Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Dingle Dangle Scarecrow

This is one of my favourite fall poems. The words create very vivid images and the rhythm is very appealing to young children. I have two scarecrows that I use as a focal point while we recite the poem. We spend a month approximately with this poem and I always begin it on the first day of fall.

Poetry is an effective tool for learning to read. Shorter poems of four to eight lines can be learned in a week, and the students put the sheet in their duo-tang on Friday. They point to the words as they recite the poem and learn to move their finger under each word as they "read" the words.

Click to enlarge and print.

The Dingle Dangle Scarecrow

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Nature Deprivation

I have heard that young people are suffering from "nature deprivation". I saw this very clearly recently when I was watching a tournament for high school students on Jeopardy. The young "whiz kid" was shown a picture of two acorns attached to a branch with a leaf visible. The correct answer was "oaks" from the proverb about the acorn and the mighty oak. The girl said "pines". I concluded that she did not recognize oaks or pines.

This anecdote definitely indicates a trend. Young people are being separated from nature because of lifestyle. When was the last time you saw a child lying in the grass looking at the clouds?

Most people think chickens lay eggs. What is a hen? What does a rooster do? (Besides crow, that is?) And how many people younger than 50 have heard a rooster crow for that matter?

How many young people have seen vegetables growing in a garden?

Something to think about!

I would like to suggest a wonderful book for parents to buy for their children:
In My Backyard by Margreit Ruurs, illustrated by Ron Broda, a Canadian who does paper sculpture art.

Friday, September 9, 2011

September in Grade One

Another year at school has begun and most of the students in grade one are very excited to be back at school.

The most important thing to teach in grade one is routine, routine, routine! Remember that two months ago, these students were in kindergarten.

In fact, introducing students to the grade one curriculum needs to be secondary to routine. Do not panic and think that you will not cover the curriculum if you don't start immediately! Students who understand the classroom routines will feel secure and learn more efficiently.

I usually leave social studies and science until the third week of September. I spend the first two weeks concentrating on reading stories, learning rhymes, simple numeration, and most important of all, beginning a writing program.

The students have a journal of course, but I like to begin right away teaching them to organize a notebook and to copy a sentence from chart paper. The first page has two sentences:

My name is______.

I am a girl. (or boy)

The notebook has the same format as their journal, and they are expected to illustrate what they have written.

This notebook is a very important part of the students' writing program because they learn to organize, copy, and they are using words that are part of their experience.