This week, my class braved a field trip to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA in the rain, no less! If we are REALLY lucky, then we will get to do our great Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser today in the rain as well!!!! Oh, boy! Hey, if they have snow days back east, why can’t we have rain days in California? It just doesn’t seem FAIR! I have never had a day off for snow in my whole life! Boooo!
1. Learning to Sound Out CVC Words
Getting kids to sound out words is a tricky thing! There are a couple of “prerequisite skills” that each child must have in order to accomplish this.
* One thing they need is fluency in naming the letter sounds. In other words, they need to have really internalized the sounds of all of the letters, so that they can say them quickly and easily without really even thinking about it when they say them. I think that Zoo-Phonics really helps with this skill a lot, so check it out if you are unfamiliar! I wouldn’t consider teaching Kindergarten without it! And I’ll tell you something else: if my school district told me that I couldn’t use it anymore, I would just pull out the cards and supplement the given curriculum when no one was looking, because it really is the fastest, most efficient way that I know of to get kids to learn those all important letter sounds. I made my Singable Songs for Letters and Sounds CD and DVD to help with this as well, and it really has proven to be the missing link for children that cannot remember the letter sounds AND their names with any other method. It has worked for both regular and special education students alike. For more info on combining Zoo-Phonics with HeidiSongs, see my blog entry on April 18, 2009.
* Students also have to be able to hold at least three sounds in short term memory long enough to blend them into a word. This can be quite an overload for a child that is still unsure of the sounds, since that child must dedicate a good part of their available working memory to simply identifying each one. Therefore, a child that seems to have short term memory issues can be helped a little by having them “over learn” the letter sounds so that these (at least) are not something that is adding to the child’s memory overload. Other than that, I don’t really know of other ways to help a child learn to “stretch” their auditory memory other than practice: start with two sounds and then work your way up to three! If anyone out there knows of any other ways to help with this, please let me know and I will pass these tips along!
CVC book has been a great help to me every single year since I created it! I especially love the flashcards and the pictures, and the fact that you can use the larger cards on a pocket chart, and send a smaller version home with children to practice with at home. I use the worksheets every week in their homework and also sometimes at school. There are worksheets that go with them that are for sale on my website either in book form or as a download, along with those wonderful bingo games that the kids just LOVE! I know that I made it- and therefore I shouldn’t say it- but I cannot recommend this resource ENOUGH! I don’t know what I would do without it. And I am hoping to write a second volume with other word families in it someday, too! I’ll have to put that on my VERY long “to do” list!
2. Nonsense Words Vs. Real Words Coloring Sheet
To practice this sounding out both real and nonsense words, I like to use this small pocket chart that I got from ReallyGoodStuff.com.
I am including the master for you here today! I hope you enjoy using it with your students.
3. Lincoln Log Cabin Art Project
I am including the master that I made and instructions as a free download for you today! I hope that it will be useful to you. You may also be interested in looking at this website for some other great art projects about the presidents: http://www.tlclessons.com/about.php. The author of the books, Kay Espinoza, has also posted a free download of a Barak Obama project, so you might want to check that one out, too!
4. Sea Life Directed Drawing
This week, we finished our Look Out! Book on sea animals from the Little Songs for Language Arts Singable Books Printable Projects Resource CD, that culminated our unit with a trip to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA! I have been teaching the children to draw sea animals over the past month, and have been snapping some pictures of their drawings along the way. It’s such a fun activity, and I love that I see their drawings pop up in their writing assignments and when they decide to draw during playtime, etc.! I wrote up the directions for a few of the animals for you and including them here for you today. Please note that we sure did NOT draw ALL of these animals on the same day! I think we drew together at least twice. Sometimes when I want to draw with the children and we don’t have a lot of time, I just pass out the white boards instead of the paper. This allows the children to make lots of mistakes and keep trying as much as they like. I think they find it less frustrating when an animal kind of needs “multiple attempts.” Even though I always tell them that we are just practicing and that mistakes don’t matter, a lot of those kids just don’t want imperfections on their papers and can really stress out over it.