Saturday, August 3, 2013

Literacy Activity Bag #1 - A is for Alligator

I've been working on creating some new Take Home Literacy Activity bags for my classroom this year.  My goal is to have 30-40 of them so each child can take one home each week for the duration of the school year.  They're slow going, but once I get started, they develop quite nicely! 

So, today... I'm sharing with you my first "complete" bag - everything's there!  I have four others in various stages - waiting on books, materials, etc to arrive.  They'll be done soon enough and I'll be sure to share those as well!

Before I share the specifics of this kit, I thought I'd share that each of the kits I've created are intended to share with families for a week-long time frame and have learning activities that focus on different areas of the Head Start Early Learning Framework.  Once the families return the kit, their child may then select another to take home.   PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE leave a message if you're interested in purchasing any of these kits and I'll make them available for purchase!!!

Contents (most available for download):
  • Snap! A book about alligators and crocodiles, by Melvin and Gilda Berger
  • Alligator Baby, by Robert Munsch
  • Learning Activities Guide
  • Venn Diagram (homemade with felt) and Venn Diagram sentence strips 
  • Alligator's Hungry (scissor cutting story)
  • Alligator-themed scissors
  • A is for Alligator tracing sheet/Phonological Awareness Activities
 The two books were selected based on the idea of focusing on letter A with an alligator theme.  Robert Munsch's Alligator Baby is a book that has been shared with my groups of students in the past and has very much been enjoyed.  Snap!: A book about alligators and crocodiles was selected due to it's ability to act as a science activity and expose children to non-fiction text. 

From there, once the books were selected, I created the Learning Activities guide for parents.  This gives them the specifics about the included activities, as well as a guide for discussion based on the two stories included in the kit.  As you can see in the picture, the content area from the Head Start Early Learning Framework is shared so parents can see exactly what academic area they are focusing on.  Then, the guide gives the information about how to use each activity.  Lastly, there is a space with an example for parents so they are able to provide feedback on how the activity went over with their child - was the activity enjoyed?  Was it successful?  Did the child struggle?  This guide is laminated and then hooked onto the handles of the bag using key rings.  When the kit is taken home by a child, a copy of the same sheet will be provided, with blank boxes for the feedback.  This will serve as the tracking sheet for homework response and In-Kind purposes. 

The Venn Diagram activity may be a bit too complex for some of the 4's I work with.  However, I figure if I expose them to using this as a means for sorting throughout the school year, they may have enough of an understanding to be able to handle the activity!  It is intended to be used with the sentence strips (which contain details pulled from the Snap!: A book about alligators and Crocodiles) as a comprehension activity.  I'm hoping that parents will read the strips and ask the children "Is that something that you know about the alligator?  The crocodile?  Or both the alligator AND the crocodile?"  The venn diagram was made by sewing pieces of blue, yellow and green felt together to form the shape.  The sentence strips were laminated and have a piece of velcro on the back so they stick to the felt while completing the activity.

Many of the students I have worked with in the past have not had access to scissors at home, despite
my providing them in the previous supply kits I've sent home.  Parents are leery of allowing children access to these and for this reason (and difficulty with cutting activities at school) I thought a great way to allow this exposure at home would be to provide parents with a story of sorts to help them work with their child on cutting and scissor use.  I found the alligator scissors online and created my own story about how to use the scissors.  I also plan on using this same story at school while teaching children how to use scissors!

The last activity in the bag is a letter writing story, which will hopefully help children in forming both upper- and lower-case Aa.  I created those stories myself as well, centered on the alligator theme.  The sheet is laminated and I will provide a dry erase marker and eraser for use with the worksheet.  On the back side of the same sheet, is a phonological awareness activity that has children circling pictures of items that begin with the /a/ sound and then a column for parents to try and see if their child can come up with a list of words that start with letter Aa.

If you have any questions feel free to ask!  More kits to come soon!

If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to I am an Amazon Affiliate, so any purchases you make after clicking these images will result in my receiving a small percentage of the sale price!