Pre-Nursery Writing Activities Lesson Notes Week 2-3
Eligible writing is one of the cardinal points (objectives) of early years schooling. The others being Language and Communication, Scientific and Effective thinking, social skills, reading and numeracy. Teachers of children in their early years may be evaluated by the children’s level of penmanship. So also is the children’s level of improvement evaluated.
One who is close to parents of a child in early years would often hear such parent say “my child can now write “or complain that “he/she can still not write well “. This is because the parents also understand the importance of penmanship.
Professionally, it is recommended that children should develop writing before reading skills (Ajogwu, 2013). And just like any other skills, writing must be practiced.
The practice of penmanship is divided and done as two related subjects all through the early years; Pre-Writing Activities and Handwriting.
Pre-Writing Activities is usually reserved for the first of the early years. It denotes all the activities a child undertakes in order to enable them write well and fast.
Typical Pre-Writing Activities teaches children how to hold pencil correctly; form the patterns which make up the letters and numbers; and also correct letter formation or how to form the letters.
These are the objectives of the Pre-Writing Activities at the Pre-Nursery level and the activities starts with Scribbling, the week’s lesson. This lesson note provides a detailed guide on how to teach a child how to Scribbling in such a way that the objectives of the activities are attained. This lesson notes is unique in that it uses common items to provide an expedient and fun-filled learning experience for the kids.
BASIC COMPONENTS OF LESSON NOTE
SUBJECT: Pre- writing Activities
At the end of the lesson, the children should be able to:
- Hold pencil correctly
- Demonstrate flexibility with pencil
- Colour or shade a given objects, shape of drawing
Colour pencils or crayons, children’s toys, and printed outline of such toy or common objects in the school or environment.
- Prior to commencing the lesson, that teacher shall take a survey and photographs of the children’s favourite toys at home. He/she does this with the cooperation of the parents. He/she reminds parents to let the children come to school with the toy on the day the lesson is to be delivered – this can be done by writing a note in the children’s feedback booklet. Afterwards, the teacher makes the photographs into uncoloured outlines and gets them printed out – the teacher does this either a PC or smart phone graphics software such as Adobe Photoshop, Corel Photo paint or Android Photo Sketch.
- During the activity, the teacher shall actively engage each pupil in friendly chats. This requires that his/her attention is divided among the children yet focused on a child at time; and also be swift to move from one child to another.
- After each lesson, and if there is need for any home work or assistance from home, the teacher shall provide feedback to the parents and direct them on how to go about the assistance their child.
The teacher delivers the lesson in order of steps as outlined below:
Step 1: Introduction
Since this lesson is the first contact between the teacher and the pupils, the teacher introduces the lesson by introducing himself or herself:
He/she tells them his or her name; how much s/he loves children; and how happy s/he is that they are going to be in his/he class . Thereafter, s/he may let the children, one at a time; introduce themselves to their friends (classmates). Teacher takes note of those who may not readily /willingly talk – and give them all necessary support. The pupil’s introduction may be as simple as saying their names and showing their favourite toy.
Succeeding the introduction, the teacher continues. He or she tells the children what they are going to learn in his or class – write, read, speak and calculate or count like grownups. Then the teacher tells them that however, they will start with a simple activity or game – how to hold pencil like adults.
The teacher then explains the lesson objectives before proceeding to step 2.
Step 2: Correct pencil grasp
To continue the lesson, the teacher tells the pupils that to write like adults, they must hold pencils like adult. Hence, he or she tells them to pick their pencils so they could practice the correct way to hold pencil when writing.
Once every pupil has a pencil; the teacher demonstrates the correct way of holding pencil in steps as provided below while the pupils repeat after each step (that the teacher explains and carry out).
- Using the pictures and physical demonstration, the teacher describes the various ways children grasp pencil from the earliest years:
- Following the description, the teacher explains that all the above mentioned pencil grasps are normal but are for “babies”. Hence, s/he explains and teaches the pupils tripod pencil grasp (picture below) as described underneath the picture.
HOW TO TEACH TRIPOD PENCIL GRASP
- Give them a sense of belonging and pride by telling them they have really grown and appreciating their educational progress from playgroup to Pre-Nursery.
- Give them focus for the lesson/activity by telling them that they soon will become grown-up; graduate to higher classes such as Nurseries 1-3 and primaries 1-6; write, read and speak as those in these classes.
- Explain that as a result of ii above, they need to learn how to write like grown-ups or pupils in higher classes and that the first thing to be able to write as such is to be able to grasp pencils as the grown-ups do. Afterwards, the teacher shows the pupils the picture of tripod pencil grasps and physically demonstrates it – observe as some pupils will begin or try to do the same.
- Make the pupils to sit in a comfortable and supportive place/position.
- Inform the pupils you are going to tell them a story of an animal. Display the picture or model of the animal then ask the pupils the name of the animal (Alligator!) – You and the pupils identify the name of the animal. Afterwards and with the aid of suitable pictures, describe (in the simplest form) how an alligator feeds – that to feed, it opens the mouth, clamps on the feed and munches it. Following this, add a little fun to the lesson by making the story into a song – I recommend the 29 seconds song by The Teacher TV on YouTube. The class demonstrate as they sing.
