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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Co-Creating Our Alphabet

I used to have my classes co-create an alphabet, but I truly did not understand the philosophy behind it when I first started.  I thought it was more about having things in the room that were created by children. More for aesthetics than anything else. Because of this, I have had the same co-created alphabet up for the last four years.  It was beautiful and the kids did such a great job.  I thought of it as preserving history to keep their hard work up there.

Now, after reading more about the reasoning behind it, I realize there are more important reasons for co-creating an alphabet with each class. When the kids work together to make it, they take pride in the product that they collaboratively made.  They were part of the whole process!  They decided together what they wanted it to look like, what art mediums they wanted to use and what should be on it to represent each letter. When they see the finished product, they feel as though they did something important! They feel a sense of pride.  They are more personally invested in the product.  Because of this and the memories of working on it together, they tend to use it more. Here is the process of co-creating our Alphabet this year.

First we started learning the letters.  We focus on a letter and a friend in our class ever day for the first month of school. This gets us familiar with the letters and sounds and to make connections with our names and our friends names.  Then the kids came up with a list of things in our room that they have used or noticed to go on the word wall. Pardon the messy handwriting!  I was writing things down quickly!


They wanted to make the backgrounds colorful and chose water colors to paint them.  They also were adamant that they have glitter on them so we decided to make the letters out of glitter.  



Our next step was to add things that began with each letter to help us find and learn the letter sounds. We checked our list and started taking pictures of our friends and objects to add to our chart.  Here is an example.


We taped them onto our backgrounds and voila! We have our letter wall!



We left room on each one so that we can add each sight word as we learn them. That way they can use this wall as a tool to help them spell sight words and their friends names correctly.  They can also find the pictures with the sound they hear when they are trying to spell a word but don't know what letter makes that sound.  They will use this wall to aide them in learning independently. 

It was after creating this word wall with the kids that I noticed how important it is for each class to create their own.  They were so proud and I see them using it all the time.  It truly is personal and has meaning for them.  
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6 comments:

  1. Love the word wall how awesome!! By the way bless your heart all the time put into that wall!!

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  2. What a beautiful idea. I totally want to do this with my k's even though I already have an alphabet in my room. Multiple versions won't hurt them. January Alphabet review here we come!

    Also, if you still want to preserve the history of each classes alphabet you could have it made into a book at the end of the school year and add it to your classroom library. I bet the kids would love that!

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    1. What a wonderful idea!!! Thank you! Have fun co-creating your alphabet!
      Sincerely,
      Darla

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  3. Hi Darla,
    I will be a first year teacher this fall and I have been looking for a classroom just like yours! I am so excited! I am curious about your letter of the day and a friend of the day. What were you exactly doing? and what did you focus on with that one child? I love the idea of the class collaborating together to create an alphabet wall. (: Thank you for sharing your journey with your students! It is very inspiring.

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    1. For the letter of the day we sing a song specifically about that letter and brainstorm things that begin with that letter. They draw pictures of them and we put them on a page for that letter to make an alphabet book. We read an easy-reader printable book on that letter together that they can take home. You can see a little about it at http://mrsmyerskindergarten.blogspot.com/2013/09/starting-out-our-new-school-year.html

      For the friend of the day, each day, here is a link to a post I have done about this. Just go tohttp://mrsmyerskindergarten.blogspot.com/2013/09/writer-workshop-in-beginning-learning.html to see how this works.

      Thank you for all of your kind words! Good luck as you start your journey!!
      Sincerely,
      Darla Myers

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  4. This is really a great idea you implement. And I was so glad to see the alphabets section where you put cupcakes first for C letter and then the computer..:) And it's also good that you people are using more than one objects. It's really good for children so that they can remember things easily. Good luck and keep up the good work!

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