Monday, March 4, 2013

Early Literacy
The last couple of weeks we have spent more intentional time working on early literacy.  Literacy is becoming literate;  knowing how language can be used for purpose and for story, the verbal and the written, that the alphabet is for putting together words that make a sentence, that tell us something...
Young children are bursting with enthusiasm for sharing about themselves verbally and also love to play act, whether it is a story they know or an imaginative scenario they make themselves.  Below, we took the story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff, to practice our story telling and play acting.  
Jane is a billy goat and Summer enjoyed playing the mean Troll...

We also enjoyed making all kinds of bridges this week, in relation to the story.  Below Colin constructed a great bridge with the cardboard blocks - he said the blue blocks were the water.  We talked about the fact that bridges can go over lots of things.


SO much playacting is occurring with the children's own initiation in the morning - they often end up in this corner, the big brown chair always a prop for something.  This day it was "the airport."

After Summer asked me to one day, I made a bunch of stapled books for the children to make their own stories. Below, Noe initiated making her own Billy Goats Gruff story - she made the goat and the bridge.  Here, beginning literacy is exhibited in her ability to use pictures as the symbolic representation of the what is going on in the story.

Jane is learning to follow the words with her finger - this is an important pre-reading skill, knowing how a book works.  We have been talking about the parts of books; what the cover is and what the words on the front mean:  Title, Author, Illustrator...It is empowering for the children to know that they can, also, be authors and illustrators of their own stories.

All the children drew a version of the bridge this week, and some drew a sort of "map" of what happens in the story.  I will sit with them and have them tell me about their picture and label some of the items.  Some of the children added great detail, like the horns on the billy goats.

Our sensory experience this week entailed a little science experiment.

We added salt to water one spoonful at a time and used the 1 minute timers to stir to see if the salt disappeared yet.  If not, we kept stirring before we added more salt, the goal was to dissolve the salt to make a "solution."

They were very patient with this process and then this later became, mix up your own play dough!  Although this was a fun, messy activity, the children exemplified more early literacy in their critical thinking and problem solving with this task.  They made a lot of observations, using expressive language, like "My salt is becoming invisible!", "What will happen if I put more in?" "My play dough is smooth, like soup!"  "Let's pour ours together and make cupcakes!"

We also had more fun in the snow and came back in to have some hot cocoa.

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