Thursday, October 28, 2010

Embedding Literacy

I'm wrapping up facilitating a very fast paced and intense course on language and literacy. Because of this, I have been engaged in a lot of thinking and reflecting about embedding language and literacy into daily lesson plans and routines.

I'd like to take a moment to share an idea that illustrates how a parent has embedded language and literacy into her child's day.

I drive through 3 school zones and countless bus stops on my way to work each morning. I often see parents waiting with their children at the bus stops.

One mom and her son (who appears to be 5 or 6 years old) used to wait for the bus each day in the manner that you would typically see....the boy had his backpack on, mom was next to him and they stood on the corner waiting for the bus.

For the past few weeks, as I have driven by, I have noticed that she now brings a camp chair (one of those canvas chairs that folds up and has a sleeve that it fits can buy them at Wal Mart for about $10) and a book to the bus stop.

Now, each morning her son sits on her lap as she is reading a story to him.

Wow! So maybe they wait 5-10 minutes for the bus each day. That means her son is getting and extra 25-50 minutes of literacy and language experiences a week. If you multiply that times 36 weeks in a school year that is between 900-1800 minutes a year (or an extra 15-30 hours).

I think this is just so cool! She has figured out how to take a "waiting" period and has turned it into a language and literacy experience.

Sometimes we go nuts trying to figure out when to fit everything "in." This mom has found a way to give her child more literacy and language experiences within a routine that already exists.

How many other ways could we, as teachers or parents also do this? I bet the ways are quite creative and the number is countless!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Free Early Literacy Activities

This site has recently been shared with me from our pre-k supervisor.

It has many, free printable activities that support literacy of infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers. They have a link for ideas for parents and another link for teachers. Check it out.

Center for Early Literacy Learning

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cheap! Dinosaur Measuring and Science

In the current economy (and as far as being frugal and financially wise at any time!) I am always interested in lessons that can be enhanced as cheaply as possible.

My class has been involved in a inquiry based unit on dinosaurs for the past week. It seems to me that there are always easy ways to integrate language and literacy lessons in every unit, but sometimes it is more difficult to integrate math and science. Since this unit focuses on dinosaurs, science is not a problem either, but how can we integrate math concepts? Here's one idea we used.

I found these dinosaur figures at my local Dollar Tree. (Yes, it cost a whopping $1 for this lesson.)

I explained to my students that these dinosaurs were supposed to get bigger when we put them in water. We decided to measure them with a ruler, predict how big we thought it would get and then measure it after it grew.

Since I wanted to focus on some math skills, we made a big deal out of measuring the dinosaur. I left my finger on the number 4 after we measured and reminded the children that he should get "bigger." I asked them "How big do you think he will get?" as I ran my other pointer finger across the top of the ruler (showing them the most logical choices across the ruler.) They made their predictions as I recorded them and then we observed. The pictures show you where we are so far!

After we measure our dinosaur again tomorrow, we'll take him out of the water and predict what will happen. It will be interesting to see if any of the children will predict that he shrinks back to 4 inches (remember, that's where we started at our first measurement!)