Listening to stories
The Pre K Words Workshop provides an opportunity for our preschool children to strengthen their language and literacy development through spoken word, reading, and writing. Letter recognition, sound association, and word formation are taught and reinforced through exposure that is varied and interesting to young children. Through play, children will create stories of real or imaginary lives.
By exploring books and listening to stories they will begin to develop an understanding of the story format and learn literary terms. Children communicate their own stories in different settings using a variety of tools, including verbalization, writing, and drawing. The individual needs of each child are addressed through differentiated and individualized instruction.
The students will develop:
Fall Semester Pre K students are working with words throughout each day in an integrated setting. There is also time set aside for directed literary activities. In the beginning of the year, students were learning to recognize their names through an attendance chart, morning songs, and their classroom mailboxes. Students were also given the opportunity to write their names with help from visuals. Besides learning their names, students are provided with time during the day to read and be read to. Students are also learning to recognize and write letters through a set of hands-on activities.
Students will also have the chance to participate in an activity called Story Telling, Story Acting. This process brings the child’s imagination to life. Students begin by with either developing a story from their imagination or by using a piece of their own artwork as inspiration. These stories are dictated to a teacher who writes them down. Other students from the class become involved in acting out the story as it is reread. This activity validates each child’s ideas and, over time, strengthens each student’s ability to tell stories through actions and words.
Reading to your friends
Relationships are important for a person to have no matter what the age. In the lower school, West 1 students joined South 1 for a book club. These book clubs engaged the students in stories as well as in discussions with each other. Our first book club focused on the topic of relationships. Each week, students were encouraged to participate in a follow-up activity that highlighted an important part of the book. These activities were designed to build familiarity with commonalities throughout literature.
Writing is an essential tool for building self-awareness and self-expression. Teachers begin teaching the art of writing at a very young age. The very early stages of a student’s writing most often include drawing pictures and explaining them to others. Eventually, students experiment with letter-like shapes and symbols, then, using their increasing awareness of letter shapes, they will form words and sentences. The students in West 1 have journals that they write in a few times a week. Some students like to take this time to draw pictures and have the teacher write their words while others like to take ownership of both the drawing and the writing.
Journal writing will take place for the balance of the school year. Through this students expand their creative writing abilities and will increase their ability to write with greater independence. Journal writing also provides an outlet for considering children’s thinking, particularly about their favorite topics and interests. These writing exercises help the teacher identify the next step for each individual learner. They also serve to inform the teacher when planning the next emergent activities and even provide insight for Project Weeks.
Winter Semester Students in West 1 have been regularly participating in a number of literacy based activities during a time called Letter Work. Through these different activities, the students are working on writing, recognizing, and sounding out both individual and pairs of letters. The activities are hands-on and are differentiated for all the different levels of students.
For the younger students in the class who are still working on writing their letters, we have introduced WhiteBoard Letters. Each student receives a whiteboard, a marker, and a stack of letter cards. They say the letter, trace it with their finger, and then do their best to mimic the tracing with the marker on the whiteboard. These students have been making progress in writing letters. This has proven true in the fact that they are increasingly willing to write letters in their journals in addition to drawing pictures. For students who can write their letters, the teachers encourage the formation of words which are also written on whiteboards.
Students have been practicing their writing by tracing letters in trays of sand with a popsicle stick. They enjoy the practice and are more willing to write and draw in their journals. Also during Letter Work time the students are sometimes given cookie sheets, magnetic letters, and a stack of words that are easy to sound out phonetically. Students look at the word, sound it out, and then use the magnetic letters to spell it on a cookie sheet. During this activity, they are developing reading and letter recognition skills while working on their fine motor muscles.
One of the students’ favorite activities during letter work is the Letter Train. The task for the students was to make the Letter Train run. The only way to do so was to attach the train cars in alphabetical order. In pairs, the students used their knowledge of the alphabet to assemble the alphabet train. They had to check in with the conductor (the teacher), in order to set the train in motion. This activity helped them strengthen their knowledge of alphabetical order and to strengthen their fine motor skills. Each pair of students also worked together successfully as a team to set the train up.
Most recently the students have been writing their names. This arose because of their expressed interest in determining what letters appear in their names, in the names of the other students and in the teacher’s name. Together the class and the teacher wrote all of the names on a piece of chart paper. Each student named the letters found in his or her name and then counted them. After everyone’s name was on the paper, the children and teacher determined how many different letters were necessary to represent all the names. The students took turns naming letters that they found on the chart paper. They were amazed that our names did not contain every letter of the alphabet.
TEACHER: Emma Nuneviller
Voyagers’ Community School 215 Broad Street Eatontown, NJ 07724
Proud to be MSA Accredited