Just had to share. We've been in school since Aug. 2 and I started the name activities Aug 7. During our morning circle, we do the calendar and a simple math skill (since we do colors and shapes at first, I integrate these into patterning, graphing and counting activities.) As we are closing, I reach into a "party bag" and pull out a name. (Of course, I have to shake it up and do a little twirl and chant a little "ditty" "Who's it gonna be, oh, who's it gonna be? I'll close my eyes tight so I can't see. I'll put my hand in a pull out a name, then we can play our special Getting To Know You game!" That is our cue for the name activities to begin. I draw a name from the bag and the fun begins. We do all the ideas in the month by month book along with a few other ideas. I "interview" the child using the chart in the bb set. Then I began to model other questions to ask the student (Do you have any brothers, sisters, pets? What's your favorite color, etc. ) In only 9 days (so far) they are becoming pros at asking questions and they are already counting letters in the names and in their own! I do model the correct formation of writing the name on the chalkboard as they get ready to color/draw. Some listen and are already making progress in this! On the first day, no one even attempted to write the child's name. (you know -- "I can't"... now they say, Help me make an S or whatever.) I have always used a similar activity, but never this early and never with all these other phon. aware. activities. I am "tickled" with all the progress the kids are already making! They love this part of the day! When I reach for the party bag, they get excited! We cheer the name in our different voices (turtle, robot, mouse, etc.) After the student puts his name in order ( the cut up name part of the bb plan), he/she can write it on the board. Then he/she calls the tables to return to their seats. And yes, I have allowed the child to walk around after he finishes his picture so others can see how to draw him. One little girl even stopped to help another write her name! She sounded like a teacher. ("first make this letter" --and she went to the board to point at it --it was soooo cute!) This activity is truly multi-level. Some copy, write, dribble (draw, write) and today one asked if he could write that he wanted to be his friend and then wrote some letters! (From this child I was extremely pleased!) I am excited for all who are beginning. Don't be nervous. I see how the need for a letter of the week is not necessary now. There's so much letter rec. going on with this, I wouldn't even have time for it. I am eager to see this progression. My advice is to just relax, make time for this activity each day, even if you have to let something else go. I feel it is well worth it. Good luck to all who begin this great program!
Sorry so long, but I am just so excited!