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Irony, Preschool Style

18 Sep

During the first two weeks of preschool we really emphasize the importance of proper hand washing. 

We read the book Those Mean Nasty Dirty Downright Disgusting but…Invisible Germs by Judith Anne Rice.  This is a wonderful book with great illustrations on what an earache germ, a headache germ, a sore throat germ, a fever germ and the most downright disgustingest germ of all, the throw up germ, just might look like.  Rosa, the smart little girl in the book, knows how to get rid of those terrible germs and she sends them whirling, twirling down the drain.  We read this book over and over again. 

We practice coughing and sneezing into our elbow.  We show how germs spread by using glitter and shaking hands.  We talk about the proper steps for hand washing.  You know the drill… wet, soap, scrub (sing a little song), rinse and dry.  We are even growing germy bread for a science experiment. 

What is germy bread?  It’s a slice of bread (preferably one that doesn’t have preservatives) which everyone in the class touches with their dirty, moist little hands.  Gross, right?  Wait a week, and then you can be completely downright disgusted by those not-so invisible germs.

We should have those germs well under control, right? 

Sure.

Except that I’m the one who now has the sore throat germ, the headache germ, and the earache germ.   

Irony, preschool style.

Mrs. V

On Monday, I will not be surprised if I get asked by a student if I forgot to wash my hands.

Reading Readiness

16 Jun

Reading Readiness

The other day I heard about the “Your Baby Can Read” infomercial. Out of curiousity I googled this infomercial, and both the mom and the teacher in me wanted to cry.

Has our society really come to this? Are parents really buying this video? Is it necessary for such young children to learn to read? Is placing them in front of a video and using flashcards really the best way to teach children?

Parents want so desperately to give their children a head start in this hyper-competitive world, that I can see how this video/flashcard system can be a moneymaker for its creators.

“You’re forgetting about Reading Readiness! Children will read when they are ready to read! Let babies be babies! Let children be children!”

I am teacher hear me roar.

I’ll back up that roar with some suggestions for Reading Readiness for infants through preschoolers that I’ve learned as both a teacher and a parent.

My guess is they cost a lot less than what any infomercial can sell you.

1. Read to your child. Everyday. It should be an enjoyable activity.

2. It is a wonderful thing when a child wants to hear the same story over and over again. Read it until you have it memorized, and then read it many times more.

3. Talk to your child. Ask your child questions, even when they are too young to answer. (Always pause and give them time to answer.) Tell your child what your are doing. Provide a running commentary as you go about your day. Talk, talk, talk!

4. What difference can following numbers 1,2 and 3 make? Tens of thousands of words! Children are a blank slate, capable of learning ANY language in the world. Just imagine the vocabulary you can teach your child.

5. Sing songs that rhyme. If you can’t sing, then chant nursery rhymes. Rhyming is so important for hearing the ending sounds of words. Many children love silly songs and poems, and may create some of their own.

6. Alliteration is the beginning sounds of words. Find songs or poems with alliteration. Teach them to your children. “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.” Children will learn to hear (and feel with their mouth) the beginning sounds of words.

7. Sing the ABC song over and over again. Everyday. You can even use a small chart and point to each letter as you sing it. You would be amazed how many children think that “LMNOP” is one giant letter. Many children think that there is an “N” between Y and Z. 

8. While reading a story to your child, ask questions about the story. “What color is the dog? Do you think the dog will ever get home? What will the dog do next? Did you like the story?” This builds comprehension and vocabulary.

9. If you think your child might not know a word, give it a definition. “Do you know what a spade is?” (Wait a little while for a response, even for non-talkers.) “Spade is another word for shovel. Do you see the spade?” Then point to the picture.

10. When reading a story follow the words with your finger. Left to right, return sweep, top to bottom, front to back. Let your child help to turn the page.

11. Talk about the front and back of the book. Talk about the author and illustrator. Are the pictures drawn, painted, colored or are the pictures photographs? This helps build print awareness.

12. Let children see you reading books, recipe books, magazines, and newspapers. Take children to the library. They will be able to see that words are important to you.

13. Talk about the print all around you. There is environmental print everywhere. You find print on cereal boxes, snack bags, signs and toys. The possibilities are endless, and this is another opportunity for print awareness.

14. Remember that letter identification and letter sounds will be learned when the time is right. Each child who can learn, will learn when they are ready. 

15. Relax, read a book, and have a conversation.

Children grow up too fast, so let’s stop pushing the fast forward button.

Mrs. V

A book you can really sink your teeth into

30 Jul

No, it isn’t Pillars of the Earth, World Without End or even Dr. Zhivago.  Those books are all great reads, and I’ve read the first two this summer, and I’m currently reading the third one.

But I’m rambling.  Again.

I’m talking about a children’s book.  This particular children’s book is one that I start off every school year with. 

Here it is…

Drum roll please…

  Don’t Eat the Teacher written by Nick Ward.

This fabulous story is about Sammy the Shark’s very first day at school and his “unfortunate habit (as all young sharks do) of biting things” when he gets very excited.  You’ll follow Sammy through his school day as he learns many new lessons.  At the end of the day Sammy’s mom asks him what he has learned on his first day of school.  Guess which is the most important lesson of all? 

It is a sweet, simple, very funny story that grabs those little preschoolers’ attentions right away.  It’s predictable, and they can guess what might happen next, so it provides interaction with the students who are just beginning to know me as their teacher.  I like that it gives my preschoolers the confidence to speak up and contribute at storytime, right from the beginning of the school year. 

My copy is 10 years old.  It was my son’s book when he was little.  It is dog-eared, colored in, and torn in some spots.  It is a well-loved book, and I may have to put it into retirement and purchase another copy. 

So get yourself over to the library and “check it out.”  (I think that was a Reading Rainbow line.)  Watch those Scholastic Book Orders for it, or I think you can find it used here.

Enjoy!

Mrs. V