Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Alphabets in a row: K, L, M, N and O

When the hubby was away for two months, it had been hard to find time to blog. But the time the kids fell asleep, I was exhausted though occasionally, I could garner a few ounces of energy to do that rare post, which was still few and far between. 

Now that he’s back, I can blog and blog to my heart’s content! If you have noticed, I have been on a blogging roll lately. And it continues today with the long overdue post about what fun Becky and I have been at home school.

We were learning the letters K, L, M, N and O, and I am happy to share that, Becky is getting her letters and sounds real quickly!

From a young age, we’ve considered our girl to be our ‘koala’, because she loves to hang on to us like a little marsupial. So this was a very apt letter to learn with her. From the Jolly Phonics Finger Phonics Book 2, I had showed her that C and K made the same /c/ sound, so this was not totally new to her.

The K words we learnt were kangaroo, kitten, kite, knot, kayak, kettle, keys, king and koala. And as always, Becky loved pasting the pictures and writing the words out with me. One of the crafts we did was to paste small aluminium foil pieces to a picture of a kettle. We also did a little kangaroo rocking puppet. 

I borrowed two books that focused on the K sound – Koala Lou by Mem Fox and Three Little Kittens by Paul Galdone. What a perfect choice! 

Becky not only loved these two books, she also demonstrated some pre-reading skills! She recited the phrase ‘Koala Lou, I do love you’ every time we went through the book. She would also flip the pages of The Three Kittens by herself, recite ‘you naughty kittens’ and also try to ‘read’ the story by memory. Granted it wasn’t word for word, and sometimes, she recited the phrases from the wrong pages, but it was clear that she remembered the story and was reading it aloud from memory. I’m so proud of her! 

A new activity I introduced is what I call 'news writing'. I would write down the day's date in English and Chinese, then ask Becky what she did on that day. She would recall and I would write it for her, also in both languages. After that, I would read through what I had written. Then I would ask her to draw how she felt about what she did that day. This allowed me model the act of writing to her and help her understand that what she recounted to me had been written. It also gives her an opportunity to reflect on the activities that she did and her feelings towards it, while also practising her writing skills.

During the week that we did this letter, L was for lobster, lips, ladybird, leaf, lamp, lion, lollipop, leg, lemon, lamb and log. The crafts we did included paper lollipops and painting with a tiny leaf. We also had fun roaring like a lion.

M was for mummy, and relatively easy to teach Becky the sounds. By this time, the decision to expose her casually to Jolly Phonics early, by playing the songs and showing her the finger phonics books, was showing results. She was familiar with the sounds and respective actions of two groups of sounds (12 sounds in all),  so when I did the sound and action for M (action is rubbing one’s tummy), she eagerly repeated after me. M was for muffin, mushrooms, milk, mouse, mop, moth, mittens, mango, moon, monkey, man and motorbike. She loves mushrooms, so we ate a lot of that too.

Masks have a magical effect on young kids, and Becky is no exception. Her eyes immediately lightened up the moment she saw the monkey mask that we were making using a paper plate and two brown felt pieces as ears. She was totally at ease emotionally, and this really helped in making her more receptive to learning the letter. The version we made could also easily become a puppet, as you can see.

Some M books we read included Molly and the Night Monster by Chris Wormell, which was a 'scary' tale about a girl who caught a night monster creeping into her room, who turned out to be her mummy. We also read Are You My Mummy by Mae Brown about a duckling searching for its mother.

This must be one of Becky's favourite letters. It is the sixth letter in group one of Jolly phonics (s, a, t, i, p, n), which I previously just go through with her casually, as though I'm reading a story book, or I ask her to hunt for things in the pictures, to increase her observation skills. Now, I try to focus a bit more on the sounds and actions.

I showed her the Jolly sound and action for N (spreading the arms out like an aeroplane), and being the aeroplane lover she is, she enjoyed making the sound immensely. My little human 'aeroplane' also had great fun making a pasta necklace, which tested her motor skills.

We also fashioned a bird's nest using a paper plate, paper towel, pom poms and felt. 

O was all about oranges, onions and octopus. Besides making a octopus hanging mobile and a recycled toilet paper roll octopus, we also peeled onions, which brought tears to our eyes, an experience Becky didn't quite enjoy.

We also squeezed oranges! And made yummy jelly after that.

Five alphabets in a row... Phew! We're on to P and Q now, and we will share what fun we had in a later post.

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