Lacing Colour Sequence Beads

I love skill building activities that can be completed independently and I had hoped the Lacing Colour Sequence Beads would be one of these.  I have used Magnetic Mightyminds and enjoyed watching my children progress through the learning puzzle board cards and achieve a feeling of success while working independently.

Fred, at the age of four, is the perfect age to try out this new set of Lacing Colour Sequence Beads from Quality Classrooms and tell us what he thinks.

The 96 brightly coloured beads are smooth and pleasant to hold but not slippy for little fingers. The 6 colours, red, yellow, blue, green, orange and purple have 16 beads each. The 12 strings are short and the perfect length for the sequences on the work cards, large enough for the beads to fit but small enough to not result in lots of extra lace leftover.

The 18 double-sided work cards are colour coded and have 3 levels:

  • Green (Level 1) contains 2 bead colours and 1 bead space to fill
  • Yellow (Level 2) contains 3 bead colours and 1 bead space to fill
  • Red (Level 3) contains 2-3 bead colours and 2 bead spaces to fill

I gave Fred a green card, a lace and we chatted about the sequence. We named the colours together and I explained the question mark meant there was something missing. We named the colours for the third time and both he heard and saw, the missing bead.

He began picking out the matching red and yellow beads with excitement. He organized them below the card first and then started to lace.

Initially, he did struggle to fit the lace into the bead. The beads have small holes, a perfect fit for the beads with little room for error. While this was a learning curve for Fred it did mean the beads did not just fall off the way they have with other beading sets we have tried.

The lace had a wonderfully long aglet (the stiff part of the lace which both keeps the twine from unravelling and also makes it easier to hold the lace and thread it through the bead) and this made lacing easier, once Fred worked out how to thread.

Two beads in, he had it and was pleased to quickly have made his first pattern.

Of course, when one child is exploring a new learning resource it attracts the attention of the others. Rose came in for a look:

I gave her a choice of cards and she got straight to work.

Her expression and the comment; “I love these games!” say it all.

The gradual increase in difficultly makes it easy for independent progression. This is a set I would use as a choice based activity at home and to teach patterning and sequencing at school.

The beads are perfect for number and counting activities too. Basic number bonds to 10 could be illustrated using a lace and two colours (eg. you have 2 red beads and add 4 blue beads, how many do you have altogether?).

Written by Chris, an elementary and middle school teacher in Pembina Trails School Division.

Light Panel Early Learning Bucket

With a multi-age group in a licensed family childcare home it can be difficult to balance the needs of all the children. Nap time is especially challenging when I need to be able to supervise the youngest children napping as well as the older ones who do not. It can be tricky to find quiet activities for the older preschoolers that will keep them engaged without disturbing the little ones who need to sleep.

In my current group, the older three and four year old children seem content to independently look at books or do puzzles over and over again during quiet time. However, I was beginning to feel like maybe I should introduce some other activities to expand their learning opportunities. I have a small light panel that rarely gets used because it is too small for group activities and too delicate for toddler use. The older children seemed interested in using it but I didn’t have many accessories available to use with the light panel.

I received the Light Panel Early Learning Bucket from Quality Classrooms to provide some additional resources.  Personally, I feel the ‘bucket’ is a little difficult to store – square or rectangular containers are easier to fit efficiently on shelves.  I like that the individually packaged materials in the bucket make it convenient to select which items we want to use without having to dig through all the little pieces.

At first, the children simply tried to fit as many items as possible on the light panel but didn’t seem to have any other goal.

Eventually, they started to sort the pieces by shape and colour and then use them to make pictures.

This one is a ‘car’.

With a little guidance they practiced some numeracy skills.

This light panel is too small to accommodate all the letters so the children couldn’t use it to arrange them all alphabetically.  Instead, we’ve been working on recognizing and matching the letters in printed words.

This has proved to be a little frustrating when they want to try spelling words that have more than one of any letter as the set contains only one of each.  I think it would be nice to have smaller letters and more of them.

Some of the literacy and numeracy activities we’ve tried to do require more assistance than they or I would like – we do value independence.  These children much prefer using the shapes to create pictures and patterns which is a wonderful child-led activity.  As an additional quiet time activity the light panel and accessories have offered an interesting variation but will never replace the books and puzzles that they love so much.

Written by Cheryl, an experienced ECE II who runs her own daycare (Cheryl’s Child Care).

Jumbo Number Pebbles and Halloween Fun

We borrowed these Jumbo Number Pebbles to play with a few days ago.

They are lovely to lift and play with, feeling like real pebbles. As with all our pebbles, they are made from a unique stone mix, engraved and painted. The numbers just have to be felt and traced with your finger as you hold them!

Daisy has a wonderful natural teaching ability and began matching the numbers with the Halloween rubbish (I mean… toys). She was counting in French as she was doing it and encouraging Rose to join in.

She then organized the snakes and spiders around the number.

Fred, on the other hand, took pleasure in banging them together with force so they made a satisfying clunk! Each to their own.

Ten scary Halloween things.

As you can see the Jumbo Number Pebbles are strong, like pebbles really. They are open-ended, always a favourite in our house, and can be used in many ways. They would be perfect in the sand tray or water table and can be used indoors or outdoors. The sorting, transporting and game options are endless and with two of each number there are plenty to share.

Writing Numbers 1-12: Assessment and Teaching

These are the eyes my daughter has after lunch when she says “Can we do an activity?” She means a mini-lesson. She doesn’t mean me giving her something to do, she wants to learn. Coming from teaching grade 6 and having to do everything (within my sometimes magical powers) to make them excited about learning, this is a little shocking and overwhelming at times. This lesson was the perfect fit for her; a challenge, learning something new and it involves movement.

I noticed last week that Daisy was forming some of her numbers incorrectly. I had not taught her to write numbers, daycare had. I try to compliment what she learns at daycare. She attends 3 days a week, while I work and loves learning in the preschool room. It amazes me what she picks up from her wonderful teachers and this often prompts our lessons at home.

A huge advantage of my job is getting to test educational products, next on the list are Motor Numbers and Ten Frames. Planning the assessment around these two great products makes perfect sense. I love diagnostic teaching so I assessed number recognition as I taught correct number formation.

Daisy’s first reaction to the Motor Numbers was excitement. She began making the zero. I checked she was moving in the correct direction. We then made the number larger in the air, again to reinforce directionality.

Finally,  writing practice.

We moved through the numbers 0-10 in this order:

  1. Move the button on the Motor Number (emphasize start and finish positions)
  2. Air draw the number, big.
  3. Use the Ten Frame to check number counting recognition.
  4. Write the number as many times as wanted.
  5. Show the number with fingers.

High 4!

Daisy whizzed through this activity so we made a numbers 1-12 book. She counted and added the corresponding number of stickers. On the other side, I drew the number and added arrows to remind her how to write it.