I can’t figure out the concept of starting to teach the alphabet with any other letter besides “Aa”. Oh…I have read different theories like “TEACH THE VOWELS FIRST”! Oh…don’t do that! However we do start the vowel march around the room during the first week of school! “WHAT YOU NEED TO DO IS TO TEACH EACH CHILD HOW TO WRITE THEIR NAME!” That way… every child is learning the first letter of their name. Therefore, most of the children are learning a different letter. CHAOS!!! Might as well bring in the clowns.
Let’s just start with “Aa” and head through the alphabet. Of course, I bring in other letters constantly as new subjects are being introduced. We talk about new letters for the months of the year and the days of the week…and on and on. Early Childhood curriculum should be integrated, not separated. Blend the information together so that new items compliment old items. Well…it makes sense to me!
If you are one of my children, you will start with the letter “Aa” and be ready to learn all about APPLES. If you are familiar with FROG STREET (a wonderful Early Childhood curriculum)…you most likely know this song:
“Apple Annie, Apple Annie…How are you today? Tell me all the things you know that start with letter A. Alligators, astronauts, apple trees that sway…these are all my favorite things that start with Letter A!” (sung to the tune of Jingle Bells).
There are 25 more songs after “Apple Annie”…like “Benjamin Bunny”, “Elmo the Elephant”, “Henrietta Hippo”. We learn the songs, read the small books/big books of the songs, read the words to the songs on the Smart Board, make our own books, and make a paper bag puppet for each letter (a new addition this past year). They love the songs and they actually love the entire process. It is true that children feel comfortable with predictability and repetition. This just might be something that is missing elsewhere in their lives.
Our puppets for the 2015-16 school year…I made one for the wall and the children made one to take home:
Back to “Apple Annie” and the first letter of the alphabet. This is the perfect place to read…
#2 Super Engaging Book:
The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree
by Gail Gibbons
This is the story of a beautiful apple tree as it transitions through all four seasons. For children in Texas, the four seasons are not particularly distinct in some years…more like hot, cool, a few days of cold, cool again, a short warm time and back to hot. The leaves fall, but the colors are not as stunning as in other parts of the country. And the snow is rather non-existent in most parts of the state. A snow day is a very BIG DEAL!
Arnold’s Apple Tree is changing in amazing ways all through the book. At one point, Arnold can climb up the tree and see far off into the distance. Before you read the book to your class, take a picture walk through the story. Make predictions about what you and the children think will happen next to the tree. Talk about the vivid fall colors and the stark white of the snow on the tree in winter.
I’ve been reading this book for years and it never gets old. Like the apple tree that lives near Arnold, the book comes back each year…to be loved by another group of children!