smart)

Read and discuss books-I decided to focus on two themes for the letter A: ants and alligators. The science lab teacher at Tigger and Kona’s charter school has an ant farm in his classroom, so I knew they would especially be interested in learning more about ants. Here are the books I used  as part of the Letter “A” unit study:

Fiction:

ants-go-marching-bookThe Ants Go Marching edited by Ann Owen uses the familiar rhyming verse to the tune of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” in a beautifully illustrated book. Since Tahoe loves to sing, I sang the book to him and soon he was joining along. Academic Focus: Rhyming verse-At the end of each stanza I would discuss the rhyming words on the page with Tahoe. The older grands, Kona and Tigger, had to tell me the rhyming words on each page on their own and create other rhymes to add to the song.

 

 

amanda-and-her-alligator Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator by  Mo Willems is such a fun book about a young girl and her “alligator” who is no good at waiting for Amanda to come home and play with him. During the book, Amanda’s alligator puts on his thinking cap and learns how to plan a surprise on Amanda. He also makes a new friend. Academic Focus: Main Character Traits: I had Tahoe discuss what we learned about Amanda and her Alligator from what the characters say and do in the book. For Kona and Tigger, I discussed the Table of Contents and how titles of books  are printed with italicized lettering (since Amanda reads library books in this story).

 

zacks-alligatorZack’s Alligator and the First Snow by Shirley Mozelle tells the story of Zack and his alligator key chain, named Bridget, who have some adventures when Zack’s parents take the family outside to do some ice fishing one snowy day. Since Bridget is from the Everglades, she has never experienced snow before and loves making a snowman, sledding, and eating fish from the ice fishing hole in the lake. Academic Focus: Sequencing: This is a good book to use to practice the order of events with all three of the grands.

 

 

 

a-bookBerenstains’ A Book by Stan and Jan Berenstain is a terrific book for learning about words that begin with the letter “A” but also just right for beginning readers. So using this book has exposed Tahoe to many words that begin with “A” and good practice for first grader Kona as a beginning  reader. Academic Focus: Alliteration-Because most of the words in this book begin with the same sound, it is a great way to introduce alliteration to the grands. Vocabulary-This book also helps Tahoe develop new vocabulary such as angleworm and avenue.

 

 

grasshopper-and-the-antsThe Grasshopper and the Ants by Jerry Pinkney tells the classic story of the hardworking ants and their grasshopper friend who learns a very hard lesson. This has the most amazing illustrations! Tahoe and I spent a lot of time with this books just looking at the pictures and all the details in these illustrations. This is a great book to help Tahoe understand the four seasons as well since they are so vividly pictured on the pages. Academic Focus: Main Idea and Details-With Tahoe I modeled how I could decide the main idea of the book and he helped me find the details.  I used this with Kona and Tigger to review how to discover the main idea by using events in the story.

 

Non-fiction:

 

ants-valerie-bodden-hardcover-cover-artAnts (Creepy Creatures series) by Valerie Bodden has the most amazing photographs of different types of ants, their colonies, and predators. Tahoe was fascinated that ants came in different colors and worked together to move larger pieces of food (such as a mushroom). Academic Focus: Vocabulary-This is a great book to develop vocabulary words such as larvae, pupa, predator, and anteater with the grands. Text features-There is also a Table of Contents and Glossary in this book.

 

 

alligator-animal-superpowersAlligator (Animal Superpowers) by Josh Plattner is another short book with wonderful photographs of alligators, their bony plates (called scutes), and their powerful jaws. Academic Focus: Vocabulary-Reptiles, endangered, and marsh are just some of the words I discussed with Tahoe. With Kona and Tigger I used the True or False quiz at the end of the book to recall details from the book.

