Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Working with Letters: A Guest Post from Brian Hopkins

This is a guest post by Brian Hopkins, an occasional contributor to our blog. If you like his activities, check back frequently to see if he's got a new post up! You could also check out his blog, Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings, which has a Common Core focus and posts with topics as diverse as phonics, science, and math.

Hi, I’m Brian from Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings, and I am so excited to get the chance to do another guest post! Today, I would like to give you some fun ways that your students can practice learning the letters of the alphabet.

Working with Letters

First, take out your Letter Buddies book that goes with the letter and sound your class is learning. Your students can trace the letter on the front cover. Then show them the pictures of things that start with that letter. If you have highlighting tape, your students in small groups could highlight the letter. They love doing this!

Next, pick a fun activity for your students to work on that goes with the letter. One of my favorites is to write the letter large on cardstock or construction paper. Then either you or the students trace it with Elmer’s Glue (it may not work with a glue stick) and glue something that starts with that letter all around the letter to trace it. Here are some ideas that my Facebook fans and I came up with (some might be a bit costly, so you may want to pick a different activity for that letter):

A – acorns, Apple Jacks (cereal)

B - buttons, beans

C – Cheerios

D – dots from a hole puncher

E – egg noodles

F – Frosted Flakes

G – Goldfish crackers, glitter

H – hearts (cut out), Hot t=Tamales (candy)

I – Ice Breaker gum or mints, ice cream cone (broken up)

J – jelly beans, jewels

K – kidney beans

L – lima beans

M – M & M’s

N – noodles

O – olives

P - popcorn, pretzels

Q – quilt pieces (cut out small squares from different colors of construction paper)

R – rice

S – skittles, sand

T - toothpicks

U - umbrellas (mini paper ones)

V – van (hot wheel ones have them dip on ink or paint and drive the wheel around the letter) or velvet (pieces from a craft store)

W – Whoppers or Werther’s candy

X – Xtra gum wrappers

Y – yarn

Z – zoo animal stickers

Another fun one that works especially well at a center or small groups is to have the student or yourself write the letter you are working with on an index card. Then trace it with glue (again, Elmer’s Glue works better than glue sticks). Next the student sprinkles colored sand (try Dollar Tree to find it) over the glue and then shakes it off onto a plate or tray. Once it dries, they have the letter they can trace with their hands before they practice writing it on paper.

A nice easy assessment would be to take magnetic letters, Cheez-It letters, letter beads, etc. and put several—including the capital and lowercase letter the students have worked on all year—on a magnetic pan or a plate (depending if you are using magnets or not); call the students up one at a time and have the child take all of that letter out.

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My name is Brian Hopkins and I am from Brevard County, Florida. I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education K–6. I also have my ESOL endorsement and am CET certified to mentor teachers and have student interns. I taught Kindergarten for three years, 2nd grade for five years, and completed a short term in 5th grade. I also subbed in a 3rd/4th grade class for a month. Currently, I am a substitute teacher as I try to seek a new teaching assignment, which I hope is right around the corner! In my spare time, I enjoy listening to country music, reading, and making teaching materials.

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For more information on the Letter Buddies Letter Books, which includes the books featured in today's post, you can click here to visit our website, or click the image below on the left to download an information sheet with key features!

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