Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies

TA for Tots and Other Prinzes by Alvin Freed was printed in 1973 and is still available today. I’m retired now but it was used in the beginning of every year with my combined first and second grade classes.  TA stands for Transactional Analysis, a system for personal growth and change. It’s about feeling warm fuzzies and cold pricklies and feeling that they are prinzes instead of frozzes (his unisex terms for princes, princesses, and frogs). The two terms were easy to understand and simplified discussions about getting along and during conflicts. “Are you feeling some good warm fuzzies today?” Or “I know you’re having cold pricklies right now. How can you change that?”  Children loved the book and used the terms easily with one another.

Although written for young children, I once used it in 4th grade explaining that the content can apply to any age.  That 4th grade thrived with it also.

Read more about children’s personal development and social interaction in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Succes. Included is a web site where programs and activities can be downloaded for use in a classroom. Also, see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

Yes, Teach About Christmas and Hanukah

In my combined first and second grade, in December we did  not avoid learning about each other’s religion and whatever other winter holiday a classmate celebrated in their home. This always included Hanukah and sometimes Divali from India. Likenesses of various religions, such as using candles for light and exchanging gifts, plus the differences were explored. Every child made a craft appropriate for each holiday along with presentations and books read both about our holidays and other mid-winter holidays around the world. It was a glitter Christmas tree ornament or molded clay candle holder for Christmas, and a dreidel for Hanukah  (a dreidel pattern with directions are in Appendix W) followed by learning and playing the game of Dreidel.

Special crafts were brought in by mothers of any other religions. Children and parents participated in presentations about their religion. The purpose of learning about various religions was not to celebrate any in school but to understand others’ rights and beliefs, so hopefully in the future the children would be kind and accepting of many others. Parents were very helpful and supportive of this approach, but occasionally a Jewish parent would point out that Hanukah was not a major Jewish holiday. My answer was that no one could avoid Christmas in the community, and my explanation about using Christmas, Hanukah, and other winter holidays as an example for understanding and accepting others resolved the issue.

Learn more about the programs in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success. Included is a web site where programs and activities can be downloaded for use in a classroom. Also, see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

“I’ve Got an A” Game for Learning Names of Letters

“I’ve Got an A” game used a set of 4” wooden letters placed in a bag. The game board was a large piece of poster board, about 24”x 28”. It was covered with a piece of wrapping paper with tracings of each wooden letter on 3” by 5” labels’ The labels were pressed on the board in alphabetical order. The game could be played using a small set of letters or using the whole alphabet. A child would reach in a bag and pull out a letter and say, “I’ve got a B” (or whatever letter was pulled out) and place the letter over the white one on the board. This continued until all letters were covered on the board with a wooden one. There was no winner.

A variation included a pack of cards with two letters on each card. The cards were placed down in a pile. The required wooden letters were spread out in front of the game board. When a child picked up a card, he would look and see if one of the letters was available, pick up the letter, and say, “I’ve got an S” and cover the white S on the board with the wooden one. If he had the letter, he would keep the card. If both letters were already on the board, he would place the card in a discard pile. The child with the most cards at the end won.

A little more advanced variation involved putting all the letters in front of the game board and each child taking a turn naming and placing as many letters as possible on the board. When no more letters could be remembered to place on the board, the covered letters would be counted. Letters were taken off the board for the next child’s turn. After all turns were taken, the child with the highest number won.

Read about games for beginning readers in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success. Included is a web site where programs and activities can be downloaded for use in a classroom. Also, see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

A Game for Learning Letters

A bingo-type game for learning the names of letters was very popular. There were boards 6” x 6” with nine squares, each containing a letter. There was a pile of cards, face down, each containing one letter. A child would pick up a card, say the name of the letter, and place a poker chip or some marker over the letter if it was on his board. When these games were first made, one child would be the caller with the pile of cards. Well, why were some games so popular and why did some entail big arguments? Because no child could be a caller for others! That caused the rumpus. As soon as each child picked up her own card – peace!!! Live and learn! There was a rule that a letter could not be covered up without saying the name of it.

Read more about games and activities  in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success, beginning on page 49. Also, see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

A Sylvia Ashton-Warner Approach for Nursery School

While teaching nursery school, I read Teacher by Sylvia Ashton-Warner, and was so impressed with her method of giving a child a word each day – a very personal word chosen by the child. One day the children were told that we two teachers were going to pass out words – any word that they thought was very special. They had long-sleeved knit shirts on, and we wrote the word on a slip of paper about 2 ½”x 1” and pinned it on their sleeve turned toward their face. So they could read it. They loved it. Quite a few children got back in line for another word. And then another. Some had a lower arm of 6 words. Well, we wondered if they could really read those words, so about an hour later, we went from child to child and pointed to each word. Each one knew every word. It seemed amazing that they could read those words. And, not only an hour later, but the next day also. A mother told me, and others concurred, that she could not take those words off at night, and then the child wanted that shirt on the next day. Each word had the most meaning for him and once given, he owned it.  It was his word and belonged to no other.

See more about early reading programs in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success.  The book describes programs for a combined first and second grade but the early reading programs could be for younger children. Included is a web site where programs can be downloaded for use in a classroom.  See 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

   Teaching Young Children © Peggy Broadbent 2011 - All Rights Reserved