Wednesday, February 29, 2012

EV's emotional surprise

The problem with parenting is that sometimes, one tends to forget that kids actually feel emotions, even though they don't know how to express it. They understand what it is to feel happy, sad, angry and so on. But because one doesn't see them expressing it (or may assume they don't know how to express it), whether through facial expressions or verbally, one tends to forget that kids have feelings too.

That is, until the kid surprises us by actually verbalising their feelings.

That's what happened to EV. The other day, my father in law brought her downstairs, telling her that he was going to bring her to the swing. Once downstairs, he didn't bring her as promised, saying that it was too hot, and they ended up walking around the estate. My girl came back, walked into the home with a downcast look and said 'not happy'. That was the first time she voiced her feelings, and it took her everyone by surprise. What they thought was a little 'trick' to get her to go downstairs, was actually taken seriously by EV. 

This also supported my view against giving empty promises. Whenever I promise EV anything, I make sure I deliver, to the best of my abilities. Otherwise, I don't even mention it. Because I want her to grow up understanding that one cannot give empty promises; one must mean what they say. Because giving empty promises will only end in disappointment, as this incident clearly shows. Still, this incident has opened my eyes even more to EV's capability to feel emotions - do not underestimate a two-year-old.

I think from this incident, our whole family have become more aware of EV's emotions, especially now with her new brother. I'm glad it happened, as we have all learnt something from it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

C for Cake

During the past week, when I was faced with the seemingly neverending tasks of feeding and changing my new born son, which by the way is something I enjoy doing for my precious, I had the feeling that EV was somewhat feeling neglected. She has been a loving older sister, always running to her little brother's aid whenever he cries, or patting him and asking him not to cry. She enjoys being involved in the caring of AA. But I can tell that she does feel a little left out at times, or even bored. Just the other day, I asked her whether she missed pasting & painting with mummy, and she nodded yes. Oh... really felt a tug at my heart when I saw that.

I knew having AA would be more demanding and take me away from EV, but I decided and was determined to start Tot Club as soon as possible after AA's arrival. So today, we did C for Cake. 

I changed the order a little today. After the greeting song, I went straight to the 'Crocodiles Creeping' phonics song. EV loves music, so almost immediately, she followed me as I did the actions to the song. We then did the feely card, before proceeding to introduce the theme and paste the images for cake, corn, carrot, chicken, cup and caterpillar on the Cc A4 sheet. She was quite enthusiastic about tracing the upper & lower case 'C', and asked me to help her do it. We wrote the words for all the images together, and we also went through the spelling and letter sounds for the word 'cake'. 

We did a cake craft from Jann's class. EV was a little perplexed and you could see she was wondering what the styrofoam was, but she repeated 'cake' after me. I asked if she wanted to colour the cake, and got a yes from her. She picked the colours for this craft, while I pasted the cotton wool, and helped her with some of the colouring. When she saw me put the candles in, her face immediately light up, as though she finally understood what this craft was about. We sang 'Happy Birthday To You' together, and she even 'blew' out the candles. I think that was her favourite part.

Pretend Play
We stretched our imaginations today, and did a little pretend play. We were both hungry creeping crocodiles looking for food, and then crunching on chickens, corn and carrots.

We sang 'Pat A Cake' for our closing nursery rhyme. Just in time, as AA started crying for his afternoon feed. EV pointed to her brother and said 'Didi, cry, hungry'. My clever girl!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mummy's fun phonics adventure

As I had shared here, I have been attending a phonics course conducted by Jann, a SAHM. Last Saturday was the last lesson. I was glad to be able to attend all six lessons at one stretch, as I was mentally prepared that I may have to disrupt it if my new baby decided to come out early. But as baby is still extremely cosy, I managed to finish the whole course without needing any make-up classes. 

While I wished there was more time to go through the individual letter sounds as well as to practice prompting, I think the phonics CD that was provided as part of the course is a good source material for the letter sounds. Other than that, for prompting, I guess it's practice, practice and more practice. It could be good fun too, as I see it as a path of discovery that one can take with one's child. Mummy and child learning together, that's nice.

