Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Hello Everyone, Please welcome my first guest blogger, Toni from teacherlingo.com. She has written a great article for us on integrating movement into our letter recognition lessons! Enjoy! Christine Making Letters Move Author Bio: Today’s guest post comes from Toni, an elementary school teacher with a specialty in differentiated instruction and designing hands-on lessons that incorporate the multiple intelligences. You can often find Toni writing for TeacherLingo.com, where teachers can buy and sell their original lesson plans, worksheets, and more. She is married to a middle school math teacher and is a mom to a mystery loving 7 year old sweetie-girl and a quirky little light saber toting 3 year old. Have you ever made cookies with a preschool aged child? They want to feel, taste, and smell each ingredient before placing it in the mixing bowl. Young children use all of their senses when exploring a new object! This is important to remember when introducing children to their letters and corresponding sounds. Young learners must be given opportunities to explore each letter in a variety of ways. The alphabet is most often explored through the use of language using poetry, nursery rhymes and stories that focus on a specific letter. Try creating some silly alliteration sentences with your students and have some fun reciting tongue twisters together as well. You can follow up these readings by asking your students to find the focus letter using a magnifying glass, removable highlighting tape or Wiki Stix. Logical and mathematical explorations provide students with the chance to focus on the parts of letters. They should have opportunities to assemble and disassemble the parts of each letter. Students can also sort letters by their attributes using large Venn diagrams made form hula hoops. To help them begin to really visualize the letters try playing a guessing game for a few minutes each day where you describe a letter and give students the opportunity to guess what it is. Linking each letter of the alphabet to an action allows students to experience the alphabet with their whole bodies. Try creating a letter workout for your class. Assign each letter a specific exercise and have your students perform each action as they recite the alphabet each day. They will rotate their ankles, balance on one foot, clap and dance as they move through the alphabet. You can also challenge little learners to make letters with their bodies in groups of two or three. During outdoor time games like hopscotch and jump rope can also be adapted to reinforce the letters and their sounds. Music is always a hit with the preschool learner. Provide a range of alphabet themed music for your students to sing along and dance to. You can also lead them in songs, chants and nursery rhymes to help them remember their letters and sounds. Allow them to make up some funny alphabet songs too! To make the alphabet personal, create an alphabet book for each student. Write their name on the front and allow them to bring in pictures of items from home or magazine pictures of things they are interested in to place in their book. By filling each child’s alphabet book with things that have personal meaning they are more likely to remember each letter and the sound associated with the items they chose. Interpersonal activities give students the opportunity to practice their letters with their classmates. Give groups of students a bag of toys or pictures to sort by their beginning letter. You can also hide letters around the room and send teams of students to hunt for the letters and match them with their sounds. Children are drawn to nature, so bring the natural world indoors and connect it with the alphabet. Take your students on a nature hike and gather natural items like acorns, berries and cones. The children can then help you set up a nature alphabet table to display their findings sorted by their beginning letter. Of course, no alphabet activity list would be complete without mentioning multi-sensory activities. If you have the space your classroom you can set up a sensory center and allow students to choose how they would like to practice their letters. The sensory center can be stocked with things like sandpaper, shaving cream, play dough, aluminum foil, pipe cleaners, puffy paint, and sand. These messier sensory activities can be placed in a zip-lock bag and sealed for less mess. Preschool is such a wondrous time, and if you make learning letters fun and exciting and you will soon have a classroom full of proud alphabet experts.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Hello All, Today our curriculum (Handwriting without tears get set for school Pre-K) called for sentence building. Each child was supposed to dictate a sentence and we were to count the number of words in the sentence. This is a simple activity that would only take a few minutes had I not put my own spin on it. I decided to turn this into a sentence building, sight word, graphing activity! WHEW! Literacy and numbers in the same lesson, I love double duty lessons!
