Aziz has been our Star Name for the last two weeks. His name gave us an opportunity to review some of the sounds and letters that we know and recognized from other Star Names in our class like Denzil, Zoe, Axel, Lea, Emma, and Wilma. One of our favourite Star Name activities during these weeks was practicing writing Aziz's letters with chalk in our small playground. We unlocked our thinking about the formation and shapes of the letters using the 'FORM' concept key. We also made up some phrases to help us remember how to make the letters. For the 'A' you go "down one side of the mountain, down the other side of the mountain, and cross to make the snow on top". For the 'Z' you go "across the sky, down like lightning, and across the earth. We are working hard to remember to always form our letters from top to bottom, or from the sky to the earth, as we like to remember it!
For the last two weeks, Wilma has been our Star Name. So many inquiries, questions, discoveries, and explorations have emerged from our Star Name programme that we've decided to slow it all down when we need, and allow 2 weeks (or maybe even longer!) for each Star Name, to to allow time for these great thinking and learning opportunities.
This week we spontaneously continued the straight letter/curvy letter challenge and tested the letters in Wilma to see which they were by forming them with straight popsicle sticks. If we could make the letter, it meant it was a straight letter. It turns out that all the capital or upper-case letters in Wilma are straight letters!
We also practiced sand tracing, handwriting, and spelling out the name Wilma with letter magnets at the fridge and light table. We watched the Sesame Street podcast for the letter 'W' and added to our list of words that start like Wilma.
Since we've been playing a lot with light and dark we decided to see if we could make the letters in Wilma using our hands and the overhead projector. Can you recognize the letters in Wilma? W-I-L-M-A?
This week, as part of our Star Name work, we tried writing Axel's name using popsicle sticks. We loved doing this so much that we wanted to see if we could also make our own names. As Ms. Alison worked with small groups on letter formation and handwriting, we worked independently to make the names of all of our friends in the class. We encountered some challenges though and had lots of questions, which Ms. Alison asked us to try to answer on our own and with the help of our friends. After a little while working through our confusion and trying hard to make our names, we sat down and had a discussion:
Ms. Alison: What was hard for you about that activity?
Denzil: I couldn't make the 'D'.
Lea: I didn't know how to make an 'O'.
Daniel: I also didn't know how to make the letter 'D'.
Ms. Alison: What letters were easy to make in your name?
Denzil: 'N'! But the 'O' was too hard.
Ms. Alison: Why was the 'N' easy and the 'O' hard? Let's unlock our thinking with the FORM concept key. What are the letters like?
Denzil: The 'O' is so round. The popsicle sticks are straight and hard.
Ms. Alison: What about the 'D'?
Daniel: This part is round like a moon.
Denzil: To do that part the popsicle sticks need to bend and they don't do that.
Ms. Alison: So why could you use the popsicle sticks to make 'N' then? And all of the letters in Axel, like 'A', 'X', 'E'. and 'L'?
Almost everyone: It's all straight!
Ms. Alison: So what you're saying then is that some letters have straight lines and some letters have curved lines?
Ms. Alison: Now that we know this, do you think you can sort the letters into groups?
So, we made two spaces, divided by our polka dot bench top and started to sort the letters into two groups: curvy and straight. We spontaneously started to test our groupings using the popsicle sticks. If we could make the letters (and numbers) with the sticks, it meant they were straight. Soon we noticed that some letters have both types of lines though! So we put a group in the middle to show letters that use both straight and curvy lines in their formation. What a clever bunch! Good job K1AC! We'll continue our inquiry into curvy and straight letter shapes next week.
This week our Star Name was Axel! We recognized all of the letters in his name and made lots of connections:
Emma: My name has this one [E]. Emma starts like elephant. I also have 'A' like alligator and Axel. Zoe also has 'E' and Lea has 'E' like elephant and the one in Axel.
Lea: 'L'. 'E'. 'A'. All of my letters are in Axel!
Denzil: I have the 'L' and the 'E'.
Aziz: I have 'A'!
Daniel: I have 'E'.
Lea: And you [Daniel] have 'A'!
We busied ourselves with our usual Star Name activities this week and a new one with popsicle sticks that we'll post about soon! In the meantime, check out the pictures and Star Name documentation below:
This week Zoe was our Star Name! The sounds in her name helped us to make an important discovery: letters can make more than one sound!! Zoe's 'o' and 'e' make long sounds. The 'o' reminds us of saying "Oh no!" when something is wrong. The 'e' reminds us of saying "Cheese!" when someone is taking our picture. We made our own sound cards to help us remember the difference between the two 'o' and 'e' sounds. Check out some of our Star Name work below:
This week's Star Name was Denzil. The first thing we noticed about his name were the connections to some of our other names. Denzil has the 'e' like Lea and Emma and the "l" like Lea. His name also starts with the same sound as 'Daniel'! During the week we practiced writing the letters in Denzil with our fingers in the air, sand, different textures and materials, and pencils in our Word Study notebooks. Check out our Star Name documentation below to see some of the other things we investigated.
Last week's Star Name was Lea! As usual, we asked our Star questions about herself and investigated the letters and sounds in her name. Very quickly we discovered that "Lea" has some of the same letters and sounds as "Emma", our Star Name from the week before. This gave us a good opportunity to review our learning from last week and "go deeper" with our thinking about the letters and sounds.
Over the week, we practiced our handwriting by making sand letters in our Sand Tracing Books, adding materials to form the letters in our class materials alphabet, tracing letters in the air and on each others' backs, and writing the letters of Lea's name in our Word Study books. We learned some actions to represent the letters and watched some fun Sesame Street podcasts which taught us more about the letters L, E, and A.
Star Name is our weekly 'invitation' to Word Study in K1 at ISS. At the beginning of the week a new 'Star' is revealed and this week, it was Emma! Emma has three letters in her name -- E, M, and A -- that all make different sounds. We learned some actions to represent these sounds and talked about other words that have these same sounds. We also focused on the 'form' of the letters, brainstorming what their shapes reminded us of and learning to write the letters in D'Nealian style. We practiced tracing and writing letters in our Word Study notebooks and made sand letters for our personal sand tracing books. One of our favourite Star Name activities this week was thinking up questions to ask Emma in an interview which we did over Skype because she was at home sick. What a great time we've had with Star Name this week so far! I wonder who will be next week's 'Star'?
If you want to see more about our interview with Emma and the Star Name activities we did this week, check out the documentation below: