Friday, November 30, 2012

a name song

When they learn they are going to be parents, one of the first things people often do is come up with a list of names for their soon-to-be little one. They carefully consider that list, hemming and hawing over the possibilities; trying them in different contexts; and finally narrowing it down to one perfect choice, dreaming of what that name might sound like as that child grows. With all that thought and care that goes into naming a child, it is no wonder that one's name becomes one of the most important words in a person's life.

Because of that, I always encourage parents to teach a child's name early and to make it the anchor and link to other words and letters. When something is so personal, it is easy to use it to make connections to other new learning. In fact, when a child comes into my Kindergarten classroom not knowing any letters, I don't start by teaching him A, and then B, and C and so on. Instead, I start by teaching him his name in many contexts and make the first letter of his name the first letter that he learns.

Choi Boy has his name written in his room in a few places: two sets of alphabet blocks spell it out and it is also incorporated into the art above his bed. From the time he was about 2, he knew that "his" letter was C and could "recognize" his name around his room. That recognition grew, andCB began recognizing his name consistently in different places and written in different fonts. When that started to happen, I decided he was able to start learning how to spell his name. Though CB knew all of his (uppercase) letters and could consistently recognize his name, he didn't yet know the order of the letters in his name and how to properly spell it.

Enter my favorite mnemonic device: a song! For years I had been teaching my Kindergartners silly songs that taught them how to spell words like apple or pumpkin or color words. After an aha! moment (or duh! pick ;) ), I realized I could make up a song to teach Choi Boy his name. And it worked! And he loves to sing it (all.the.time.)!

CB has six letters in his name, so I used the first two lines of This Old Man (This old man, he played one. He played knick knack on my thumb!) to make up his name song (and I changed the last two notes to go down instead of up so it sounded like the song ended instead of continuing). Here's how it goes:

That is how you spell my name!

Easy peasy, right? After singing this song for a couple weeks, CB was playing with the magnetic letters on our dishwasher. He was singing his name song and looked up at me and said, "Mommy, where is the 'A'?" I looked down and this is what he had done:

I was so excited that without any prompting, CB had made the connection to actually spell his name with letters by singing his song! And then it drove me crazy that there was no 'A' and that the letters were all uppercase, so I brought out my lowercase magnetic letters and have been practicing with CB like this:

Though he's a long way off from having the dexterity in his fine motor skills to form those lowercase letters properly, I am excited that he's one step closer to getting there! (Sidenote: I don't plan on teaching CB to write his name using capital letters even though they are easier to form. I've noticed that it becomes a reeeeally bad habit for kids to break and it is easier to teach a 5 year-old to write his name without him knowing how to spell it than it is to unteach a child to write his name in uppercase letters!)

Since we've had a lot of fun with CB's name song, I thought I'd share some ideas to help you make up songs using the letters of your child's name. These are all to the tune of simple children's songs, so hopefully they will be easy to figure out without me having to post videos of me singing...haha. :)

For 3 or 4-letter names, to the tune of Frere Jacques (first 4 lines):
I can spell Kate!
I can spell Kate!

For 5-letter names, to the tune of Bingo:
I have a name and it is Olive
Here is how you spell it!
And that is how you spell it!

For 6-letter names, to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell:
Joshua is my name,

also, see above for CB's name song!

For 7-letter names, to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star:
That is how you spell Charlie!

You can also try it to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic:
Is how you spell Charlie!

For 8 letter names, use  Frere Jacques again:
I can spell Nicholas,
I can spell Nicholas!

If your LO's name is longer than 8 letters, you'll have to be extra creative and find your own tune, and if you do, please share it below!

Have fun making up name songs and let me know how it goes!

*feel free to pin this idea or share it with others, but please be nice and link back to here -- thank you! :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

domo arigato, mr. roboto.

this is it!!! my last catch-up post! and it's less than a month overdue! i'm giving myself a big high-five right now. ;)

soooo...halloween. the time of year when little kids parade around in costume and get free candy from strangers. any other time of year, it teeters between inappropriate and illegal, but on halloween, bring it on.

sometimes, choi boy seriously amazes us with his crazy good memory. last halloween, he was just 2 years-old, and all throughout this past year, he kept asking me about halloween and leading up to the big day this year, he kept saying things like, "remember when i said, 'trick or treat!' and got candy?," "remember the scary guys?" "remember ben was a dragon?" crazy.

i actually bought cb's halloween costume on clearance last winter, so he's known all year long that he was going to be a robot (mommy's choice, FTW!). really, he could have cared less what he was, so long as he got candy. ;)

cb spent most of the day hanging out in his costume...he was SO stinking cute in it.

a robot on a walk, eating a cheese stick. NBD.

i can't get enough of it!

except, sometimes, i kinda sorta just a little bit can...and in those moments, an actual off button would be a little nice. ;)

we also went to a special storytime and trick-or-treating around the library. 
so fun!

and finally, after a dinner of some actual food, we headed out for the real thing!

cb was SO excited and so cute...he said, "i can do it all by myself, mommy!" and he walked up the steps to each house by himself,

stood by the door,

and when it opened, he proudly shouted,

which was almost always met with giggles. and then after a whispered reminder, he said, "oh! trick or treat!"

it was pretty stinking adorable. ;)

and after hitting up quite a few houses for nearly an hour, my boys and i started home,

and the boys immediately went through the loot!
i'm pretty sure it's safe to say it really was a happy halloween! :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

ahoy, mateys!

if you can believe it, we've gotten to the point where i am only a month behind on my catch-up posts! i might actually catch up this year! such a proud moment for a lazy blogger. ;)

last month, we took to the open seas and sailed aboard a pirate ship on the chesapeake. choi boy and his little pirate buddies had a blast even though they weren't quite sure what the heck was going on at times...

yep, not a clue.

of course, once we got on the water and got to shoot water cannons, it was all good.

there were even some angry (but, really cute) pirate faces thrown around!

and then, when the "treasure" (read: junky little trinkets 3 year-olds go ga-ga for) came out, it became the best! day! ever!

how do you get a bunch of three year-olds to sit still? have them wait their turn for treasure!
and when your name is called, it's like being on the price is right!

just don't expect the treasure hoarders to do anything once they receive their treasure.
no, seriously. the child did not take his hands off his treasure. 


and, of course, we never got a picture of the actual ship, but you know, we still have tons of plastic treasure at our house!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

apples, apples, apples!

keeping in theme with things that happened waaaaay long ago, here's my post about apple picking. which we did in september. it was also 2 haircuts ago. just in case, you know, you measure time by important events like haircuts (i do). ;)

in what we hope will be a continuing tradition, we headed to the orchard with one of our favorite families, our future in-laws. choi boy and his bride-to-be (and her little brother, too!) had quite a blast picking apples and roaming around the orchard.

take a look!
"quit taking pictures, mommy. there are apples to be picked! and eaten!"
no joke, cb ate FIVE whole apples while we were at the orchard. FIVE. 

there was also quite a lot of silliness happening, too. apples on your head is, apparently, belly-laugh inducing to the 3 and under set!

so is grass on your head:
silly little love birds.

and, now for the future wedding slideshow shots:
i love them together.

so grateful for great friends and sweet sweet i had to post about them even two months later!