Teacher Netta's Notes
This week I have introduced a literacy activity that will help students strengthen their knowledge of letters and how they're formed. I have put together four binders which all hold about six letters of the alphabet. I put certain letters together in a binder for two reasons. One reason is so that not all the letters are in one binder--- this can get overwhelming to have all 26 letters in one place. And number two is so that we separate letters that look very similar to avoid confusion. For example, we don't have b and d in one binder together because they get mixed up easily since they look almost the same. Although for this activity I put the uppercase letters in the binders, eventually I will also put lowercase letters so the b and d situation will apply.
Each tray that holds the binders also contains a bowl of items. One binder is accompanied by a bowl of plastic leaves, another has a bowl of buttons, another has a bowl of stones, and the last has a bowl of pom poms. This makes the activity more exciting to the students because there are four kinds of items to use instead of using the same item for all four binders.
To complete this activity the student takes the binder and the bowl of items. They spread the binder open and use the pieces from the bowl to fill in each letter. This activity is pretty straight forward but in order to do this activity the kids use their fine motor skills to pick up the items and to place them in the right place. Since they are filling in the block letter this is the start of recognizing how letters look and how they are formed. This is a gateway to eventually being able to trace letters and then to write them! I encouraged the kids to also practice their sounds while filling in a letter. For example, if one is filling in the letter L with pom poms, as they complete the activity I challenge them to also say, "L (the name of the letter) /l/ /l/ (the sound l makes) lion." We practice the alphabet this way every morning so this is another time where the students can practice their knowledge of letters and letter sounds.
I love it when a child is finished using a tray with the buttons for example, and then takes out another tray with a different item! Learning the letters is a goal for the preschoolers this year and this is an activity everyone has shown great interest in already, even the older kids, too!