Y'all!!!! So I definitely skipped quite a few months, but it's been a year since my first Month in Moments calendar!!! SO MUCH has changed - my kiddo is TALKING and running fast enough I can't walk to keep up, we moved, I changed my career for now at least, I haven't killed a few succulents, I got to teach the super seed activity from that year old calendar at a library event, and I finished my MEd and kids' yoga certification! BUT, that's not what these posts are about (but reflection and gratitude are important sooooo that's fine, not deleting it, just realized how excited I was to hit the year mark on this website project)... so here's our Month in Moments overview!
April Showers: Science educator here, I can't not use every opportunity to talk about the water cycle :). Since I'm posting this approximately on April 1st, the first activity requires NO materials other than your body. Make a rainstorm by rubbing your hands together, clapping, etc. Do this once with little instruction - let kiddos get LOUD. Then, talk about how rain also quiets down and how such loud sounds might scare animal friends or little siblings, etc. Make up a signal to start making the rainstorm quieter. When I do this activity in this way, I see learners focus REALLY hard on respectfully getting quiet again. We overestimate children's ability to differentiate and name volumes at first - they'll know if a loud sound startles them, but they don't necessarily know that they are loud or understand what you mean by "inside voice" so this is a FUN way to work toward that! Then, jump in to rain-assisted artwork, model watersheds, and more! End the week by discussing all the GREAT things about rain!
Parts of Speech: WHHHAAATTT? You might be thinking - parts of speech with a toddler? Or early elementary schooler? WHY? Birth through 5+ is a time of amazing brain development, kiddos lay the framework for all future learning. Kiddos make TONS of connections between brain cells now and organize them later. So, I like to frame this as no early experience is a wasted experience. AND, you don't even really need to use the names of the parts of speech. You can say, "Today, we're going to name all the things around our house so you can tell me what you need!" With a pre-talking kiddo, this just boosts the words they hear. With a talking kiddo, it's practice; with an older kiddo they can help label things around the house with letters and scribbles - this creates a literacy rich environment ready to spark more and more literacy skills! You'll pick verbs to act out, create monsterous animals using different adjectives, hide toys on the playground to work on prepositions (a fun way to play with opposites like up/down; under/over :). And, this leads into next week's focus on poetry for National Poetry Month. You'll notice some things in quotation marks - talking about such seemingly big topics with younger kids might seem perplexing, so I wanted to suggest some kiddo friendly ways to talk - talk like yourself though! Your learners know you, so talk like you and they'll get it or tell you they don't :).
Poetry Party: It's National Poetry Month! I remember loving all things poetry when I was younger. It's fun to listen to and to muck around with writing your own. If poetry brings back fearful anxious memories of poetry portfolios, stop right now and write an ugly-ode to your old portfolio, "Oh poetry portfolios, I detest you so..." and then list all the reasons they were terrible for you, and then move on :). (For the record, I hated the writing process of poetry portfolios, but afterwards I was always kind of happy with the product...) (Never wrote one of these portfolios? Lucky you...) This week though, you get to play with poetry with the kiddos in your life in fun ways! Try listening to a song about poems or other Americans read their favorite poems. Pick a poem to put in your pocket and share with others. Write and scribble and publish your own poems. We'll circle back to this at the end of the month to do a family poetry reading! Public speaking was SCARY for me. I think if we can find little ways to play with formal speaking at home, we might make it less scary later :). There's a bonus suggestion to talk to a librarian or book seller (or baker if you want a sweet treat to celebrate :) about your family poetry reading - this is another GREAT invitation for your kiddos to talk in different settings as is comfortable for them.
Our Planet: It's Earth Day (Week)! Get outside and celebrate our planet and think about ways to upcycle things in your house! There are a few recycled art projects proposed for this week, however I'd also like to share a phrase I heard from Eustace Conway back in 2007 when he spoke at NC Governors' School - "Rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle". Getting a recyclable thing is good, but not getting things we don't need is even better (and if you've been to my house you know I'm not perfect about this, but I do try to think about it from time to time as I try to consume responsibly). Build a PoeTree to display your poems and hang out by a favorite tree (Inspired by this Tinkergarten DIY).
I can't wait to see if this month's #monthinmoments calendar sparks a #dailywin for your family! Share your rain art, preposition hide and seek, and poems by tagging @watchwonderbloom or using #watchwonderbloom!