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Volume 3 Issue 06
March 14, 2005



WELCOME! to Education World's Early Childhood Newsletter. Every other week, I'll share some ideas on a familiar teaching theme. Hopefully you will find a new activity idea or two -- or a new twist on one of your old favorites! Since I know you are very busy, I'll be short and sweet -- like most of activities I suggest.

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Without communication, our world would be a boring place! Young children learn at an early age the need for communication -- witness a baby’s cry when it’s hungry, a toddler’s adamant “No” response, or a four-year-old’s “Me do it!” proclamation. Early childhood programs filled with experiences and activities that develop reading, writing, listening, talking, and observation skills help children begin to understand the variety and richness of the world around them. In this edition of the Early Childhood Education Newsletter, we share a few ideas to help you create a classroom of communicators.

Susan LaBella
Editor, Early Childhood Education Newsletter


Provide children with paper plates, crayons, glue, yarn, and tongue depressors. Invite children to draw faces on the plates and use string to make hair. Help children glue a tongue depressor to the back of their plates. At circle time, invite pairs of children to present a “puppet play” to the group. Accept any reasonable dialogue the children create.

Hold a special time each week for a “Giggle Break.” Begin by telling children a few jokes such as “knock-knock jokes.” Then invite children to tell a favorite riddle or funny story. For children who have difficulty thinking of one, provide age-appropriate riddle books or magazines. Set aside a special time for children to share their riddles and jokes.
Note: To ensure that all humor is appropriate, you may want to have children whisper their jokes in your ear before telling the class.

Encourage children to create an imaginary brother or sister. At Circle Time, give each child an opportunity to describe what that person would be like. Let students draw a picture of their imaginary sibling and recite several describing words as you record them on the bottom of each picture. Bind pictures into a class book.

Give children drawing paper and envelopes. Invite children to draw a picture that tells their friend something or to write a message using inventive spelling. Encourage children to put their drawings or sentences in envelopes and deliver them to their friends’ cubbies.

Invite children to sit on the floor and close their eyes, explaining that they will need to listen carefully. Recite or read aloud to children a familiar story or rhyme. As you proceed, change a word or phrase that turns the passage from the familiar to nonsense. You can reverse two words, substitute words, change word order, or change the order of events, for example, One, two, shuckle my boo or Twinkle, twinkle little car or Baa baa red sheep and so on. Encourage children to raise hands when they hear a “mistake” and let them explain what was wrong. For younger children, the changes should be obvious and progress in difficulty throughout the year.


Check out the following Web sites for more background and activities.

Kids Can Learn: Story Telling Lesson Plans
Get some super stories and extension activities for use in your classroom.

About Face
Here’s Arthur with a fun online game that teaches kids about facial expression as a form of communication.

Fern the Effective Detective
More game fun as Arthur and his pals show kids the importance of descriptive communication.

Communication Comparisons
This lesson plan includes information about and links to sites that inform about American Sign Language, Braille, and other forms of communication.

Can Teachers Help Shy Students?
Find some great tips on classroom communication that will help not only shy students but all students!