Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dialogic Reading with Preschoolers

How we read to children is as important as how much we read to children.

This statement is why I started using the Dialogic Reading strategy in my preschool classroom.

Children learn about books and reading when they are actively involved in the process. This is why researchers developed a method of reading called Dialogic Reading. In dialogic reading, the adults help children become the tellers of the story.

There are three main techniques that you use when reading with the children.

• Asking “what’ questions
• Asking open ended questions
• Expanding on what the children say

When using these techniques it encourages the children to talk more and give descriptions about the story and what they see in the pictures.

Since I have been using the dialogical reading method, the children in my classroom have had a greater gain in oral language skills and vocabulary.

Here is what I do to plan a dialogic reading lesson in my class.

• First I read the story from state to finish with the children with little interruptions or interpretation of the story. This gives the children an understanding of the story.

• Next I complete a reading lesson plan that I will use when I read the story to the children the next time around.

Dialogic Reading Lesson Planner

Name of Book:________________

Completion: Child completes a sentence in the story with a word or phrase.

Recall: Child either is asked to recall parts of the story before a repeat reading, during a reading (before turning the page) or after the story has been read.

Open-Ended questions: Child has the freedom to answer questions about the story in a variety of ways.

W (who, what where, when, why/how?):

Distancing: Teacher will ask questions and look for responses that enable the children to relate text to their own life experiences.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Transportation Pocket Chart

When teaching about math at circle time I find that it is helpful if I use a pocket chart so that the children can be more involved in the process. Children are able to come up and move the transportation cards around to change the sentence and then we all read the changed sentence together.

Number Chart
For the chart above I found foam stickers from the dollar store to make my chart, but you can use any kind of stickers. You can also make the chart based on the theme of study this upcoming week we will be working on transportation, but you could also do a chart with hearts.

• I see ____ trucks.
• I see ____ cars.
• I see ____ planes.

Size Chart

• I see_____ large trucks.

• I see______ medium trucks.
• I see______ small trucks.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Teaching Letter Knowledge in Preschool

Over the last few years our school district has really wanted their early childhood program to concentrate on language and literacy development. So to meet the needs of the district and the children that we serve in our classrooms the decision was made to incorporate a letter study in our weekly curriculum.

In this letter study we would be working on letter knowledge, phonemic awareness and concepts of print, since early skills in alphabetic serve as a strong predictor of reading success.

Letter Knowledge

Letter knowledge- is knowing that letters are different from each other and that each letter has a different name and sound.

What are we looking for?
That each child has the ability to tell the name of the letter and what sound it makes.

Why is letter knowledge important?
In order for children to read written words they must have an understanding that each word is made up of individual letters and that each letter has its own sound to form the word.

Phonemic Awareness and Phonics

What is Phonemic Awareness?
Knowing that words are comprised of a sequence of spoken sounds

What is Phonics?
The relationship between written letters and their sounds

What strategies can we use to teach Phonemic Awareness and Phonics?
• Phonological Awareness (Hearing individual sounds in words)
• Phonemic Isolation (Identifying and manipulating sounds)
• Phonemic Identity (Recognizing same sounds in a different word)
• Phonemic Categorization (Recognizing words that don’t belong)
• Segmenting (Breaking a word into its separate sounds)
• Rhyming
• Blending (Putting together separate sounds)

To make learning about letter knowledge fun for the children and to keep them engaged in the process I created a puppet for introducing the letters and the letter sounds.

I named her Lilly Letter Lady. This puppet allowed me to be repetitive with the learning process. She also was able to become child like and funny about learning the letters. I found that the children were eager to learn about the letters when they knew that Lilly Letter Lady was coming for a visit.

Here is how it works

Lilly letter lady introduce new letters of interest. She sings the Found a Letter song with the children and introduces new letter sounds using items that begin with that sound. Children help Lilly Letter Lady identify all the objects that are in her bag of tricks.

