As with the OW sound, we started off two weeks of focus on the EE sound by tracing the letter E on our Usborne wipe-clean alphabet cards. This week wasn’t as exciting for Travis, since E+E rather obviously just says eeeee, but the double-e is so common I thought it was worth highlighting early in our phoneme journey.
Phonics Book of the Week: Bee Makes Tea We started off with a read of this book. Because it plays with all variants on the “ee” sound (as in tea, sea, me), it wasn’t packed with words to highlight, but you’ll still have great ones to point out like quEEN, chEEse, glEE, nEEd, thrEE, and spEEd.
Guiding Theme: trEE
To introduce the theme, we started off with a gorgeous family walk in the woods to see trees. It was a beautiful chance to feel tree bark, to point out the difference between big trees and little trees, and to see the spring buds popping out!
- We Read:
- The Giving Tree
- Secrets of the Apple Tree
- We Made:
- A Sound Tree. This poster served as a guiding image for our entire two weeks on EE, adding words as we went. Travis loved the enormous roll of butcher paper I pulled out to draw the tree; as a neat bonus, because we colored it in over floorboards, the wooden boards gave our tree the image of bark!
- Painted Bark: We took a cue from Aboriginal bark painting and used a collection of found bark for this fantastic art project, painting in traditional colors of black, brown, white, and yellow. I showed Travis a video first of Aboriginal artists at work, which got him so excited! Dots were hard to replicate!
- Four Seasons Tree Pictures
- We Learned:
- For science of the week, we set out to explore trees, and specifically tree bark! Visit any place near you where you can take a gorgeous walk in the woods, and test out tree rubbings of the bark. Talk to your child about how bark is the skin of the tree, and find as many different varieties as you can.
- For math of the week, we didn’t use trees but another EE word – fEEt! Measure with feet, and by that I mean both kinds. We had fun not only using rulers (teaching that 1 foot equals 12 inches), but also our real feet. For example, how many Travis feet did it take to measure something, versus a mommy foot, versus feet on a ruler.
- We Visited:
- An Arbor Day festival to plant a trEE! I specifically chose these two weeks for EE just for this purpose. Travis got help Smokey the Bear shovel dirt around a new tree planting.
- We Ate:
Other Words of the Week:
- Bee: In addition to our phonics book, we had a very bzzzy week, making a Beehive Card, a Bubble Wrap Bee Hive, and a Buzzing Bee Noisemaker!
- Seed: We had a few seed adventures gone awry, notably an attempt to grow grass seed on a sponge that only ended in mold, and an exploring seeds game that alas didn’t work out quite right. But Travis still learned about seeds! We planted a seed at an Earth Day festival, where I also pointed out the word wEEd since so many (lovely!) dandelions were growing in the field.
- Knee: Have a super silly rolling pin race using just your knees! Then you’ll have to sing Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, of course. We just happened to find a very adorable version of the song for trees, which worked out nicely for our guiding theme!
- Green: We colored and painted all in green; made a collection of all the green toys we could find around the house, ate Green Guacamole, and read an abridged version of the classic Anne of Green Gables.
- Sleep: Children seem to love games of putting stuffed animals or dolls to sleep, then waking them up, so play any variant of that (waking up mommy and daddy is fun too!). Or read Sleeping Beauty, which helpfully features other EE words like needle and queen.
- Deep: My best recommendation for this word is to read How Deep is the Sea – your child will go bananas when they see the included poster stretching ever deeper deeper deeper, until it’s taller than they are!
- Keep: This word inspired our good deed of the week: I made a collection of old toys and books, and let Travis pick which he might want to keep before we donated the rest to a local charity. Many places schedule pick ups, but I think it’s worthwhile to donate in person if you can, so your child understands where the items s/he didn’t keep are going.
- Sweep: Well, since Travis loves to sweep, this word was a no-brainer. Play with a toy dustpan and broom set as much as your child desires!
- Feed: I’m still trying to convince Travis to self-feed, so it was the perfect week to read How to Feed your Cheeky Monkey, in hopes of persuading him to pick up his own fork. He’s got the cup down anyway, cheeky boy…
- Geese: How perfect that when we detoured to a nearby playground this week, the field next to it was filled with geese! We sat on a bench to eat a snack and talk about the geese, what sounds they make, and migratory flying.
- Jeep: Read Sheep in a Jeep, which features lots of great EE words… Then you can go on a jeep scavenger hunt (or look for sheep, depending where you live!) every time you drive around town.
- Beep: After you read about those sheep in a jeep, have fun with the word beep. We made a race car with a wheel/horn so Travis could make-believe beep!
- Feet: Why should hands have all the fun? First we got good and messy with sensory bin play. Then we talked about what we wear on our feet – shoes of course! – and set up a home shoe store, a cute idea from High Five magazine. We also read Dr. Seuss’s The Foot Book (don’t worry, feet as opposed to foot is inside the book plenty) And finally, we needed to paint with our feet!
- Teeth: This is your week to talk about how to keep teeth healthy. Try a fun project like a Happy Tooth/Sad Tooth Collage.