I really enjoyed Jann's sharing during the lessons, and found all of them extremely inspiring. She shared many tips and ideas from her own experience of bringing up her two children who are of kindergarten and primary ages. Not just for teaching phonics, but for other areas such as reading, writing, maths and Chinese. She even gave some insight into what to expect for primary school. And it is these practical tips that are useful for parents. I like that Jann is very approachable, and I admire her willingness to share. I've always believed that learning should be full of fun and play, and Jann has reaffirmed this belief.

Sounds good? You bet! You can email Jann for more details: jannalin_mrc[at]hotmail[dot]com. For anyone who is still contemplating whether to sign up for Jann's course, I say - go for it! If you are looking for ways to support your young one's preschool learning with some home teaching, but have no idea where or how to start, then this course is a good starting point. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Craft fun: Toilet Paper Roll Butterfly

B is for butterfly, so today, we worked on a fun craft that used a recycled toilet paper roll and colored paper. It's extremely simple to do, and I got the idea from SimpleKidsCraft, though I adapted it a little. EV pasted the wings and applied glue on the toilet paper roll. I helped to secure the roll to the wings and pasted the antennas.

EV enjoyed doing this, and went around the house holding the butterfly and repeating 'fly, fly!'

Friday, February 17, 2012

Insect hunt

EV and her grandfather came back from a walk today and brought back a tiny black beetle-like insect. I took the opportunity to describe the insect to her, point out its feelers and count the legs. She was very very intrigued by it. A rather impromptu educational session for her.

Books: 'B' books

Here are some of the books we've been using during letter 'B' week.

Story and pictures by Bruce Degen
Jamberry is a delightful and fun adventure tale of a bear and a little boy, as they travel through Berry land to discover different kinds of berries - blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. There is a lot of word play, with interesting new words made with 'berry', such as canoeberry (a canoe full of blueberries) and jazzberry (a jazz band in Berry Land). The colourful book is also highly imaginative, describing creative scenes that one can only imagine, such as 'strawberry ponies, strawberry lambs, dancing in meadows of strawberry jam' or 'raspberry rabbits, brassberry band, elephants skating on raspberry jam'. You can almost picture the scene in your mind. The text is simple and very rhythmic, and is thoroughly enjoyable.

Written by Mariam Moss, illustrated by Mary McQuillan
A story about a bear who lost his clothes. This little 'bare bear' then goes on an adventure to search for his clothes, and along the way, she meets a hare in a red hood, a mouse cleaning a grandfather's clock, and a vegetarian giant. The author cleverly uses familiar elements from fairy tales and nursery rhymes like Little Red Riding Hood and Hickory Dickory Dock to create a totally new adventure. Besides making use of rhyming words in each four-sentence paragraph, the author also brings shapes such as checkers, circles, shapes and stripes into the story.

Written by Brenda Z. Guiberson, illustrated by Ed Young
I got this book because moon and bear are EV's favourites, and this book brings the two together, while telling the story of a real species of bear. Illustrated in a simple style, the story is a discovery of what a moon bear does from the time he wakes up from his winter snooze, before settling down the next winter to hibernate again. Moon bear searches for food, marks her territory, curiously discovering about ants, feasts on juicy summer fruits, tried to sleep in the tree but ends up bending the branches, climbs the Himalayas, avoids poachers and loggers, and gorges on even more food before the next winter comes. The book also includes some pictures and facts about this Asiatic black bears, which is good for sharing about the little-known world of the moon bear, a highly endangered species. At the back of the book, there is a message from Jane Goodall, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace.

B for Bear

Today, we focused on 'B for Bear', and started the session with the greeting song, before moving on to the 'b' feely card, the 'Bubbles Bubbling' phonics song. I introduced the theme and then we pasted the images for bear, bus, bee, bubble, bat and box on a Bb A4 sheet.  Together, we wrote the word 'bear' next to the image, and I got EV to repeat the spelling and letter sounds. We also wrote the words for the other images, but didn't dwell on them too much. Two words were new to her today - box & bat, and when I asked her to identify the bee image, she made the 'buzzzz...' sound. 

