Friday, October 25, 2013

Using Touch Math to Teach Numbers

Have you heard of Touch Math® ? On their website, Touch Math is described as , “is a multisensory program that uses its signature TouchPoints to engage students of all abilities and learning styles.” It’s used to teach a variety of math concepts from basic concepts like number recognition and counting to more difficult concepts like multiplication and fractions. I’ve personally used Touch Math in my  kindergarten classroom as well as with special education students I worked with. Now, I am using it to teach Caleb number concepts at this time.

Here are a few ways we are practicing learning numbers.

First, I taught Caleb to rote count 1 – 10 orally with many opportunities to practice while cleaning up, in the car, singing, and  more. Now that he can count to 10 without mistakes (most of the time), I am introducing a few numbers at a time.

Right now we are working on 0, 1, 2, and 3. Once these are mastered, I will introduce one more number at a time.

The Touch Math program is  created for children pre-school age (3 – 5) and older into the upper grades. Since my son is 2, I have tried to present the Touch Math concept to him in a larger-than-life way that also ties in to what we have been studying.

I write the numbers on paper or outside with sidewalk chalk very large. Then, we use the selected material for the day to practice counting and building number concepts.
Here are a few examples...
* Both of these examples show our experiences outside with sidewalk chalk. I draw each number on the ground about 18 inches. As I draw the numbers, we name them, clap them, stomp them, and then we place the object of study onto the appropriate TouchPoint.
In the first picture, we used leaves.

This time, we used orange foam circles.

I also have an art book with one number written on each page that is equal to the size of the page. We practice these numbers just as we do the ones outside, we point to and name the number, trace our finger on the number, clap it, stomp it, and place objects that match our them on these numbers. We've used popcorn, pumpkin seeds, rocks, pinecones, and more! The ideas are endless. This activity is good because it is repetitious, but using different objects each time makes it interesting every time we do it! The most important thing to remember for all children, especially toddlers, is to keep it fun and go at their pace. They will learn it when they are ready and interested.

I encourage you to check out the Touch Math® website. They have a great deal of information, free trainings, free downloads, and a great curriculum! I plan on starting Caleb with the more structured curriculum next year.

Blessings to ya!

Monday, October 21, 2013


This is an on going post that I will continue to update through the end of October. On The Learning Wagon Facebook page, I have been posting one Fall Fun activity every day. I know many have joined us in the midst of this sharing, so I thought it would be great to have all the activities in one place where you can easily find them. These are simple activities that you can do with your children to have fun learning! Click on each picture to take you to more detailed directions. If you have any questions please ask!

Feel free to share your own FALL FUN Activities on The Learning Wagon Facebook page under the Posts By Others section or in the comments below!











Day 12: HAY RIDE!












Day 23: Hoppy Sorting

Day 24: Pom Pom, Pom Pom on the mirror

More coming each day, so come back often!
Blessings to you,


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bad Days are Learning Days Too...

Not every day is a good day… that said, we all need a few bad days to appreciate the good ones.

Today started off good enough, Caleb woke everyone up at 8 a.m. as usual, I fixed breakfast, and then we began homeschooling activities. I always start off with some gross motor activity and today we went for a walk around the RV park while Caleb pushed Lily Anne in the stroller down and back up the mountainous hills where we are. We ate lunch and went back outside for more schooling while Daddy, also known as the Chicken Whisperer® did his podcast at the picnic table from under the awning. I drew 5 pumpkins on the drive near our car and wrote the numbers 1 – 5 in the pumpkins. You can see more about this activity by clicking the picture below and reading about it from my Facebook post for our FALL FUN Activity share.

We also did some activities which I will share more about in a post later using Touch Math. After that, I took Caleb and Lily Anne up to the swing. We brought some of Caleb’s toys like a shovel, pail, dump truck, and car because there are rocks there he likes to play with. When I came back home to put Caleb and Lily Anne down for a nap, I noticed water leaking out of both sides of the door to the RV. I opened the door and WOOOOSH! The water rushed out the door onto the patio. I ran inside to see what was going on and found the bath tub full and overflowing. Water was about an inch deep on the camper floor. I quickly turned the water off and yelled outside to Andy who was talking to our neighbors. Andy had turned the tub on to help flush our tanks and went back outside waiting for it to fill and fill it DID! The Whole Camper! Our neighbors watched Lily Anne and Caleb while we took towels trying to dry the floors. An hour later, we felt we had most of the water up. We had to pull everything out of the cabinets and turn the air conditioning on full blast as well as a box fan to help dry what we couldn’t get because as you can imagine water and RVs do NOT go together. Water is the biggest destructive force an RV can tangle with causing mold as well as weak and rotting floors among other things. Daddy went to Walmart to get some DampRid that we also put under the cabinets to absorb the water we can’t get to. Fingers are crossed that we don’t have any more problems arise from this event, but only time will tell.

