Geography is important as a child begins to explore beyond their room, their home, their city, their world. Expanding a child’s knowledge of places is good for social intelligence and general knowledge.
- Look at a global map or a globe. (You can get free maps at travel agencies and airlines)
- Ask a student to identify Continents, Countries, and Capital cities
- Write these as a list on a sheet of paper
- Discuss family & friends in the context of where they live globally
- Discuss common manufactured food products highlight where they are made
Geography is learnt over iterations of map investigation, reading and curiosity. The global news often will discuss places.
If you can afford to bring a child to these location, its best to allow a child to organise an itinerary.
Estimated Lesson Time
- Lesson Plan: Our Solar System
- Lesson Plan: The Earth
Spelling is the written representation of words. These words are often in memory after having read them. To spell is train the mind to formulate what it often already knows. Writing is often the best way to practice spelling.
- Print a list of words. Use 1-2 character words are for starters. Print these words in clear large friendly fonts. Do not overwhelm a child with to many words.
- Ask the child to write these words on a separate sheet of paper
- Ask the child to read each word and letter as s/he writes it down
A child is learning to spell subconsciously as s/he practices copying letters from a printed sheet to their own worksheet. Over time, the child remembers the letters, and their combinations.
This is a non-invasive way for children to learn. The educator is not directly involved, and simply prepares materials. The child learns by themselves as they independently perform an activity using the prepared materials.
Estimated Lesson Time
- Word List, Paper, Pencil
- PeakWiki – for Spelling Basics word lists
Traditionally, spelling is an exercise in remembering letters and their arrangement. Is this purely a memory-based ability? or are there better ways for children to learn spelling?
Language is a very useful tool, and its more important to cultivate the love of this tool. Spelling is a means to the goal of written communication. If a child has a desire to learn and explore, they will naturally want to know the construction of words. Encourage children to pick up books to read, and are curious to know what a book says.
It’s good to embed spelling as part of a writing exercise. This removes the stress in getting words spelt correctly, and focuses a child on creating a story. The story is the intended outcome of using language for communication.
- Prepare a list of 5-6 seed words (e.g. goat, tiger, rain, earthquake, grass)
- Seed words are typically nouns
- Ask a child to write a short story using the seed words
- Ask the child to read the story aloud
- Read the story with the child, and correct spelling and grammatical errors using a pen
- When finished, ask the child to write all the corrected errors and the seed words into a word list
Note: Spelling advances with other aspects of english language development. Knowledge of concepts like nouns, verbs, adjectives are important. All children are different, and some children may not like story writing.
Estimated Lesson Time
- Writing Paper, Pencil
- PeakWiki – for sample seed words.
- Lesson Plan: Writing
- Lesson Plan: Grammar
- Lesson Plan: Spelling Lists
Over the last year or so I’ve had lots of questions from my readers about where I got our set of alphabet blocks from that I shared here on my blog. As my blocks are no longer available, I’ve been on a mission to find the best alphabet blocks that are out there to hopefully answer your questions and give you an opportunity to get some for your learner. And here they are! I want to introduced you to Educational Bricks.
What are Educational Bricks?
Educational Bricks are a hands-on learning resource that supports learners to build their literacy skills and understanding through a multisensory approach. Each brick has beautifully printed letters on it which uses foundation font. The bricks are recommended for ages 3+ and are easy for little hands and big hands to manipulate. Educational Bricks come in a range of different sets that varying in the number of bricks per set.
Each set is accompanied with a CD which has a printable word lists and worksheets as well as teaching notes. There are eight different Educational Brick sets that support the development of literacy and these sets include:
How can Educational Bricks be used?
Whether you take a structured approach to your learning or a more natural learning approach, Educational Bricks are a wonderful learning resource that can be added to any curriculum or use in an interest-led learning environment. There is no right or wrong way to use them, just simply follow the learner!
We have been using Educational Bricks to support the development of phonics and decoding skills. Decoding is done when the learner deciphers print into speech by matching letter or graphemes (combination of letters) to their sounds (phonemes) in order to identify the patterns that make syllables and words.
I present Educational Bricks to my learners by using a systematic, explicit approach. For example, I use the Lower Case Bricks together with Vowel Rhyme Bricks to present one vowel block at a time to build a few different but simple CVC (consonant vowel consonant) words using the lower case bricks. Once this blending of sounds and making of CVC words has been mastered, I introduce another vowel brick until all the bricks have been introduced (at the learners pace) and my learner can construct a range of words using both the vowel rhyme bricks and the lower case bricks.
What can you learn with Educational Bricks?Not only do Educational Bricks support the development of phonics and decoding skills, they can also help build phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify and manipulate phonemes (sounds) in spoken and written text. Although phonemic awareness is usually developed through auditory activities some learners will require a visual representation (letters) to support their development of phonemic awareness and Educational Bricks can do just that. Educational Bricks also support the development of Blending. Here is a great post about Blending – the what, why and how.
Why use these bricks?
There are many reason why Educational Bricks are beneficial to learners. These bricks create a multisensory learning experience where the learner is able to physically manipulate the blocks to rearrange the letters and work on constructing different words. This helps build critical thinking skills along with phonics and decoding skills. By using a hands-on approach where the learner can manipulate the focused concept or in this case, a particular spelling rule, there is greater potential for the learner to retain, and later recall, the concept being taught. Plus, Educational Bricks make learning about words fun!
Where to purchase them from and how much? I have purchased our sets of Educational Bricks from the lovely Kirstie at Starfish Education Center in Kiama, New South Wales. Kirstie runs a tutoring services from her shop and sells great variety of educational resources, products and supplies as well as a wide range of items for special needs. The Starfish Education Center have all their resources available online and this is where you can find the full range of Educational Bricks. You will also find the Maths range of Educational Bricks which include Numbers 1-10, Numbers and Symbols, great for learning addition, subtraction, division and multiply, and the Fraction Families
Collecting information can be exciting for children. Show them a pre-made questionnaire (about 4 questions) and ask them the questions to fill it in. A sample questionnaire could be about their daily routine, or foods they like to eat.
- Fill in a pre-made questionnaire ( 4 questions). This can be fun as a child thinks through the questions
- Consider making a new questionnaire on the same topic. Think about questions and answer/options can be fun. Consider the potential survey takers (among friends and family) to help suggest possible answers. 4-5 participants should be sufficient.
- Distribute surveys to participants to fill them out. Or fill them out on behalf of the participants in the interest of time.
- Collate the responses into a table, and discuss the results.
Taking surveys leads to concepts in statistics, data visualisation and data analysis. This may look complex, but for 7-9 year olds are already thinking about “who does what” in their own social circles. Formalising these thoughts into a questionnaire, socialising questions can be very exciting.
Developing the survey is an activity in itself as a child thinks through questions and writes them down. They may have to write 4-5 copies of the survey if you don’t have a photocopier at home or in class.
Estimated Lesson Time
- Paper, Pencils, Pens
- PeakWiki – for sample surveys