Found a Letter

(tune: Found a Peanut)

Found a letter, Found a letter,
Found a letter "C" Today.
Oh, Today I found a letter,
Found a letter "C" Today.
(Use any letter in place of "C".)
~ Author Unknown

Each bag has the letter on the front with pictures that begin with that letter sound. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Getting The Most Out Your Space

When space is tight you have to be creative to get in all the activity areas that you would like to have in one space.
(This is next to a table but there was not enough room to place a shelf)

We wanted to have a magnetic board for the children to use different types of items on. So we attached an oil drip pan to the wall and place magnetic items in tubs or baskets next to the wall. As children lose interest we just change the basket to something different. Above the oil pan is a PVC pipe frame that we attached to the wall. On the frame we added fine motor skill boards. The boards can be used by standing in front of each fine motor board or the children can remove them and place them on a table.

Each board is hung with Velcro strips.  You can change out the activity boards based on the interest of the children.
Items can be used on the table and then placed back on the wall when finished. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Importance of Crawling in Preschool

Crawling time for children is very important to child’s development not only for physical coordination but also for brain development. When children use alternating sides of the body at the same time (right arm and left leg, then visa versa) this movement helps to increase communication between the two sides of the brain.

Connecting the tow sides of the brain is a fiber that bridges the two sides together known as the corpus callosum. When children use the crawling movement during play activities the two sides of the brain are forced to communicate and this strengthens the nerve-cell pathways that link both sides of the brain through the corpus callosum.

Building and strengthening these nerve-cells pathways in the preschool setting is import because when children start to learn to read and write it is necessary to be able to cross between the two hemispheres, working from one side of the paper to the other fluidly.

To encourage the crawling movement

• Set out tunnels or long card board boxes so that the children will crawl through them.
• Play movement games that children pretend to be animals like (dogs and cats).

• Let the children have crab races. (children are still alternating sides when the don’t let their knees touch the ground)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Discovering Goop

Children will develop chemistry skills as they combine materials.

We have all provided pre-mixed corn starch and water goop. Next time let the children mix and experiment with the items themselves.

Understanding that combining the materials and watching the transformation is the most intriguing aspect of the early childhood sensory experience.

Provide the children with a large art tray. On the tray have a small container for mixing, a bowl with spoon of corn starch, watercolors with droppers.

Have the children scoop their own corn starch into their clear cup.

Once they have the amount of corn starch that they want allow them to drip color water into their cups. 

As they drip and mix their mixture they will discover on their own how much of each ingredient they need.

When you provide your children with these types of activities the knowledge they gain is endless. Not to mention all the new vocabulary that they will be gaining.

Science Sunday

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It’s Raining It’s Pouring

When it rains it pours!  The children made giant rain drops for our windows.
First the children cut out large rain drop shapes.  Next they dipped balloons into trays of paint (white, light blue and dark blue).  After dipping the balloon into paint they used the balloon to make prints onto their rain drops.  Once done with their creation they sprinkled glitter of choice onto the wet paint.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Berry Basket Snowflakes

Children can make snowflake prints by dipping the bottom of a berry basket into white paint and them pressing the basket onto dark paper.  Once they are done printing with the baskets allow them to sprinkle their prints with iridescent glitter.  This project makes for a great independent creative art center.  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sorting Snowballs

Here is a fun activity that will build your children’s knowledge about size. When you add tongs or tweezers to the activity children will be building on their fine motor skills.

I am always finding ways and activities that will build on these fine motor skills so that children’s fine motor skills will be well developed as they learn to write.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Winter Sensory Table

Fill your sensory table with different types of pack peanuts.

