We have created a word wall for our third project in a row and the children have really begun to use it to their advantage. The words are meaningful and the children use these words to label their work. We learned from Pam Scranton in one training that she had always told her class to write their words on their work before they were done. This could be based on the child’s ability and could be as long as a sentence to as short as letter like symbols or scribbles which can be translated and documented on to their work.
6.16.11 Elisabeth (4.10) asks Mahi to add the words that the children have learned about the car seat to the baby word wall. Elisabeth uses a large piece of chart paper and copies all of the words she has learned so far. Eila (4.0) joins her and writes the last two words.
After learning all there was to know about trees (or all we wanted to investigate), it was time to culminate our Tree Project. Kara, my assistant teacher, who had been planning and teaching each lesson asked the children how they would like to share their knowledge. They automatically responded that they wanted to bake something. Our children enjoy baking and cooking and that was no surprise to us, but we told them we also felt that just baking would not share our knowledge. A child automatically thought a book would be the best way of sharing all of the information that we had learned. The children spent two days narrowing down their ideas of what to bake and decided to bake banana bread, because “bananas come from trees.”
Over the course of two weeks, the children created a fifty page book of what they had learned through the tree project. Several children used the word wall (mentioned in an early post) to label their work, others asked for help from teachers, and some children used inventive spelling. Several children used the Power Point book we had created for families about our journey through the project to remind them of details we had learned about to add to their book. After our book was finished, we re-read it as a class to make sure that we had not forgotten any important details.
I created a PowerPoint with directions for the children to create their banana bread . Each slide had a different direction and each had a picture. The pictures included a picture of the item for the children to use and a picture of the measuring tool. The measurement was also typed on the top of the screen. For instance, one and a third-cup flour would have a picture of one cup, one-third cup, and the picture of the flour. The older children were able to read the words and my younger able to follow along. When the children are given leadership opportunities during baking session (or any activity) they are empowered! The way the PowerPoint was presented the children were able to bake with little to no assistance from the teacher. Four batches later, we had made banana bread for each classroom including assistant and lead teachers. The children decided to cut the bread into individual pieces, wrap each piece in Saran wrap, and label each piece. We then delivered after we had finished each batch. We then shared our book with two of the four classrooms.
This is just one of the ways to culminate! We have done many other ways in the past. The important part is that the children are sharing their knowledge with others and thus becoming the “experts” to another classroom.
Now it is your turn!
- How have you culminated a project?
- Did it go well?
- How could it go better next time?
- How could we help?
Until next time,
Have you ever thought of adding a word wall in preschool? Have you felt discouraged? What went wrong? We want to know!! Please post and share your frustrations with us!
Our center feels that a literacy-rich classroom is important. In my upbringing, reading and literacy was highly stressed and something our family did together for fun. I can remember my mom taking my brother and I to the library with a wagon which we would fill to the brim. We would spend a week with these book reading and re-reading the text. I think this began and fostered my love of writing and reading! As I grew older, I began to encourage and (hopefully!) instil the love of learning to my children in my classroom.
We use the ECERS (Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale) and the NAEYC guidelines as a guide to how we present writing and literacy in the classroom. Each center in our classroom has writing materials of some kind. Some materials we have include:
- magna doodles
- chalk boards
- marker boards
- different sizes of paper
- small stenos
- small notebooks
- colored pencils
Those are just some ideas! Our literacy-rich classroom includes books, labels on the children’s cubbies, labels on the shelves, writing to caption pictures, children’s writing, and group writing pieces. As a result of our classroom, children’s interests, and teacher guidance, we have children who were interested in writing and reading.
In the past, we had created a word wall creating each letter and putting words that correspond with that letter underneath. Although may children used it, it also became distracting for children who believed that each letter needed a word below it. We then moved to a word wall which was located in group. We just put the words that we used frequently in our tree project (leaves, bark, Oak, roots, etc) in columns on our back wall. The children used this much more frequently! They started to label their sketches, create their own dictionary (we created one for our classroom one year), and identify letters or letter sounds.