It's school holidays here and we are taking a break from our normal reading routine and having some fun with words. Join us for "Word Of The Day".
Each day I have a new word on my little white board. A word I know the boys will have never heard before and we try and guess the meaning. Then we chat about what it really means and how we could use it in a sentence and we each make up a sentence. Then we have fun trying to slip it into a sentence during the day.
Gingerly - with great care or caution; warily.
We are going to be putting a word up each day so join us and send me any words you think would be good.
Having a bank of sight words in your memory makes reading easier and research shows that it contributes to a child learning to read successfully. Our school has developed it's own site word list based on the pm readers so check out the list your school uses or you can start with the Dolch List.
I strongly belief that now is the time to help him with his reading and over the last 6 months he has improved over ten levels of reading. We do an hour tutorial every Sunday and 30 to 40 mins 4 nights a week. A big commitment so I am continually finding ways to make it fun and to keep him motivated. My Mr 7 has a competitive side and I often harness this to keep him motivated.
At the start of the year I developed this sight word ladder to make practicing sight words a little more fun and competitive. It's easy to make and it doesn't take any fancy resources. As you can see mine is not super pretty!
Sight Word Ladder
Get a copy of your child's sight word list from school or use the Dolch List. You can find a list of these words here.
them out as flash cards. If your child is Dyslexic try printing them
in the comic san font. Many Dyslexic children find it easier to read.
some coloured paper and cut it into strips to make some rungs for your
ladder on a door. We use the pantry door in the kitchen. A place where
kids can see them a lot and it is easy for us to spend a few minutes
doing them. My kids are always asking for more food so by having them
here they are exposed to their words many times a day.
Start with the words at the bottom and then each time your child gets them right move them up a rang.
Our ladder has 6 rungs and we started off just working on 6 to 10 words at a time
Once they are at the top you get to start on a new list.
Once Dyslexia was on our radar I hit the library. I burrowed a few different books and I bought this one from Speld Qld. Out of all the books I have read this one has been the most helpful. It helped me to develop a plan to help our son. It is an easy read and the fact it comes with audio is great as it made it easy for my husband to listen to it while we did our evening chores. You know those chores that make the next day easier when you have three kids 7 and under, like making lunch boxes and washing dishes!
What did I like about this book?
It gave me a starting point.
It helped me work through my feelings on what we were going through.
After reading this book I developed a plan of attack for the the start of the school year
Even as an experienced teacher it empowered me to go in and meet with my school and ask the hard questions and to expect clear, concise answers where I was actually getting to see my sons results and being able to compare them with average results.
It helped me understand the importance of assessment and what it would do for my son and me.
Liz Dunoon the author of this book is a teacher, her husband and three children have Dyslexia. In writing this book she has talked to some of the best researchers in the field of Dyslexia, some of the most famous Dyslexics such as Richard Branson and many ordinary parents like you and I.
If you are just starting out on your Dyslexia journey this might be a great starting point. It empowered me to have the confidence to make sure my son didn't fall between the cracks in the school system and convinced me that I was the my husband and I were the ones that would make the biggest difference for him.
Dyslexia was mentioned at the end of 2014 for us. I met with the learning support teacher the next day and even though term 4 was about to end she kindly downloaded a number of the resources she had created over the years to help children learn to read. I wasn't going to wait to til the start of 2015 to help my child.
I spent the next week pouring over websites and talking to people. All the research pointed me towards Multi-Sensory Learning and Teaching.
In it's very basic form multi-sensory teaching means
helping a child to learn through more than one sense. Most teaching
techniques are done using either sight or hearing (visual or auditory).
With the attitude of starting somewhere was better than not starting at all I decided that over the holidays we would work on Mr 7's sight words using this approach.
Mr 7 loves to build and is competitive by nature so I harnessed these two attributes and made them into a game to help him develop his sight word knowledge
Build a Sight Word Wall
You will need:
A permanent marker
List of sight words
Write the sight words on the blocks
Player 1 selects a block and reads the word. If they read the word correctly they keep the block and use it to start constructing a wall
Player 2 selects a block and reads the word. If they read the word correctly they keep the block and use it to start constructing a wall
Continue taking turns until all the blocks are used
Start with words your child has already embedded in their memory to give them a sense of success and then replace 1/3 of them with new words.