To match the theme, I also played the a 'B' phonics song - 'Big Brown Bear' from The Alphabet Zoo Songbook by Julia Gabriel. Later, on a doodle board, I showed EV the word 'bear' and also went through the letter sounds and demonstrated the prompting of the word using the sounds.

We did a bear mask craft from Jann's phonics class, and EV was quite enthusiastic about pasting the brown crepe paper to the bear face. We worked as a team today, with EV applying the glue and Mummy pasting the crepe paper. We then wrote the letters B and b, the word 'bear' in English and Chinese at the back of the mask.

For our closing song, we sang 'The bear went over the mountain'. I sang the song once wearing the mask, and I could literally see EV's eyes light up in delight when she saw that. In my preggy stage, I must have really looked like a bear. EV then put on the mask and moved around while I sang. We also did a little marching dance to show daddy our work. 

Story Time
We read the book 'Bare Bear' today before bed. I emphasized the word 'bear' every time we encountered it. Occasionally, I would also spell it out and get EV to repeat after me. She really enjoys the rhyming words inside.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

EV learns 2 new Chinese words!

EV has spoken two new Chinese vocab, one of which is extremely useful, considering the number of times she used it today. It's 不要, and the other vocab is 洗手. Just the other day, when I asked her 好, she replied 好. Looks like me speaking to her in Chinese and reading Chinese story books to her since she was a baby is finally showing some progress. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

B for Bee

We continued with the letter B and b today, with the focus being on B for bee. I searched for activities that used bee as a theme, and I found many from 2TeachingMommies.

Alphabet activities
We started the lesson with the 'b' feely card to familiarise EV with the letter formation, then went through the A4 sheet of images, where she could correctly identify all the items. Then I tried to do a B/b tracing sheet with her, but as she is currently in a 'I do, I do' stage, she insisted on working on it all by herself - which means lots of scribbles. This was ok. It is also a way to strengthen her motor skills and in the midst of it, she can also familiarise with B/b. 

The next alphabet game required her to put B/b bees into the correct column, either 'B', or 'b'. She knows her letters, and did quite well in this. 

We did two craft work today. First was a 'Bb is for bumblebee' colouring sheet. She coloured only about 40% of it. But no matter, I kept the sheet for future repeat lessons. 

The next craft featured her favourite activity - painting. I got her to paint black stripes on a letter B which I had drawn on a yellow A4 sheet. Once the paint dried, I cut out the B, and got her to paste the two wings to it, another activity she loved. 

Handwriting skills
We did more horizontal line practice today. What I did was print out the sheet, and put it in a sheet protector, then got EV to practice using erasable markers. Halfway through, EV decided to scribble, which look more like proper circles now. Her motor skills are definitely improving.

The activity today required her to count the number of bees, and then choose the correct numeral from three choices. We did numbers 1 to 5.

What is the difference?
I decided to try a new activity based on the different/same concept. EV did 3 out of the 5 sets, but it was enough to tell me that she does understand the concept. 

Motor skills
We then did cutting, pasting and colouring. Some of these activities are from the Kumon First Steps Workbooks series. In one of these, you'll see EV 'blowing' out some candles which she pasted on to a cake.

We read a very apt book titled Bee & Me. Written by Elle J. McGuiness and illustrated by Heather Brown, this book is written from a first person perspective. It tells the adventure of a little bee, who gets chased by a dog, and tries to get away by flying into a home. The storyteller is afraid of bees, and shuts the window in an attempt to prevent the bee from entering, but ends up trapping the bee instead. The bee, then asks to be let out to return to the hive to help his friends, and share that bees help plants reproduce by gathering pollen. Without them, there will be no flowers and fruits, the bee shares, sad that humans don't like bees even though they are so helpful. This is a wonderful tale to tell young ones about the importance of bees, and how we shouldn't take them for granted, or assume they are just for making honey. Written in rhymes, it is also great for showing rhyming words.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Reflections of maternity leave

I've been on maternity leave for a little over 2 weeks, having taken it earlier because I was mentally prepared that this little new bundle of joy may arrive early, like EV. But till now, my little bundle is still happily cosy in the tummy, and shows no sign of wanting to arrive. I hate to admit, this waiting game is getting tiring, because the tummy is getting heavier with each day, and it's more tiring now to move around with the bulge. Mixed feelings, I must say. While I look forward to the day he comes, I'm a little apprehensive as it means then we'll have to juggle two young children. He will no longer be a part of me, going everywhere I go. He will be an individual, a little baby with his own needs and wants. 