 

 

 

Audio books: Since I have the grands in the car for about an hour each afternoon to pick up the oldest from school, I try to find audio books from the local library to play in the car to go along with my lessons. The book Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator, which was discussed above, also came with an audio cd so Tahoe and I could listen to it and follow along in the book.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)

Counting activities: Using the book The Ants Go Marching, I had Tigger and Kona work on their skip counting and multiplication using the pictures in the book. In the book about alligators, we learned that they lay between 35 to 50 eggs, so I had Tahoe practice counting up to 50 using legos as the alligator eggs. (He can count up to 39 really well so far, but keeps forgetting that 40 is after 39.)

Measuring:  In Alligator (Animal Superpowers) we learned that alligator hatchlings were 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) long, so I had Tahoe use a ruler to measure 6 inches on a piece of paper. I had Tigger and Kona measure 15 and 20 cm since they should begin understanding the metric system.

   Interpersonal (People Smart)

Dramatic play: I will encourage Tahoe to use the “A” words we have learned during his dramatic play with his brothers. A possible idea for a story starter might be, “An ant was trying to move a piece of apple she found laying on the ground. Since ants work together, she knew she could count on the other ants to help.”

Acts Go Marching: We will act out part of the song “The Ants Go Marching” with the family. (We may not get all the way to “ten ants” unless we incorporate some stuffed animals  in our rows of marching ants.)

Bodily-Kinesthetic (Body Smart)

Acrobatics: Tahoe is taking a gymnastics class, so I explained that acrobats use some of those same skills as I had him practice somersaults and jumping on his mini trampoline.

Cooking: Ants on a Log with Variations- I had all the boys create their own “ants on a log” snack by offering them cut celery, choices of peanut butter, cream cheese, or hummus for the “insides” of the log, and choices of raisins, craisins, and peas for the “ants” on the log. This is a great way to get the grands to eat healthy foods while giving them some “cooking” skills. I found some of my ideas for the “ants on a log” variations on this website:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/packages/recipes-for-kids/cooking-with-kids/reinvented–ants-on-a-log.html

 

Pantomimes: Tahoe and I practiced several “A” words that are easy to pantomime such as: ants, acrobats, actor, add, ambulance, and astronauts. Tahoe will show them to his brothers and have them guess the word he is pantomiming.

Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

Finger plays and songs: Tahoe loved singing “The Ants Go Marching” as we read the book (multiple times.) I found songs about alligators at this website to use with Tahoe:

http://www.prekfun.com/A-F/Alligators/Alligators_Songs.htm

Classical Music Fun: I found a website that featured “A Walt Disney Silly Symphony – The Grasshopper and the Ants” and showed the video to the grands.

 

 Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

Craft: A is for Ant: After reading the books about ants so that Tahoe knew that ants had three body parts and six legs, I cut out three lowercase “a” letters which Tahoe glued down for the ant’s body. He cut out the six legs himself and glued them onto the ant. Then he found some “googly eyes” in his mom’s craft supplies, along with some foam letters. He glued all of these onto the project to complete it. 

 

 

 

20160926_111127Craft: A is for Alligator: I showed Tahoe an art project from another website and he adapted it to create an alligator from a capital letter “A.” I cut out the green capital “A” for him, and drew some large teeth and ovals (for the eyes) on some white paper. He cut out and pasted the teeth and eyes. Then he decided he needed more teeth and drew triangles on the leftover white paper and cut them out. Tahoe also added the “googly eyes” (one of his favorite craft supplies at the moment) and foam letters. Here is the website that inspired Tahoe’s alligator project:

http://crystalandcomp.com/letter-of-the-week-a-is-for-alligator-preschool-printable/

 

 

Videos: I am always able to find lots of short videos on the Internet that teach the sound of the letter I am teaching the grands. We also found short, educational videos on ants and alligators. 

Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)

Field trips:We don’t live in an area where one can see real alligators (other than at the zoo), but ants are found in lots of places. On a trip to a local park to play, Kona was fascinated with the ants he found and tried to discover whether they lived in the trees or underground. 