Make indoor snow, take rolls of toilet paper (charmin ultra works the best) and tear into pieces into your sand/water table, grate ivory soap into the table and add water.  Let it sit over night and drain any extra water off. Let the children squeeze the mixture with their hand and mold it and reshape.  It is good clean fun.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

It’s Raining Color

Here is a fun way for the children to learn about color mixing and buoyancy.  Have the children fill their clear plastic cups half way full with water.  Next have them squirt shaving cream on top of the water.
Once the children have their cups ready let them drip water colors on top of the shaving cream with eye droppers.  Encourage them to use two colors at a time so that as the color goes through the shaving cream and into the water they will be able to see the colors mix.

As the children drip the color on top of the shaving cream they will be able to observe the color coming through the shaving cream and dispensing into the water.

Use the picture above as a direction card for the children.  This will allow them to do the experiment independently.
Science Sunday
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Learning with Mittens

Color Mitten Pocket Chart
Help your children learn their colors and read simple text with this fun pocket chart activity. You can use it during circle time and also place one in the reading nook where children can experiment with the text on their own.

I wrote (I see ___________ mittens.) on 4 sentence strip. Then I cut a sentence strip into 3 equal parts and wrote a color and glued that color of mittens on the card. You can move around the card mittens to create the sentence in different orders each time. I chose children to come up and place mittens on each line. Once they have chosen the mittens and placed them, I take a pointer and point to each word and the children read it out loud with one another. This activity helps children understand that print carries meaning. It is also meaningful to the dual language learners in your classroom. When dual language learners have visual clues when learning English, it makes it more meaningful to them and gives them a better understanding of the English language.

Hanging Mittens

Hang a cloths line in an area and place mittens with numbers written on them in a basket with clothespins.  Encourage the children to hang the mittens in orders.  Place a number line in the area for the children to refer to. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How Many Ways to Make Snowpeople

Make Salt Dough Snowpeople
Salt Clay
Equal parts of salt and flour
Mix water into salt and flour mixture until you get the consistency of play dough.
Air Dry

Make Sandpeople
Put damp sand in your sensory table.

Make Collage Snowpeople

Provide children with items that they can create their own snowperson.

Make Recycled Snowpeople

Have the children bring in a can from home that would be placed in the trash and let them turn it into a tin version of a snowman.

Make Snowpeople Anyway they want

Provide items in your creative art area that could be used to make a snowperson with.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sandman Sensory Tub

Let your children create sandmen in the sensory table or tubs. Bring in some sand and shovel it into some plastic tubs or dishpans. Add corn starch or flour and dampen the sand with water the corn starch/flour will help it stick together better. Place different sizes of ice cream scoops, melon scoops, measuring spoons, cookie scoops, bowls and empty water bottles. Cut the bottles in half so the children can utilize both ends. Provide the children with buttons, goggle eyes, pipe cleaners, twigs, pieces of rectangular fabric, milk caps, craft straw hats and felt craft hats.

Watch the sculpting begin, your children will be creating their own version of the Sandman.

Some children do not get to have the opportunity to build snowmen, but they see the symbol of snowpeople all around, so give them the opportunity to build one out of sand, who said that they can only be made from snow. Some times it just the experiences that is meaningful.
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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Science Discoveries with Rain Meter

Over the few weeks it has been rain a lot around here, so we are going to be placing a rain meter outside this week so that the children can record the rain fall.
Here is what they will learn:

Children will gain knowledge about the changes of weather. Children will develop measuring and time skills by recording rainfall over a period of time.

Children will learn about what it would be like to be a meteorologist. They will discover and learn about weather words and the works of meteorologists as they begin to observe, describe and record the weather.

Children will be able to create a Weather chart. How many days are sunny, cloudy, rainy or windy.

Each day have the children find the weather of the day on the weather wheel. Chart it on the chart and keep a running record.

Here is how to make a rain catcher.

• Take a 2 liter bottle and cut the top off about 4” from the top.
• Place the screwed top end inside the new opening of the bottle. Tape
   around the edge.
• With permanent marker, mark the inches on the outside of the bottle.
• Place outside so it can collect rain.

Science Sunday
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