With distance learning or in person learning while wearing masks- teaching phonics has become so much more difficult in Kindergarten. I found that teaching an isolated sound when the children can not really see my mouth is almost impossible. We are trying so hard at our school to adhere to every health and safety protocol, so not wearing an approved mask is off the table. So in addition to the rest of our literacy programming, we are adding in a video segment to our day. It really is the regular phonics teaching I would do face to face with my students, but I am recording it at home so I can play it in my classroom, or if we end up distance learning, I can embed the links into Brightspace or Google classroom. The first two weeks of school we focus almost solely on routines, kindness, and recognizing our names in print. Then we begin our phonics program.
We start with the letter A for a few reasons. Because it is the first letter of the alphabet, it prevents parents from getting stressed thinking that I somehow missed a bunch of letters. When I send home my calendar I tell them that we start with A and then we move around the alphabet so we can make words quickly so we move from isolated letters and sounds directly into reading and communicating with words. It is very very exciting that in just a few weeks they have words they can build, read and manipulate sounds, even in Junior Kindergarten! Each week I will add a video introducing our next letter and we will begin building our skills together.
Activities for A week
Letter T- Week 2
Activities for T week
Out Thankfulness Trees were a terrific success. We traced our hands onto watercolour paper and emphasized making the /t/ sound as we traced around our hand with a pencil . We then traced the pencil line with an oil pastel still making the /t/ sound. Then we painted the tree trunk, sky, and grass with watercolours. I interviewed each student over the week and they told me things they were thankful for and we added them to the finger branches. The last part was using the tip of a Q-tip to tap the leaves onto the tree tops with Tempera Paint.
We spent most of our week talking about Terry Fox and how he wasn’t afraid to try. We are working hard at building resilience within our students, and Terry was an excellent example for all of us. We also brought in toonies for Terry, and ran the Terry Fox run in just our cohort on Friday. It was a totally terrific week!
Next week we will be working on the letter S!
Letter S- Week 3
Activities for S week
We also studied shadows in our science centre, observed some snails, and built some snake habitats with our loose parts. I would say it was a super week with the letter S. Join us next week as we learn about the letter Ii !
Letter G week was a big transition week for our class as we were all moved from in-person learning to distance learning. It was called a pivot, and teachers were expected to use our Winter break to prepare and be somehow independently trained as we went live the first day back. Teaching at school during a pandemic was tough, and everyone needed a break from that stress. To have to use our very well earned down time to prepare for a whole new way of teaching was brutal. We have such a great group of students and families that were so kind and patient with us as we continued to learn how to teach from home as we were teaching.
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