It's time again for teachers to put up new standard-based bulletin boards. The Mall-ard Kindergarten Team have used their imagination and humor to showcase the work they do around Nursery Rhymes. The Nursery Rhyme unit was written at Chets Creek with the goal of providing more phonological awareness activities early in a child's school career using familiar words. Supporting resources can be found at the Chets Creek Kindergarten wiki.
Rhyming - Children practice rhyming many words early during this unit. They rhyme the words in the poems. They think of other words that rhyme with words in the poem. They can be seen playing Rhyming Bingo and Rhyming Lotto, matching puzzle picture couplets that rhyme, sorting pictures into rhyming groups and singing songs with rhyming words. As demonstrated on the left, children can be assessed by giving them a word and having them draw pictures of words that rhyme with the given picture.
Clapping Syllables - The Mall-ards show other work of students on this bulletin board around phonological awareness such as an assessment of the children showing that they can identify the number of syllables in a word. The children have done this activity using a variety of words many times orally. They have clapped their names and their classmates' names. They have clapped and sorted pictures as a group into the number of syllables for each word.
Beginning Phoneme Identity- In this activity children practice writing their name by putting it into a rhyme and then thinking of another word or picture that begins with the same sound as their name. There is nothing as powerful as using a child's own name!
Vocabulary - Because the words from the rhyme are used for many of the phonological activities, it is important that the student knows what each word means. We want words to have meaning from the very beginning and not be just a group of sounds that have no meaning. This activity of drawing some of the words in the rhyme especially supports our second language learners who may not be as familiar with these traditional American rhymes. As the teacher makes sure students know the words, she is also teaching the child one-to-one correspondence as she encourages each child to put one finger under one word as she says the poem to figure out what the word is that is to be drawn. The teacher reinforces looking at the first sound to help figure out the word - all reading strategies that are being taught simultaneously in Readers' Workshop.
Beginning, Middle, End and Sequencing - At the same time that students are learning about the beginning, middle and end of stories in more complex "Star Books" during Readers' Workshop, the students are practicing this same skill in a simpler way during Skills Block. Many of the Nursery Rhymes are actually short stories and by sequencing the events of the story and drawing the beginning, middle and end of these very short stories, the children are practicing the same skill that we will be asking of them in Readers' Workshop. We are asking them to identify the beginning of the story with its characters and setting. We are asking them to retell the middle of the story, identify the problem and then to remember the events in order. Finally we ask our children to retell the end of the story by explaining the solution to the problem. Because the Nursery rhyme is short and simple, it is easy for the teacher to use the rhyme to reinforce these retelling strategies and also the reading strategies that she is teaching such as using your finger to point to each word, using the first letter of a word to help you guess the word, and looking at the pictures. It is while reading nursery rhymes, which are in the child's independent reading bag and are going home each night as a book-in-the-bag, that most children begin to believe that they are really readers!
The Mall-ard Team is also known for its humor so no board would be complete without something that just makes you laugh out loud. This month that little something extra is pictures or Mrs. Mallon and Mrs. Dillard dressed up like little black sheep. No adult or child can look at those adorable pictures without knowing that this is a team where children laugh every day and simply enjoy the thrill of learning.