Monday, January 30, 2012

Learning the Basics...

In July my husband and I took some time to head up to The Woodlands on the north side of Houston, leaving the kids with a sitter.  The drive was over an hour and I sincerely wanted to work on lesson plans for the coming school year with out son.  I had bought a lesson plan/grade book to help keep things organized during the year, but as I pulled it out to start writing my mind went absolutely b-l-a-n-k.  Where in the world do you start with a three year old? I am used to teaching high schoolers science and math...not reading, writing, and arithmatic.

Ewww...this is going to be more complicated than I thought. 

Thankfully I had brought along some scrap paper and after pulling it out of bag I started writing. I wrote down "Alphabet", "Numbers", "Colors", and "Shapes". That was the easy part. I already had books and flashcards purchased from Dollar Tree for that.

But how do you start with tracing letters, numbers, or shapes when he doesn't even know how to trace a simple line?

Bingo! Goal number one: teach him to trace lines.

You'd be surprised at how many FREE resources you can find on the internet.  Here's one that I printed off over and over again for him to practice on:  Kidzone. If you scroll down to where the header "More Lines Worksheets" you will see a collection of different worksheets from easiest to hardest.

We spent the first six weeks of school practicing on these worksheets...over and over again.  Then I discovered  Here, under the headings "Preschool-Writing-Fine Motor Skills" are many more practice sheets with pictures in the background.  Like this diagonal lines practice sheet with the heading "Why did the chicken cross the road?"  Another of my favorites was this prewriting worksheet tracing vertical lines.  And just to show you one more this worksheet on tracing horizontal lines.

Now apply these tracing practices with learning the letters of the alphabet (Under the heading "Preschool-Writing-Letters").  When we start the week I follow this guideline: Tuesday-the capital letter (from, Wednesday-the little letter (also from, and Thursday-both (from the Dollar Tree books).  Did you notice (if the link worked correctly) how these worksheets begin by practicing to trace the lines individually and then putting them together to form a letter?

I was amazed at how fast Michael made the connection from the six weeks of practicing tracing different types of lines to putting them together to form letters.

This is a sheet from the Playschool "Alphabet" book from Dollar Tree.  Since we had spent so much time on straight vertical and horizontal lines making the letter "L" and "l" was a piece of cake!

I hope these websites can prove as much a resource to you as they have been to me...and to help give you some direction if you just don't know where to start. I know how that feels--and I don't want you to have to feel as lost as I was. Enjoy!!

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