Thursday, December 24, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Right now he's watching The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky. I love the DVD we have becuse there is just enough narration and movie-style filiming to help a child understand what is going on yet the wonderful ballet abilities are also showcased. It is adapted by Peter Martins and preformed by dancers from New York City Ballet and the American School of Ballet. I just noticed in the Amazon that it says Macaulay Caulkin (the kid in the Home Alone movies) is in there too. Funny that I never noticed!
Another favorite is A Charlie Brown Christmas スヌーピーのメリークリスマス. Even though the story of the nativity doesn't get a huge focus the Little Guy still picked it out.
A few years ago I picked up the Original Television Christmas Classics DVD set. It has the Frosty and Rudolf that we grew up watching on TV in the U.S. It also includes "The Little Drummer Boy" which I would never expect to see on TV in Japan.
We also have The Wiggles Christmas DVDS as well as the Cedarmont Kids Christmas Carols sing-along DVD.
I'm thinking that it might be time to add some VeggieTales Christmas DVDs to the collection. Right now we just borrow the one that is in the little library at church.
The other one I want to get eventually is Rick Steves Europen Christmas. I miss watching his shows on PBS!
The question of the day then is... What are your favorite Christmas DVDs adn movies?
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Signing with your baby or toddler: How to communicate before your child can talkLast updated: September 2005
HighlightsHow it works
Benefit: Less frustration
Benefit: A closer bond
Benefit: Helping language develop
How to do it
Some signs to try
How it works
It's not surprising that babies can learn how to sign. Both their understanding of language and their motor skills develop much faster than their ability to speak. And they love to mimic: Most babies, for example, discover how to wave and point long before they can say "bye bye" or "look at that!"
The idea of taking this one step further and teaching babies a vocabulary of signs was inspired by child development expert Joseph Garcia. Having discovered how easily hearing babies of deaf parents learned sign language, he also noticed that these babies appeared less demanding than babies who didn't know sign language because they could express their thoughts and needs more easily. So why shouldn't hearing parents of hearing babies enjoy the benefits of signing, too? After all, Garcia figured, if a baby can sign for what she wants instead of screaming, everyone — Mom, Dad, and their baby — will be happier. While baby signing doesn't promise to cut out tears or tantrums, babies as young as 6 months old have been taught to "sign" successfully, and a number of organizations run baby-signing classes in the United States and in other countries.
Benefit: Less frustration
Teaching your baby to sign isn't hard, although it takes patience. And even just a few easy signs — like "drink" (thumb to mouth, tilting up) — can make all the difference, as one mom, Emma Finlay-Smith, discovered: "The first sign we tried, when Isabella was about 11 months old, was the sign for 'drink.' At first I thought she wasn't paying any attention. But about a week or so after we started, she was sitting playing with her toys when she looked up and signed to me. I thought she was waving hello, then my husband spotted that she was signing 'drink.' It was like when she took her first step — she was delighted and so were we! As she learned more words, her frustration levels dropped dramatically."
Benefit: A closer bond
Mom Sharon Mason says signing gives her an extra-special bond with her son Morgan, 16 months: "Morgan has a vocabulary of about 30 words and he's starting to string signs together. He comes and tells me if our dog is asleep (first fingers and forefingers of both hands pointing downward) or if he can hear an airplane (swooping his hand). It's wonderful knowing what's going on inside his head. I also love being able to talk to him even when he's on the other side of the room. At playgroup the other day I noticed he was looking a bit panicky — I couldn't reach him easily so I signed 'I love you' (hugging myself, looking at him), instead."
Benefit: Helping language develop
Parents may worry that teaching their baby to sign will interfere with normal speech development. In fact, according to recent research, the opposite is true: Signing may actually improve language and vocabulary. Signing, as Garcia points out, is about enhancing, not replacing language. It has to be used alongside normal speech so your baby can make the link between the gesture and the word. And because you need to make sure your baby is looking at you, she's concentrating hard on what you're saying as well as on what you're doing. When your baby can sign back, communication becomes two-way. If, for example, she tells you she can hear a plane, you can respond, "You heard an airplane? Yes, I can see it. Look, it's over there. Isn't it loud?" In this way, you probably spend more time talking to your child, which is one of the best ways of helping speech develop.
How to do it
• As with any new skill, it's important to go at your baby's pace and keep it fun. The best time to start is when your baby begins to develop a real desire to communicate. This is usually around 9 or 10 months — you'll notice your baby is more sociable, starts to babble, and uses noises and facial expressions to get your attention.
