Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Days of the Week Zoo!

Years ago I began using small stuffed animals and the animal names when talking about the days of the week at calendar time.  I began doing this in order to help the children remember the name for each day of the week.  I also used this as a way to introduce the children to listening for similar sounds in words.


I tried to think of animal names to go with each day of the week.  Except for Thursday, I was able to do this.  Here is my current days of the week list:
  1. Mouse Monday,
  2. Tigger Tuesday,
  3. Worm Wednesday,
  4. Thumbkin Thursday,
  5. Fish Friday,
  6. Spider Saturday
  7. Snake Sunday
Basically, we just pull out the correct stuffed animal for the day of the week (except for Thursday, in which case we give a "thumbs up" :)  The addition of a visual prompt helps the children remember the name for the day of the week!  (Just be careful that the visual prompt doesn't become so distracting that the children don't focus at all on the name for the day of the week!)

Here are a few of the things I noticed when I was implementing this: 
  1. During center time, the children often would pull out a stuffed animal and begin talking to each other about what had happened on a certain day of the week while holding the stuffed animal associated with that particular day of the week. (not always accurate information, but often stories)
  2. Children began noticing other words that started with the same sounds! 
  3. Children were able to remember the names for the days of the week quite quickly after seeing or holding the animal associated with it.
  4. As teachers, this gave us a way to begin conversations about events that happened in the past or will happen in the future.  It also gave us a way to initiate conversations about events that happened during the weekend.  For children who have enough language and are beginning to want to talk about their weekend, this can be very powerful!
When I began thinking about using this strategy with my classroom now (all of the children have very limited language) I made sure to add some sensory elements in to the mix!  This gives all the children a way to participate (ex. by holding the mouse while it wiggles) and gives the children another sensory clue to remember the day of the week.

"Mouse Monday"- When we pull the tail on this little mouse it vibrates and
 wiggles around!  This gives it an added sensory aspect.

"Tigger Tuesday"...I know, I know, not a REAL animal; but technically, he is a tiger!
I have several other Tiggers, but decided I wanted this one because it has the soft feathers
for another sensory experience.

"Worm Wednesday"

"Fish Friday"

"Spider Saturday"- This spider has a string you can hold and make him
bounce up and down!

"Snake Sunday"- This snake is long enough that the children can wrap
him around their body or hold him on their lap!

Grab the "How Long is this Hall" Button!

HowLongisthishall?!
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