Language Arts

Brown Bears and “The Bear Snores On”

bear-sleeping-on-rug

After teaching about Antarctica, Penguins and Polar Bears during January-I moved on to teaching about brown bears. My students were devastated to say good-bye to the penguins, so my classroom is a mis-match of brown bears, polar bears and penguins! However, they are beginning to love these adorable brown bears too! I showed an adorable video of brown bears in Finland, via YouTube. There were bears climbing out of their den to join their mom on top. We were able to count the babies on top and on bottom. It was a great Math lesson introduction. Next, as a whole group, the children took turns to act out the video.They placed some of the bears ON the den and some of the bears IN the den. Next, in Math Stations, each child was able to make their very own bear den, complete with die-cut trees (I pre-stapled these). This is a simple brown lunch sack with 3/4 of it cut off. I crumpled it and cut out the archway, then taped it to a foam plate. The bears are counters from the classroom. When I send home the den, I will send bear die-cuts instead.

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My Bear – “Look at this bear.” This sentence displays the sight words of the week that we focused on: LOOK, AT, THIS. Here, Dominic sounded out his own simple sentence next: “My bear.” I provided the shapes and each child made their own bear based on an example that I had already completed.

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Valentine’s Day is around the corner, so we made a bear Valentine’s bag (for our Valentine cards)!

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We viewed books and short YouTube video’s about brown bears. Then, using our sight words, each child was asked to verbalize what bears CAN do, LOOK like, and HAVE. During this activity, we also learned some new vocabulary words: fur and claws!

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Math Time – This is the Bear OFF/ON Game. You simply drop a given amount of bear counters down. Then, count how many land ON the bear and how many land OFF the bear. If you had 5 to begin with and 3 landed ON and 2 landed OFF, then you could say: 3+2=5. This is a great way to introduce addition. Children love this game!

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This is a Guided Reading Book, Emergent Reading Book and Sight Word Reader- all rolled into one!

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Here is a cute little BEAR poem that I wrote. This is great for a Poetry station where children can read the large poem, then circle the sight words.

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When we transitioned to the Forest and Brown Bears, this is one of the first activity comparisons we did- a Venn Diagram. We compared Animals and Objects in the Environment from the Forest to Antarctica. Suggestion: teach what the FOREST is before this lesson!

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I never got to this, but something I wanted to do was to make classroom bear caves. How? Place blankets on top of tables and have children climb inside their pretend dens. In the story “The Bear Snores On,” all the animals ate popcorn and listened to party music-so why not do that too, right?

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The ABC’s of Teaching Letters

The Importance of Letter Names and Sounds

What is the first step in teaching a child to read? Letters and sounds instruction is the key! In simple terms, for a child to learn to read independently and construct meaning from text – he needs to be able to identify words automatically. He can do this after he decodes unknown words. In order to reach this point, children have to first learn the 44 speech sounds of letters and more than 100 spellings that are made. So- first, identify letter names and then, produce letter sounds. Then, he will be prepared to read! The next step is to implement a carefully planned and systematic presentation of explicit letter/sound teaching.

Which Letters Should Be Taught First?

The hardest question for researchers and professionals to answer is – “What order should the letters be taught?” Although there is not one universal answer to this question, there is great data to give professionals guidance in creating and/or implementing the necessary systematic order of instruction.

When deciding the order to teach the letters, please keep in mind what research says.

What Does Research Say?

  • Some letters are harder to learn than others: U, Q, V
  • The following letters are most well-known by children, even if they have not been taught them: O, A, B
  • Children are most likely to learn the first letter of a their name more easily and quickly
  • Teach the letters in an order that allows a child to form many words with them (for example: C, M, A, T)
  • Begin with letters that make “simple sounds” that are easiest to stretch out and are easier to blend: M, S, F, R, N, L
  • Teach new sounds in small steps
  • Review previously taught letters and sounds
  • Introduce commonly encountered sounds before the infrequent sounds: For example, “A” occurs more commonly than “Q” or “V.”
  • Teach the letters that occur more frequently in most words. The most commonly occurring letters are: E, T, A, I, N, O, S, H, R, D, L, C
  • Introduce vowels early. A child must know the vowel sounds, in order to make and read words.
  • It is suggested to teach graphemes together, like C and H, C and K, T and H
  • Alphabetic order is not ideal because it does not address the needs listed above
  • Do not pair and teach together letters that are auditorily and/or visually similar: E, I and D, B
  • Introduce some continuous sounds early: M, S
  • One study suggests introducing lower case letters first, unless upper case letters are similar in shape: (Similar: S, s, U, u, W, w; Dissimilar: R, r, T, t, F, f) Note: I have always taught capital and lowercase at the same time: Ss, Rr, Tt, so I do not disagree with this study, I myself and just unfamiliar with its effectiveness
  • Do not teach similar looking letters together: b, d, p, q
  • Introducing letters in isolation may confuse some children about the purpose of letters in relation to words and reading
  • Some letters take longer to visually discriminate: t, a, e, o, s, i

The many resources below provides suggestions for the sequence of teaching letters and sounds.