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt- We made a list of “A” words that could be found in nature and took a walk around our neighborhood or local apple farm to find as many as we could. Here is a partial list: ants, acorns, apples, animals, aquatic center, and avocados.

 Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

Independent reading: The grands love to look over the books we have previously read throughout this unit of study on their own time.

Favorites: I asked the grands which of the books from our book study were their favorites. Tahoe’s favorite was The Ants Go Marching while Kona preferred Zack’s Alligator and the First Snow.

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I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.

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Teaching Short Vowels-The M. I. Way (Conclusion)

In the first part of this series, I gave lesson ideas for teaching short vowels to my grandsons using Linguistic, Spatial, and Interpersonal strategies. In this post, I will explain my lesson plans for the other five intelligences: Bodily-kinesthetic, Naturalist, Logical/mathematical, Intrapersonal, and Musical.

As a reminder, I planned the units of study with an eye to modifying the various activities according to the readiness of each grandson:

  • Six year old Tigger had learned the short vowels in kindergarten, but I wanted to give him a good review before he started first grade in September. With Tigger, I would concentrate on short vowel sounds that were found in the middle of words (medial sounds) and review blending them with initial and ending consonants.
  • Kona, 4, already recognized all the uppercase and lowercase alphabet letters and had started to pick up quite a few consonant sounds. I decided he might be ready to learn about short vowels at the beginning of words. Possibly I will try medial short vowel sounds, blending sounds, and word families later on in the year.
  • Tahoe, 2, would not be ready to learn short vowel sounds, but I knew I could modify the lessons so his main focus would be on letter recognition and vocabulary development in the lessons.

I highly recommend using at least one activity from each intelligence, but don’t feel like you need to do all of the activities I’ve listed. I always over plan so I have list of choices, and then decide which activities best fit the needs of my grandsons. I taught the short vowel unit of study over a six week time period, but I am still doing a few activities each week with them as a review.

Bodily-Kinesthetic (Body Smart)

My grandsons are very bodily-kinesthetic so I like to have many of these activities planned for them.

Driving to the Vowel Sound(Tigger and Kona) I used the picture cards I created from magazines and old workbooks that Tigger had completed. Then I taped a different short vowel letter to the top of the boys’ toy cars. The idea is to have the grands “drive” their short vowel “car” to the pictures that begin with the short vowel sound.

 

I utilized the grands' love of toy cars to make this matching game.

I utilized the grands’ love of toy cars to make this matching game.

I taped the vowel letters on the grands' toy cars.

I taped the vowel letters on the grands’ toy cars.

Kona easily matched the "toy cars" with the picture cards I made.

Kona easily matched the “toy cars” with the picture cards I made.

Pantomimes- (All the grands) Pantomime is basically telling a story through movement. To help my grandsons learn how to pantomime, I usually did these with the boys. As they became more confident, the older ones attempted their own pantomime:

  • short a: eating an apple, moving like an alligator
  • short e: hatching from an egg, walking like an elephant
  • short i: moving like an inchworm
  • short o: putting shoes on an octopus,
  • short u: swimming under water, tossing something up in the air

For more movement ideas, look at these links:

http://www.1plus1plus1equals1.net/2008/04/teaching-short-vowels/

http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/25870/physical-fitness

Find the Treasure- (All the grands)-This activity combines bodily-kinesthetic and spatial intelligences. I had a new building set for the grands, but instead of just giving this gift to them, I used it as a way to review the short vowels. I divided the set into five parts,  placed each set of  pieces in a baggie, and then hid them. Next I made a treasure map (spatial intelligence) using short vowels in the “clues” and the grands had to run around the house and backyard (bodily-kinesthetic) to find their “treasure”. Tigger had to read the words with short vowels on the map and I helped with the words he didn’t yet know. Kona had to tell me which short vowel sound he heard, and Tahoe guessed the name of the letter. Here are some ideas for clues that contain short vowel sounds:

