July Backyard Visitor: Fireflies
As we set off on our homeschool journey with Nathaniel, I do not want every piece of our day to be remedial and fixing Nathaniel's weaknesses. I want to do things that build on his strengths and the things we enjoy. His receptive language skills are fantastic. We both love stories. We both enjoy being outdoors. This intersection is where I am building some fun learning into our day.
"Backyard Visitors" is the name I am giving to our nature study. We are learning about one animal a month through children's literature, crafts, and time outdoors. We are working on core AAC vocabulary. The first critter that we learned about was the firefly.
As a result, Nathaniel is more attentive to bugs than he was at the start of the month. We found a small bug collector jar in a box of toys leftover from older siblings. It has a pocket clip, so suddenly Nathaniel has an opinion about what shirt he wears. He wants one with a chest pocket!
We've added new bug names to Nathaniel's talker. A new communication skill this month is telling stories about past activities. "2 fireflies 6 butterflies 6 7 earthworms," Nathaniel said to Peter one morning when Peter asked what we had done over the weekend. Multiple people have commented on Nathaniel's increased use of his device. As I strive to incorporate modeling on the device into more aspects of our day, Nathaniel's interest, skill, and use increases.
When reading aloud to Nathaniel, I model key words and phrases on his communication device and invite him to participate in shared reading and dialog about the story. I am applying the techniques I am learning through the Tell Me - AAC in the Preschool Classroom into our nature learning and reading. Some of the children's literature we enjoyed this month includes:
Ten Flashing Fireflies by Philemon Sturges. Core AAC words that can be used when reading and discussing this book include: DO, GET, IN, IT, PUT, SEE, WHAT, YOU. Repetitive phrase for shared reading: WHAT DO YOU SEE.
We have also discussed the theme of summer this month. Despite being a wordless book, I found Gerda Muller's picture book, Summer, to be a fantastic resource to use the core AAC words: I, IN, IT, LOOK, ME, SEE, TELL, THERE, UP. Repetitive phrase for shared reading: I SEE IT.
We have also enjoyed:
Summertime in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Summer Days and Nights by Wong Herbert Lee
And Then Comes Summer by Tom Brenner (New in May 2017! We are still on the hold list for this book from the library, but it looks wonderful and we are eager to read it.)
The poetry book we've enjoyed this month is A Whiff of Pine, a Hint of Skunk A Forest of Poems by Deborah Ruddell.
Follow my Pinterest page Backyard Visitors for craft ideas to go along with this month's theme.