This is a Tuesday "Slice of Life" for Two Writing Teachers. Check out their website for lots more reflections on teaching.
One of our favorite pastimes in the Big Cats is the afternoon "sharing" at our closing ritual. I have a special container that rotates alphabetically through the class; each child uses it to hide a prized possession and the rest of the class asks questions to discover what is inside. Preschoolers love sharing their treasures with one another! Once we make rotate the container through the alphabet, I begin at the top again with another container. Our first share was in an old heart-shaped candy box - "sharing from the heart" and now we have moved onto a special bag. There's also a shoebox, a coffee tin...the containers go on and on!
This simple ritual has long been a fun way to
- encourage children to speak up in front of an audience,
- foster their question-asking skills,
- build their math skills as they measure items for a particular size container (it must fit inside!)
- help them with their concentration and focus as they select one dear item to go inside, and,
- cultivate their understanding of one another - what do their classmates like?
Recently, I discovered that this sharing ritual also teaches the alphabet - who knew?!
When Charlie discovered that the box rotated from child to child alphabetically by first name, he had a vested interest in knowing the alphabet. He loves that I add a new container when one has completed its rotation through the class; he knows that his letter "C" will come up again and again...and he has figured out our class pattern.
"There are FIVE A's in our class, Ms. Ingram - Ada, Akhil, Alyja, Amelie, and Ashley.
There is one B - Bernie.
Next, it's me, C - but first Caroline and then me, Charlie."
Me - "Wow, Charlie - that is great! Who comes next, after you?"
Charlie - "Well, there are no D's."
Me - "How many E's?"
Charlie - "Three - Ellie, Eloise, and Evan."
On and on, he worked his way through our class alphabet...amazing me all the way through to Z, Zuren.