It is always a great relief to finally get into the fall season and be able to teach my students about weather and trees and animals and harvests. They enjoy the themes of fall and so do I! We are also beginning our exploration of patterns (math) and the colors of fall leaves are perfect for that. And we can count leaves and acorns and apples and lots of other interesting things.
We are still following the traditional “letter of the week” plan of emphasis, but I also take a “whole alphabet” approach from the very first week of school. We have looked at the first letter of each child’s name, said our alphabet each week, used ASL for each letter, and emphasized the importance of vowels. To demonstrate the use of vowels I put something like this on the board each week:
h _ t
h _ t
What determines which words those become? The vowels we use! So we get hot, hit, and hat by inserting the vowels. We have a song we sing about the two sounds of each vowel. We use ASL for each vowel as we sing about it. We have a variety of alphabet puzzles and books. I try everything I can think of to make the letters stay in these little brains! And each day I work with individual students on letters and sounds.
“Sight” words are difficult for some of my students so we read four of them each day, write them during handwriting, use them in sentences during morning circle, read “sight word poetry” during reading, and make little sight word booklets each week. We are keeping “word journals” of new words introduced, sight words, and names of friends and relatives. We also have “sight word searches” using our classroom books. And I encourage parents to write sight words on the bathroom mirror, on cards to be kept in the car, and on lists on the refrigerator.
Lots to do in the next few weeks! Believe it or not, it is less than a month until the end of our first nine weeks.