I hope this finds you all safe and well. Please find on the following pages some suggested academic activities to do with your child during the school closure period. I am always accessible via phone or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) should you wish to contact me. All queries are welcome, no matter how small. I wish to assure you that the following activities are suggested rather than prescriptive in nature as I appreciate that our lives have been thrown into chaos recently.
Phonics & Reading:
children in Junior Infants have been taught all the initial alphabet
sounds. If we were in school, we would be constantly revising the
sounds each day. (Apppendix A – letter cards) Pick out a letter
and ask your child to say the sound and do the action. You could
just as easily write the letter out. Another activity is matching
initial sounds to pictures. For example colour all the pictures
that have the /s/ sound at the beginning…..e.g. twinkl activity:
- YouTube video: All jolly phonics songs: https://vimeo.com/106231366
- Continue to incorporate a daily read-aloud to your child’s routine. Above all else, the single biggest indicator in academic success is being read to regularly.
- Resources: When you have run out of your own books, and with the public libraries are closed, the following website provide good quality children’s literature:
- Remember to discuss the story; the characters and the plot and to delve a little deeper, always asking “Why do you think that?” Ask children to predict events in the story: “What do you think is going to happen next? Why?”
- Give your child the opportunity to “sound out” three letter CVC words (consonant-vowel-consonant) that they may recognise in the story.
- Praise, praise, praise their attempts at participation and encourage all attempts at sounding out.
- CVC words are words made up of three letters: consonant – vowel – consonant (e.g. cat; pin; rug) Reading CVC words: Appendix B contains lists of words that would have been put into the children’s word bags in the coming weeks. Feel free to use those as required. I encourage the children to get three ticks for each word over at least three days. Getting it right once isn’t enough as learning can be very inconsistent and ‘over-learning’ is recommended!
activities online: twinkl website (available free for parents at the
- As much of the above requires a printer, the same concept could be done by for a lot of the material by writing out the words yourself and asking the children to read them a draw a picture.
- We have covered the formation of all lower case alphabet letters but only once. We had begun to go back over the letters again but hadn’t got too far before school closure. The children will still be very uncertain of direction and will struggle to remember how to form their letters. I would recommend picking one focus letter each day to practise writing. The emphasis is still very much on the sound the letter makes but it is important to highlight the letter name at this point too. “Here is a (name). What sound does a make. (“ah, ah,..ants on my arm!). Can we remember how to make it?….. and then practise about a hundred of them (well maybe twenty!)
- Online support: http://data.cjfallon.ie/resources/handwriting/index.html Choose the blue ‘looped style’ option as a reference/practice tool. This matches with how we write the letters in our school. Formation is demonstrated and can be copied by the children.
- We have been working hard at sounding out three letter words (CVC’s). Teacher/Parent says the word….the children stretch out the word (cccccc…….aaaaaaa……..tttttttttttt) and then they isolate the three individual sounds and try to write them (again, children will need a lot of assistance to remember how to form each letter). The focus of the activity is more about the ability to hear the three individual sounds in the word. E.g. can the child hear the /g/ at end of the word bag? (This is called phonological awareness). Perhaps try to write 5 words per day.
- Ask your child to draw a picture and encourage them to label their picture. Encourage all attempts (even if not accurate). At this stage I would be looking for the children to perhaps attempt the first and last sound and maybe a sound from the middle. I would be really happy to see csl (for castle) or tcr (for tractor). Ask your child to “read” their writing for you. This is called approximate spelling and the main focus is to encourage any attempt at all (no pressure!).
- 2-D Shapes: In class we cut out 2-D shapes and stuck them together to make robot pictures (large and small squares, rectangles, triangles, circles). Some children wanted to do cars/tractors/buildings but we didn’t have a chance. It might be an enjoyable activity to do at home (Activity also develops fine motor and cutting skills).
- 3-D shapes: Use old junk material and tape to create junk-art sculptures. (Cubes and cuboids: different shaped boxes; cylinders: toilet rolls, etc.
- Spatial Awareness: “Where is Teddy?” game: Parent hides Teddy and child must ask questions to discover his location. Parent can only answer yes/no. Emphasis is on the use of location words: under, behind, on top of, beside, next to, between, right, left, above, below,
- “Simon Says” Game involving language of spatial awareness. file:///C:/Users/Infants/Documents/SESE%20Themes/SPRING/simon%20says%20spatial%20awareness.pdf
- We have been working on the numbers 1-5 and also the formation of each. However, the children would not be fully confident in forming their numbers yet so lots of practice is needed. Ideas to help consolidation of number:
- Hold up a number and the children make that set (using everyday objects). https://www.twinkl.ie/resource/roi-n-5194-junior-infants-making-sets-of-1-to-5-activity-sheet
- Provide a set of objects and the children must count the set. Count sets up to 10 (and beyond if possible) and write the numerals up to 5
- Sequencing numbers and sets E.g. https://www.twinkl.ie/resource/roi-n-5190-cut-and-paste-number-sequencing-activity-sheets
- Ordering sets of objects. Make different sets using everyday items and then put them in order.
- Matching sets: https://www.twinkl.ie/resource/matching-equivalent-sets-0-5-worksheet-roi-n-5622
- Repeating patterns (in 2’s or 3’s using shapes; stamps; colours and numbers) E.g. https://www.twinkl.ie/resource/t-n-193-repeating-pattern-worksheets-shapes-and-colours
- Measures: Time; Money; Capacity; Length; Weight can all be explored through everyday tasks and activities: shopping; bath-time; baking, etc
- Websites: Folens Online have free access for parents at the moment. Here, you can access the Abair Liom Programme (Abair Liom A) to revise units already covered. Comhrá, songs and rhymes are also accessible on that website.
- I have a booklet in the works with all the vocabulary in Gaeilge (with phonetic pronunciation) for parents. I will get this out to you after Easter.
- We had hoped to cover the themes of “Spring” and “Easter” in SESE, Religion and we would have linked our music, art and drama lessons to these themes over these few weeks. I had hoped to sow seeds, learn about daffodils, life on the farm in spring, learn about the Easter Story and do an Easter treasure hunt (orienteering in P.E.). However, sadly it was not to be but there is always next year! If you would like any info on the above topics/ideas, just let me know.
- As you all know, all of the other activities you do each day have huge benefits too – lego, play-dough, colouring, drawing, painting, playing outside, jigsaws, treasure hunts, board games, reading, singing and dancing – so if you spend your days on these activities alone, that’s perfect too!
- Twinkl have also developed School Closure Home Packs which are linked to the Republic of Ireland Curriculum.
- **Above all else, please don’t feel under pressure to do the above work. Any little bit goes a long way and hopefully we’ll be back together in class again soon to pick up where we left off. I just wanted to give you an overview of where we were in class to aid any work you may do yourselves. Again, please don’t hesitate to contact me for any further clarification. Best of luck and stay safe