On Monday the children are always excited to see Bobble, our classroom "pet". He's a rabbit in a hat, and although he doesn't speak, he always has lots to share by whispering in my ear. He also has a letter in his paws each week to add to the bank of letters the children have learned so far!
Once we've used our "magic pencils" (our fingers) to draw the letter in the air, we watch two videos on YouTube that feature the letter and its sound: the first by ABC Mouse, and the second by Bounce Patrol.
We work together to co-create a list of words that begin with the letter of the week, and the children like to challenge my drawing skills!
The classroom ECE (Early Childhood Educator) sets up a centre where the children can join her to create letter sound charts. The children search through old books to find pictures of things that start with the letter sound. These are then displayed for easy reference, and are used at the play dough centre where the children can create the letters with play dough "snakes"!
In addition to learning the look and sound of the new letter, I spend time with the children modelling and practising how the letter is formed. For our younger students, this might be their first time printing the letter. For the older students, this extends into "slow as a snail" printing, where I give them a word that features the sound, and they do their best to represent each individual sound (phoneme) with a letter or a combination of letters! The children are very proud to show off their wonderful printing skills and we often see the letter popping up here and their in their play and work.
We reinforce the letter learning throughout the week. The children love to go on "letter hunts" by taking a walk through the school and finding the letter of the week in environmental print (on posters, signs, etc.). They also enjoy finding the letter in texts in the classroom.
It is amazing how quickly the children learn and retain these individual sounds, and before we know it, they are combining the sounds to print and read simple words!