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This lesson plan gives you several ideas on how to use labeling in your classroom to help students connect print with a message.
I Read Sign by Tana Hoban
I Read Symbols by Tana Hoban
Environmental print is one of the first places that children connect print with a message. It is a natural connection between learning to read and reading for a purpose in our community. You can have environmental print in your room by labeling items and procedures in your classroom such as tables, chairs, sink, etc, as well as class schedules, class rules, and other signs. You can also bring in print from the community through labels, pictures, and other means.
Intended Learning Outcomes
1. Demonstrate a positive learning attitude.
Symbolization, data collection and interpretation, classification
Invitation to Learn
Write the following question on a graph (your whiteboard or chalkboard works well for this). Have you been to _______? In the blank write a local restaurant, store, or other place children have visited. Use the picture or logo instead of the words. Underneath make a table with yes and no columns. As children come into class, have them pick up their name card and place it under the appropriate heading.
Have a child come up and help you read the graph. Read each word, including environmental print, and point to it as it is said. Have the helper lead the class in counting the number of name cards on the yes side and writes that number at the bottom of the graph. Next, count the number of name cards on the no side. Help him or her to write that number on the bottom. Ask the children which one has more. You can line them up side by side to compare if need be. Then have the helper child circle the larger one and cross out the small one (or some symbol you want to use to indicate smaller and larger. I would not introduce the greater than/less than sign until after much practice with this graph, if at all. It is not required in the core to know the symbol, just the concept of greater and less than.)
Have the children bring in pictures or labels from home to read. You can have the children create predictable high frequency wordbooks to read at home. Provide pages with sentences such as “I go to McDonalds.” “I go to Smiths.” “I go to Wal-Mart.” “I go home.” and appropriate pictures. Children will make the book and then read it to each other and their parents. Share a variety of options for teachers to explore and use.
Observe children as they sort the cards. You can do a cut and paste sheet of six to eight environmental print words and a classifying graphic organizer, just like the center. Parent letters, both before and after the unit, could request feedback of student behaviors regarding reading environmental print.