Monday, October 22, 2012
Hello All, I just wanted to share with you some great activities our department did this past week for Nocturnal animals and hibernation. We had so much fun exploring how animals live at night. We spent an entire day with no lights on, the kids brought small flashlights and one Mom donated finger flashlights (which are totally awesome, this was the first time I had ever seen them!). My class spent time discovering new animals that are nocturnal that we didn't already know about, like scorpions! My favorite part of the week though was our letter and number hunts. I hung the #'s 1-20 in my classroom and gave each child a clipboard with a recording sheet on it. They were instructed to roam the room with their flashlights and find each number. Once they found a number they were to color in the box that had the same number. We did the same with letters in my collegues room. The class had so much fun with this! I was surprised at how it kept their attention. They found all 26 letters and all 20 numbers without complaint or stopping. Here are a few pics of the fun! (sorry they are a little dark since we didn't have the lights on) Nocturnal Unit Hibernation Unit Iwill be posting more hibernation/nocturnal activities throughout the week so check back often and follow me! Enjoy, Christine
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
So, in an effort to make life easier on myself I started jotting down and copying short literacy ideas to send home to my kiddos parents. I had a few struggling students that I wasn't ready to put in books but I wanted them to practice letters and literacy skills in a meaninful way.They have enjoyed this so much that I decided to type it all out on cute cards and make a unit for Teachers Pay Teachers. I fugure, like myself, there must be some other teachers with students like mine who are not ready for true reading groups but would benefit from some practice at home. The great thing about these activities is that they also do double duty when you use them in your classroom during small groups. 5 Minute Literacy
Friday, October 12, 2012
Hello Everyone, Thank you to everyone who linked up and visited my first linky party. All of the fall freebies were fantastic! I said I would giveaway my Pumpkin Patch Math and Literacy Unit to one lucky linker, drum roll please...... THE WINNER IS: Shuna Patterson @ Pocket Full of Kinders! Congratulations Shuna! Have a blessed weekend! Christine
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Friday, October 5, 2012
After having a super fun week with my kiddos studying corn I decided to put everything we did down on paper and give it away for free! It all started with a pesky common core objective involving measurement but turned out to be so much more! My teacher freind Bev Fleming and I decided that our Autumn theme would be best served by studying fall veggies, which eventually lead us to corn. We decided to create a cornstalk that would "grow" all week long. I made a base out of wood and used an old lightbulb holder to place pvc pipe in. I bought 4 couplers to attach the pvc pipe together as it grew. Here is a picture of our cornstalk on day 3. It grew from 1 foot all the way to 9 feet, with 5 ears of corn on it. Corn Themed Mini-Unit
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Letter name and Sound recognition is one of the key objectives of Pre-k and K instruction. We spend a majority of our day working on letters, including letters in every activity and talking about letters (and numbers for that fact!) Here are some strategies I use to help my little kiddos remember those letter and sounds! 1. I seperate my letters and sounds: When I want the children to focus on sounds I only use the sound, I say "this letter says a,a,a holding up or pointing to the letter a. this gives the child one thing to focus on versus trying to connect the letter name and the sound. 2. I follow my sound instruction with a practice sheet or activity: This helps the children solidify the letter sounds they have just worked on. 3. I only work on a few letters at a time: Overwhelming the kiddos with all 26 sounds at one time does not help them learn, breaking up the alphabet into small chunks helps the children to concentrate on the important letters first and then onto the next set when finished. 4. I teach with letter manipulatives: Whether I am teaching the sound or the letter name I use letter magnets, letter tiles or letter printouts to help my kinesthetic and visual students learn. 5. I have the children write the letter on the board: When I am teaching the letter name and formation I allow each student to come up to the board and practice the correct strokes before trying on their own. 6. I follow my letter name instruction with tracing practice: To solidify the proper strokes for a letter I follow my instruction with a worksheet or cutting activity that practices the given letter. 7. I play sound and letter name bingo: I use the same cards for both sound and letter names, however I do not mix them both in one game. I try to play one or the other 2-3 times per week for a few minutes. The brain starts to make the connections without direct instruction to connect the sound with the letter name. 8. I work in small groups depending on ability: I break my kiddos into groups of 4 and work on letters depending on where they are. For instance right now I have a group that is solely working on letter sound identification, another group decoding CVC words and a third group blending, reading CVC words and working on sight words. 9. I keep sight words seperate from sound/letter name instruction: I have found that sight words can confuse some kiddos who do not have a good handle on letters. I make sure to work with these kiddos on mastering letters before introducing sight words. I do introduce sight words to any kiddos who need it through small groups. 10. Read, Read, Read: I believe reading to my kiddos either through books or pocket chart stories helps children connect the sound with the letter. I hope you find these strategies helpful in your persuit of teaching young brains, remember to keep it light, fun and with as much movement as possible. Combining visual, audio and kinesthetic learning strategies will imporve the outcome of your kiddos year! Till next time, Christine