Still, I'm grateful that he has not arrived. I do like the feeling of him moving in me. It's kind of cliche, but I do feel alive everytime he moves. He's also being very thoughtful and caring towards his big sister, giving me time to work on lesson plans and materials for home teaching her. Something I would not have had time to do, if he had arrived, or if I was still working. 

Having said that, I still look forward to the day I can hold him close in my arms. In the meantime, the waiting game continues.....

Monday, February 13, 2012

B for Ball

Alphabet activities
Today, Tot Club's letter of the week is 'B/b' and the theme is 'B for ball' (it was supposed to be 'B for bubbles', but I changed it to ball, as it's one of her favourite toys). As EV was already familiar with 'B' words like 'ball', 'balloon' and 'bubbles', this lesson was rather easy for her.

We started with the greeting song, and then worked on the 'b' feely card by pasting bubble wrap squares, during which I explained to EV the formation of the letter - down and round. EV was still repeating the formation for 'a' (round and down) at first, but very quickly was able to follow the formation of 'b'. The next activity was her favourite, of course - that of the phonics song for letter B. It was interesting to see her reaction when it was played. The tune is similar to the 'a' phonics song (in fact, the tune is the same for all the letters), and you could see the gears turning in her head, as though thinking 'this tune sounds familiar, but the lyrics are different. Why?'. But soon, she was moving to the music, and saying 'buh, buh, buh'. 

After that, we moved on to the images of words starting with 'B'. As you know, EV has been trying to exert her individuality and always says 'I do, I do' for tasks, especially when it comes to pasting. It was the same today, but I think she did a much better job than the last time. She still needed help in moving the glue stick around, and actually sticking the images, but she definitely has a better idea of how it's done. 

We went through images, with me asking her where each item was, eg 'where is the blue ball?' 

We then wrote the word 'ball' together. I also wrote the words for the other images, so that every time she sees this sheet, she can associate the respective images to the words.

I then wrote the word 'ball' on the doodle board and went through the sounds of each letter, while blending the sounds together. She's not ready to do any prompting yet, but it's still good to expose her to it to increase her phonemic awareness.

For craft, we did a origami ball. Rather, mummy was the one who folded the ball. EV didn't seem interested in it, but when I blew to make the ball, you could see her eyes light up immediately. She told me she wanted to 'blow'. So I deflated the ball and passed it to her. She tried very hard to blow it up into a ball, but still couldn't figure it out. So I did it for her again. EV blew into the ball repeatedly, until the ball was wet with her saliva. At one point, she even got her Minnie Mouse doll to 'blow' the ball.

Our closing song was 'The Wheels on the Bus'. Here's the youtube link:

Books: Mummy, Mummy, What's In Your Tummy?

By Sarah Simpson-Enock and Linzi West

When I saw this book at the National Library, I knew straight away that I had to borrow it. Since about five months ago, when she first noticed my growing tummy, we have been talking to EV about the little brother that she'll be having. When I say 'where's didi?', she will straight away point to my tummy. Or sometimes, she will give my tummy a little hug or kiss. She seems to know what it is, but of course, we won't really know how she will react when the little brother comes out (which is anytime now). So I thought this book will be helpful to reinforce what we've been trying to prepare her for. 

What I like about this book are its big fonts, colourful pictures and simple text, like 'a big, yellow sun' or 'a man on the moon'. I also like the flaps, which 'reveal' what could possibly be in mummy's tummy, as the story gives suggestions. At the end, it reveals the 'mystery', with the text 'our new baby' and a picture of mummy carrying a little baby. This is great as it helps EV visualise what would happen when her little brother arrives.

