Sunday, 14 July 2013

Alphabet posters

I had a contract earlier this year with, as I mentioned last time, a group of wonderful 5 year old people. I walked into this class with no background knowledge other than 'their regular teacher was away on a cruise and the teacher originally booked to cover this period had a family tragedy and was, at the last minute, unable to take the class'. I had all of one day to prepare so our first day together was a whirlwind of formative assessment couched as getting to know you activities.

I'll admit that I found my first day in this class terrifying! Aside from walking in with only generic plans (and feeling woefully under-prepared), these children had already experienced a week of a relief teacher and come from a community that doesn't welcome strangers particularly readily.  Let's just say that they didn't share my enthusiasm for getting to know each other. And why should they? They already knew each other!

That being said, we pretty quickly settled into a routine of morning literacy and numeracy blocks.  We ran explicit class discussions followed by 5-6 work stations through which the children moved.  Several mornings each week I was incredibly lucky enough to have in-class support for the two children with special needs. This allowed me to work with small groups in 'guided reading' type activities. (In as much as guided reading is possible with children who are still in the early days of letter/word recognition.)

One of all of our favourite literacy stations was creating alphabet posters. We made a few varieties ranging from cutting jumbled letters and pasting them into order, to a space themed poster (letters were written on stars and planets) during our space week.

Everyone's favourite poster was inspired by a pin that you can see here. (What a surprise that I found inspiration on Pinterest!!!) It was basically a grid with each 'hole' containing a letter written in a different colour crayon and painted with a water colour wash.

 It's not a particularly difficult process but it does take lots of patience because there are a few steps.

  1. Draw the grid. (I draw one before class and photocopied it because I know myself well enough to admit that I simply do NOT have the patience to have helped every child with theirs individually, and also to admit that I'm a perfectionist and wanted these to have reasonably regular grids.)
  2. Write the letters in each hole. We wrote ours in pencil first and then traced over with crayon but if you're brave confident enough you could go straight to crayon.
  3. Trace over the grid lines with crayon. (I had to help some of my little guys with this because drawing along the edge of a ruler actually requires quite some fine motor control.)
  4. Carefully paint each grid hole with different coloured watercolour paint. If you're a perfectionist (like me... Are you starting to sense that this was not the best project choice for me?) then it's best to walk away at this point because if you're working with 5 year olds they WILL use too much water/paint and the colours WILL mix. I worked REALLY hard to keep smiling and calmly repeat "not too much water, wipe your brush on the edge" over and over and over and over... In the end the children did a marvellous job and I was able to breathe easily again.
 When I photocopied the grids I also trimmed the pages a little so that I could mount them on coloured paper more easily. We thought they looked great.

What's your favourite alphabet art activity?

(Art Projects for Kids is the blog where this project was originally published and is quite brilliant, but I suggest you make a cup of tea and pull up a comfy chair because it's a treasure trove so you'll want to settle in for an afternoon of oohing and ahhing!)

No comments:

Post a Comment