• Start with a sign for something she's interested in. Lots of babies quickly pick up the sign for "more" in relation to food!
• Every time you use the word, show your baby the sign, too. Always use the same sign, use lots of repetition, and emphasize the key word along with the sign, so your baby can clearly see and hear the connection: "Do you want some more? You'd like some more would you? Okay, let's get you some more!"
• Your baby may try the sign herself after a few days, or it may take several weeks — be patient. Make it as fun as you can. Babies are much more likely to learn from something they enjoy doing.
• If you want to go to baby-signing classes, you'll see resources listed at the end of this article. Many of the companies that offer classes produce books and DVDs that you might find helpful — look for details on their Web sites.
Some signs to try
Different experts recommend different signs — Garcia's "Sign With Your Baby" program is based on American Sign Language, while the "Baby Signs" program created by psychologists Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn uses a set of simple signs designed for babies. Either of these systems will do the trick, but there's no reason why you can't make up your own signs instead. Any gesture that obviously mimics the meaning of the word works well, for example:
• "food" — put your finger tips to your lips
• "all gone" — move your hand, palm up, backward and forward
• "scared" — tap your chest again and again
• "hot" — put your hand out and withdraw it quickly
• "where?" — shrug your shoulders, with your palms held out
• "rabbit" — wrinkle up your nose or hold up two fingers
• "car" — steer an imaginary wheel
• "book" — hold hands flat with palms up
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
The project we ended up doing for the signing classes was painted hand prints. I know my mom did this with us when we were kids because Grandma our prints hung on her wall for years and years! (they may actually still be up... haven't checked recently)
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
How simple life can be when you're two!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Getting in and out of the boat can be a bit tricky when your arms are full!
These are some of my favorite ornaments. We made hand and footprint ornaments to give to relatives for the Little Guy's first Christmas. At the time we thought his hands were big! They've doubled in the past 2 years!
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
This activity has been in the back of my mind since I saw it here on the ChasingCheerios blog last year. I think I did a pretty good job of recreating it!
The backdrop is felt glued onto a piece of cardboard. To limit the number of small pieces the turkey is glued together but removeable from the board. The feathers are cut from 4 different colors of felt.
I am so tempted to use the "Felt Food" lable for this post!!!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The big book is "Don't Know Much About the Pilgrims" by Kenneth C Davis. This book is more for my own information at this point but I think in a year or two it will come in helpful when the little guy starts asking more questions.
"The First Thanksgiving" by Dana Stewart is a cute and easy book that tells a simplified version of the Thanksgiving story. It is easy enough to use in English classes too so this book gets loaned out a lot!
The animal book is one from when I was a kid. It matches the color scheme of the other books so I thought this might be a good time to introduce it.
I also feel that Thanksgiving is a good time to talk about the Native Americans. "Hawiwatha" by Longfellow is a classic in every sense of the word. I love to expand on the book with pictures of places we've been that Hawiwatha could have visited. Reading it can easily make you long for the shinning big sea waters of Gitche Gumee (Lake Superior).
For a treat we'll also watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving スヌーピーの感謝祭 特別版.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
In the Mommies class we've been talking about daily routines. I found a great site where you can print picture cards depicting the parts of a daily routine. The pictures are so clear and simple. http://do2learn.com/picturecards/printcards/index.htm
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Luther's Rose - We will talk about the meaning and then color one.
For lunch or supper or both we'll eat some German food.
Our music for the day: A Mighty Fortress.
We'll also take a look at a Luther book.
くまさんくまさんなにみてるの? Brown Beear, Brown Bear, What do you See? by Eric Carle
はらぺこあおむし The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
メイシーちゃん おたのしみひろばへゆきます Maisy Goes to the Playground by Lucy Cousins
A favorite in our house right now is the bilingual picture dictionaries from this series: こどもずかん 英語つき. This one is perhaps the little guy's favorite - at least for this week... 0さい~4さいこどもずかん 英語つき We are ALL learning new words in both languages!
If you ever come across a great bilingual book please share!
Monday, October 26, 2009
Another favorite activity is the wooden ring stacking "light house" from Ikea. In addition to stacking, the pieces can be rolled on their sides or spun in circles.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
While looking at the designs I noticed that we have a lot of pairs (and way too many Pepsi NEX caps!) so we tried lining them up. The truck was brought in the aid in the "delivery" of the caps to their "home"
Thursday, October 15, 2009
We took advantage of this good deal to get a few nice pictures of the little guy. Even though he really wasn't in the mood to work with us the studio staff did a great job of trying to draw out his smiles.
