I love listening to Parker sing the Alphabet Song. He’s so enthusiastic and always ends with, “Yeah!!!” and self applause. He already has the ability to recognize the letters of the alphabet by name, sight, and sound. I think back to what Bryce and I have done to facilitate his strong phonemic awareness and I wonder if Brandon will develop a similar strength with the exposure to a literacy rich environment. Then I think about the students I have who don’t have the level of phonemic awareness that Parker has and I determine how I can teach them the same skills. Here are some of the ideas we use with Parker and Brandon:
Letter magnets on the fridge
Foam letters for the bathtub
Phonics related videos
Wooden craft letters
Writing letters in the air
Physical movement to each syllable: clap, jump…
Teaching letter families (-at, -ed, -ot, etc.)
I also incorporate the above strategies into my lessons for my non-readers at school. The idea is to make it fun and they won’t even know you’re instructing. I’m hoping one day I’ll hear one of my students self-applaud and congratulate themselves, too.
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead to where there is no path and leave a trail.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
This quote struck a chord with me. I think it really defines what my husband and I want for our boys. At this age we want them to remain the curious beings that they are and allow them the freedom to experience as much as possible. As they get older, this might mean that they go against the grain and investigate ways to develop their own identity. Teach them to think outside the box. Allow them to explore their own ideas and make their own unique mark on the world.
So what do we do to encourage this independent thinking? We nurture the whole child. Provide them with exposure to a wide variety of people and places. Encourage their questions. We make any trip to the park, zoo, or even the grocery store an adventure and open their eyes to something different every time. I like to expose my kids to different types of music, art, and texts. We foster their emotional side with love and hugs, teaching them how to communicate effectively to meet their needs. We encourage their independence and free thinking.
Bryce and I hope that by raising Parker and Brandon to know that they have options and what those options are, they will be happy and productive who feel confident enough to pursue their hearts’ desire, even if it’s a lemonade stand when they are young.
Video Librarian is the video review magazine for public, school, academic, and special libraries, as well as video fans who are interested in a wider variety of titles than what’s found in the average video store. The reviews are written by staff, librarians, teachers, and film critics. Video Librarian recently reviewed the Fascinating World of Insects in the September/October 2012 issue and gave the video 3 1/2 out of 4 stars with the Highly Recommended designation. The review is below:
Colorful still photos, microphotography, and live-action footage are combined to illustrate a variety of bugs in action—accompanied by cheerful background music—in this handsomely produced nature documentary. A female narrator introduces young viewers to the fascinating world of insects: what they eat, how they benefit humans, and how they respond to threats. Many will recognize several of the 11 featured specimens: grasshopper, ladybug, rhino beetle, firefly, mosquito, honeybee, water strider, ant, praying mantis, dragonfly, and butterfly. Although the squeamish may cringe at close-up shots of eyes, proboscises, and larvae, the program avoids scary depictions of insects devouring each other or being consumed. Body parts are clearly illustrated—legs, wings, horns, and so on—while new vocabulary words such as “entomologist” and “species” appear onscreen against a vivid green forest background as definitions are given. Five quizzes provide opportunities to recognize and name insects (or parts thereof), test one’s knowledge of characteristics, and choose (from multiple choices) the meanings of the “big words” introduced in the film. Also newly available is The Fascinating World of Mammals. Highly recommended. Aud: E, I, P. (M. Puffer-Rothenberg)
The Dr. Toy’s program is produced by experienced toy industry professional, Dr. Toy, well-qualified Child Development Specialist (MA and Ph.D. in Special Education and Child Psychology) who focuses on unique, high quality, active, creative, and educational products. The Dr. Toy’s program is now in its 20th year. As an award winner, BrainFood Learning is recognized by Dr. toy as one of the “cutting edge” companies providing the most innovative, developmentally appropriate products for children.
About The Fascinating World of Birds :
The Fascinating World of Birds is part of an outstanding DVD series designed by BrainFood Learning to build confidence in science through fun and interesting content. The video advances a child’s education by showing amazing video footage along with narration describing bird features and abilities. It is appropriate for kids of all ages. Each bird is clearly identified and shown in their natural habitat keeping children engaged. More advanced children will enjoy learning more complicated concepts such as depth perception. It helps answer questions such as, Why an ostrich eats rocks? How a robin gets its worm? Which bird’s call is as loud as a chainsaw? Your young ornithologist will learn the answers to these questions and more. Birds featured in the video include ostrich, penguin, Canada goose, owl, hummingbird, woodpecker, macaw, pelican, American robin, and eagle. This well made and informative video is ideal for home and school. A multi-section review reinforces information presented earlier in the video. This is a great educational tool. The beginner level reviews show bird flash cards and points out what features are common among all birds. The more advanced levels quiz children on bird facts and broader scientific terms related to birds.
I just had to share a funny story from last night. I had Parker in the bath and he pushed some of his toys to the bottom of the bathtub. He said, “Mommy, these are buoyant!” He explained to me that buoyant meant the toys would go to the top of the water. I agreed with him and asked who taught him the word buoyant. “Daddy,” he said. “He’s really smart.”
It just goes to show we can’t assume that just because kids are so young they shouldn’t be taught bigger ideas or vocabulary. Expose your children to your everyday vocabulary. Don’t water it down. Help them establish strong background knowledge. Your kids will surprise you with what they absorb!