Saturday, July 26, 2014

Creating a Mosaic and Finding Patterns

I shouldn't make promises I can't keep.  In the last blog I wrote, I had said that the next day I'd share another blog about a book Gordon Lee and I were reading and a water activity that we did.  Well, Gordon Lee was having mood swings the "next day," and we didn't get much accomplished.  We did learn about how rain that has fallen turns into water vapor and returns to the sky to form clouds.  Gordon Lee made an observation on a poster that showed the cycle, and he has been paying closer attention to the clouds in the sky.  Other than that, he was just oppositional to anything and everything for the day.  I wasn't about to plan any activities with him or they'd probably get thrown all over the floor in a fit of rage.

Today was much better.  So, we accomplished a mosaic activity, which is very simple. I just cut several squares from two different shades of blue construction paper.  I gave Gordon Lee a sheet of white construction paper.  And I told him to create any kind of water that he wanted to. 
I put both colored squares in a cup together.
I gave Gordon Lee a glue stick, a blank sheet of paper, and let his imagination take over.  He said he was making "An ocean with a waterfall" (interesting concept!).
At first, he seemed to be placing squares randomly on the paper.
I left him to his own devices while I got a few other things done (in the end he ended up spending at least 30 minutes gluing and sticking).  I came to check on him after a few minutes, and I saw that he was starting to create his own shape (a circle appeared to be forming).
I checked on him again several minutes later and indeed a circle was forming.  He also appeared to be filling it in.
All of this took him a good 30 minutes.  After awhile, any child will get tired.  Plus, we did this right before his nap time.  After taking his nap, the first thing he said when he woke up was, "I want to finish my picture, Mommy!" He returned to it to add some more squares.  He took another break.  He came back to it later in the evening when he made his announcement that he was "all done." 
This is the final product of "Ocean with a Waterfall" by Gordon Lee

1.) This is an easy art activity (that creates very little mess..just a little bit of glue on the fingers).
2.) It kept Gordon Lee busy and engaged in something meaningful for him.
3.) He was extremely pleased with this own masterpiece.

Funny thing--we wouldn't have been able to accomplish this yesterday. Those squares would have been all over the floor.  Regardless of what we are doing with him, no child is perfect.  No day is perfect. Sometimes, you plan things and just have to wait to do them.  Interesting how something that is a success in one day may not have been for another day. 

Now onto the book.  One of the books that we have been reading was one that I put on the list because I was having a hard time finding enough fictional books (and I wanted one on rain).  
Two people judged it by its cover.
Me: I thought "This book just looks boring.  It looks like it might be about a baboon named rain!"
Gordon Lee: "I want to read this one! There's a monkey on the cover!"
It's called Rain by Manya Stojic, and it is an adorable story with a lot of elements for building early literacy.

One element is a pattern of prediction.  Gordon Lee quickly and easily picked up on the fact that the animals were each using one of the 5 senses to detect rain.  Then, each animal tells another animal about the rain.  So, he started predicting what was going to happen next (a very important skill for active, engaged readers).  It all starts early!

Another element is the pattern of rain.  The soil is dry and cracked at the beginning of the story.  
Then the story starts with a porcupine sensing the rain solely through smell.

The chain begins.  Each sense used detects the rain as it gets closer and closer.  Each page builds on the previous ones.  Reminding the reader of the pattern.
The last animal to detect the rain is a lion who tastes it on his tongue.  Then, the rain pours down.  The book shows how it has impacted the scenery.  Gordon Lee likes to point out two things on this page every time, "There's a grasshopper in this book! This is a buggy book too!" and "Somebody colored on this page.  They shouldn't do that to a library book!" (There is a brown crayon scribble.  I am not sure how well it shows up in this picture).
After this point, the animals use their senses again "To feel the squishy mud, to taste water that has pooled, to enjoy the shade of the leaves, etc."  The book is cyclical and comes back to the point it started where the porcupine announces she knows the rain will return again.

Gordon Lee "read" this book to his Nana R on the phone tonight and he actually recited 1-2 sentences verbatim from each page.  It's amazing how much a child absorbs.  

I'd highly recommend this book.  It is cute and educational (in so many ways) at the same time!


  1. That was pretty awesome. Thanks for sharing. You are doing an awesome job with Gordon Lee. You are to be commended on many levels but personally sharing with his Nana was great. I know that made her happy and feel as if she were a part of his life. That is really important to Nanas, especially when there are miles away.

  2. Thank you! We are having fun with it. His Nana certainly enjoyed his story!

  3. Such a great book. Love how he integrated the "Bug" theme into the "water" theme. He is one smart 3 year old:)