Thursday, September 22, 2011

F is for...

F is for Fish!

A listening activity we did today...
After exploring with the instruments (these are very familiar with the children enrolled now, we do quite a bit of rhythm instrument play) each child gets a school of fish that has a picture of an instrument.  I ran out of time so we didn't use the blue felt we normally do to make a sea for the fish.  :-)  I gather the instruments that are shown in the pictures and we go through each one talking about them and their sound (a lot of opportunities for vocabulary building).  Then I choose one of instruments, and without showing them the instrument I play the instrument and they guess which instrument it is.  This sounds like a really easy activity but I find it's more of a challenge for the preschool children then one would think! 

 Upper-Lowercase Letters
Three times a year I do an assessment.  The first two weeks we matched shapes- upper to upper and lower to lower case letters. I was able to see which letters they remembered from last year, if they knew their sound and if they could give me a word that began with that sound.  I had planned to use the shapes again, doing the upper-lower case but they had lost interest so I decided to wait until today and pull out this activity I printed from  Simply, they took the lower case letter square and placed it next to the capital letter on the fish.  I had never gotten around to using velcro with this activity, though that is what was the directions, I just used sticky tack.  However, I will say that using velcro adds a component of interest, especially when it comes to taking the letters off for the next child.  I've not met a student once that doesn't like to work with velcro!

Handwriting Without Tears
We'll be using this tool each week to reinforce the letters we have learned or are learning.  I also try to incorporate a little simple sign language because it's great for developing those small muscles in their hands. Can be quite a challenge as we can see in the second picture...but that's just fine.  It's where he is at.  Though they'll attend Kindergarten the same year...there are months between them as well as varied experiences and gender plays a role also.   One thing I will say though, with the 15 years I've been in this field, I would definitely be an advocate for our State's Kindergarten cut off date to be moved to Sept 1.  Or even a bit earlier in the summer.  Those few months make a BIG difference in a child's school readiness.  There are some exceptions, I agree, but in general, children that are well into year 5 have a much better success rate then those just turning or will turn during the fall.  A lot of it boils down to social emotional and fine motor readiness.  Again, my opinion.  Take it or leave it!  :-)

Fine Motor
I made this fish last year and they were very excited to see it out again.  And, for those who notice, T. has the bowl on the right side of the tray for a reason.  :-P  He's left handed and I really wanted to encourage crossing the midline.  The other children had their bowl on the left.  FYI:  a 1/4 teaspoon is perfect for transferring a marble. 

ABC Twiggles
As I mentioned last week with our L is for Llama, we are creating an alphabet book that uses the patterns from Kidssoup/ABC Twiggles.  Children cut the sticks/curves and glue onto the paper to create an object that starts with that particular letter.  I also encourage them to write the letter in our simple ____ is for ______. sentence and find all the letters in that sentence.  You'll see a lot with capital letters, I do use lower case letters also, but for letter formation I'm following the Handwriting Without Tears  program and their research shows that children can create the capital letters easier (and I agree or I wouldn't be following the program).  However, with reading, the majority of the letters are lowercase so that's where we do our lowercase work...with reading/letter recognition activities.

Hope your week went well!

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