Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Joy School - The Alphabet

I had so much fun putting together the Joy School lesson on the alphabet. It seemed like everywhere I went, I found another great idea to use.

Lesson Time: We talked about how letters are all around us all the time. We watched a quick Sesame Street clip where it showed all the letters of the alphabet somewhere around in a city.

We looked at the letters of the English alphabet, and then I showed them some Chinese characters, a Russian Storybook, and some hieroglyphics and we learned that different languages have different alphabets.

Then we talked about how each letter has a special sound, and that when we put the letters together in the right way, we can build words with those sounds. We took a sack of fabric letters, and the kids got to take turns pulling them out one at a time. We practised the sound for that letter, and then we put them in alphabetical order and sang the ABC song to help us remember where they all went.
I took out our Alphabet Puzzle cards, and we played that with all the kids.
Then we went up to the table to do some worksheets I had made.

On this first sheet, I had written rows of random letters. I gave each child a crayon, and when I made a sound, they had to circle the letter that made that sound. For example, if I said "mmmm," they would find and circle the M. This sheet was good, and the kids did well. Some mixed up the sounds for 'e' vs 'i,' but that is a tricky difference to hear.

We had our kindergartners home with us that day since it was a Professional Development day at the school, so I made two versions of this next sheet. On the younger kids' I drew pictures on one side of the paper, and the first letter to the word on the other. Example: picture of a hat on one side, letter H on the other. But for the bigger kids, I wrote out the whole word, and they had to sound it out first, and then draw the line from the word to the picture.

Then we practised printing. The older girls were given cards and tried writing the words under the examples, and the younger kids traced the words.
Story Time:

There are lots of great alphabet books around, and I had more ready and waiting, but we only had time for a couple. We read Dr. Seuss's alphabet book which is fun and silly, as are most of his other books.

We also read this one, and it is full of beautiful illustrations. It is so lovely.
Craft Time: I saw an idea similar to this from my son's kindergarten class, and kept meaning to make my own version, and finally did for this lesson. I went through my children's book of nursery rhymes and chose out three that had good examples of a 'word family' in them. Then I made these figures to go with the rhyme.

1. Humpty Dumpty: has the 'all' family. So I made a wall, and a Humpty figure. On Humpty, I wrote 'all' and down the side of the wall I wrote the letters w,f,b,c, and h. Then we could put Humpty next to the wall and make the words: wall, fall, ball, call, and hall.
2. Hickory Dickory Dock: has the 'ock' family. I made the mouse and wrote 'ock' on it's body, and then on my clock I wrote the letters r,d,l, cl, and s. Then as the mouse ran down the clock, we made the words: rock, dock, lock, clock and sock.
3. The last one I did was Pat-a-Cake, which has the 'ake' family. So on the cake I wrote 'ake.' Then on the baker I wrote the letters b,l,sn, c, w, and sh. Then you can move the cake to create the words bake, lake, snake, cake, wake and shake.
I thought this was such a great craft! The kids got to choose the nursery rhyme they wanted and we made one of these for them to take home.
Art Time: I thought after such a rigorous craft, it would be good to have a little more 'open ended' art project.

I made a big batch of playdoh, gave them rolling pins, and alphabet cookie cutters, and let them play.

Video Time: We had already watched a little bit of a Sesame Street clip during the lesson, but I had also found these cute songs and we watched them.

Bert and Ernie.

Cookie Monster.

Science Time: I wanted to show them that not all the letters are used as often as others, so I wrote out their names, first, middle and last, and cut them up into individual letters. Then we sorted them into piles of matching letters.

Then we laid them out to see which letters are used most often. E and A were the clear leaders.

Singing Time: There are lots of great alphabet songs. A-You're Adorable, Crazy ABCs, ABCDEFGHIK, Apples and Bananas.... We sang and sang.
Wiggle Time: I had two wiggle time games.

The first was Musical Letters, where we used the fabric letters from the lesson and danced to the tune of the ABC song until the music stopped.

Our second game used these alphabet bean bags I had made. I had gone to an early literacy fair a couple of springs ago and loved the idea of these, and I knew it was something I'd go on to do at home, and my kids have had lots of fun with them.

In our game, the kids had to take turns choosing a bean bag out of the box, saying the name of the letter and the sound of the letter, and then they got to throw it into this little basketball hoop.
To make it harder for the older kids, I had them do sound combinations (ph, ch, sh, th, etc.) rather than just simple sounds.
Then it was time for the good-bye song, and we were finished for another week.

1 comment:

  1. I am loving these joyschool posts! Do you come up with all your own ideas, or is there a curriculum? It's so elaborate. I'm totally coming back here for ideas for Cohen!


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