November and the Letter Ii
Welcome to November, where we will see the last of the leaves fall from their trees, practice citizenship through voting, pay remembrance to our veterans, give thanks for the blessings in our lives, and celebrate Thanksgiving. This is the month where our preschool would spend time easel painting turkeys, collecting food for the Snohomish Community Food Bank, learning about nutrition and the food groups, and preparing for our own Thanksgiving "feast" (or "Tasting Day") in class. For this week's newsletter, we will celebrate the new month with activities that focus on Fall, Election Day, Veterans Day, the Letter Ii, and the kindergarten-readiness skill of cause-and-effect.
Cause and Effect
Your child may already have a basic idea of cause and effect. You probably talk about it frequently, even if you don't use those exact words. For example, you may explain that we need to brush our teeth because we'll get cavities if we don't, or you may tell your child not to climb on the furniture because they may fall and get hurt. Knowing that each of our actions has a related effect is a life-skill that carries forward as we are learning academic subjects like math, reading, science, history, etc. It helps us develop emotional intelligence and social relationships as we learn how to appropriately interact with others.
Kids naturally learn about it through play and experimenting (ie: when they build a tower of blocks, and knock it down, they are learning about cause and effect), but we can help them extend the learning at home as well. You could do an experiment with dancing raisins or popcorn and discuss what made the popcorn "dance" in the bottle (spoiler alert: the baking soda and vinegar reaction causes the dancing). You could create a ramp out of cardboard and roll cars or balls down it with the goal of the cars landing in the bin at the bottom. Of course, reading is a wonderful way to reinforce this learning as well! When we're reading and communicating, there are word cues that kids may not intuitively know as "effect," such as:
As a result
The reason that/the reason for
We can point out these phrases while reading or talking with our children. A couple of great cause-effect books include There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves, and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (or any of the books in these series). Read Aloud videos of these two books are included below.
Zoo Phonic Animal Friend for Ii: Innie Inchworm
While learning about the letter Ii, we are going to focus on the short vowel sound (as in inchworm or ink) so it's less confusing for the children. We can introduce the long sound (as in icecream or ivy) afterwards. Inchworms are cute, carnivorous little caterpillars that straighten and scrunch up their bodies to walk. Therefore, our movement for Innie Inchworm is to hold up our pointer finger and bend it up and down. There are a couple videos below that help teach about inchworms and get the kiddos moving like Innie. The suggested activities below extend our learning about the letter Ii to iguanas and igloos, which may be fun as well.
November, Fall, Election Day, Veterans Day
There are a ton of autumn-related crafts available through the internet these days. Some of my favorites also happen to be the easiest to do. Collecting leaves and "graphing" them based on their colors, or doing a leaf rubbing are super simple and fun. You may want to have a Fall-themed scavenger hunt, or work on getting the house decorated for Thanksgiving. My apologies for not including a bunch of turkey-related crafts this week, but those will be coming soon.
Because today is Election Day, and next week is Veterans' Day, there are a few crafts below that go along with the themes of being a star citizen and thanking our veterans. The concept of veterans can be difficult for younger children to understand, but we usually refer to them as helpers who were in the military and helped to keep us free, or to help other people get freedom. You may need to explain terms like military, freedom, and sacrifice with your child. If you have family members who are veterans, this may be a good opportunity for a video chat to ask questions or show appreciation. Your child could also draw a picture or thank you card for the family to send to a veteran or somebody currently serving. Click here to learn more about the holiday, and for additional suggestions for how to teach it to your little ones.