  • under the table
  • on the bed
  • up the playset ladder
  • on the desk
  • where eggs are kept
  • next to the apple tree
  • in the toybox

The inspiration for this activity I found at this link:

http://www.playdoughtoplato.com/2014/10/20/jake-neverland-pirates-treasure-hunt/

Hiding Short Vowels(Tigger and Kona) I use the picture cards I made from magazines and old workbooks for many activities, including this one. I gave each grandson a card for each short vowel and asked them to hide them and remember where they place them. They could be hidden anywhere in the house. When that was completed, each grandson was given a letter (written on an upcycled bottle cap). They were told to find the picture that started with the short vowel sound made by the letter they were given. Since these boys are very competitive, they raced through the house to find their hidden card. I repeated this with each short vowel sound until all the picture cards were found. It was a good workout for them, and they wanted to play the game again.

Bath time Short vowels- (All the grands)- I have not done this idea yet, but when I do, I will use short vowel letters (or words with short vowels in the medial position for Tigger) instead of sight words. Basically you put the letter of each vowel sound on circles made from craft foam. Each child has a net and as you call our the vowel sound, the child has to scoop up the correct foam piece. Here is where I found this idea:

http://www.coffeecupsandcrayons.com/bath-time-sight-words/

Relay Race-(Tigger and Kona) Again I will use the picture cards I created and the bottle caps with vowel letters written on them. To play, I will put two picture cards for each vowel at one end of the yard. At the other end I will give each grandson one bottle cap with a vowel letter they have to match with a picture card. They will race to the end of the yard to find the correct card and return to me. Then I will give them the second vowel letter to find and they will again race to retrieve the correct picture. I will do this until all the pictures have been matched correctly.

  Naturalist intelligence (Nature Smart)

Field trips(All the grands)-This is a great time of year to visit apple orchards and practice the short vowel sounds. We recently went to a local apple orchard that also is attached to a Nature Conservancy wilderness area. All the grandsons had a blast collecting sticks and acorns to make the letters of the short vowels. We discussed the vowel sounds as we explored the area including: apple trees, red ants, sticks, pumpkins, insects, etc. Field trips to zoos, beaches, botanical gardens, and parks are wonderful places to explore living things with short vowel sounds in their names.

Nature Letters (All the grands) Even in their backyard or local park, the grands love to make the letters of the short vowels out of leaves, twigs, in sand, dirt, mud, gravel, or any other items they find in the natural environment. Here are some ideas from another website:

http://www.sugaraunts.com/2014/09/decodable-reading-with-nature-letter.html#.VEvFfVeI2f4

Scavenger Hunt-(All the grands) I made a list of plants, animals, and other items that could be found in the grands’ backyard or neighborhood for each short vowel. I gave the grands some picture cards to help them with a few ideas, but sometimes you come across other words to discuss during the hunt. Included in my list were words that started with the short vowel sound, or words with the short vowel sound in the medial position. Here are some ideas I  had of living things to look for in our local environment:  liquid amber tree, bird egg, cat, dog, twig, ants, apple tree, sun, walnut tree, lizard, mud, sand, insects, bugs, rocks, elm tree, evergreen tree, animals, apple tree, under rocks, and olive tree.

Kona explores words that begin with the short a sound with an outdoor scavenger hunt. Pictures help him in his search.

Kona explores words that begin with the short a sound with an outdoor scavenger hunt. Pictures help him in his search.

