Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tactile Learning Activities for my Active Learner

Here is my inspiration for today's Slice of Life
As I've shared in previous posts, my son is an active learner. He doesn't enjoy sitting at a desk, listening to me "teach", so I have had to find authentic, engaging ways to develop my son's early literacy. Sometimes, I have even had to disguise his learning, like when I created our "Breakfast Menu Board". This daily activity helped him recognize and write his letters.

In recent months, though, we've moved away from simply identifying letters to manipulating letter sounds. We do a lot of reading together, so incorporating rhyming words, syllables, and blends have been mainstay, but I wanted to move my son away from these guided exercises and graduate to more independent, autonomous exploration of the letter sounds.

To create learning opportunities that tap into my son's active, physical learning style, I decided to create tactile letter sound activities. Here is this morning's first lesson:

I decided to begin with the letter 'B", since my son's name begins with "B". We brainstormed words that begin with "B", such as bird, bacon, bumblebee, and branches. As you can imagine, these are some of his favorite things :-) We talked about the letter "B" and its sound, and how each of our brainstormed words have this sound at the beginning.

Since collecting birds and bumblebees would prove challenging, and bacon is greasy, we decided on branches. 

My son's first step was to take a basket out to our backyard and gather a collection of branches...






Our dogs decided to help, but in the end, they just wanted to steal my son's stash...


I know what you might be thinking, these aren't branches, they're twigs; but for the sake of this activity, we're calling them branches :-)


Once he had a nice collection of branches, we took out his letter binder and he found his letter "B" sheet.

I didn't give my son any instructions; I wanted to see what he would make of all the materials. Sure enough, he started using his branches to fill in the letter "B"!




At one point, he got really inspired and decided to measure the branches to see which ones would be the better fit :-)



I did not intervene or offer my suggestions on how to manipulate the branches to form his letter "B". Instead, I encouraged his creativity by being a silent observer and celebrating with him when he felt he had accomplished his goal.


We reviewed the beginning sound of branches and reaffirmed that branches starts with the letter "B".

Once he was all finished making his branch-B, the leftover sticks made for some very creative independent play time, allowing me time to document his first tactile letter-sound activity :-)


I love that my days are spent nurturing and watching my son learn, and even more grateful that these experiences make up my life's slices. You can visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slices of Life, or to share your own :-)

7 comments:

  1. I love your approach to learning and life. He seems delighted with what he did and made. What a fun way to learn.
    All my best,
    xo
    Pamela

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    1. Thanks so much, Pamela! I am definitely enjoying putting fun back in to learning :-)

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  2. I love your approach to learning and life. He seems delighted with what he did and made. What a fun way to learn.
    All my best,
    xo
    Pamela

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  3. I will definitely do this with my little girl. Love your silent observer approach. As a classroom teacher I need to remember to do more of this.

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    1. Hi Lori, I am right there with you! When I was teaching in the classroom, I interjected many opinions and suggestions. But, recently I was introduced to a wonderful little video on creativity and correct answers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TskeE43Q1M

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  4. Love this. I love that you just let him be and let him explore it on his own. Smart teaching. (Plus, he had help from the dogs.)

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Dana :-) It has taken conscious effort on my part to step back and let my son learn more autonomously because I want to help him with everything!

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