Sources:

http://www.readingrockets.org/blog/53818/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Hootsuite&utm_campaign=RRSocialMedia

http://livingmontessorinow.com/2010/09/07/in-what-order-should-you-introduce-letters-to-your-preschooler/

http://www.righttrackreading.com/teachphonemiccode.html

http://reading.uoregon.edu/big_ideas/au/au_programs.php

http://www.ciera.org/library/presos/2001/2001nrc/01nrcstahl/01nrcsta.pdf

http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/104134/chapters/phonics-and-word-study.aspx

The ABC’s of Teaching Letters

MP900439552

by: Andrea Howell Chouhan

The ABC’s of Teaching Letters

What is the first step in teaching a child to read? Letters and sounds instruction is the key! In simple terms, for a child to learn to read independently and construct meaning from text – he needs to be able to identify words automatically. He can do this after he decodes unknown words. In order to reach this point, children have to first learn the 44 speech sounds of letters and more than 100 spellings that are made.  Therefore, a child must first be able to identify letter names and then be able to produce letter sounds. Then, he will be ready to read! The next step is to implement a carefully planned and systematic presentation of explicit letter/sound teaching.

Which Letters Should Be Taught First?

The hardest question for researchers and professionals to answer is – “What order should the letters be taught?” Although there is not one universal answer to this question, there is great data to give professionals guidance in creating and/or implementing the necessary systematic order of instruction. Teachers everywhere successfully teach children to read. Children also learn differently. Quite honestly, there is no wrong order to teach letters. Many teachers follow the curriculum, which determines the letter order.

When deciding the order to teach the letters, please keep in mind what some research says.

What Does Research Say?

  • Some letters are harder to learn than others: U, Q, V
  • The following letters are most well-known by children, even if they have not been taught them: O, A, B
  • Children are most likely to learn the first letter of a their name more easily and quickly
  • Teach the letters in an order that allows a child to form many words with them (for example: C, M, A, T)
  • Begin with letters that make “simple sounds” that are easiest to stretch out and are easier to blend: M, S, F, R, N, L
  • Teach new sounds in small steps
  • Review previously taught letters and sounds
  • Introduce commonly encountered sounds before the infrequent sounds: For example, “A” occurs more commonly than “Q” or “V.”
  • Teach the letters that occur more frequently in most words. The most commonly occurring letters are: E, T, A, I, N, O, S, H, R, D, L, C
  • Introduce vowels early. A child must know the vowel sounds, in order to make and read words.
  • It is suggested to teach graphemes together, like C and H, C and K, T and H
  • Alphabetic order is not ideal because it does not address the needs listed above
  • Do not pair and teach together letters that are auditorily and/or visually similar: E, I and D, B
  • Introduce some continuous sounds early: M, S
  • One study suggests introducing lower case letters first, unless upper case letters are similar in shape: (Similar: S, s, U, u, W, w; Dissimilar: R, r, T, t, F, f) Note: I have always taught capital and lowercase at the same time: Ss, Rr, Tt, so I do not disagree with this study, I myself and just unfamiliar with its effectiveness
  • Do not teach similar looking letters together: b, d, p, q
  • Introducing letters in isolation may confuse some children about the purpose of letters in relation to words and reading
  • Some letters take longer to visually discriminate:  t, a, e, o, s, i

 Suggested Letter Order Instruction

 As a teacher, I always used the “letter order” sequence that was outlined by my school. I wondered what reasonings were behind teaching letters in a certain way. So, I set out and discovered that research proves that there are various effective methods for teaching letters in a systematic sequence. Below are the compilations of my finding. The last column is what I created based on the feedback that I received from other educators who used each of these systems.

Letter Order Suggestions

 

Public School in Houston

(No More Letter of the Week Method by P. Lusche)

 

Montessori Method (Montessori Matters by M. Carinato et.al)

Another

Montessori Method

(How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way by T. Seldin)

 

Right Track Reading

(by M. Gagen)

Combined Curriculums (Montessori & No More Letter of the Week)

Letters Overview

s, m, t, a, p, f, c

c, m, a, t

c, m, a, t

Letters Overview and 1st letter of childs name

Letters Overview and 1st letter of childs name

r, b, l, I, g, n, d

s, r, i, p

 s, f, r. n

Capital to Lowercase comparisons

Pp, Aa

h, j, k, w, o, u, v

b, f, o, g

n, l, e, b

Mm, Aa, Tt, Ss, Cc

Bb, Ll

y, z, x, q, e

h, j, u, l

i, h, d, g

Rr, Ii, Pp, Ff, Bb

Ss, Hh

d, w, e, n

o, k, p, j

Ll, Oo, Gg, Nn, Dd

Nn, Ww

k, q, v, x, y, z

 q, u, x

Hh, Jj, Uu, Qq, Ee

Ee, Cc

v, w, y, z

Vv, Ww, Yy, Kk, Xx, Zz

Qq, Uu

Rr, Yy

Gg, Zz

Dd, Oo

Ii, Jj

Ff, Xx

Vv, Kk

 Note: The first column shows how my school in Houston taught the letters. “No More Letter of the Week” was one resource, however, the letter order above was created by my school district.

The many resources below provide a plethora of suggestions for the sequence of teaching letters and sounds. So, glean what you will and happy teaching!

Sources:

http://www.readingrockets.org/blog/53818/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Hootsuite&utm_campaign=RRSocialMedia

http://livingmontessorinow.com/2010/09/07/in-what-order-should-you-introduce-letters-to-your-preschooler/

http://www.righttrackreading.com/teachphonemiccode.html

http://reading.uoregon.edu/big_ideas/au/au_programs.php

http://www.ciera.org/library/presos/2001/2001nrc/01nrcstahl/01nrcsta.pdf

http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/104134/chapters/phonics-and-word-study.aspx