In fact, this has become one of EV's favourite books. It's a great book to prepare an older child for a new baby.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Letter & number recognition games

I've been sharing about EV's milestones, and as a parent, I'm heartened that she knows how to recite A-Z and 1-10. However, one constant thought is: can she recognise & identify the letters and numbers, or is she just reciting from memory? Plus, with Tot Club, I've been teaching her 'Aa', how is her recognition for this letter?

Today, I took out her lowercase letter foam magnetic board, and asked her to point out letter 'a'. She had her finger waving everywhere around the board, except at 'a', and could only correctly point out 'a' when I made little circles in the air around 'a'. 

So I thought, perhaps she's confused by all the letters she's seeing on the board? So I took out 4 letters randomly, including 'a', and asked her where 'a' was. This time, her reaction was much faster, and she could point it out correctly. I did this a few times, and then went on to 'b', which she had learnt in her Talentplus playgroup. She could identify it correctly too. This is a good way of determining her recognition of letters, and I can gradually increase the number of letters that she chooses from.

We also played another recognition game - I Spy. I called out letters A to Z randomly, and to my surprise, she could pick up most of the letters correctly. This no doubt answered my question of whether she recognised the letters. 

While we were at it, why not do the same for numbers? We have been showing EV flashcards since she was a few months old. So I took out the numbers flashcards 1 to 10, spread them around the floor and called out the numbers randomly for EV to choose. She got all correctly. 

So my question was answered: EV wasn't just reciting; she knows her stuff. These activities are a good way of gauging her recognition of what was learnt, and is definitely useful as well in future.

Recommendation: Great sites for home teaching ideas

If you are looking for ideas & printables for home teaching, here are some great sites by mummies who home school their children.

Homeschool Creations


Confessions of a Homeschooler


Not only do they share their ideas, they are also fantastic inspiration to anyone who wants to home teach their toddlers, or want to supplement what the kids are learning in school with home teaching. It just goes to show just how much we can do as parents at home to help in our kids' education, even if it's just one hour a day.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Alphabet activities, math, writing, motor skills

Today in Tot Club, EV and I worked on other activities such as counting and handwriting practice. We did do one alphabet activity - ant letter match of 'A' and 'a', and is both a uppercase/lowercase letter matching game and a colour puzzle. 

I got EV to do some handwriting practice next, starting with the Ant Beginning Writing sheet for horizontal lines. I explained to her that the ant is hungry, and needed help to crawl over to the basket of food on the right. She understood what I was saying, and after showing her once, she proceeded to attempt drawing horizontal lines herself. After she finished the sheet, she continued to do the lines on blank A4 paper.

We counted apple seeds next, and she correctly put the numbers in the boxes next to the apples, without me having to tell her what to do. Guess it's because the activity is somewhat similar to some of those she does in her Shichida class, and she's familiar with the format.

Whenever I prepare her Tot Club materials and use a scissors, EV's been asking to help me. So I bought some Kumon Let's Cut Paper books and a safety scissors, and I taught her how to cut paper. This single activity had her engrossed for more than 30 minutes! 

We also did pasting, colouring and folding activities with her other Kumon books. Her favourite is pasting, and she loves using the glue, always saying 'I do, I do'. I always have to be watchful to ensure that bits of the stick glue doesn't end on her finger and eventually in her mouth!

All of the materials used today can be found at Confessions of a Homeschooler and 2TeachingMommies.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Books: The Apple Doll

By Elisa Kleven

This is another good book to read during the 'A' week. It is all about apples, and tells a tale about a young girl Lizzy who creates an apple doll Susanna as her imaginary friend. It explores her apprehensions about going to school for the first time, and reveals her feelings when her teacher doesn't seem amused by her apple doll, and her new friends make fun of her for not playing with a real doll. Thoughtful Lizzy tries to make Susanna feel less lonely at home when she's in school, but we find out that Lizzy herself is actually very lonely. When Susanna starts looking less than fresh, Lizzy's mummy helps her dry Susanna to make a dried apple doll, complete with clothes and hair. And when Lizzy brings the new Susanna to school, her friends are excited to see such a unique doll, and even her teacher asks her to teach everyone how to do it. In this way, Lizzy overcomes her loneliness, thanks to a little apple doll.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

EV turns 2!

