Friday, November 7, 2014

Letter A Week: William Edition

Going into William's first official week learning the alphabet, I have mixed feelings.   I wonder if Natalie's success in school has anything to do with the fact I spent this time with her.  I worry that William won't like to do these activities, though I have hope that he will enjoy them if I make it about special time we spend together.  I know William already knows uppercase A, so if we have a little bit of a rough time the first week, like Natalie did at first, then at least he already knows this letter. 

I forgot that our regular library day was a holiday, so we got a late start on Letter A books. 

Alligator Alphabet - Stella Blackstone
Little Apple Goat - Caroline Jayne Church
Snip Snap, What is That? - Mara Bergman
Alligators All Around - Maurice Sendak
Ten Apples Up On Top - Dr Seuss
Aladdin (Little Golden Book)
I Am an Apple - Jean Marzzalo
Alligator Arrived with Apples - Crescent Dragonwagon (HUH?)
Airplanes - Byron Barton
Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator - Mo Willems
But I am an Alligator - Lauren Child
I Want to be an Astronaut - Byron Barton
The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot - Margaret McNamara
Apple Farmer Annie - Monica Wellington

Key Words:
apple, airplane, apron, alien, alligator, astronaut

Abby, Aladdin, Anikin, Amadala, Aurora, Ariel,

Full Alphabet Books:
A B C Kids by Simon Basher
Star Wars ABC
ABC of Cookies (Sesame Street)
Eating the Alphabet by Lois Elhert
Max's ABC by Rosemary Wells (features ants!)
Kipper's A to Z by Mick Inkpen

Here is our full alphabet playlist. 

Games / Apps:
Super Why.  (I'll get more info on what it is specifically called).  This was perfect for us.  Had tracing letters and finding letters, including the sounds.  

Letter crafts:
One change with William is I'm going to introduce upper and lowercase together.  So, we are going to do an upper and lowercase paper craft to hang in the hall every week.  This will mean making them half the size if we have any chance of them all fitting.

I was going to have William make uppercase A into an anthill with finger print ants, but due to the library being closed and my getting sick, we couldn't get Max's ABC, so we did an alligator instead.  

Uppercase A - alligator
Lowercase a - apple

I'm excited about this part of letter of the week.  Natalie really enjoyed making these, and since William loves the crafts at the library, I think he will, too, especially if he gets to practice cutting and gets to glue stuff.  I made all of Natalie's letters into a book when I took them down, and I am looking forward to making William his own special alphabet book, too. 

I'm anticipating William to like working with objects even more than Natalie did since he doesn't really enjoy coloring or drawing, though I will still encourage coloring and writing.  Here is our list of options, and I'll highlight the ones he really enjoyed. 
  • Read books.  (see above)
  • Play games/apps on computer or tablet. (see above)
  • Trace letter with manipulatives (rocks, buttons, pom poms, cereal pieces, etc), stickers, or Do-a-Dot markers
  • Magnet pages
  • Playdoh.  He loved this.  We used the A cookie cutter as well as an Abby (from Sesame Street), two apples, and an airplane.  We also pressed the upper and lowercase magnet letters into the playdoh. 
  • Watch playlists.  (We did this every morning before watching any other TV).
  • Sing alphabet song
  • Tracing letters with a finger in books
  • Finding letters in environmental print (We had a great talk about letters reading the engraved sign at the park. He found the A's, but then asked me the sounds of many other letters). 
  • Alphabet stampers
  • Play with toys from letter bin
  • Tracing sheets
  • Lacing cards
  • Puzzles.  I had some paper ones that made a simple picture with one sentence featuring the letter.  He also enjoy a full alphabet puzzles, both upper and lower.  
  • Hand print animals
  • Lego letters
  • Painting over taped off letters
  • Rubbings 
  • Matching.  Match A to A or A to a.   We can use magnet letters for this or print outs.  
  • Watch letter related movies.  (For letter A it was Aladdin and Aristocrts).
Here is the link to William's letter A playlist. 


I have ideas for games that involve the whole body, but most of them won't work yet because this is the first letter.   
  • Build block towers with letters with know
  • Tape letters to floor; jump on letter called out
  • Place letters on floor or tape loosely on wall; race to find letter and bring it back (could also use letter magnets)
  • Toss bean bags featuring letters 
  • Scavenger hunt.  Can do this either hiding the letters or looking around for items that start with the sounds.  

Sadly, this was a great idea, but I never got to it...
Near the end of teaching Natalie the alphabet, I came across sheets that had a story a few sentences long with many uses of the highlighted letter.  Natalie liked looking for the letters and circling them.  This time around, I think making my own to use in addition to those would be fun and more likely to engage William.  The idea is to make story pages with items in house starting with letter of the week.  I'll take a picture and print the story with the letter of the week in color.  William circles / colors / do-a-dots all the letters, and then we act out the scenario with the toys.

Tentative A stories:
  • Aladdin and an alligator fly an airplane to get apples from Applejack.  
  • Amadala, Ariel, and Auora gather acorns under the arch.  
  • An ambulance drives through the arch to get Anikan who hurt his arm.  
  • An astronaut flies an airplane full of angry aliens.  
Even though I didn't make these sheets, William did spend a lot of time playing with the toys in the letter A bin, especially covering them in playdoh and then decorating the playdoh with letters and acorns.  

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