A Jump Start…

Monday, February 13, 2012

…And Back Behind the Wheel
I’m back! When I realized I the other day that it was early December last time I posted, I was shocked! And then again, I wasn’t. Just before the holidays, I shared my desire to release the overwhelmedfeelings that result from trying to do EVERYTHING and instead focus on doing SOME THINGS to satisfaction. I gave myself permission to not feel guilty about not sticking to a posting schedule. I successfully let go of the guilt, but I missed the creative outlet, the feeling of accomplishment every time I posted something I was proud of, and especially the interaction and inspiration of the blog community I’ve become a part of. I also discovered that while I didn’t want to commit to unrewarding activities just because I “should,” the commitment of a schedule is good for me, blogging or otherwise. I knew I wanted to get back to my blog, but without a schedule it kept becoming another thing “I’ll do tomorrow.”
Inspiration by Mail
The Educators' Spin On It
In a serendipitous session of late night blog-browsing, I came across Amanda’s idea at The Educator’s Spin on It for an exchange of book and activity packs. Besides being a fabulous and fun idea, it was just the thing to put me back on a schedule and get me back in the bloggy-pool. So if you’ve read this far, thanks for the personal indulgence and now on to the good stuff:
What We Got

Our package came from Robyn at Pen Pals and PictureBooks. She sent us a copy of Lois Ehlert’s Fish Eyes. It’s an eye-catching counting book that lends itself to artistic expression as well as a variety of language and math skills. 
The package also included glue, paintbrushes, tubes of glitter, and construction paper fish. Her note pointed us to a recent post that featured her own experience with Fish Eyes. Like all Ehlert books, the colors and patterns are vivid, and while they don’t sparkle, glitter seems only appropriate in an attempt to capture the bright illustrations. The boys went to town with their glue “paint.” B experimented with patterns and stripes, while T favored abstract dots. I couldn’t help but decorate one myself… glitter is hard to resist! 
Fish Eyes provides a visually stimulating counting practice, but it doesn’t stop there. Each fish in the counted group has a cut-out circle for an eye, through which the color of the next page is visible. Because each number group is featured on a two-page spread, some of the cut-outs are on each side. We used counted the holes on each side and then practiced addition facts to determine the number of the total group (ie. 3 holes on the right plus 4 holes on the left equals 7 fish eyes). Ehlert also makes use of many vivid verbs to describe the number groups, offering opportunities for vocabulary development. The rhyming text calls upon the reader to consider what he might wish for. (Would he be a fish?) B decided it would be fun to be a fish as long as he knew he could turn back into a person. We very much enjoyed both the story and the art, and we are grateful to both Robyn for sending it and Amanda for the organization and jump-start!
**Don’t know if it was coincidence or careful planning on Amanda’s part, but our package went to the other half of Pen Pals, Whitney. We sent her a copy of The Alphabet Tree (the same one B gifted to his kindergartenteacher) along with some letter stamps and bug building supplies. Check out theadorable trees she created!
Appropriate for toddlers, preschoolers, primary grades.
[steering wheel photo credit kenski1970 on flickr]


Kim @ The Educators' Spin On it February 13, 2012 at 5:54 AM  

Welcome back! I'm so glad you joined the Love Books Book Swap. Your Alphabet Tree book and activities were adorable and I love this post about the Fish Eyes book you received. I can't wait for my turn with my daugther this summer for the next book swap.

Unknown February 13, 2012 at 10:00 AM  

Anne, I'm so glad you liked the package and the book! It looks like you all had a great time. You did such a great job describing 'fish eyes' and all of the wonderful aspects of it. what a great post! So glad to have made a connection with you. I look forward to hearing more from you!

Ginny Marie February 24, 2012 at 2:42 PM  

Oh, so cute! I just love those fish! I've missed you, Anne...sorry it took me so long to check in with you again!

Shonda March 25, 2012 at 11:06 AM  

Looks like some fun activities!

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