EV turned 2 this week, and she got to enjoy two birthday cakes! One we bought from Bengawan Solo featuring her favourite Winnie the Pooh characters, which we had at a relative's place. 

The other was made by EV's favourite 'ah yi', my sister - Strawberry Spongecake. Looks yummy doesn't it? It is yummy. My sis has really outdone herself this time. 

Yups.. in her excitement, my sis put 14 candles in total on the cake - 13 letters that make up 'Happy Birthday', and a big '2' candle. EV took the challenge in her stride, and blew out all the candles, with a wee bit help from daddy, of course!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Recommendation: Web/Blog - Simple Kids Craft

Sometimes, it's really tough to think of creative craft ideas to make home teaching fun. Here's a good craft site to bookmark. From animal crafts to recycled crafts, this site has heaps of projects that are easy to do. Most projects use materials that are easily sourced, and takes not more than 30 minutes to create. The videos make it even easier to understand the instructions. What I like about this site is that it lists out the difficulty level of each craft, so you can decide to do it later if your child is not ready. Lots of fantastic ideas, and they keep coming!

Monday, February 06, 2012

Craft Fun: Alligator & Apple Paper Craft

Today, we had some craft fun with 'Alligator' and 'Apple' to reinforce the letter A. While I planned for the craft activities beforehand, I didn't follow any lesson plan and let the session progress in an impromptu way.

EV loves painting, so we started off with a Do-A-Dot printable from Homeschool Creations, which has pictures of two words that start with A - alligator and apple. Instead of just using a brush, I got EV to do finger painting with a circular motion of the thumb & pointer fingers. After the sheet was complete, she wanted to continue, so I gave her a large A3 sheet and let her paint at will, while asking her which colour she wanted to use. She could identify the main colours, and blue seemed to be her favourite. Maybe it's because the word is easier to pronounce.

Perhaps the finger printing reminded EV of her previous sessions. She ran to the projects that we did and pointed to it. I took the opportunity to briefly run through the 'a' feely card, which she knows quite well by now. Then asked her to point out the different images. She could identify ant, alligator, ax, anchor and arrow successfully. I was pleasantly surprised because ax, anchor and arrow are new words to her. So this way, I know she's absorbing what she's being taught.

As EV loved music, I played the 'Ants on my ankle' phonics song. The apple and alligator paper craft that followed were all inspired by Homeschool Creations. I used paper for both projects, and the materials needed are simple, just construction paper in red, green and white, and magic pens. I cut out the red circle for the apple, the white apple core, and the green letter A in advance.

For the apple craft, I got EV to rip the red circle in half, but she actually ripped out a smaller section. So we just ripped out what was remaining, and pasted the two smaller sections to make a half. Then we pasted it all together so that the apple appears to be eaten. EV used black magic pen to draw the seeds. I then sang the rhyme 'Way up in the apple tree', and pretended to eat the apple when the rhyme reached 'Hmm... were they good!'. EV got it immediately, and then followed my actions, and pretended to eat.

For the alligator craft, EV helped to draw the eyes. She didn't seem interested in pasting the triangular teeth, and was more interested in 'eating' the apple, so I did it instead. Once the craft was complete, I showed it to her and said 'A for alligator'. This time, she was interested, took out a green pen, and wanted to trace the letter, which we did together.

We read the book 'The ants go marching' together, which is a printed version to complement the song we sang during the 'A for Ant' session. Edited by Ann Owen and illustrated by Sandra D'Antonio, this book brings the song in vivid colours and also teaches counting 1 to 10.

She wanted to write A, which I showed her how. Of course, her A is more like scribbles at the moment. At least I know she's getting an idea of how 'A' and 'a' is formed, and that she seems keen to write it.  EV then requested for the phonics song again, which I played, before she ran off to do more scribbling and doodling on her own. 

