Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Learning About Letters & More

Nature's Puppet Show
Here's one way we use our indoor props to learn about nature. I usually start by presenting a puppet show with a new theme like Habitats, The Food Chain, or Mammals. Then the children use my language, ideas and themes to recreate their own show. You can see the beginning of The Food Chain puppet show above.

Nature Mirror Painting
We also use water colors and tempura paints to create landscapes and other natural images. Children love to paint animal tracks and trees like shown above.

Natural School Sitings

You wouldn't believe the variety of wildlife we've seen in our backyard! Today we went out to greet our friends and found coyote tracks and scat. We decided to record all of our sitings in a Nature Journal. We're beginning to collect photos and observations (stories) about our discoveries to paste into a 3 ring binder. This is something you can do at home too. Some people only record their findings from their backyard or you can create a notebook that is filled with wildlife from all of your travels.
Here is the beginning of our wildlife list:
Great blue herons

Bald Eagle
Pilated woodpeckers
Tufted Titmouse
Mourning Doves
Rose-breasted Nuthatch

Literacy & Math

Throughout our morning, academics are woven into our activities and centers. Here are some concepts we've focused on this month.


Each morning when we come inside we hang up our belongings, wash our hands and begin our Morning Meeting. This includes singing, movement, greetings and hand songs. Then we talk about our names. Each child has a name stick and we discuss beginning letters and most recently syllables. Your child has been saying names and clapping the parts. We talk about how many parts, beats or syllables are in each of our names. You can extend this activity into your home. Discuss how many syllables each of your family members have. Who has the most? Who has the same? Who has the least?

Identifying Letters

This week you may have found an alphabet linking chart and a game board in your child's backpack. We played a game called Letter Lotto. In each box on the game board there is a handwritten lowercase letter. In a basket, I put 26 uppercase letters. I used magnetic letters, but you could make letter cards and cut them up to use. To play, the child pulled out one letter from the basket, said the letter name (with help if needed-no struggling) and then looked to see if they had the matching lowercase letter on their game board. If they had a match, they placed the magnetic letter in the box. If they didn't, they placed it back in the basket. Then the next person takes a turn. The first person who filled all the boxes on the Lotto Card wins the game.

Before we begin playing I always discuss what to do if you win the game. "What do you look like? What do you say to the other players?" Then we do the same if you don't win the game. "What do you look like? What do you say?" I always give some funny examples and the children tell me if we should act like that or not. 

Understand the Principle

Children need to distinguish the features that make one letter different from other letters and an uppercase letter different from its lowercase form. Learning the shapes and their labels helps them talk about letters and connect letters and sounds. Here is some language I used to explain this principle to the children.
  • "A letter has two forms."
  • "One form is uppercase (or capital) and the other is lowercase (or small)."
  • Some lowercase forms look like the uppercase forms and some look different."


Children count the calendar each day at school. This consistent practice will help in recognizing number order and find patterns beyond 10. Counting up to 10 is wonderful! Counting up to 20 is fantastic and counting up to 30 is just incredible!! Keep practicing my friends!

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