Make sure you look at each new word, talk about it, trace over it and read it before playing
When Mr 7's classroom teacher mentioned they thought it might be Dyslexia. I was actually relieved, scared and relieved. Being a primary teacher I strongly suspected something was just not right but I hadn't quit put my finger on it yet. He was achieving, actually over achieving, in every area but struggling with reading.
I had noticed in prep that he wasn't focusing on words well and that when he tried to read his eyes would flick off the words a lot. This was one of my first clues that something was up. So of course I went to google and discovered there were such a thing as a behavioural optometrists. We went to a great local behavioral optometrist for an eye test. The test revealed that his
eye movements were unskilled
he had a reduced ability to team two eyes together to sustain focus for a prolonged period of time on a near reading task.
reduced ability to team two eyes together to allow simultaneous and comfortable viewing of an object and showed signs of under converging.
He now has relaxation lenses and we are currently doing a vision therapy program. The vision therapy program has been a positive thing for our son but more on that another day
After our parent teacher interview, when the word Dyslexia was first discussed, I of course went to google again and started to search for information. Initially I was fussy about what I wanted to read. As a trained educator I wanted information that was reliable and based on research. Here are my top 4.
I have written this blog a number of times in my head. Some days it is filled with fear, some days it is filled with anger and stubbornness and other days it is filled with pure amazement for my son. Our eldest loves books, he loves to listen to them, he loves to read with us, he pours over pictures and listens to audio books for hours, his favourites are kept under his pillow (above was last nights stash) yet he struggles to learn to read. He is Dyslexic, Dyslexic and gifted............................it sounds like a conundrum but it is actually not uncommon for Dyslexic people to also have extremely high strengths. There amazing strengths can help them to fox the system, to make teachers think they are reading when they are not and can mean some of them get through to late primary years with no one realising they have been having difficulty.
We are lucky Mr 7 is in grade 2 and over the last 12 months we have been pouring time and effort into helping him learn to read and working out why it is a struggle for him. It has not been an easy path. At times it has been confronting and emotional. We have celebrated the successes, there have been many. I have cried with fear about a system that does not recognise or provide funding for Dyslexia and wondered why our system is reactive instead of pro-active but most off all I have gotten stubborn.
Stubborn that our child who loves school, who loves learning, who has amazing strengths will have all the opportunities he desires. He choices will not be limited because of his Dyslexia.................maybe they will be increased. That is what we have signed up for and that is what I am determined to deliver for him. Some days he tells me he wants to be a marine biologist, some days a lego designer and some days a hot wheels designer and I am determined he will be able to make those choices when the time comes.
I don't believe it is going to be an easy road but it will be one that we take together and together we will share the ups and downs, the hard work and the successes, the laughter and the tears. Together we will thrive. So from now on 3 Me and Ice Tea are going to be Under The Reading Tree. I am going to talk about how we are helping our son, what we do at home, how we work with our school, how we discovered he was dyslexic and everything in between. I am going to attempt to share it all the successes and the frustrations, to be open and honest in the hope that we will connect with others and maybe just maybe help someone else along the way.
I have been a bit of a rut lately. Lost in the long list, busy rut. The words below have helped me see past the rut. I am writing them here so I have them for next time the rut creeps up on me.
What's The Hardest Thing About Being A Parent?
It isn't the sleepless night's, or the endless fights. It isn't the constant worrying about every last thing, or the constant pestering about every last little thing. It isn't the impact on your work life, your love life, Or your social life. It isn't the lack of money, the lack of time, or even the lack of anything approaching a life of your own.
It feels like it's all of those things, but it is none of them.
In the end, the hardest thing about being a parent is truly understanding that everything comes with a number. You get a certain number of bedtime stories, and a certain number of bedtime kisses. You get a certain number of roads they'll cross holding your hand, and a certain number of sports matches on a Saturday morning. You get a certain number of bike rides, and a certain number of bad jokes with no real punch line. Most of all...you get a certain number of hours.