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Craft Fun: Kueh Lapis Stick Man

A idea came to me today that brings fun into eating. The star of the craft? Home-made kueh lapis. It's extremely simple to do - just cut the kueh lapis into cubes and put them together using toothpicks.

Easy peasy, it's done in less than 5 minutes, and it's fun to take the kueh lapis cube by cube to eat after too. After wolfing down the first stick man, EV asked me to make a second one, and she wolfed that down too. Glad to see she enjoyed it.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

A for Apple

Today, the Tot Club was in session again. A was still the letter of the week, and today, it was A for Apple.

The session went more smoothly today, as compared to the last session. Mummy wasn't as flustered, and was in better control. Only thing is, EV was occasionally distracted by the materials, even though I tried to hide it under the table. So I had to redirect her attention, by introducing something new to her. Not necessarily a totally new activity, but just a new segment of a particular activity, eg, colouring the leaf of the apple while I continued to paste the red crepe paper on the apple itself.

We started with the greeting song, which is to the tune of Good Morning, from popular classic Singing in the Rain. Here are the lyrics again:

Good afternoon, good afternoon
It's fun to learn and play
Good afternoon, good afternoon to you

Then I began with the introduction of the letter 'A' and 'a', followed by the 'a' feely card, and EV remembered that the writing direction was 'round' and 'down.  I then sang the 'Ants on my ankle' song, which EV enjoys very much, and quickly went through the pictures from last session. EV could point out all the correct images when I asked 'where is...?'.

Then I introduced what we were going to learning today - A for Apple, along with some other new images, which was stuck on the A4 sheet. I traced 'A' and 'a' with her, and then she traced 'a' herself in the air, saying 'round' and 'down' repeatedly. She identified apple, aeroplane and ape correctly, but needed help for arrow, ax and anchor, which were new to her. I didn't harp too much on that. 

Next activity was craft work - pasting red crepe paper on to a apple cut-out. EV wanted to do everything herself, and kept saying 'I do', or 'I know'. I let her try to do it, and guided her when she needed help. She did probably a third of the pasting. I did the rest as I got her to colour the leaf and stalk so that she won't get distracted.

I adapted the next part of the session with a sequencing and counting activity from Home School Creations, which directed me to a page of different sized apples from File Folder Fun and cut them out. While EV needed help to lay the apples sequentially according to their sizes, she could easily identify the biggest apple and smallest apple, which she named 'baby apple'. I also got her to count the apples together with me.

By this time, I could tell that EV was getting tired, and decided to leave the colouring activity that I had prepared for another day. As you know, I've been exposing EV to some letter sounds for some time, so here in Tot Club, I will continue to do the same. After I briefly went through the spelling and sounds for 'a-p-p-l-e' (EV repeated each letter & sound as I said them one by one), I sang another 'A' phonics song - 'Andy Ant' from The Alphabet Zoo Songbook by Julia Gabriel. I had already played this to her previously, so EV is quite familiar with it. I ended the session with the rhyme 'Way up in the apple tree', which goes like this:

Way up in the apple tree (wave arms in the air)
Two little apples smiled at me (rub the knuckle of pointer fingers on both cheek)
I shook the tree as hard as I could (shake the body)
Down came the apples (make downward motion with arms)
Mmm... were they good! (rub tummy)

EV liked this, and when I say it a second time just before dinner, she followed the actions almost perfectly! 

At bedtime, I read a book which coincided with the theme. It is 'Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie', written by Herman Parish, illustrated by Lynne Avril. It talks about Amelia Bedelia's visit to her grandparents', and first attempt at making apple pie. It details her visit to the apple orchard, where she learns about the various types of apples, and also lists her grandma's recipe. The book also interestingly explores Amelia's tendency to misunderstand similar sounding words or take words literally, eg, really watching her fingers when grandma asked her to do so, but meant she should be careful; handing grandma her shoe when grandma said 'shoo, shoo' to chase away the birds.

At the end of the book is a recipe for apple pie that parents can make with the kids. A good book to supplement this session.