- Directs all the pupils to pick their pencils from their bags– or distributes the pencils as applicable. The teacher should ensure the pencils are not too tick for the pupils. Also, pencils with flat edges such as the triangular or hexagonal HB rather than round pencils. Pencils should neither be too long nor too short –a half of the length of a new pencil will do for most children. Once, every child has the pencil, the teacher redirects them to place the pencils on top of their desk.
- The teacher makes the pupils form opened alligator’s mouth with their index and middle finger being the alligator’s upper jaw and their thumb being the alligator’s lower jaw – the other fingers are bent to their palms and held all through. After this, the teacher makes the pupils sing the song once more while demonstrating by opening and closing the fingers.
- After the demonstration, the teacher demonstrates and makes the pupils pick then firmly grip their pencils like an alligator picking on the feed as shown in the pictures below.
- While the general activity is going on as described, the teacher observes the pupils that will not get right. Subsequently, s/he gives these ones personalized assistance as given below.
- Call the pupils individually to table then repeat the step 2 above from beginning through the first four steps under the sub-heading of the step 2.
- Once so comfortably seated as in the last step, the teacher demonstrates and guides the pupils to make their fingers into a fist:
- While keeping the rest of the fingers folded, release the thumb, the index and the middle fingers – teacher demonstrates this and guide pupil to do the same.
- With these three fingers above, form a tripod by bringing them together – teacher demonstrates and guide pupil to do the same.
- Through the top webspace formed by the thumb and the index fingers, put the pencil in-between the tripod fingers then clamp firmly and scribble on the paper – the teacher demonstrates and guides the pupil to do the same. Ensure the clamped fingers are not too close to the pencil lead or tip.
- If the child gets it right; repeat, repeat and repeat. Otherwise, try the other suggestions below.
- If the child has problem keeping the other fingers down or misplacing the fingers, try out giving the child pencil grippers and ‘finger placement controls’.
- Get yourself acquainted with alternative tripod grasps which a child may assume but still is able to write well. Having a so-called correct pencil grasp is not as important as whether the fingers can move freely to form the letters in handwriting.
- If after a child is able to grasp pencil the right way, s/he changes back to the wrong way; don’t get fired up. Gently remind the child. It takes repetition to master new skill.
- Pencil grasp is developmental. A child that has consistent problem after enough has been done might probably have missed or not attained the necessary physiology for good pencil grasp. Consider the age of the child. Generally, correct pencil grasps starts from around the age of 3 – Pre-Nursery is for children between 2.5+ through 4. Consider taking the child through activities to reinforce or develop necessary body build-up for correct pencil grasp.
- Consult, research and learn more about likely deficiency
Personalized Assistance for Preschoolers on Pencil Grasp
Other Suggestions for handling pupils’ or preschoolers’ difficulty/difficulties in correct pencil grasp
Note: Some children hold pencils with their left hand. Confirm from parents before you effect a change if necessary.
Step 3: Colouring and / or shading
After the practice on how to hold pencil correctly had been done several times, the teacher prepares and leads the children into colouring / shading for flexibility.
First, the teacher makes the pupils to sit comfortably. Suggestions are that:
- Table height should be half that of the children while chair height is a third.
- The chair should be well under the table.
- Child’s thighs should be fully supported and knees bent at 90 degrees – with feet flat on the floor.
- Child’s Tommy should be away from the table
- Child should sit up straight with back leaning slightly forward and elbow bent 5cm above table.
Once, the pupils are properly sited as above – described the teacher hand each child a copy of the uncoloured outline of his or her toy with colour pencil or crayon corresponding to the colour of actual toy. Afterwards, the teacher directs them to colour the outline /sketch so that it looks like the original toy.
While they shade, teacher move round to guide and complement pupils.
Note: 1.The objectives of the exercise are not to achieve perfect shading. Instead, it is for the pupils to attain flexibility with pencil. Hence, however the shading is done; the teacher should still commend the child.
- One or two pupils may still switch between pencil grasp such as from the correct tripod to five fingers, palmer or even fisted grasp. It is only normal. Do not force the child to hold the pencil the proper tripod grasp. Instead, encourage them regularly. In this regard, the teacher should be watchful for tiredness in the pupils. When noticed, the teacher may switch between shading and other activities such as rhymes or demonstration.
- Do not hold pupil’s hands to shade. This is an outdated formula. Let them do it themselves to enhance coordination.
- Shading should be done clockwise direction.
Prior to evaluating the pupil’s level of achievement or in comparison with the lesson objectives, the teacher takes time to repeat the lesson as many times as possible – using the recommended colouring book or more sketches.
During the repetition of the exercise, the teacher evaluates the pupils by taking note of the individual pupil’s way of holding the pencil; how flexible the child does the shading; and how well the child is able to control his / her hand to shade the correct area with minimal or without crossing the boundaries.
If necessary, the teacher may give pupils exercises to be done at home.
The teacher concludes the lesson by rating the pupil’s performance from evaluation and recording in the progress report sheet so as to serve as guide for next activity. If necessary the teacher may also provide feedback to parents noting how far the child has achieved, what assistance he/she may need at home and how to go about the assistance.