Letter of the Week

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by teach4christ, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. teach4christ

    teach4christ Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2009

    This year my curriculum doesn't explicitly lay out alphabet instruction (as far as the introduction of each letter and its sound). In the past I've used Houghton Mifflin which was VERY explicit about everything and included a letter related activity daily (tied to their "Alphafriends") for each letter week-by-week. HM also used their own order for introducing the letters (not alphabetical). I also was a long-term sub in a Kindergarten class which developed their own letter materials, and introduced one letter per week. Throughout the week each day consisted of different letter activities (and almost "themes"), read alouds, and worksheets which fit.

    So right now, I'm trying to develop what I want to do this year. My school does teach letters alphabetically, but I'm not sure how to incorporate activities daily without going too overboard into themes (a= apples, astronauts, ants, etc.) which oftentimes felt really scattered and random. I also want to avoid being too overboard with paper/pencil worksheets. I want to teach in an effective way that does offer whole group instruction and independent practice.

    Any thoughts on a strategy to follow... any ideas for our first letter, "a", this week?
     
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  3. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Aug 15, 2009

    I'm in conflict too. Our HM series does teach them alphabetically but the Handwriting for Tears doesn't. SO which do I use during circle time?
     
  4. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Aug 15, 2009

    not many schools do letter of the week for kinder anymore. We use phonics everyday and phonemic awareness for young children.

    I really cannot see how kinder kids can be prepared for 1st by concentrating on letter of the week.
     
  5. LvToyFoxTerrier

    LvToyFoxTerrier Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2009

    We do letter of the week for our 4 yr. old class in Preschool only. But ours is a private school so we might be slightly more advanced than pub:blush:lic schools.
     
  6. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    Aug 16, 2009

    I think that if you assess at the beginning of the year to see what letters and sounds the kids already know, you can use that as a guide to reviewing the letters that they most need review with.

    then I would go with activities with the student names to be your next guide, focusing on the names give you the chance to teach the letters NOT in isolation, but rather, in a meaningful context.
     
  7. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Aug 16, 2009

    If you're starting with A, be sure to start with the short vowel sound.

    I agree about not doing a letter of the week. What are you doing about sight words/irregular words?
     
  8. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Aug 16, 2009

    I've never taught kinder doing letter of the week, and when my coteachers would talk about the "good old days" of teaching that way, they always mentioned fun art projects and edible art and things like that, but kindergarten is just too academic for that now, like it or not. I think the happy medium is somewhere in the middle, though.

    Does your new curriculum introduce letters and sounds at all? Does it begin assuming students know those things? What do you feel the curriculum is missing that you need to supplement? When you think about that, it will help you know which approach to take.
     
  9. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Aug 16, 2009

    Personally I don't plan to do letter of the week. I plan to do letter of the day. This is just something I want to introduce during circle time. I will let them start the year by looking for it in our morning message. It will be introduced in writing center. Eventually I will have them writing the letter on the board. I may even introduce a handwriting mini-lesson via a website on the internet. I want them to later brainstorm words that start with that letter. Once I'm assured that all children know their letters and have made good connections to it in writing and are on their way in being able to write all the letters, then I will fade it out. I'm not doing a thematic unit on it. It's just one thing out of many skills they will work with. My students don't do letter-sound correspondence and I'm struggling with how to begin a little but I know it is done and I will trust the process. It is my first time seeing it from the vantage point of Kindergarten. Typically by the time I see them, they already have some foundation. When they can write reasonably well, I may let them do a mini word wall for the letters of the week using post it notes. They can look for those words each day and then we can talk about them during discussion times. I don't know. I'm still brainstorming. I may let them each introduce one word from the book each day and put it in a jar. Then I can go over those words at the end of the period with them. I think there are a lot of different things you can do with letter of the day that builds in the skills as you teach them throughout the year. Definitely sound-correspondence can be practice. Of course most of the time we need to be doing this in context so I don't feel like this should be a central theme point for the whole day.

    I have always loved the idea of themes in Kinder but I don't think I will be doing that. I will have some thematic units in my afternoon centers. My partner talked about making centers representing all subject areas for exploratory, review and practice in the afternoon representing thematic units. If we choose to do this, after the welcome back unit, we plan to do a farm unit because we will be going to the state fair in September. It won't be a central theme for the entire day but rather for a certain period of the day. We may, however, choose books to read accordingly etc. We still have other things to teach though.

    I'm still waiting for the new curriculum to come online on Tuesday before I really make definitive plans.
     
  10. teach4christ

    teach4christ Rookie

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    Aug 16, 2009

    Does your new curriculum introduce letters and sounds at all? Does it begin assuming students know those things? What do you feel the curriculum is missing that you need to supplement? When you think about that, it will help you know which approach to take.

    The curriculum which we're given is "Rigby" materials for Shared Reading (big book series) and Guided Reading (leveled book sets). To provide Phonics instruction we use Fontas & Pinnell (sp?) Phonics which is a book of lessons and a binder with the masters to use. The Phonics materials also cover phonemic awareness. I really like it a lot... it's very clearly laid out with a clear progression of skills to teach. I'm going to use the sight word/word wall lists that the teacher before me used to expose students to sight words that must be memorized (they're sent home in lists, ranging from easy to hard to be practiced at home then read aloud for mastery at school to my aide before the next list is given). So I guess my dilemma with the letters is this...
    Should I be teaching each week/day/etc. a letter in an introductory way with its sound? They have in the past... and I don't really know the logic behind it... maybe it was just "old fashioned" or maybe there was a reason or instruction within the district (neither of which I've heard).
    I am teaching in a very at-risk school where most of my students arrived in Kindergarten not knowing how to write their names, and a majority do not recognize their names either. Considering those factors, I realize letter recognition is probably not their strength from any background knowledge (some went to pre-school, but didn't have much practice and reinforcement at home). So they need to know the letters and their sounds... I think I'll also try to talk with my literacy coach about this. And other thoughts are still welcomed!
     
  11. teacherSMK

    teacherSMK Habitué

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    Aug 16, 2009

    For the first feww weeks of school, I am doing a letter of the day activity, learning the whole alphabet and letter sounds. Then we will be more prepared to put those letters together in words. I did letter of the week last year, and while my students were prepared for first, I couldn't help but feel I could have gotten so much more accomplished if I had done things differently. Because I have a combined class of pre-k and k, I feel it is necessary to address each letter individually, but at the same time, I do not feel an entire week per letter is conducive to adequate preparation for reading. I am really excited anout the way I am planning on doing things this year, and my principal was really happy with the literacy lesson plans I turned in for September. :0) I have tried some of the daily letter curriculum with both of my daughters and they both think it is fun.
     

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