I recently read this very interesting article about helping children develop literacy skills, in particular doing away with “letter of the week” type activities and helping them learn their letters in context. Now, I can’t say I’m ready to do away with learning individual letters… M loves the letter lapbooks I’ve made for him (and I really do intend to make more!), as well as the letter collage pages he gets every week. But, I loved the idea of the “morning message” on the blackboard. I don’t know… call me crazy… but I love using M’s chalkboard – it’s just so teacherish. ;)
So, we start off by putting the current date on our magnetic calendar, and we talk about what day “today” is, what “yesterday” was, and what “tomorrow” will be. (Naptime is making a comeback, thank you dear God, and occurs on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays – so we discuss whether today is a nap day or not first thing in the morning so there are no surprises later on!)
We sometimes do the weather chart too, but really there’s only so much you can say about winter in Minnesota. Is it cold today? Yes. Is there snow? Yes.
Then we head over to the blackboard side of M’s easel. I write something along the lines of “Happy New Year!” or M gives me something to write, or some days it’s something like this:I say each letter as I draw it, then we go over them together with a cute little pointer (a pencil with an apple topper – also very teacherish, don’t you think?). I do it, then M does it, then I pick a “mystery letter” for him to find. Then he has to find all the “s”s, or whatever, on the board. This is a lot of fun and he always looks forward to it.
Soon thereafter we read a Bible story from this children’s Bible. We started at the beginning and read one short story a day. He is really enjoying this too, and I give a one or two sentence recap of the story from the previous day. We are covering them fairly quickly, but I intend to pick one or two stories every couple of weeks and start doing our “Sunday School on Fridays” again (which I will be posting) with crafts and activities to help reinforce some of the stories we’ve read.
Then we read this rather long prayer that we used to say every morning at breakfast, but somehow had gotten out of the habit. This is also when we pray things like “help us remember to pick up our toys and not argue with Mommy today”. Believe me, I’ll take all the help I can get!
Here’s the prayer, if any of you are interested… it’s pretty sweet:
“Jesus, I thank you for each new day.Have a beautiful day! :)
I offer myself to you,
and all the things I shall do –
my work, my study, my play.
I thank you for the many good things you give me
and for all the kind people who take care of me.
Bless me as I begin this day,
be with me at home, at school, and at play.
May all I do honor you.
May your dear mother Mary
and my guardian angel protect and help me.
I believe in you.
I hope in you.
I love you,
Jesus, my friend and my God!”