teaching to learn, means learning to teach

Posts tagged ‘literacy’

Elephants. What’s not to love?

It never ceases to amaze me that children are so eager to learn! In every interaction, every experience, every routine task and every moment of chilled calm or frenzied playing, there is so much going on that you can’t help but hope that the kids we share our time with won’t ever forget the joy of learning and searching.

I spent a few weeks in the Babies Room recently. This meant I was privy to some of the most joyous leaps of development, as well as an integral part of following up on their interests. I found that the sensory seekers – you know the ones who love to climb over their friends or push at them – could be redirected easier into appropriate play after a quick ‘toss in the air’ game. Setting all those needs for physical connections and movement into adult interactions has been fun! I’d generally follow this up with games of ‘Row, Row, Row your Boat’ or Peek-a-boo if there were a few rowdy ones ๐Ÿ™‚

The quiet ones were seeking their connections through the toy phones, or sharing eye contact before offering a hand to play with. Building trust in the bond we’d share, getting their permission to move in before laying on my tummy in their space and sharing their toys. As with any age group, the boisterous ones would try to join in with my play, effectively locking out the more gentle of play. It takes talent to hold a gentle conversation whilst throwing balls or building towers out of our zone, so that the interactions can remain and be encouraged.

I found that all the babies we have are loving sitting in laps or mini group times to look at books. This pleases me greatly! I hope they continue to find joy in the written word, that their imaginations can be allowed to run wild and that their connections to their life and all that it encompasses will be better understood, because of a love of books.

I found a rather large book with bright illustrations that the babies loved, so of course I read it repeatedly ๐Ÿ™‚ The whole thing could be sung jauntily to hold their interest longer too, so we added the song to our music grouptimes!

“One elephant went out to play,

Upon a spider’s web one day.

He thought it was such tremendous fun,

That he invited another elephant to come!”

You can see where this is going yeah? ๐Ÿ™‚ย  So lots of re-reading, lots of singing, lots of elephant noises and lots of fun! What better way to extend on this interest, than by putting up a display of elephantsย  on to a woolen spiders web and sharing the words on the wall, so that the parents could see what we’ve been doing, feeding their need to know that their children are safe, cared for and that positive thought is being put into their child’s development.

And you know what? Educators Connecting, Children’s Learning and Parental Confidence aside….it was Fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

And stories to tell…

 

If I told you this month we were doing an accelerated literacy program that involves the children creating a forest,

Working with coloured glue and paint to make some very special trees,

decorating a house with lollipops and assorted junk foods,


planning, drawing and following maps,

Would you have guessed we were reading, retelling and acting out the story of Hansel and Gretel?

So much fun to be had when we break away from literacy = ABC!


Linking in Literacy

Reading is great. Stories open a whole new world to us, texts introduce us to concepts and information and even advertising offers us something new.

I work with Kindy kids. over the last 10 years I’ve only come across two kids who were reading books. Yet somehow, parents of 3-4 year olds are expecting their child to be able to read every letter of the alphabet and write more and more complex things. I get that the world is changing, but if your kid is not showing those skills, I’ll scaffold their learning so that they can read when they are ready to. By all means, I’ll push for name recognition and writing, for the kids to start to link up the patterns of letters to the names of their friends, but I’ll also let them discover a love of letters for themselves.

FOr your viewing pleasure, a snap shot of my room and the literacy it supports.

Books, you can’t go by them! We’ve set up a book nook near a sunny window with cushions and a table near by, this lovely boy decided to make the most of a sunny day and sit on stacked chairs to enjoy his story. When I saw him, I wanted to be him! I’m thinking that makes my book area a success ๐Ÿ™‚


Letters are the base of all words, with the focus usually being on the letters in our names first. Magnet letters can be found in every second-hand shop frequently, formula tins go to the bins after use. So by combining these two complimentary resources, we now get to explore letters as we assemble them into words or patterns on our own workspace.

Puzzles are great, many children have learnt the ABC song by the time they hit kindy, so doing an alphabet puzzle is just like singing with your fingers ๐Ÿ™‚

We have a few random name puzzles that were donated to us and the kids love these too, especially as some ofย  the letters can be swapped between them, which of course helps with letter recognition!

I printed out the kids names (using the ‘outline’ option of my favourite font) then laminated them as individual cards. We use them with whiteboard markers for writing skills and as group-time flashcards ๐Ÿ™‚ I added the small whiteboards to the area so that the kids could extend their ideas.

This is just what happened to be happening one day. When I decided to assessย  the literacy in my room after a parent discussion. If these links are being made during regular play, then I’m sure that the children are going to be immersed in it over the next couple of weeks ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s just a step to the left…

 

 

Just a quick entry tonight (it appears getting back from holidays is harder than getting used to being on holidays!) thinking about directionality. One of the simplest things you can do to help kids learn to write from left to right, is to write their name from left to right. Starting from the top left hand corner of the page.

That’s as simple as it gets. if you start at the top left, they’ll mimic that and eventually learn to start at the top left. No special words are needed. No magic wands or fancy tricks, just always start there.

Of course other things help. Like following or tracing paths between pictures.

Using chalk boards and getting the children to wipe off the letters or numbers you write.

or

Introducing patterns, that start from the top left.

 

For these reuseable worksheets, I photocopied and laminated worksheets from an activity book. The children love the wipe on, wipe off activities.

 

The only other thing that I might add to this activity, to make it more successful, is to pop these slippery worksheets onto a clipboard for stability. Because, as you may have noticed, there is a whole new skill involved in holding a paper steady! Just watch children who are new to scissors if you are unsure!