Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Using Montessori Sandpaper Letters


Last month I shared how I made a set of Montessori inspired sandpaper letters.  If you're not familiar with Montessori or sandpaper letters you might be wondering how to use these teaching materials.  After a lot of reading on Montessori methods and a little trial and error I figured out how to use these materials to teach my preschooler letter sounds and letter formations.  Here's what we did: 

Each time I introduced new letters, I picked 3 at a time that looked and/or sounded different from each other.  On this particular day we worked on letters i, b and v.  I also set-up some salt on one side of a baking sheet (sand works great too).   

  
Before showing my preschooler the letters, we played I Spy.  I looked around the room for an object that began with one of the letters we were working on.  We always played this games using the letter sounds not the letter names.  I said, "I spy something in the room that starts with the "i" sound."  Then my preschooler tried to guess what object I was thinking of.  If I couldn't easily find something in the room that started with the sound we were working on (the i sound was a tricky one) then I would quickly alter the game.  For example in the case of letter i, I itched the side of my face and asked, "What am doing that starts with the "i" sound?"  After she figured out the I spy object or action I said, "Now let me show you what the sound "i" looks like?"  Then I placed the sandpaper letter in front of my preschooler. 


Next I went through the stages of a Montessori 3 part lesson.


Stage 1:  I modeled how to say the letter sound while tracing the sandpaper letter at the same time.  Then my preschooler practiced tracing the letter and saying the sound a few times.  If she was able to trace the sandpaper letter in the correct direction, then I modeled how to trace the sandpaper letter in the salt.  Next she traced over my letter in the salt, then wrote her own letter in the salt.  If she showed confusion on how to trace the sandpaper letter, I didn't have her trace it in the salt because I didn't want her to practice writing something incorrectly.  Bad habits in writing are hard to break!  After finishing one letter, we played I Spy and practiced tracing the other two letters.


Stage 2:  Next I put all three sandpaper letters in front of my preschooler.  I asked her to point to a specific letter, naming its sound.  I said, "Please show me the "i" sound."  After she pointed to the correct letter I had her trace it again and if she correctly traced it on the sandpaper I had her write it in the salt.  We repeated this activity for all three letters. 

 
Stage 3:  For the last step I turned all three cards upside down and asked my preschooler to pick one.  She liked this part of the activity best, calling it the Mystery Letter Game.  After she turned over a card I asked, "What sound does this letter make?"  If she was able to correctly tell me the sound I had her trace the letter again and proceed to writing it in the salt.  If she was unable to to tell me the sound I simply told her the sound and had her trace it while saying the sound a couple times.  


I am so glad I discovered Montessori!  Using sandpaper letters was an fun, multisensory way for my preschooler to prepare for reading and writing.  Next week I'll introduce my daughter to the our Montessori inspired moveable alphabet (another DIY project!)!  My preschooler is eager to start writing words and I am equally excited to teach her!

References...


 
I link-up at these great parties!

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20 comments:

  1. These are wonderful ideas for learning letters and sounds! I love the sandpaper texture letters--so much fun! Thank you for linking up at Teach Me Tuesday--I'm so glad you found me after the transition!

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    1. Thank you! Hope the transition is to Preschool Powol Packets is going well!

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  2. This is a great lesson, and I hope to modify it slightly to use with my 2-year old - she loves I spy. Thanks for the ideas!

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    1. Thanks! I plan to start playing I Spy with my tot when he's a little older too! It's a great way to practice identifying letter sounds!

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  3. I've heard about this sort of thing, now I've got a much better idea about how / what to do - I'd love to try something similar with my kids - maybe different materials for different letters... time... oh for more crafty-time!

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    1. I'm glad this helped! Yes, if only there was more time!!

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  4. Great idea! I love this! I'm a new follower!

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    1. Thanks! Glad you're following here!

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  5. Thank you for stopping by my blog at Crafty Homeschool, I'm so glad that you mentioned your blog, I'm defiantly following. I'm also making tons of Montessori material, some are done, but the list defiantly grows each day!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and following along! I'm looking forward to checking out your latest Montessori materials!

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  6. I really like the steps of how you did this. With each step you are reinforcing the sound of the letter and the strokes you use to make the letter. I agree bad habits are hard to break. It's great to start them early tracing the letters correctly! Thanks for linking up to Thinky Linky Thursday!
    Lori @ Cachey Mama’s Classroom

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  7. This is a fantastic how-to, Lisa! I just made a new pinterest board, letter ID and phonics and I pinned this. Thanks for always linking up such creative and fun activities to Thrifty Thursday!!

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  8. I love how you mixed the "I Spy" game up with tracing and writing the letters, keeping it fun! I am in the process of making my own sandpaper letters for my soon to be 12 mnth old son, just for him to explore not for any formal lessons. He has been very interested in text and letters for the past few months.

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    1. That's so great you are getting a head start making sandpaper letter for you son. I wish I had discovered Montessori when my preschooler was that age!

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  9. Great post, Lisa! I appreciate your detailed descriptions and photos. And the I Spy Game and Mystery Letter Game help make the process more fun! Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday. Happy to share at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/LivingMontessoriNow

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    1. Thanks for all your support and encourage Deb!

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  10. I appreciate you writing this post! Reading this post was really helpful to me and has made me rethink some of the things I was doing with my little guy.

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    1. I'm so glad this post got you thinking! I have changed the way I do many things with kids after reading more about Montessori! If you're looking for a great Montessori book to get started with I highly recommend How to Raise an Amazing Kid the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin.

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