The basic set includes just one photo but you can pay extra to include an aditional photo or to get extra prints, etc. Anythign beyond the basic set though cannot be paid with the Kosodate Coupons.
About 2 weeks after the photos are taken you go back to the studio for the album/frame decorating. You choose a set of 3 colors of paper and a set of scrapbooking stickers to start with. There are aditional supplies to use in decorating as well as a number of expample albums to provide inspiration.
THis is just one great way to use your Kosodate Coupons!
One of my biggest quests once the little guy started crawling was to find a book of activities that he could enjoy over the enxt few years.
I asked friends in Early Childhood professions, talked to sempai (older, more experienced) moms, searched the net adn browsed through Amazon. In the end I came across two books that I'm very happy with. The first is Gymboree 365 Activities You and Your Toddler Will Love: Fun Ideas for Your Toddler's Growing Mind! It happens to be out of stock on Amazon.co.jp at the moment but you can still find it on Amazon.com. Highlights include the variety of traditional nursery rhymes and games being mixed with various ideas for parents. I was hesitant to get the book because it is so colorful - which often makes me feel like the publisher is making up for a lack of content - but it has plenty of ideas and information.
The other book, Unplugged Play, which I came across in a used bookstore, is a real gem! It has tons of ideas for toddlers through grade school children. Again, many classic rhymes, games and songs are included. Each activity also has a detailed explanation with suggestions for variations.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
We have a version of the famous old story in English and a German DVD animation. While looking around for party ideas I found some really cool things!
One suggestion for a classroom setting is to make masks of the various characters and then have the kids act out the story. There is a page with various lesson plan ideas based on the story.
The best "find" for me is a mini threater set 英語日本語紙芝居 ミニシアター ブレーメンの音楽隊 on Amazon.co.jp. It also comes in a larger, table top size. Each set includes kamishibai 紙芝居 (story board posters), a CD with the story told in English/Japanese and English only, 2 sets of question cards in English at different levels to test comprehension, a set of picture cards and a set of sight word cards.
For $10 - $15 dollars these mini theater sets are a real deal! What started out as a birthday party theme idea will easily be turned into an ongoing learning resource.
As you can see a 2 year old can enjoy the story as much as the adults did!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Here is a simple recipe that I found online:
Easy Peasy No Cook Play Dough!
2 cups of plain flour ２カップ フラワー
4 tablespoons of ‘cream of tartar’ ４大さじ クリームオブタータ
2 tablespoons of cooking oil ２大さじ サラダ油
1 cup of salt 1カップ 塩
2 cups of boiling water ２カップ お湯
Food coloring 食品着色料
Just pop it all in a mixing bowl and mix!
It might not come together at first, but keep on mixing, it will eventually take on that nice play doughey texture.
Try adding bits and pieces like glitter and sand to make it even more fun!
Friday, October 9, 2009
Since I'm only working with one child and in a home enviroment buying all the nice sets for montessori activities is not an option for us. In this case we have opted for a well-known substitute for the color tablets - paint samples.
I have to admit here that I don't know where in Tokyo to get similar samples so I picked them up while in the US last summer. I'm sure they can be found here too - I just don't know where.
These are paint examples from a homestore that I laminated to make a bit more durable.
I started by introducing the red, yellow and blue colors first. The little guy grasped the idea so quickly that I didn't even get a picture of it!
This is the "basic" set that I made. It was too easy in that the little guy barely had to think to do it and lined up all the colors correctly on the first try. Next time I'll introduce shades of color to him.
Margaret Homfray showing how to use the color tablets:
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Take a look here: http://www.youtube.com/user/SigningTime
We are using the Baby Signing Time series in the new baby sign language class that I started teaching recently. The videos are great, the music catchy and flashcards very useful!
Here is a sneak peek at a couple of the upcoming songs for class:
Here I Go
If you live int he US check your local library for the DVDs. Once you're hooked you can buy them on the Signing Time homepage or from Amazon, etc. For those of us outside the US it is well worth the price of shipping to order from the Signing Time homepage!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Here are a few pictures of things that the litte guy really enjoyed nad made good use of over the past year.
With 1 year olds anything that can be freely explored works well. It is true that they often get more enjoyment from the box that a present comes in than from the present itself!
Some other things that make great gifts are simple musical instruments, wooden cars, soft blocks and stacking toys.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
We also discovered that they work well as marker holders while coloring!
I saw it, thought "hmm..." and didn't get around to in until months later.
Take a "pet" bottle (cheaper, weaker plastic works best) and cut off the end.