Today my six year old boy and four year old girl joined me in a marching band. We played all kinds of rhythm instruments. We marched from living room to bedrooms and through the kitchen. My three dogs were a bit nerved wrecked as they had no place to hide their poor sensitive ears.
You probably are wondering why I’m talking about music when my post title says teaching children to write. Don’t worry it will make sense in the end. I promise.
I like to make learning playful and so I grabbed my fun markers while the kids were marching. You know the markers that smell all fruity!!! While marching music played I had them pick up different colors to express the instruments, sounds, and marching steps. We listened to music from marching bands found on YouTube and we watched a few shows too of bands playing before college games.
Now comes in the writing part. The thing is my kids can’t write words yet. I can’t have them write what they experienced. How do kids express their feelings, ideas, observations, and images on paper?
This is what we did. I encouraged my children to explore the connection between symbol and sound. We all start out understanding symbols before we can write letters or words.
I gave them paper, crayons, and markers. I encouraged Justin and Kaylee to show the song on paper as I played marching band music. I then asked them the following questions.
- “How can you show the drumbeats?”
- “What do the marchers’ footsteps look like?”
- “What does a loud sound look like?”
- “How can marks show quiet sounds?”
Justin had all kinds of lines on his paper and he moved his marker to the beat of music. Kaylee made a lion. In one of the YouTube shows we watched a marching band make a lion.
I can’t take credit for this idea. Recently I discovered an amazing book that I just absolutely love.
150 Open-Ended Explorations in Emergent Literacy
by Rebecca Olien and Laura Woodside.
I will be sharing more posts with you as we continue to do these kinds of activities.
Please share with us! What kind of questions do you have about getting kids started in writing? What do you do with your kids for writing?