February 20, 2013

Each and Every Week

Each and every week we start out our lessons with a few basic activities.  If you have ever noticed the bottom section of my curriculum sheets there is an area entitled "Activities."  These are things I feel preschoolers, at an actual school, would call "learning centers."  Typically a learning center is a section of the classroom in which students engage in independent and self-directed learning activities.  These are activities they have become so familiar with that they need little assistance or instruction, if any at all.  Many times I don't take pictures of Addi as she is doing these activities but we are faithful to do most of these each week with whatever the new letter is that we are learning about.

Letter Introduction:  First, I introduce the letter we will be studying that week and we practice making the different sounds that letter might say.  For example, the letter s does not just make the /s/ sound, but it also makes the /z/ sound (as in the word "nose").  We look at the objects illustrated on the letter and then try to come up with ideas of other things that begin with that letter which are not already pictured.  I made each of the letters by simply using Microsoft clipart pictures and a really large font.  I printed them, cut them, and laminated them so I could use them over and over again.  I got the idea from Storytime Katie who actually cut hers up to make puzzles.  Next, we color our  letter "cheat sheet" and identify how the uppercase and lowercase letters look different from one another.  I found the entire alphabet set on a blog last summer and now I can't remember where it was.  If this is your work please leave a comment below so you can get the credit you deserve.

Handwriting Practice Worksheets:  We got several of the preschool and kindergarten workbooks and either laminated the pages or put the pages in pocket protectors so several days throughout the week Addi can practice writing the letter.  When we first began the Letter of the Week series Addi could barely hold a pencil, much less draw a line or circle.  She has improved so much and I really do think it's because she like practicing with fun worksheets each week.

Sandpaper and Yarn:  I have a ziplock bag with one piece of sandpaper and lots of strips of yarn (cut into all different sizes).  Each week we pull it out and see if we can make the uppercase and lowercase letters from the yarn we have in the bag.

Letter Stamping:  I bought a set of uppercase letter stamps for approximately $3 at Walmart.  Each week Addilyn has to find the right letter (sometimes a challenge in and of itself) in the bag and then pick out her ink pad color.  Sometimes if we have a color focus that week I will go ahead and pick out the color I want her to use.  When we first began she was not great at pressing the stamp hard enough into the ink pad, but now she is a pro!

Letter Searches:  So, if you've read my "Secret to Being 'Book Smart'" post, you know that I reuse things over and over again or sometimes I use things in ways they were not intended to be used.  I love finding word search books at goodwill or a yard sale for a quarter (many times I've found them for free).  Each week I tear out a pages and let Addi find her letter of the week.  She loves using the "Do a Dot" markers to highlight the letters she has found.

Build a Letter:  Using our homemade Letter Construction set, Addi can create her uppercase and lowercase letter from foam.  Click here for more info on how I made these activities.

Watercolors Over White Crayon:  This activity is Addilyn's favorite almost every week.  She loves to paint.  I saw the activity on Pinterest and am so thankful for Redefine Creativity for such a fun and EASY idea.  Each week I take a white crayon and draw the letter on to a white piece of paper.  When we pull out the watercolors, Addi gets to see the letter of the week magically appear before her eyes!

Magnet Games:  These printable worksheets can be found just about anywhere these days.  Addi loves the little round magnets we use (we were given a pack) but I hear you can get a set of about 20 at Walmart for about $3-4.  I simply place the print out on a cookie sheet and hand her the magnets.  She fills in all the blank circles with the magnets.  i know many people also use these printouts for Do-a-Dot activities. We have a horrible printer and our ink cartridges run out pretty quickly so I choose not to print out much; however, if you're able I think it's a great idea.

Sandpaper Sounds:  This is another activity we do to make sure Addilyn is comprehending all the sounds that each letter makes.  For more on how I made this activity and exactly how we use it click here.

Playdoh:  Every child I know, and most adults if you can get them to admit it, love playdoh.  We have accumulated tons of cookie cutters from hand me downs, goodwill, or yard sales.  Each week I try to pull out our alphabet set and find the letter of the week.  In addition, I try to find other cookie cutters shapes that begin with our letter.  If we have a color focus that week I also try to incorporate that in the color of playdoh she plays with.  For example, you can see in the picture that for letter B week she played with blue playdoh, letter B cookie cutters, and shapes such as butterflies and bears.

There are 1,001 more ways we can introduce letters to our kids and every so often I try something new, but these are my fool-proof, each-and-every-week activities that my daughter loves.


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