Teacher Tips: Tools That Teach

These tips will help yow add excitement to children's early writing experiences.

  • Grades: PreK–K

1 Offer a wide array of writing tools. Provide colored and lead pencils, non-toxic markers, crayons, dustless chalk, paintbrushes, and paint. Be sure to add an exciting assortment of print makers such as cookie cutter letters and play dough.

2 Supply assorted writing surfaces. Great writing surfaces include a child-size, portable blackboard, an erasable Slate, and a magnetic board with letters. Have a number of clipboards handy for writing outdoors.

3 Add great accessories. Make available a "writer's kit" for publishing journals. Include scissors, tape, glue sticks, hole punch, brads, ribbon, and yarn. Laminate alphabet charts and place them at children's eye level for easy reference.

4 Introduce creative writing instruments. Offer cups of water and brushes by the blackboard for "water" writing. Use pine needles for writing with paint. Dip clean feathers into homemade berry juice ink. Squeeze glue on cardboard to create raised letters.

5 Make tools accessible. Tie paintbrushes to the easel with coils of spongy jelly rope. Add magnetic strips to markers or pencils and the tops of pads of paper. Velcro a box to the flannel board to hold the felt letters.

6 Store and label supplies clearly. Use clear plastic boxes on low, open shelves to help children see the available materials. Organize writing tools in silverware or cleaning supply caddies for carrying ease. Use a label maker so children can see and feel the raised letter labels on boxes. Attach pictures of the materials to reinforce the lettered names.

7 Keep materials in tip-top shape. Make sure pencils are sharpened. Throw away dried out markers and tiny chalk stubs. Ask children to be responsible for returning whole sheets of paper and putting scraps in the art recycling box.

8 Include writing supplies for pretend play. Set out pads of paper and markers to take restaurant orders and write menus. Sticky notes and pencils are great for phone messages and shopping lists. Furnish blank checks and pens to pay the bills.

9 Promote writing outdoors. Dampen sand and use letter molds or fingers to write words. Offer markers and cardboard to racecar drivers to make placards for laps. Provide poster board and crayons to create a menuboard for the tricycle drive-through.

10 Provide a print-rich environment. Ask parents to donate newspapers, magazines, junk mail, coupons, ticket stubs, and catalogues. Hang book posters in the library and graphs in learning centers. Prominently display pictionaries and letter and number books. Share documentation panels about children's projects.

  • Subjects:
    Early Writing
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