Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"L" is for Literacy: The ABC's of Teaching Preschool



In celebration of 20,000 members of the Teach Preschool Facebook community, Deborah Stewart challenged many of our fellow preschool education bloggers to come up with posts about what they feel are important aspects of teaching preschoolers. The goal is to have a post linked with each letter of the alphabet to make "The ABC's of Teaching Preschool".  
"L" is for Literacy! When most people think of preschool literacy, they often jump right to the ABC song and cute children's books. While those are both important in preschool (I admit, I am quite the children's book aficionado),  I believe in sneaking literacy into the preschool learning environment in every way possible. I do this by providing a very print rich environment and exposing children to reading and writing in a variety of ways.


We participate in the "Morning Message",




dictate our thoughts and observations,



make words by practicing substituting sounds,



we practice writing in the dirt with sticks,


and in flour, salt, sand and shaving cream.





We write chart stories,


and Fairy Tales,



We explore with letters in a variety of ways. These are "magic letters" that show up after you rub a crayon over it!


We learn to put letters together to form our names.


and learn to match uppercase and lowercase letters.


We learn new vocabulary. I'm a firm believer in "Big Words". (After only 3 weeks in school, my students can tell you that the "perimeter" of the rug means "the outside edge". Every time we begin a new unit, we make a vocabulary list as we go along of the "big words" that we are learning.


We learn that our writing has meaning and that we often write for a purpose.




 We even learn to write stories of our own.



And of course, we LOVE to read as many wonderful children's books as we can manage to fit in throughout the day!

Links to the entire "The ABC's of Teaching Preschool" series will appear here as each post becomes available. The bloggers participating are all awesome, I encourage you to check out each and every one! Be sure to stop by Deborah Stewart's blog, Teach Preschool and check out the Teach Preschool community on Facebook for sharing and more links from these and other great early childhood education blogs! 







Monday, August 29, 2011

Celebrating Ramadan and El Ud Fitr in Pre-K

 

Our class had a wonderful treat today. One of the parents of my students offered to come in and tell the children about the Muslim holidays, Ramadan and El Ud Fitr. Ramadan is a holy month of fasting and El Ud Fitr is literally, "festivity" of "breaking the fast". Mrs. S. brought the beautiful poster above and explained the significance of each item.

She used a wonderful analogy for fasting using 3 different sized chocolate bars to explain fasting. She said the first time you see a little piece of chocolate and are fasting, you miss it, but it's just a little piece of chocolate and held up a small bar. A few days later, when you see that same piece of chocolate and know you can't have it, it seems bigger and you miss it more, and held up a regular sized candy bar. By the end of the fast, you really want the chocolate. Although the bar really hasn't grown in size, it SEEMS bigger to you. She then held up the giant candy bar. Mrs. S. also talked about how they make sure that those who have plenty, take this time, especially, to share with those less fortunate.



Mrs. S. also brought a beautiful children's books called, "Ramadan and El Ul Fitr" by Azra Jessa, written when she was 12 years old to help her classmates understand the holiday. Azra used the computer program "Paint" to illustrate the story.
Ramadhan and Eid-ul-Fitr

After the "lesson", the kids were treated to cupcakes and goodie bags! The best treat of all? Mrs. S. very generously left us the book to include in our class library! The kids really enjoyed learning about their classmates' culture today and so did I! I knew very little about this holiday, so I am thankful that I had the opportunity to learn today, too.


We even learned the traditional holiday greeting during El Ud Fitr is "Eid Mubarak" or "have a blessed festival"!

Eid Mubarak!



Sunday, August 28, 2011

We're Having a "Bear"-y Good Time in Pre-K!



We began our "Camping and Bears" unit this week. Most of our units this year will last a week, but there are so many learning opportunities and fun things to do with this unit that I have kept it as an extended unit this year. We transformed our dramatic play area into a sort of state park, with both a lodge and a camping area.





We counted and sorted colored counting bears. A few of us even made patterns, too!




We graphed Gummy Bears in small groups. I found my graph over at Itty-Bitty Bookworms on their Free Printables page.





This was so cute. As I walked around to make sure there were (legible) names on each paper, I came across this little pair of smiley faces. I try to remember to ask children about their work rather than assume. I would have guessed  (but thankfully didn't) that this was the student attempting to "write" his name. As I looked over at it, my friend said, "Mrs. Ayn, I wrote the directions so kids would know what to do!"


One of our large group literacy activities was this "Erase-a-Rhyme" from Mrs. Meacham's Classroom: Erase-A-Rhyme page. I believe the Bear Rhyme was authored by Jessica, but there are several authors and rhymes available.


Our teddy bears played in centers with us,



And we even brought our teddy bears as "Special Guests" to our circle time activities this week.



In addition to reading a variety of Goldilocks versions, we've retold the story in a variety of fashions.
On the flannelboard,


With props and toy figures,


And as actors with our bears!


Some of our "bear"-y favorite reads have included several different versions of the Goldilocks tale, bear stories by favorite authors and a few stories about camping. Here's what some of what we're reading during story time and in our library center.

Bear Wants More   Bear Snores On  Bear's New Friend  Bear Feels Scared  Curious George Goes Camping  S Is for S'mores: A Camping Alphabet (Alphabet Books)

Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Picture Puffin Books)  Goldilocks and the Three Bears  Goldilocks and the Three Bears  Goldilocks Returns 

Somebody And The Three Blairs (Orchard Paperbacks) Who's Been Eating My Porridge?  The Three Snow Bears  My Friend Bear (Eddy & the Bear)
Where's My Teddy? (Eddy & the Bear)

Bailey Goes Camping [BAILEY GOES CAMPING] Froggy Goes to Camp


~~Sorry! The widget is not working properly.I'll try to come back or include them in one of the future bear-y special posts. ~~
Look for a post coming soon about our Great Bear Hunt and later about the wonderful activities we've got planned for next week ~ we'll be camping out in our pj's, going on a nature walk, making s'mores and having a picnic lunch. Let the fun and learning continue!


Thanks for stopping by!

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