Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Guest Blogger: Toni from teacherlingo.com
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.