 

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)

Counting activities:

There are so many ideas for counting, but here are a few:

  • seeds in apples
  • number of apples in a bag or on a tree
  • eggs left in egg carton before and after making scrambled eggs
  • legs on insects
  • sides on an octagon or arms on octopus
  • spokes on an umbrella 
  • number of ingredients in a favorite recipe

Measuring:

Since “inches” starts with a short vowel sound, use an inch ruler or measuring tape to measure other items with short vowels including: apples, eggs, stop signs (which are octagons), umbrellas, etc. Here is a neat idea about making playdough inchworms to measure:

http://www.teachpreschool.org/2011/11/playdough-inchworms/

Egg carton math:  (All the grands) There are lots of ways a simple egg carton can be used for math activities. Here is one that my grandsons have done. Using an empty egg carton, I created an addition activity for Tigger and Kona. I used two different colors of any small item (buttons, pom poms, plant gems, etc.) and placed some of each color in the separate egg carton areas.  Then they counted all the items to see how many items were in the egg carton altogether. Since Kona and Tigger can write their numbers, I also had them write their answers on paper. (Instead of addition problems for Tahoe, he counted the items in the egg carton.) Besides doing the math activity, discuss the short vowel sounds found in egg carton, buttons, pom poms, and plant gems.

I found some more fun math activities using egg cartons here:

http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2013/09/egg-carton-math-by-teach-preschool.html

Octagon Search- (All the grands)-Although all the grands have seen octagons many times, I gave them a picture of one and had them find octagons around the house or neighborhood (for example a “Stop” sign is an octagon).

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

Independent reading- (All the grands)-Besides the books I get from the library each week specifically for the vowel sound we are studying, there are plenty of books already in the boys’ library that they can enjoy whenever they want. Their parents have made sure they have plenty of picture dictionary books, which Tahoe especially enjoys at his age. He loves to point to the pictures and say the words he knows. The other boys enjoy retelling the story by looking at the pictures, and Tigger likes to find the words he knows (which are usually words with short vowels in the medial position).
Exploration Bins-(All the grands) Using a box or plastic bin, place items that begin with the short vowel sound inside and cover with rice, beans, or macaroni. For example, place plastic eggs, small toy elephant figures, and little Elmo dolls in a bin for the “e” short vowel. The child uses their hands to find the items in the bin. Afterwards, discuss with the child each item and the connection to the short vowel. Ask them which one was their favorite and why they chose that item. For more information on this idea, check out this website:

 http://www.themeasuredmom.com/letter-e-dig-find-box

Short Vowel App-(Tigger and Kona) I downloaded this new app from one of my favorite websites and introduced it to Tigger. He enjoyed it and can use it by himself now. I will be using this with Kona also.

http://thisreadingmama.com/short-vowels-word-study-app/

Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

 Finger plays and songs-(All the grands) Wow! There are so many resources to locate songs and finger plays. If you just type in the words “short vowel songs” into a search engine, there will be dozens of songs and fingerplays from which to choose. I have found other songs by typing in the short vowel word (such as “apple”, “octopus” or “umbrella”) when I want to find a song about a particular word. Here are the ones I found recently:

short a: http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/johnny-appleseed.html  or http://www.alphabet-soup.net/dir2/applesong.html

short e: http://www.canteach.ca/elementary/songspoems99.html

short i: http://ccplonline.org/kids/songs4tots/insectsallaround.html

short o: http://www.dltk-teach.com/alphabuddies/songs/o/orangeoctopus.htm

short u: http://www.letsplaykidsmusic.com/the-umbrella-song-rainy-day-songs/

Create your own fingerplays -(All the grands) Just take a familiar fingerplay song and use short vowel words in place of the other nouns. When the grands were babies, I would sing this song to them although I used the noun “Einsteins” in it. Obviously, that word didn’t work when I taught short vowels, so I came up with other words beginning with each short vowel. For example:

“One little, two little, three little otters,

Four little, five little, six little otters,

Seven little, eight little, nine little otters,

Ten little otter pups!”

To take this a step further, I will try to have the grands suggest short vowel words to replace “otter” in this example.

Create your own songs-(All the grands) I like to create my own songs, so I used the tune to “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and adapted it for each short vowel sound. Here are the lyrics for the short “a” sound:

“The short vowel “a” goes ah, ah, ah,

ah, ah, ah,

ah, ah, ah,

apples, ants, and alligators,

start with ah, ah, ah.”

