Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Happy New Year!

New Years Art and Writing project:

I don’t know about your kinders but MINE have difficulty understanding time. Yes, we do the calendar every day and we talk about “yesterday”, “today” and “tomorrow”, but those glazed eyes let me know they aren’t getting it! It is definitely a developmental thing. I find it interesting that the most easily understood way to explain how many days until something will happen is to figure out how many “sleeps” it will be until the event.

This year, when it came time to do the annual welcome back, Happy New Year, resolution lesson, I took out a book that I’ve had for a long time but had tucked away. “Someday” by Charlotte Zolotow is a fun story about a little girl who hopes to someday be able to do all sorts of things. It’s a cute way of looking into the mind of a child and what is important to them, rather than to adults. Those typical resolutions, such as feeding the dog or cleaning their room, fly right out the window!

The response is always laughter and they get the idea of “someday” much better than the idea of a “year”, which is what adults think of when making a resolution. “Someday” can be more long-term and I like that idea for my little ones, it makes more sense to my kids.

Anyhow, once they understood “someday” (and once they understood what a resolution was), they were off and running with all sorts of ideas!

We have just begun writing full sentences with capitals, spaces and punctuation and they are in full swing with inventive spelling (as you can see if you look carefully at the pictures). I absolutely love this stage! Their spelling is adorable and I can actually read it! What you can’t see is that I have correctly written the misspelled words below in pencil.

When teaching them how to write or sound out words, I first have them figure out how many syllables or claps there are in the whole word. Then we just concentrate on writing the first syllable, then the second syllable and so on, depending on how many syllables are in the word (FYI there are nine in: “remote control alien spaceship”) I model this over and over at circle before they ever try. This has been very successful.

I have also taught them about long and short vowels. They write a line over the vowel (put a hat on) if they want a letter to say it’s name or long vowel sound. Again, this has worked beautifully. So, the word skateboard might look like:
I am looking for content and want them to feel free with their writing, not too hung up on spelling perfectly. This is their sloppy copy, so to speak. We look at how many sounds they got correct and write it the “book” way underneath. These are those teachable moments when you can talk to them about special phonetic rules that make no sense! I always tell them their way is better and whoever thought up these rules is nuts!

The art project is the same one everyone does. We tried to make our mouths look like they are about to blow the horn that makes their teacher jump a mile in the air.

Hapy New Yer!

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