Earlier in the day, I read to the entire class about Crictor, the Boa Constrictor. The children loved seeing the letters and numbers that Crictor could form with his body. Think about the letters on the page. Some are round, some are straight, and some are curvy. When a child learns to recognize these lines and shapes, he is building early skills that will help him recognize numbers and letters. When they start reading, children often learn to recognize words by their “shape.” When adults read quickly, they do the same thing.
At one of the students tables, I meet with a group of four students. Do you remember any of the letters or numbers that Crictor formed? The children reply: "S!" "e!" "8!" Today you will be doing two activities with me. The first activity is for the you to form the letters and numbers with pretend Crictors that are made from a piece of green rope. Using the self-correcting sheet, you will model your letters and numbers from the pictures on the sheet. Let's try one together. Can you form the letter "s". Make the letter by putting the head at the top. Remember our song about where we start our letters--at the top! Once you have made the letters on the self-checking sheet, try to see what other letters you can form.
Children are encouraged to see if they can form any other letters with the "snake", and then they need to tell me the name of the letters that they have made.
I think you are ready to go on to our next activity.
Getting ready to read and write means being able to recognize, match, sort and know the sounds of some letters. Children encounter letters all day long. The children are now at a point in the year to differentiate between letters or numbers.
You did a terrific job forming the letters and numbers. Now I think you are ready to go on to our next activity. The second activity is to to sort the cards into two piles, one of letters and one of numbers. Each of you will need a set of Crictor Sorting Cards and a sorting mat. After the cards are sorted, the child uses the Self Checking page to see if they sorted correctly.
Tell me about the cards that are on this side of the sorting mat. What do they have in common? Can you tell me the name of each the items on the cards? What makes this side different than the other side?
I think you are ready to work independently.
Using a set of printed (not snake bodies) letter and numbers card, the child completes a Letter and Number Sort. This page can show if the child can transfer what he/she practiced in the small group to his/her daily work. I have the students turn in this page so I can look over it after school. Usually, I like to give immediate feedback, but because we did two activities before the worksheet, I will not have the time to check and still have time for another group of students. If there is something that concerns me about the sorting page, I will meet with that student the next day to review.
You have really shown me that you can form and sort letters and numbers. My challenge for you to do at the word work station is for you to do a cut and paste letter and number sort. All of the letters will go on the left side and the numbers will go on the right. I think it is a good idea for you to cut out the pieces and then sort them on your paper before you glue. That way you can make any changes more easily than peeling the sticky pieces from your sorting mat. If you need my assistance, raise your hand and I'll come to see you, but please do not come over and interrupt while I work with my next group. Put your completed work in the basket for me to look at later.