I followed the same pattern with the other short vowels. I changed the fourth line in each song as follows:
The short vowel e: “Elmo, eggs, and elephants”
The short vowel i: “igloo, inch, and iguanas”
The short vowel o: “otter, on, and octopus”
The short vowel u: “under, up, and umbrella”

 

Using multiple intelligence strategies, such as the ones I have put in this unit of study, I have found my grandsons to be very engaged in learning. And because they are doing these activities with their “Mimi”, we are having some very special bonding time. By making sure I use at least one activity from each intelligence, I am increasing the probability that the grands will retain the main points of the lessons.

As for the progress of my grandsons, Tahoe is beginning to recognize some alphabet letters, although his favorite letter of the alphabet right now is “O”. His receptive and expressive vocabulary is rapidly increasing. Kona is doing so well with the short vowel sounds, I have begun working with him on blending one short vowel with one consonant. I am also working with him on the consonant sounds he hasn’t yet mastered, using strategies similar to the ones I used for the short vowels. Tigger is seven weeks into first grade, and he is not having any problems with his reading homework. (I interpret that as a good sign.) I can tell when he reads with me that he is able to sound out words with his short vowels very well. Time for me to plan another unit of study using multiple intelligences.

I hope these ideas have motivated you to think about multiple intelligences when you are planning an activity for the children in your care.

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Teaching Short Vowels-The M. I. Way

Now that I’ve finished my series giving a brief overview of Multiple Intelligences (M. I.), I want to share how I use these strategies when planning a unit of lessons for my grandsons. The first unit of study I am presenting to you will cover short vowels. I have so much information to share, I’ve decided to divide this information into two different posts. This post will cover three intelligences: Linguistic, Spatial, and Interpersonal. The lesson ideas for the other five intelligences will be presented in another post.

Since my grandsons are 2, 4, and 6 years old, I planned the units of study with an eye to modifying the various activities according to the readiness of each child:

  • Six year old Tigger had learned the short vowels in kindergarten, but I wanted to give him a good review before he started first grade in September. With Tigger, I would concentrate on short vowel sounds that were found in the middle of words (medial sounds) and review blending them with initial and ending consonants.
  • Kona, 4, already recognized all the uppercase and lowercase alphabet letters and had started to pick up quite a few consonant sounds. I decided he might be ready to learn about short vowels at the beginning of words. Possibly I would try medial short vowel sounds, blending sounds, and word families later on in the year.
  • Tahoe, 2, would not be ready to learn short vowel sounds, but I knew I could modify the lessons so his main focus would be on letter recognition and vocabulary development in the lessons.

Even though I am a retired teacher, I had only taught 4th and 5th graders, so I had never actually needed to teach short vowels before. Obviously, I would need to do some research and get advice from people who had taught short vowels successfully. And fortunately, there are many educators, homeschoolers, and afterschoolers who share their engaging lessons on their websites and blogs. I have been inspired by their ideas so much, and I happily share their links.

Crafts that visually match the letter with the short vowel sound are fun ways to help the grands learn. Their mom displays their crafts in their room, so they see these every day.

Crafts that visually match the letter with the short vowel sound are fun ways to help the grands learn. Their mom displays their crafts in their room, so they see these every day.

Usually I do at least one activity for each intelligence, although I may list many more activities in the lesson plan to give me choices depending on the needs of the grandsons. I planned to use two-three intelligences each day (about 30-45 minutes per day), depending on the length of the activity. When I planned this unit, I thought it would take about six weeks to complete with my grandsons. I would teach one short vowel a week, and then have a week to review all of them. Well, that was ambitious! While I did focus on one short vowel each week, I didn’t have time to do all the activities I thought would benefit my grands. So I extended our review week into as many as were needed, because I felt Kona needed a really strong foundation in short vowels before I proceeded to teach him how to blend sounds. Thank goodness I had the luxury of time when teaching my grandsons that I didn’t have as a classroom teacher. Additionally, I kept finding fantastic ideas on websites and blogs, so I kept adding activities to my unit plan. If you use this short vowel plan, it is best to do at least one activity in each intelligence, but please don’t feel you need to do all the activities I share in the post.

