For some reason, all of the students I have ever worked with have always loved using dry erase markers and white boards, and the same has proven true with my own little students, right here under my roof. Maybe it’s the novelty, maybe it’s the ease with which the letters and marks erase with a tissue, or maybe it’s just that they’re different; whatever the reason is, Maddy, Owen, and Cora were little dry erase artists this morning.
- White Board Fun: I still had the dry erase markers out from our recipe check-off yesterday, so I pulled out a few of the ole white boards. I just had my kiddos doodle around on their boards for a long while, then while Maddy and Owen were writing, erasing, writing more, erasing more, I worked with Cora on pronouncing words.
With Cora, I’d draw two simple pictures–a fish and a heart–and say, Cora tell me what this is (point to an object) or this is (point to the other). She’d point to one and say it as best as she could. Sometimes she’d say both words; sometimes she’d say only one. I tried not to correct her; rather, I’d simply repeat it the way it should be pronounced adding the color that I drew it in. After she said a word correctly, I’d say, Yes! You’re right! That’s a (color) (object)! Then I’d erase that picture and draw another. If she didn’t point to one after a while, I’d point to it myself and say, This is a tree. A green tree. We did this for a while–until my bank of simple pictures was repeated several times and exhausted. Then I handed her the marker, and she got drawing.
With Owen, I drew an ‘x’ and an ‘o’ at the top of two columns on his board. I asked him to make 3 of each in the columns then circle the one he thought was his best. We did this with each of the colors of markers (green, blue, red, and black). Then I put a square and a triangle at the top of the columns to see if he could handle those. For the first two, I put a dot at each of the corners so he could connect them. He did the last ones on his own. He’d again circle his best. The progressive practicing of these shapes will prepare him for writing letters and numbers. (Handwriting Without Tears–2005, Olsen)
Maddy wants to read and write desperately, so I really let her take the reins. She asked me how to spell several words for a story she was writing, so I did just that. However, I used the methods outlined in Guiding Readers and Writers (2001 Heinemann)–more of a cooperative writing than me just spelling words for her.
- She asked, How do I spell ‘goldfish‘, and I would guide her through it, writing the word on my own sheet as we went along. I’d say, Let’s think about this. Goldfish. GGGoldfish. What sound do you hear at the beginning of the word? Right, a ‘g’. (We’d both write the letter.) Then if I thought she could distinguish the sound, I’d help her sound it out; if it was a difficult vowel, blend, or silent letter, I’d write it myself and tell her as I wrote it.
At this point, beginning and ending sounds are easiest to distinguish for learners at Maddy’s stage. Segmenting middle sounds and vowels are more difficult. If she wanted to write a word or series of words without my help, I let her–any sort of attempt at writing should be encouraged and praised.
Voila! There was our white board excitement and bit of learning for today!