November 2010 archive

The Sneaky Teacher

Today you are going to do something a little different than normal. You are going to pick a surface in your house that you want to clean, but one that can be cleaned with shaving cream…this post isn’t called “the sneaky teacher” for nothing….
you are going to clean, and teach at the same time. I personally would pick the bath tub, but you may have something else in mind.
Let your child help you rub shaving cream all over the bath tub and then say “ooohh, let’s use our fingers to write and draw!” Some great writing activities would be: writng your name, their name, any letters your child knows, introduce letters your child doesn’t know, numbers, shapes, and anything in between. This is a fun, child-friendly way to write, strengthen motor skills, learn and practice letter and number formation, and clean your bath tub all in one!
Shaving cream is great for cleaning surfaces such as a bath tub (google to make sure it is for your bath depending on the material) but be careful that it does not get in your child’s eyes!!! Monitor this time and clearly communicate before beginning that they need to keep their hands away from anything except the bath tub. Tell them it could hurt their eyes and mouth if they touch their face, etc.
For other tips and info. read “writing with a twist” and “the timeless teacher” writing posts ūüôā
As always, have fun!

Chunks, syllables, and sounds…what’s the difference?

There are soooo many things that I will share about teaching your child to read, but I have to start with the basic pre-reading info to give you a well-rounded understanding of how reading skills are acquired.

So¬†for now, I am going to introduce a new aspect of reading development which also has to do with hearing chunks (word parts)¬†within words….

The more you play with words the more children will get the idea that a word is made up of sounds, the more they will be listening for those sounds.¬†¬†This gives children¬†experience putting sounds together to make a word.¬† So,¬†eventually you¬†will be able to¬†say the sounds /c//a//t/ and they will finally hear the word “cat”. ¬†But there are several things we have to establish first, and one of them is parts of a word.

A beginner reader needs to know that some words have chunks in them where they could hear a word (or words) inside of a word. ¬†For example, “cupcake” has the word “cup” and “cake” in it and “bedroom” has “bed” and “room” in it. ¬†As adults, we just label these words compound words, but to children this can open their eyes to what a word can be made up of.

A syllable on the other hand is a way for a child to count how many groups of sounds are in their name or other words. ¬†One way you might teach your child they have syllables (or parts) in their name is by clapping while simultaneously saying the sound “jess (clap)- i (clap) – ca (clap)” and let your child hold up a finger every time you clap and then ask “How many parts are there?”

Then¬†of course there are sounds…every spoken consonant, vowel, or blend like “sh”, “ch”, etc.

I will post more on all of this soon, but for now, here is an activity to help your child start hearing words within words:

compound pictures

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Give thanks!!!!
I am giving thanks that I am in HAWAII!!! I can’t believe it; it is beautiful and breath-taking. My husband would be baffled to know that I am online today haha, but when you have been awake since 4 am with a 6 month old who hasn’t adjusted to the timezone change, unplanned things happen. ¬†But I can assure you I won’t be back online to post again until Monday, when I am home from vacation ūüôā

Depending on your timezone, you have probably already eaten your Thanksgiving lunch, but I am just now eating breakfast; maybe you can do some of my activity ideas after your nap ūüôā

1. Count your blessings.
2. Count the place settings.
3. See how many circles and squares you can count on your dinner table. (plates, the table, napkins, etc.) Make a tally of each and figure out which has more.

1. Let your child help make name plates
2. Make a list of all the things your child ate/tasted at lunch.

1. Read them your list -from the writing idea (#1), pointing to the items on the list as you read aloud. This gives meaning to the print, introduces a list which is something we will talk about in a future post, and if you sound out the first sound in each word right before you read the word it can be a phonemic awareness activity which just means that it gives children awareness that letters have sounds. So read your list like this: “/t//t/ turkey”, /r//r/ rolls,” etc. When you see a letter in // it means to say the letter’s sound.


The Timeless Teacher…

There is no way to know how long teachers have been using play dough or modeling clay as a means to teach their students to¬†form letters.¬† It is fun, practical, and it teaches children to form letters in a hands-on, meangingful way.¬† IF they can form it, they can write it….once they get the motor skills down.

So my writing activity for today is to¬†1) Write the letters you want your child¬†to practice¬†onto cardstock with a highlighter or yellow marker.¬† 2) Let your child trace over the letter you made (starting at the top) with a pen or other writing tool and then help them form the clay.¬†¬†If it is the letter A, for example, as you¬†write the letter you¬†might say “I am going to make the letter¬†‘A’.¬† It is a tall letter so I am going to start at¬†the very top and slide down the slide this way (to the left) then do it again because that was fun! ¬†Slide down this way (to the right)¬†and then climb across the monkey bars in between.¬† Your turn!”¬† 3) Start working with the clay/play dough.¬† When you are forming the clay you might roll it out like a snake and begin to make the pieces of the play dough to cover the letter.¬† While you form the dough you¬†might say something like, “Okay let’s make the slides, and then the monkey bars for the letter ‘A’ so we can pretend to slide down again”.

Like my¬†recent post “Do your know your ABC’s” said “Always Be Creative;”¬†when you are making up how to form the letters, think about what it reminds you of or ask your child what it reminds them of.

If you want to use your kitchen roller to roll out the play dough, why not?  Have a ball.

Do you know your ABC’s?

My ABC’s¬†for teaching your child the alphabet:

Always Be Creative

You could spend hours upon hours trying to find alphabet activities online, but really?  I mean, I get overwhelmed with the oversupply of ideas and end up forgetting all of the great ideas I have seen. 

Reality¬†is that kiddos need to learn their ABC’s back and forth, inside and out; it’s¬†seemingly simplistic but when it comes down to it the key is Reinforcement.¬†

For starters, there¬†are great Alphabet books you need to¬†read to them…”Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” is great for learning letters, lower and upper case; point to each letter as you read about it.¬† Click here to¬†order from amazon:¬†¬†Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Additionally, go to the Library and check out some other ABC books; children love hearing books over and over because they become familiar with them and feel so confident.

To teach your child each letter of the alphabet, I recommend introducing the letters in their name first, and then working with the other letters one letter at a time.

Here is just one alphabet activity to start with:

Alphabet Color Font PDF

1. Print the letters of the alphabet attachment and make a book by stapling it, hole-punching and putting it in a folder, or if you are fancy, have it bound.¬† Go through some old magazines with your child and focus on one page of the Alphabet book at a time (I suggest one a day).¬† Thrift stores sell magazines for about 15 cents if you don’t have any around your house.

2.¬†For the first page, encourage¬†your child to¬†circle all the A’s and a’s they see in the magazine.¬†

3.  Cut them out for them (it is most likely a little too small for their motor control).  While you are cutting, let your child glue each letter onto the alphabet page it belongs to.

This is a great way for your child to learn a letter and how it looks in several fonts and sizes. 

ACCOMMODATION:¬† If your child already knows their ABC’s you can do this same book by having your child cut out pictures of things that BEGIN with the letter SOUND.¬† For example, cut out alligators, and apples to glue onto your Aa page.

Bonus: Make a Cover yourself.¬† Come up with a title and help your child write their name next to “By:”

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