Learn All Year Long
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Blast Off to Learn New Words
- Computer with Internet access and printer
- Poster board
- Pieces of paper cut into moon shapes
- Tape or glue
- Online Alphabet Organizer tool
- A few books and websites about the moon and space travel
Before the activity, preview moon- and space-themed websites, such as these:
Also consider picking up a few moon-related books to share; the Moon Booklist has some good suggestions. You want the books and websites you share to contain scientific facts about the moon. These resources should help you brush up on your knowledge about the moon too.
|1.||Make a list of moon words the child you are working with already knows. Write each word on one of the moon-shaped pieces of paper, or have the child write the words if capable. Help with spelling as necessary. Use these questions to get started:
|2.||Let the child tape or glue the moon words to the piece of poster board and draw some pictures. Leave space on the poster board for more words.
Note: If you are working on this activity over several days, this is a good place to stop.
Talk about what it would be like to go on a trip to the moon, adding new words to the poster board as you go. Consider these questions:
|4.||Visit space-themed websites together to find additional moon words. Read aloud to the child or ask him or her to read to you, using age and reading ability as a guide. Add new moon words to the poster.
|5.||Read aloud one of the moon books, such as If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty (Scholastic, 2005). Ask the child to let you know when you say a word that is already on your poster or a different moon word to add. (The child can do this by raising a hand or using another signal that you agree on together.)
Note: If you are working on this activity over several days, this is a good place to stop again.
|6.||Introduce the online Alphabet Organizer tool. Ask the child to remember as many moon words as possible without looking at the poster to create an alphabet chart. There are three ways to create a chart using the tool: one word per letter, up to three words per letter, and one word per letter and related notes. The first two choices work well for a child who wants to draw pictures of the words; the last option works well for an older child who wants to use the words in sentences or write definitions of the words.
Keep books and other visuals on hand to serve as visual hints as the child remembers moon words. Also prompt him or her with these questions:
When the child runs out of words from memory, let him or her peek at the poster.
|8.||The Alphabet Organizer tool does not offer an option to save, so be sure to print the child’s work before exiting. The chart can be printed in calendar style or as letter pages. If the child would like to illustrate each of the words, print the chart as letter pages.
Visit the Alphabet Organizer page for more information about this tool.
Read books about space, like Skippyjon Jones: Lost in Spice. Find Skippyjon Jones: Lost in Spice at your local library or online at www.wegivebooks.org. Create a free account by clicking "Join" at the top of the homepage. Once logged in, click "Read" in the top header and then search for the title you'd like to read online.
Let the child stay up late and get a good look at the moon. Choose a night when skies will be clear—maybe during a full moon—and go outside together. As you’re gazing at the night sky, remember all the words you have shared. See how many you can remember together before…yawn…it’s time for bed.