Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Supporting Writing Through Read-Aloud/Story Writing

     Many adults may think that teaching young children how to write does not have a large connection with reading and speaking, but they are all truly intertwined. When trying to support young writers, reading aloud to them is one of the best ways to help develop their skills. Giving children the opportunity to listen to a story being read aloud has a number of positives. They are able to really think about the story and discuss their opinions and ideas about it with the rest of the classroom. Teachers can incorporate a number of different types of discussions to stem off of read alouds as well. Story time can turn into meaningful talks about authors and illustrators, connections between different story lines, and life lessons that can accompany a story in a book. These types of skills will help children to become better writers because they will be able to think more critically about the types of stories that they are writing and to create a distinction between different levels and types of books/stories as well.
     Story writing is another activity that really allows children to get out of their writing comfort zone and create something new and original while also working on their literacy skills. There are many components to writing a good story and going through the process of creating a quality story in the classroom can assist children in critically looking at their own writing in the future. Helping children to create a strong story structure that includes solid characters and plot development will teach them to look for this in the stories that they read and give them the tools they need in order to critique someone elses story. Teaching children the various parts of stories such as setting, problems and solutions create more independent students and higher level writers. Giving students the task of describing all of the components of their stories is extremely helping in skill practice of literacy as well. It broadens their vocabulary and strengthens their imagination.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Children and Technology

Although children these days are completely surrounded by new and exciting forms of technology, they still need time to learn through nature and reality. So many children are stuck in front of a television all day instead of really interacting with the world around them and this is a travesty. Children need the time outdoors to explore animals, plants and the real world in itself. Sure, technology brings great things to learning and shows children things that they may not otherwise have the chance to see and experience, however, teachers and parents cannot solely rely on technology to teach their children everything they need to know. Creating a happy medium between real world teachings and using technology in the classroom is the best thing we can do for children. Technology should be used as a supplement in the classroom and at home instead of the main focus.
Using technology like Leap Pad and other educational video games are good sometimes because it gets children interested in learning and playing education games, but it should only be used sometimes. These games should be treated like any other video game in a child's life. They can be learning so much more through real life experiences with friends and family. Parents and teachers should be more focused on creating opportunities for children to visit new places and see new people rather than trying to recreate these experiences through technology.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sociodramatic Play and Literacy

Sociodramatic play is a very important part of literacy in a preschool classroom. Having the opportunity to use the imagination to create new and original stories is essential for a young person. In the sociodramatic play area in the classroom, children are able to use their creativity and imagination to be whoever they want to be and make new and exciting games for themselves and their friends. Many children fall into the trap of sticking to societal stereotypes and reenacting the same types of scenes in every classroom. Teachers should take the opportunity to show their classrooms the different types of play scenes that they may not be able to think of on their own. Taking children to different places such as a construction site or an art gallery will give the children new ideas to act out during play. Teachers should also give them different kinds of props for the play area to spark their interest and guide them in a new direction. Providing children with differing ideas and new vocabulary words to use during sociodramatic play can be a great help to them and will scaffold their thinking in a new direction!

Take Home Literature Packs

Take home literature packs are a great idea for students and families in the younger grades. These packs are full of activities for children and parents to do at home together! Completing these activities will allow children to learn and practice their literacy skills at home while getting the chance to spend more quality time with parents and siblings. These packs can be about anything from poetry to bed time to the rain. Each one that the teacher sends home with the student will focus on one topic and provide a booklist of books that associate with the given topic. Families are able to read these books together, either alone or aloud to one another and use them to discuss the topic afterwards. These packs are useful for all ages of children because the topics associate with things that they may be interested in. For teachers, they are an easy and non expensive way to get families more involved in the classroom!