You know those resources that you use every day in your classroom that make your life easier? That’s how I feel about Teachables products. I discovered these resources when I started teaching Prep last year and they are, without a doubt, the teaching tools that I use most at school.
Writing is a huge focus in my classroom, and I spend a lot of time each day engaging my students in writing through different ways and with different resources. In this blog post, I will go through how I use products from the Teachables range in my classroom as part of my writing curriculum.
Whole Group Teaching and Learning
In Prep, there are a lot of times during the day when we come together and engage in whole-group teaching and learning. Whether it be teaching proper letter formation or modelling writing sentences, I am constantly using my Teachables Magnetic Lined Write and Wipe Sheet. At my school, we teach students how to write on lines from the first term of school, so having this Lined Whiteboard near our group-time area is really handy as I am constantly using it to model writing.
We use our Lined Write and Wipe Sheet a lot for learning about correct letter formation. When introducing a letter to my students, I will model how to correctly form that letter before students go to the tables and engage in activities to reinforce this learning. As a transition to the tables, students will come and have a go at writing this letter – my students just LOVE writing on the “teacher whiteboard”!
In my classroom, we also use our Lined Whiteboard a lot for sentence work. In this routine, the focus is on developing students’ confidence with writing sentences, editing sentences through proofreading, using correct punctuation, using finger spaces between each word and forming letters properly. Usually, I will have a sentence typed up and we will read the sentence together before I cut and jumble it up (for a ‘transformation’). As a class, we put the sentence back together and then write the sentence underneath. Doing this together as a class means that I can model the expectations before students complete this task independently at the tables.
This particular sentence (pictured) was also linked to our English rhyme unit when we were exploring rhyming books and rhyming sentences.
Learning with Magnetic Letters
Magnetic letters are a fun and hands-on way for children to meaningfully engage with literacy. Magnetic letters are the perfect tool for developing letter recognition and letter formation as well as word building and sentence building. Over the course of my teaching career, I have used various types of magnetic letters in my classroom but the thing I love about the Teachables Magnetic Letters is that the letters are in print-sized font, there is a minimum of eight of each letter, which means students are always able to find the letters they need, and the vowels and consonants are colour-coded.
One of the ways we use our Magnetic Letters is for word building. At this time of year, most of the word building work we are doing is around CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words. I will say to my students, “Let’s make a blue-red-blue word” so they can visually see that these words are made up of three letters – two consonants and one vowel.
Sometimes, we do word building as a whole class where we will choose a word, stretch it out so we can hear all of the sounds and then record the sounds through selecting magnetic letters. Other times, I will implement word building as a small group activity where students will build words with the magnetic letters and then write them on their magnetic whiteboards also.
Practising our Names
In the first term of Prep, learning to recognise, write and spell our names properly is a big focus. There are various ways I get my students to practise writing and making their names – sometimes we do artworks, sometimes we trace and other times we use hands-on materials to build and spell our names. A small group activity I like to set up during literacy rotations involves students making their names using the magnetic letters and then writing their name underneath. It’s a great way to practise!
Developing Letter and Number Formation
In Prep, we focus a lot on learning proper letter and number formation so that students can build confidence in their writing. There are several ways I encourage letter and number formation in my classroom and I love using different resources to build these skills such as sensory writing in rainbow rice or sand, on our Interactive Smartboard and using our Teachables Alphabet Whiteboard and Teachables Number Whiteboard.
The Teachables Alphabet Whiteboard comes in Foundation font, which is perfect for my Prep students as it is almost identical to the Queensland Beginner’s Font that we use. The whiteboards are double-sided with uppercase letters on one side and lowercase letters on the other. Usually, we will trace the lowercase side first together as a class and then turn over to the uppercase as part of our writing warm up.
The best part about these whiteboards is that they feature directional, numbered arrows to showcase the correct way to form each letter. I have seen a huge improvement in my students’ handwriting as they transfer their knowledge and practice from using the whiteboards into their independent writing.
Similar to the Teachables Alphabet Whiteboard, the Teachables Number Whiteboard enables students to gain confidence with forming numerals correctly. There are four lines on the whiteboard, and as each line progresses, students must showcase increasing independence with forming numerals. I love this ‘gradual release’ system as it gives students confidence and guidance. The easy write on, wipe off surface of these whiteboards also makes it easy for students to correct mistakes and edit their work.
Out of all of the Teachables products, these Lined Whiteboards are the resource I use most with my students, as it is extremely versatile. The lines on these whiteboards are spaced at 5.7cm, which makes them the perfect size for students of all ages and abilities to practise their writing, no matter how big or small their letters and words are.
This is especially useful for Prep students who are just beginning to learn how to write on lines and are still experimenting with the sizing of letters. Some of the ways we use our Lined Whiteboards include; practising letter formation, playing sight word games, writing out our favourite page from the book we read during guided reading and independent sentence writing.
Picture Story Whiteboards
My students love using these Picture Story Whiteboards because there is room to illustrate their piece of writing, and what child doesn’t love drawing? These whiteboards are ideal for allowing students to convey their ideas through text and illustrations. We use these Picture Story Whiteboards to write and draw sentences, write and draw about what we did on the weekend, as well as write more in-depth stories. When writing on these whiteboards, (as well as with all of the other Teachables resources) we use the Teachables Thin Lined Markers as they are the perfect width and students can write on the lines successfully.
I’ve shown you some of my favourite Teachables products. Which one of them would you like to use in your classroom? We would love to hear from you!
Heidi Overbye from Learning Through Play is a Brisbane based, Early Years Teacher who currently teaches Prep, the first year of formal schooling in Queensland. Heidi is an advocate for play-based, hands-on learning experiences and creating stimulating and creative learning spaces. Heidi shares what happens in her classroom daily on her Instagram page, Learning Through Play. See @learning.through.play for a huge range of activities, play spaces and lesson ideas.