One day you'll go to the bucket, and it will be empty.
So -- and I'm saying this as much to myself as to anyone else -- get as much as you can, of all that you can, for as long as you possibly can. It's the only score you'll get that will ever truly mean anything, and it's also also the hardest one to keep track of.
These words were text to me by a close friend and written by Nigel Latta from NZ. Thanks Nigel Latta for helping me see past the list and the busy. I am going to see what other words of wisdom you have for me!
So the idea of sugar free is tempting me a little bit. Why? Well because I have a couple of kg I would like to lose, because my Mum is doing amazingly with it.........talk about inspiration and add to that the reading I have been doing about Dyslexia (stay tuned for more about our Dyslexia journey as things are going to be changing here at 3 Me and Ice Tea )and neurological functioning and lets just say it all fits.........but at 4pm in the afternoon I still need a little something to keep me going and that is when my sugar craving sets in!
So here are my Cheesy Shapes
1 cup of plain flour
3/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter cold
8 ounces of grated cheese
3-4 tbsp water
Blend flour, salt and butter.
Pulse in 3 - 4 tbspn water til the mixture forms a dough
Roll out between 2 sheets of baking paper
Cut out shapes
Sprinkle with Parmesan and cook 180c for 10 minutes
These are yum, simple and don't make many dishes........bonus. And as you can see no sugar and they passed the kid test!
Sounds like the bok Old Hat New Hat...........my kids love that book!
Anyway I have had a container of old crayons sitting around filling up space forever. Sometime ago I decided to make them into new crayons and had a sticky online to see how to do it and then the crayons sat there and sat there and sat there..................................
Well yesterday we actually did it.
and filled our silicon molds.
Then we popped them into the oven.
It didn't work as well as we hoped. It seems that some crayons melt better than others. But we now have Moon Crayons! That's what we are calling them due to the lumps and yes we all decided they are rather ugly but they do draw and it was fun.
I need something quick and easy but fun and interesting and then I remembered how much my boys used to love playing with coloured water. So I got out the bench seat filled some containers with water and grabbed the food colouring. Miss two picked her colours and we added them. She stirred and mixed and watched the colours spread through the water. Once we had added all the colours I went and got some measuring cups and away she she went mixing water and making colours. Easy and simple fun.
Miss 2 in our house has a big personality. She is number 3 in the family and loves to hang out with her big brothers. We often say she is a 5 year old boy in a 2 year old girls body. She has great physical skills and keeps up easy. We went camping on the weekend and people were amazed as she tore down the BMX track on her balance bike screaming with delight!
As she often lives in big brother land it is fun on school days when I get to see her being 2. So here is her day.
Breakfast - if you can call it that, she is my on off eater. Sometimes she will wake up hungry a woof down a weetbix, other days she will have a mouthful here or there and then eat two pieces of fruit on the bike ride to school. School Run - Everyday she jumps in the bike trailer and hitches a ride to school. We love being able to ride to school it somehow turns every day into a good day, the fresh air, the chats on the way and the exercise all make us happier. New Park - On this day we went to visit a new park Number 1 Dad had told us about. Number 1 Dad is a Landscape Architect so he has his finger on the pulse when it comes to parks. This one got the thumbs up.
"I love this park, my park"
We have suggested that we should get a job as playground testers!
Box Fun - A simple box and box monster is born.
Drawing - On the floor when Mum isn't looking................................
Cleaning - The floor, which was probably enjoyed to much!
Rest Time - In our our house this consists of 30mins quiet play in her room listening to Enid Blyton's The Faraway Tree (we have these audio books and all my kids adore them.......a.whole other blog really). Miss Two is my first to cut her day sleep out early so this has been a learning curve for both of us.
Birthday Cake - A Birthday party for her dolls
Playdough Birthday Cakes - Because every one loves birthday cakes.
Panda Eating Playdough Birthday Cakes - Why not everyone loves a birthday cake, the singing that went with this was hilarious! And while this was happening I squeezed in some baking.
