Thursday, October 24, 2013

Alphabet and Phonics and Nellie Edge Goodness...

It's been a week. Yikes!

You know those weeks when you're double-booked constantly? Yep. Uh-huh. Oh, yeah.

It started last week. It was my daughter's birthday... and then there was my evaluation, and then some after-school meetings... and then the weekend brought sleepovers and trips out of town and a visit to the pumpkin patch. Thankfully, I got a pedicure on Sunday afternoon, so I felt refreshed and ready for another week.

I adore the children in my class. They are sweet and smart, and they're really getting the idea of how to support and encourage each other. I always forget how challenging the first 6-8 weeks of the year is in first grade/kindergarten. Knock on wood. I think we're nearly over that hurdle!

I've been using some materials by Nellie Edge with my class. I was going to use them just with the kindergartners, but they are SO MUCH FUN and my first graders love them, too.

So let me back up a bit... During one of my first few years of teaching, I went to a workshop in Sacramento. I didn't totally know what I was getting myself into, but a friend (a brilliant, reading specialist friend!) had recommended it, so I went. It's important to note that I'm a tad on the shy side... or at least in the "slow to warm up" category, though I try to be more extroverted. And when I walked into the workshop I was all at once amazed, intimidated, and perhaps slightly horrified. Nellie Edge was up on the stage, playing her guitar and singing songs just for the fun of it! She sang a silly ABC song, and frankly, I was a little embarrassed for her. I blame my shyness. How ridiculous am I? I just couldn't imagine ever having enough courage to sing like she did!

Well, the day with Nellie was SPECTACULAR! I learned a ton from her, and it truly changed the way I teach. Wow. I started singing with my students more and I thought of Nellie's great attitude and I incorporated more joyful activities into my days with young children. I love her Little Books, and poetry, and I played the cassette tape I bought at the workshop until it fell apart. I became a huge Nellie Edge fan, and name-dropped every chance I got. I recommended her workshops to everyone I knew!

Over the years, I've used lots of different materials by Nellie Edge. I contacted her once, explaining that I'd lost a master and she mailed it to me right away, no questions asked. I've been on her email list for years, and I check her website frequently to see what's new.

And this year... I decided to try ABC Phonics: Sing, Sign and Read!

ABC Phonics

My students love signing and singing the alphabet and it works!

As an extension, I added some signing to my word work activities. Students can choose to sign the words they're working on and then stamp the words in their word work notebooks using American Sign Language stamps. It's a very popular activity!

Sign Language Stamps


Happy Friday!

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