Naturally, this has extended to our more recent ventures in learning how to spell.
One day, while collecting Autumn leaves at the park, a thought struck me: why not teach my son how to spell a word using the actual item. This idea culminated into today's Slice of Life...
I'm sure this has already been done in classrooms across the world -- heck, I've even used manipulatives to teach spelling and vocabulary with my 5th graders -- but this day at the park proved to be an epiphanonic moment for me in regards to my young son's spelling development!
When we got home, I placed the leaves inside a book to help flatten them. A couple days later, I pulled the leaves out, gathered the letter manipulatives I had created, and set up our activity.
First, I showed my son the word: LEAF. We identified each letter and then sounded them out until he realized the letters created the word "leaf". Then, I had him find the letters on our Clothespin Alphabet. Once we found the letters, I helped him clip each leaf to a wire hanger using the corresponding letters to spell L-E-A-F:
This activity allowed my son to relate individual letters and their sounds to words in a tangible, authentic way. He understood that the letters, L-E-A-F, strung together didn't just spell a word, they actually spelled something he could touch, feel, and see.
I'm always on the look out for more authentic learning opportunities for my son, so if you have any, please share in the comments below :-)