Before I begin, let me reiterate that many of these activities can be classified under more than one intelligence, (which makes sense since each of us has a blend of the eight intelligences). In my unit plans, I have organized the activities according to the intelligence that I feel is the most dominant.

Linguistic (Word Smart)

Read books-(All three grands) This is usually where I start my lessons each day. Before reading each book, we look at the pictures, make predictions, and discuss the vowel sound of the week. During the reading of the book, we discuss words with the vowel sound, and afterwards check on our original predictions.  I found this wonderful website for lists of books that go with each letter of the alphabet:

http://www.themeasuredmom.com/books-to-teach-letter-a/

I perused this website each week and then ordered three books from the library for whichever short vowel I would be teaching. Here are my grandsons’ favorite books that I read to them for each short vowel:

  • short vowel a-The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall
  • short vowel e- Eggday by Joyce Dunbar
  • short vowel i-Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni
  • short vowel o-An Octopus Followed Me Home by Dan Yaccarino
  • short vowel u- The Umbrella Day by Nancy Evans Cooney.

 

Audio books-(All the grands) Since I drive the grands around a lot, I like to keep an audiobook for them in the car. I have found audiobooks for many of the books I used in the library as well.

Discussions(All the grands) As I went about my day with the grands, I would point out words to the grandsons that started with short vowels and have them repeat the word and isolate the vowel sounds. For example, as I gave each grand a bowl of applesauce for a snack, we would discuss the short a sound in applesauce and have the boys repeat the word first and then say the vowel sound.

Bottle caps, letter stamps, or dry erase boards(Modified for each grandson) I cut out  pictures of things with the short vowel sound from magazines or completed workbooks and pasted them on paper. The grandsons could use the bottle caps (that I created), the dry erase board to write the letters themselves,  or  letter stamps (purchased) to indicate which vowel sound matched each picture.

I saved milk bottle caps and wrote the vowels on them. They can be used to match up with pictures cut up and pasted from Tigger’s completed workbooks.

Personal reading –(Tigger)We used the Progressive Phonics books that matched the vowel sound we were discussing that week. He read them with me, but later on he will be able to read them by himself.

http://www.progressivephonics.com/

Make lists- (All the grands) At the end of the week, make a list of all the words that we discussed during the week with the vowel sound. Tigger and Kona could illustrate the list as well.

Word Puzzles(All the grands) I purchased these word puzzles a while back and used them with this unit of study. Tahoe, 2, recognizes the “o” letter the best and loves to find all of them and place them in the puzzles. Kona, 4, will place all the vowels in the puzzles, and has just begun to blend sounds with some of the pictures. Tigger, 6, has been using all the word puzzles to practice his blending of sounds as well.

All the boys love these word puzzles. Tahoe loves to find all the "o" letters and place them in the puzzles, while these puzzles help Tigger with his blending skills.

All the boys love these word puzzles. Tahoe loves to find all the “o” letters and place them in the puzzles, while these puzzles help Tigger with his blending skills.

 

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

Letter crafts-(All the grands)-The grands really enjoy crafts and I always start their craft session with a picture that can be created from the vowel sound. Some of the grands’ creations are pictured near the beginning of this post. While I found lots of ideas on different websites, I had to be careful that the craft ideas I chose were depicting something with the short vowel sound. For example, I wouldn’t make a craft of an eagle for “e” since “eagle” doesn’t begin with the short vowel sound. There are step by step directions for some letter crafts on this fantastic website:

http://crystalandcomp.com/2013/08/u-is-for-underwater-a-letter-of-the-week-preschool-craft/

Other crafts-(All the grands)-Ideas for other crafts to go with each short vowel are endless. (For example, the amount of craft ideas for “apples” could keep the grands busy for a year!) This is the website I usually visit first for craft ideas:

http://www.themeasuredmom.com/letter-o-crafts-preschool-kindergarten/

I also found a terrific project on stamping “pumpkins” that I adapted to use with short vowels at this website:

http://www.coffeecupsandcrayons.com/sight-word-pumpkin-patch/

Kona says the short vowel sound before stamping a "pumpkin" on the letter.

