Sharing Early Literacy Learning Journeys

It’s easy to forget how quickly the ‘new children’ finish drawings, yet how slowly some eat their lunches. Such a contrast to the ‘end of year children’ who, just six weeks ago, took time with detailed drawings and gobbled their lunches so they could race to the playground.

Middle session: 11:30 – 1:30

Returning to the classroom
After lunch play, the children put hats in their bags, have drinks and move to the mat area.

Storytime
Children settle and listen to funny read alouds. These read aloud books are first day favourites – the stories are humorous, contain delightful illustrations, use lots of rhyme and big print makes it easy for the children to see the words: Mem Fox’s Where is the Green sheep? Boo to a Goose and David Shannon’s No David and David Goes to School

The children love David Shannon’s ‘David Goes to School’
and laugh at David’s antics (pg. 10-11, here).
One first day we read it 4 times!

Introducing the calendar wall¹
Reading, writing and number are key ingredients of the calendar tasks: from left to right… date, day, attendance and number of days at school. Children are actively involved: e.g. girls stand to be counted and boys stand to be counted for attendance. After the first day, the calendar routine is first thing in the morning and by week 4, the children take turns to be the ‘calendar person’ and lead the class through the calendar tasks.

The calendar wall is in the mat area for all to see and participate in.

 

Transition from Calendar to Class Book with action rhymes

Draw name pages for Class Book²
On the mat, the children read their names on prepared A4 papers. Each name is in big print at the bottom of the paper. The children draw large, colourful self-portraits on their papers. The completed pages go into an A4 display book to become a Class Book for shared, independent and home reading. Children are excited to read a Class Book about themselves, on the first day!

One teacher extended this strategy by putting the completed pages into youblisher for the children to read from the IWB. A great idea!

The children draw pictures of themselves
on the prepared pages

All the name pages/pictures are put into
an A4 display book for class reading.

¹Dates with the Calendar, p. 22,  and ²First Day Names and Portraits, p. 34, are detailed in Teaching Strategies for Literacy in the Early Years 

Activity time
Before free play ‘activity time’, the class reads the ‘expected behaviours’ on the board, that were compiled in the morning. The children practise the behaviours as they ‘play/work’ at blocks, duplo, pattern blocks, magnetic letters, small whiteboards, home/drama, puppets, collage, drawing, writing and reading.

Go slowwwww… to establish the routines for packing up. I help the children read the labels and put materials back in the ‘right’ places on the shelves.

Outdoor play and toilet break
Establishing orderly routines for line ups and exits helps keep children safe . Walking quietly to the playground helps the children understand their responsibilities in not disturbing other classes en route. Children play on the playground equipment (15 minutes), have drinks, go to the toilets, wash hands and walk back to the classroom.

Journals: drawing and writing (or as a Prep colleague says, ‘driting’)
To ensure the children write on the first day, I introduce ‘journal’ writing on A4 papers. Children write their names and draw and write about an experience or item of interest. It’s a perfect time to observe which children tackle drawing and writing with confidence.

On ‘sticky notes’, I record names of children who write their names and/or attempt writing words and sentences – and tuck the ‘sticky notes’ in my pocket for use later.

(The Botany books that become Journals, aren’t unpacked yet. Children will start using them tomorrow).

Sharing time
Some children volunteer to share their ‘driting’ with the class.


A child’s free drawing and writing


Some children draw and I scribe their stories.

1:30 – 2:00 Afternoon Tea: snack and play outside
Starting 10-15 minutes early helps establish the routine of children getting their food and going out for afternoon play.

Last session: 2:00 – 2:50

I’m at the line up area early to reassure children they are at the right spot.
Children put hats in their bags, have drinks and move to the mat area.
Mozart wafts from the CD player as children cool down and relax on the floor for 5-10 minutes.

Storytime
The children settle on the mat for read alouds of ‘easy read’ books. Beginning readers and those already reading, usually join in and read. Children’s comments about sentences, words and letters reveal their understanding about written language. Four ‘easy read’ books, with big print, rhythmical and/or repetitive language include: P. Horacek’s What is black and white? Strawberries are red, Flutter by, butterfly and Bruce Deegan’s Jamberry. Then children hear the repetitive sentence pattern in Mercer Mayer’s Just for You.


Children join in the repetitive sentence pattern of:
‘I wanted to….    but I was too… ‘

Maths activities at tables
Children explore and play with pattern blocks, beads, geo boards, puzzles, buttons and plastic chain links. They count/sort plastic coloured bears, dinosaurs and insects. They sequence numbers on a small 100 board. And they build shapes with plastic coloured polyhedrons.

Go slowwwww… to establish the routines for packing up. I help the children read the labels and put materials back in the ‘right’ places on the shelves.

Getting ready for home
Children sit on the mat with backpacks and check they have their hats, drink bottles and lunch boxes. We re-read the Class Book revising the children’s names. If there’s time, we finish up with a read aloud story and/or sing familiar songs, reading the words from charts.

2:50 Happy children meet their happy parents at the door after their first day, talking, reading and writing in Year One!

Quiet Reflections

Doing lots of reading, writing, drawing, talking on the first day allows me to begin to know the children: their interests, personalities, maturity, creativity, confidence and which children struggle with making sense of print.

At home this evening, I make notes in my reflective journal…
– use big book ‘Where’s Spot?’, struggling readers can take turns to lift the flaps (active participation)
– start small group ‘Co-operative Show and Tell’ to get George talking
– invite Dorothy to tell her ‘story’ to the whole class to curb her incessant commentary (a time to talk, a time to listen)
– model positive language to get Peter to talk nicely
how do I get Christopher to do anything? (see Guidance Officer)

 The first day always reminds me of starting over again…

Coming next: Starting School Series, Part 7: How many ways did I read today? A child’s perspective

 Copyright

Comments on: "Starting School Series, Part 6: Reading and writing on the first day – afternoon sessions" (1)

  1. […] times do the children read on the first day? I count each opportunity to read in the previous two blogs and find 28 (15 in the morning, 13 in the afternoon). The number sounds like a lot but doesn’t […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: