Learning Through Sand Play

 

This is part 2 of the Learning At The Beach series. Click HERE to read part 1. 

We made it back home from our fun-filled week at the beach with buckets of shells and happy hearts. While it was a week full of fun, we also snuck in some learning. Last week, I shared how we played activities like "Beat the Wave" and "Sandy Sound Dictation." This week, I'm sharing some more activities that we played in the sand as part 2 of the mini-series, Learning at the beach. 

One of the powerful reminders for us as parents and educators is that it is possible to play with a purpose. Playful learning can set the stage for enjoyable interactions, reduce the stress sometimes associated with reading, and engage students in reading tasks while still focusing on a learning objective. Here are some additional games/activities that we played at the beach. Whether you are headed to the beach this summer or spending it at home or elsewhere, you can certainly bring these activities into your...

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Ways to Learn at the Beach

 

Each year to kick off summer break, I take my three little girls to the beach. They can spend hours playing in the waves and running along the sandy shores. This year they have tackled boogie-boarding, and I foresee some surf lessons in the future! 

As a mom and teacher, I am always looking to weave playful learning into our day. Our beach week is no exception! My girls love to play little reading games in the sand. I keep them short and sweet, which keeps them engaged and playful. We played so many different games that I may need to break it up into a 2-part blog post! 

Here are just a few of our favorites to play to review and practice some of our reading skills. 

  1. Letter writing in the sand. I have found that students of all ages love to play with sand. Sand provides kinesthetic practice for pre-writing letter formation and letter practice. The drag, or pull, in the sand helps build connections for the learner through what we refer to as multisensory practice...
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How to Make Morphology Instruction Multisensory

morphology multisensory Feb 11, 2022

From the beginning, we want students to understand that words carry meaning, and morphology is a great way to help students deepen their understanding of language. We don't have to wait for this instruction to take place. Instead, we can embed morphology instruction into our lessons and help students with this right from the start.  

What is Morphology?

Morphology instruction, the study of words and how they are formed and used, is one of the elements of structured literacy. When we look at language through the lens of units of meaning within words, that is part of morphology. Dr. Louisa Moats notes, "Knowing morphemes enhances reading, vocabulary, and spelling." (Moats, 2000). 

When we work with morphemes, we work with the smallest unit of meaning that exists within our language. Morphemes can be single letters, or units of letters, that carry meaning and may or may not stand alone. 

The English language is considered a deep orthography. Morphology includes...

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Using Sand Trays for Multisensory Handwriting Practice

Summer is a wonderful time to relax and play in the sand. Using sand trays is a fantastic way to sneak in some multisensory pre-writing strokes and handwriting practice!

I have found that students of all ages love to use the sand tray in our therapy sessions. The use of sand trays provide kinesthetic practice for pre-writing letter formation and letter practice. The drag, or pull, in the sand helps build connections for the learner through what we refer to as multisensory practice, or when we are engaging at least three of the senses at the same time. When we use multiple senses at the same time, we have a higher chance of retaining the information.

Setting up a Sand Tray

  • Sand trays can be made with any kind of flat tray with sides (to keep the sand inside). I like cookie trays as they are magnetic, stackable, and reasonably priced. I painted my trays with black chalkboard paint prior to provide contrast in color - bonus is that they can be used as chalkboards too!  (I LOVE...

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What is a CALT?

The title of CALT, or Certified Academic Language Therapist, was one that was new to me in the year 2008 even though I was eleven years into my career as an educator. I had worked as a classroom teacher, lead teacher and literacy coach, reading interventionist, district literacy facilitator, and curriculum writer. Even with all of this experience and trainings, I had never heard of the CALT certification.  I had been trained in many different approaches and programs, and yet I knew that there were students that were falling through the cracks. 

This sent me on a personal mission to learn more about dyslexia, and to seek out training to better help all students and educators. Twelve years later, I know that seeking highly focused training in the science of reading was the best decision that I made, as it set me on a new path in my educational career and provided me with the necessary skills and knowledge to best help students with dyslexia. 

A Certified Academic...

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