Everyone has a bad day. At some point, mistakes are made, but life goes on. The most important thing to remember is that all of these situations are learning opportunities for us as adults to practice handling our stress in appropriate ways, trying to make the best out of bad situations and figuring out how to make better choices in the future. More importantly, these are learning opportunities for our children too. They see how we handle problems in our lives with our language, our attitude, our emotions, and our spirit. It’s an amazing time right now watching my toddler develop. I see how he imitates my husband and me on a daily basis. I want to be a better person for him. I want him to learn to accept his mistakes without beating himself up, be able to problem solve quickly to figure out a solution to whatever may arise, and forgive others that make mistakes that affect him. For him to be able to do this, we have to model these behaviors for him. Overall, I think we did a good job today as we dried water for corners and cracks we laughed, we rallied together to get the job done, and we forgave the innocent mistake.

Just remember, when you’re having a bad day… Bad Days are Learning Days too.  
God Bless,

 Don’t forget to follow me on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, and TEACHERSPAYTEACHERS!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Going on a Fall Word Hunt: Building Vocabulary

Caleb and I had fun this week walking around the RV park taking pictures of all things fall and capturing a few of those Have-to-Fall-Memory-Snapshots. There is so much going on as summer blends into autumn with festivals and hay rides not to mention the beautiful changes in the landscape that God paints around us. While these moments make great photo opportunities for us, our children can also profit from the vocabulary that transpires during these experiences. You can also continue to develop your child’s vocabulary just by revisiting those pictures and talking about the day, the things they did, how they felt, and more!

There are many studies that tell us the importance of building vocabulary at an early age. The Investigating the Relationship Between Vocabulary Knowledge and Academic Reading Performance: An Assessment Perspective study was completed by David D. Qian and published in 2002. In it he shares, “The study found that the dimension of vocabulary depth is as important as that of vocabulary size in predicting performance on academic reading”

Ideas for Building and Deepening your Child’s Vocabulary
(Please note: In this list, I will refer to the child as he, him, or his as appropriate.)

1. Go on a nature walk and talk about the things that you see, hear, smell, feel. Use synonyms to describe objects. For example, when describing a leaf you might say, “Look how the leaf bends. It’s very flexible.”
2. Focus on Nouns - When taking those cute close up pictures at the pumpkin farm, back up and get more in your background. Print these pictures out as big as you can and post it on white butcher paper. Have your child name all the things he sees in the picture as you label them. With older children, you can help them sound out the words on index cards and place them around the picture.
3. Focus on Adjectives – This works best with those close up pictures. Print these pictures out as you did with the noun practice. Then, have your child describe the object using as many adjectives as he can think of as you or your child labels the picture.
4. Focus on Verbs – We often forget this one, but it is important for children to have a strong verb vocabulary as this is what will make their writing POP later. For example, the sentence, “The farmer sat on the tractor” can be spiced up with the right verb, “The farmer bumpity-bumped on the tractor.” This activity works best with pictures that capture action shots. Your toddler may be climbing over pumpkins or rolling down a hill. Post an enlarged version of the picture as before and have your child describe the actions the objects in the picture are doing. As your child gets better at this, challenge him to describe the action of even the smallest item in the picture. You might ask, “What are the leaves on the trees doing?” Remember they can even describe things that are still as standing, sitting, posing, smiling, etc.
5. Create a Slide Show of your pictures to practice singular and plural words (leaf, leaves, tree, trees, pumpkin, pumpkins…)

Happy Fall Hunting everyone!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Guest Blogger: Hip Homeschool Moms

I was featured at HHM

I am honored to share with you that I have been chosen to be a Guest Blogger for the Hippest Homeschool site around!

Hip Homeschool Moms Button

I hope you hop on over to Hip Homeschool Mom’s to learn about how you can Capture Autumn and use it another day with a fun activity I like to call Sensory Bags.  CLICK HERE to find out how you can Capture Autumn in Sensory Bags too!

Caleb and I still enjoy pulling our Sensory Bags out and learning in a variety of ways every day! I plan to use them all season long or at least as long as we can.

I thank you in advance for leaving a comment on their site! I would love to see what you have to say!

God Bless!

Don’t forget to Follow me on Facebook as I’ll be sharing 1 FALL FUN Activity every day in the month of October!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pumpkin Precision

Wow! October already?? Can you believe it? We are entering into some fun learning times with autumn activities, apples, Halloween, pumpkins, spiders, bats, Thanksgiving, turkeys, Christmas and more! If you’re interested, I have been posting one FALL FUN Activity every day in October on my Facebook page, so check them out!

I’ve spent a lot of time this week researching and coming up with some great lessons for Caleb and Lily Anne for this month. Here is a cute one that I found from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Old’s Blog that Caleb has enjoyed!

You could do this several ways but below I have listed 2 activities that we have enjoyed so far…

You need: mini plastic pumpkins, Halloween rings, and tweezers

1. Place fun Halloween rings (spiders, bats, skeletons) on a table and have your child use the tweezers to pick them up and put them into a mini plastic pumpkin.

2. As a follow up activity, once your child has all the rings in one pumpkin, have him use the tweezers to transfer the rings from that pumpkin to another one. This was a slightly more difficult task especially with the spiders as you had to wiggle them to get them through the opening.

Follow our FALL FUN on Facebook and don't forget to check out some fun fall products at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

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