Saturday, June 11, 2011

Language/Literacy and a bit more.

Literacy has so many components.  As mentioned in the past, many of them can be reinforced informally.  However, I do like to plan activities specifically for the different components as well, to make sure that I'm covering a bit of everything. 
 One activity we are doing first thing, during our summer program, is a journal.  This journal topic is only one word and is related to the story or book that will be used that morning.  Makes it a very easy way to transition to the next activity.  I use a one word topic to allow for a wide variety of responses.  Children are invited to share their journal but if they don't wish to, that is fine also.  There are many types of paper available on the Internet.  For fives and younger, I do recommend just blank paper with no lines at first.  After they are more confident with their writing, then move onto only one line at the bottom of the paper.  Our Kindergarten teacher also starts with blank or one line depending on the development of the child.  Then she moves onto lined penmanship paper. has SO many different types of paper templates, free to print.  That is where I printed off the penmanship paper with the lower line highlighted blue. 

I recommend a journal time that allows for the child to take as long as they want.  Unfortunately, it's not working that way this summer.  My older kids need more time but the younger one needs to move on as he's not quite as detailed as the other ones.  And though I have suggested they keep working, they prefer to do the activities with me so my kids end up finishing their's later.  But if you can, allow for them to work as long as they wish.  C. usually writes a sentence like I love the orange cat and the tiger and draws accordingly.  A. is eight and writes a paragraph and draws accordingly.  My youngest student draws a picture and is encouraged to write at least one word.  I provide an alphabet chart for them to refer to as they wish. (down the page a bit. pdf file called letterchart.)

So then we moved onto a story.  I wanted to do The Little Red Hen.  But my copy must have grew legs and walked off.  So the older kids all took turns reading Across the Stream.  This book's main character was a hen.  Oh, our journal topic was "farm".  So, of course, it led into the book about a hen and her chicks.  Watching and listening to older children reading a book is very beneficial to a younger child.  Then we sorted the capital letters of the alphabet by sticks and curves.  I really work on children noticing details in all things but it's especially helpful for them to notice how a letter is made.  In a previous post, I mentioned about sticks and curves.  In the past I have the children create the letter and then sort the letter into the correct column/basket.  But the children here have all experienced that and we wanted to move quickly through the activity as we were running a bit behind as a child arrived later then starting time so only used the sticks and curves with the ones they were unsure about. 
The hens get used for much more then what they were made for.  I have a whole set that I usually use for a number activity/display and I have smaller eggs that we place inside of the nest, the number of eggs corresponding with the number on the hen.  Anyway, they are laminated so I just drew sticks on the first nest, curves on the last nest, and both sticks and curves on the middle nest and we were set.  :-)  Thanks A. for writing all the letters for me!  He's 8 and has loved being a "teacher assistant" so far!

Then we move onto moveable letters.  The moveable letters is more for the child going into Kindergarten.  In this picture you can see I'm using letter tiles.  Over the next few weeks you'll see me change.  Actually, Monday I'll be doing something a little different since our focus short vowel is the same as it was in this picture...and he's already getting the idea so we'll challenge him!

The older two off to the left are writing the word on chalkboards. Then they'd all check each other's work.  A. is taking this time to learn to write in cursive. :-)  They haven't started yet but will in 3rd grade.  His cursive alphabet chart is from

So after they have done their high frequency word booklet, calendar, story/activity and moveable letters, it is so time to get up and move!  So I plan an activity (typically math but it won't be that always) that involved some large motor.   The kids LOVED this very easy activity.  Hard to get a picture but here's one. :-)
The way our little house is we can open the doors from the living room to the master bedroom, and the master bath doors and it leads into the utility room, kitchen and back into the living room.  So we often use that "circle" for our large motor.  So for this activity, I had number/answer cards up on a door.  The four purple cards corresponded with the four types of farm animals available.  The child takes a purple card, reads the word (or looks inside for a clue) and all the children follow that child around the circle moving and sounding like that particular animal.  Then the child takes a subtraction card (upside down on a tray) and works the problem with the corresponding animal cards.  Does that make sense?  So if they chose cow, they moved and moo'd around the circle and then the child came back and chose a subtraction problem and worked it out with cows.  Then they told me the answer and we stuck it under the correct number on the door.  This leads into number families also.  I encouraged the older students to also work out the problem with the cards, even if they could do it in their head so that the younger students are able to see what is being done.  We did this for quite awhile.  Always read your child/group, if they are becoming disinterested, stop and do something else.

The other week we did the parachute, during large motor.  First we counted by ones, flapping the parachute, to 30.  Then I asked what other ways we could count to 30.  And we counted by 2s, 5s, and 10s, labeling it skip counting.  Then I placed 30 cats (labeled with a number and the number word) on the parachute and we tried to keep them on as long as possible.  When they were all out, they each were given a specific number of cats to pick up and we worked together to put them in order.  I created the cats to make a simple ABAB pattern as well.  This helps them self-correct a bit.
Sorry, didn't get a good picture but this gives you an idea about the cats.  This was the day we did Scat the Cat also, and was working with the short a sound.

Looking forward to Monday.  This is turning out to be a fun adventure! 

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