Opps - Mum forgot to put the flour away, and it was discovered by Miss 2 while I was hanging out washing!
Back to school and onto the afternoon adventures of 3!
My children continually remind me that the learning is in the doing not in the end product. often when we get out the paints I have an activity in mind and often my children's creative minds have a wonderful time taking it in a whole other direction!
This week I thought Miss Two and I would paint rocks. I had seen a picture of painted rocks on http://www.natureplayqld.org.au/ and went we have rocks and paint, fun.
So I pulled out our powdered paints, some ice cream lids to mix on, some water containers and brushes.
We grabbed a bucket and went out to collect rocks.
My first reminder about "the doing" was watching her mix the colours, shaking on the powdered paint and mixing with water. Hint: if using powdered paint the more powder the more it is like paint. Don't add to much water.
My second reminder was how painting rocks turned into painting hands and arms.
My third reminder was how painting arms turned into painting bodies
My fourth reminder was how painting bodies turned into jumping into warm water in a tub and our again to paint your body once again before having another bath.
Did we end up with some painted rocks absolutely! But along the way she did a lot of "sensory and fine motor doing"
The other day kate at www.picklebums.com blogged about trying to simplfy home life and asked for ideas. I have a philosophy to life at the moment. I Am Keeping Things Small and Simple so I happily shared my small and simple strategy to deal with the loads of washing. I am sure others have thought of it before me but when I come up with it I thought it was revolutionary!
It came to me one day when I was totally frustrated with having to tip everything out of the washing basket to find one sock...............so I went out and bought 5 coloured tubs and now when washing comes off the line it gets put straight in people's tub. If I have time folded but if not then just thrown in. That way if I have to go searching for things at least I know what tub to dive into and I am not throwing mountains of washing on my couch or bed. Now things are in tubs we also get our big boys to put there own clothes away.
Small and simple it works.
So why confess? Well my small simple coloured tubs are great and work most of the time. But sometimes when we have been camping for the weekend, have lots of washing to catch up on, are trying to grab things off the line before school run as it might rain.....................................Well the photo above explains it really.
Lets just say sometimes you have to let it go and embrace the Chaos!
We went camping on the weekend and had a wonderful time. There were a tribe of kids, a great bay and wonderful cottonwood trees to climb. The string is long when it comes to nature play in our house we are all for tree climbing, mud playing and anything else nature serves up but I must admit the nerves set in a little when Miss 2 skillfully climbed to the top of the cotton wood trees. They had never been pruned so they were like a big birds nest and entertained the tribe for hours.
But this blog is actually about spoons, an old but fun game. One night our Number 1 Dad (sounds like we have others but really there is no 2 or 3 Dad) decided to teach all the kids spoons a game he loved as a kid.
Spoons is simple easy and loads of fun.
You will need:
A pack of cards, seperated into numbers. Use a set of numbers(4 the same) for every player
Spoons, one less than the number of players
Spoons are placed in the middle of the table
Deal each player 4 cards
Players check there cards.
The aim is to get 4 cards the same
Players choose 1 card to place face down on the table
One player calls pass (the adult)
Everyone passes their card to the right
Players pick up the new card and check to see if the card helps to make there 4
When someone has 4 cards the same they quietly take a spoon
If other players see a spoon being taken they take a spoon to
The player who doesn't get a spoon gets the letter s
You assign letters from the word spoon til someone is spoon
Our kids loved this so much that on Sunday night, games night in our house, everyone requested spoons.
Our Mr 7 is very skilled at quietly sneaking a spoon, considering the amount he talks - must be his competitive streak coming out, we are very impressed!
We have a lot of left over building supplies from our renovation. They are stacked neatly against the fence. And sometimes they just call our name asking to be turned into something. At the moment they are yelling,
I basically pulled out bits and pieces and they started planning and making. We used the edge of the garden beds for height, our old plastic play frame, some bricks and an old ladder off the cubby.
The kids made this on their own with a little help from me and once they played on it then proceeded to change it and make it more complicated.
And in amongst all this fun they were, planning, making, balancing, problem solving, cooperating and sharing. And I was just the pack horse really!