Archive for March, 2009

Alphabet Adventures for Your Preschool Student

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Working on the alphabet with your preschooler or kindergartener can be a glorious adventure.  The alphabet is literally all around us.  Opening their eyes to this magical world will eventually lead to the door of a successful reader.  Getting to this final destination can take a lot of hard work or a little imagination.  Introduction of the alphabet needs to go beyond the traditional song, tracing exercises and flash cards.  Using the world around us can make this more than just a part of the time-honored routine we have become accustomed to over the years.

 

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Look around your home or classroom; do you see a favored toy of your student(s)?  Does it contain the focused letter of the week?  If not, choose an object that will meet this need.  Create a display or activity center using this item as the focal point.  Create individual letter cards to spell out the item / word and add numbers onto a corner of each card to indicate the ordinal pattern of the letters.  This activity will reinforce any numeric work you are focused on as well.  Add to this center a small picture or toy that represents the beginning sound of each of the letters of the larger, display object.  If the exposure to additional letters / sounds becomes too overwhelming for the student(s) then concentrate on the ‘letter of the week’ only. If focusing on the ‘letter of the week’ is the primary goal then add a variety of picture cards with the letter located in various positions – example:  For the letter B, a toy bus may be the focus object; use picture cards of a boy, tub, ball, cab, bubble, baby, etc…… be sure to add the spelling onto each picture card.  Many other items can be added to the center / display as well. 

 

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Creating the display can incorporate some of these additional suggestions or they can stand alone as alphabet / sound activities.

 

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1)   Textured Letters:  Trace a letter (different fonts are fun too) with glue (add sand or salt if wanted) and let dry.  These are wonderful tactile experiences for the young student.

 

2)   Name Scramblers:  Using a student’s name – create individualized letter cards – mix them and challenge the student or fellow students to reorganize the letters to recreate the name.  This can be done with more advanced students too – challenge the class to come up with as many words as possible from rearranging the ‘scrambled’ word.

 

3)   Letter Memory Game:  Using the focus letter of the week – create cards with different font styles (use upper and / or lower case) of the letter; make 2 copies (laminate for durability); cut out; mix the cards; and lay out individually face down; Play as any traditional lotto style game.

 

4)   Play Dough Mats:  Create large letters (laminate) and have the students roll out dough snakes and place over the letter lines to create the focus letter.  A variation of this activity would be to use cookie dough – repeat the activity; then bake the shape for eating during snack time.

 

5)   Class Room Labels:  Place labels around the room depicting the objects; Have the students roam the room and count how many of the focused letter they can spy.  Change the labels from day to day to create a new, yet fun, educational routine.

 

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  These are only a few of the activities that can be incorporated easily into the day.  As parents, day care providers and educators we need to provide the key to the door that leads to reading success.  Only your imagination will further their success and make the journey on this adventure won

Alphabet Treasure Hunt for your Preschool and Kindergarten Group

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Struggling with your class recognizing the alphabet?  You are not alone.  Teachers everywhere must accommodate many forms of learning to reach every student.  Although the following suggestions are not necessarily original in thought, sometimes we need reminders of how many options there are for working with the alphabet.

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If you are just beginning with the introduction of the alphabet and it is possible to tour your neighborhood on foot, take a Letter Treasure Hunt.  Pencil and pad for the teacher and searching eyes for the students are all that is needed for this adventure.  Walk the area looking for signs that contain your letter and jot down what is found.  Do not restrict the search to just written forms, look at nature for natural occurring forms of your letter.  The clouds, grass blades and even the branches of the trees can naturally produce some forms of letters. 

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Do you have old magazines, newspapers and books available? (If not you can always print off various pieces from the Internet for this activity)  If so you can keep the Letter Treasure Hunt indoors on those chilly mornings.  Give each student a letter (upper and lower case) or assign the entire group a single letter, which ever is the most appropriate for your classroom.  Scissors in hand, the students will then spend focused time on the letter assigned, snipping and pasting their found treasure onto a blank piece of paper.  You can make this a game – who can find the most? Or you could create a wall decoration using the assorted letter filled pages.If each group or student was assigned various letters (example – a word of the week was the name James – each group or student could focus on only one letter of the word), once the pages are dry, cut out a larger form of the letter and post the entire word onto the bulletin board.  This activity is incredibly easy to do and reinforces letter recognition and spelling at the same time.  Not to mention the additional bonus of some motor skills work.   

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Another form of the Treasure Hunt concept is the classroom styled search.  Prior to the students arriving, place numerous copies in various fonts around the room.  Be creative when locating the letters, hide them in the construction center and science center too, not just taped to the wall.  The letters can be made with textured papers, various construction paper colors, salt dough and even scraps of fabric, do not limit yourself with just the standard magnetic and / or plastic letters that can be purchased at super centers or the dollar stores.  

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Set aside a discussion time for the Treasure Hunt.  It does not matter which style of the search that has been incorporated into the day… Discuss it.  Have the children reminisce about the clouds that looked like the W or where they found the letter N.  Was the letter N located at the bottom of the sand bucket? Or hanging from the ceiling … or both?  Did the students locate more than ten or less than five – bonus: basic addition and subtraction intro.  Do the students like the new room decorations that they helped create?  The discussion time is an important part of the day when the students know that their little voices can be heard. For the teacher, it is important as a time of reinforcing the lessons of the day.  

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Teaching the alphabet can be a fun part of any day. With just a little imagination and some creativity accommodations can be made for every student.