Kona says the short vowel sound before stamping a “pumpkin” on the letter.

Videos-(All the grands) Another way to use the spatial intelligence is through videos.  I found so many wonderful  videos that teach the short vowel sounds. Here is our favorite site:

http://www.sightandsoundreading.com/teaching-the-short-aa-letter-sound/

Playdough mats- (All the grands)-While I created these playdough mats myself, you can find printable mats on many websites including the one I used for my inspiration:

http://thisreadingmama.com/alphabet-playdough-mats/

   Interpersonal (People Smart)

Dramatic play (All the grands)-In dramatic play participants may pantomime and speak. There  is often a created story line. Encourage and participate in dramatic play using words that start with the short vowel sounds. Props can be used, although “pantomiming” the props is easier and adds to the creativity. Here are some ideas to try:

short a: astronauts taking a space walk from the Space Lab

short e: collecting eggs; washing elephants

short i: building an igloo; using different ingredients to make a salad (or soup, cake, smoothie, casserole etc.)

short o: pretending to be an octopus trying on new clothes

short u: exploring an underwater habitat

Kona really enjoys our cooking sessions together. Here he is adding cinnamon to his mini apple turnovers.

Cooking -(All the grands) Since this activity requires adult supervision due to my grandsons’ ages, I have categorized this in the interpersonal section. When my grandsons are more independent readers, I will categorize cooking under linguistic since they will be reading and following the directions in recipes. My  grandsons love to cook, so I always include some type of culinary activity with each short vowel:

short a: Make applesauce or mini apple turnovers. (Actually, we made both but on different days.). To make the applesauce, I peeled and cut two Granny Smith apples and placed them in a two quart microwaveable casserole dish. My grandsons added a little water, honey, lemon juice, and a few dashes of cinnamon. After microwaving for three minutes, my grandsons helped me mash the cooked apple pieces. They had to wait for the applesauce to cool before eating.

I found the mini apple turnover recipe at this link:

http://brownchrista9.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/simple-apple-activities-that-would-make-johnny-appleseed-proud/

Short e: scrambled eggs-Use your own recipe or try this one:

http://www.kidsacookin.ksu.edu/Site.aspx?page=Recipe&Recipe_id=4488

short i: Italian bread salad. I discovered this recipe, but haven’t tried it yet.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/mid-summer-italian-bread-salad/

short o: olive and cream cheese spread-Mix 3-4 ounces cream cheese with a small drained can of chopped olives, and a tsp. of mayonnaise. Spread on crackers, bread, or in celery.

short u: upside down cake- I will be trying this recipe:

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/easy-pineapple-upside-down-cake/c4d3321d-fad9-41cb-8f29-8d91a4279b07

 

Shell game  (All the grands) Even the youngest grandson enjoyed playing this simple activity. I found this short vowel game on this website:

http://www.coffeecupsandcrayons.com/vowel-sounds-practice-game/

Rocky and Kona loved this game, however instead of a pom pom, they substituted one of their cars.

Shell game with short vowels:Rocky and Kona loved this game, however instead of a pom pom, they substituted one of their cars.

 

Well, those are some activities for three of the multiple intelligences. My grandsons have enjoyed these activities so much, and my hope is that by engaging all their intelligences, I am helping my grandsons become lifelong learners.

Next week, I will publish a post explaining how I used the remaining five intelligences to teach my grandsons the short vowels.

I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.

 

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