My class this term loves any activities that include building particularly with our Duplo and Lego blocks. Following this lead by the children, we've been using our blocks to help learn about letters and we found five different ways to use them in our literacy centre activities in our Early Years classroom.
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At the start of the term we concentrated on learning all of our lower case letters - how some letters are tall, some are small and some fall below the line when we are writing. We started using our Duplo blocks which are the larger type of Lego block, perfect for small hands to grasp and create with. Creating a complete alphabet using our Duplo blocks was as simple as writing on them with a black Sharpie (we use Aerogard to remove permanent markers after use). During our Daily 5 word work, a small group of children worked to put the letters together correctly using what we know about handwriting. Some students sang the Alphabet Song to help them work on the order of the letters while others used our desk mats to help them.
When introducing the upper case letters in class, the children tried to make the first letter in their names as one literacy centre activity. I'd seen this idea in the new The Unofficial Guide to Learning with Lego: 100+ Inspiring Ideas book which I was given to review recently by some blogging friends. It's a fantastic book with plenty of activities across the curriculum to try either at home or in the classroom. Suitable for ages from 3+ up to around 10 years it can be purchased through Amazon in print or Kindle or as an ebook via this link.
Whilst they used Lego in the book to create their letters, working with younger children we used Duplo to make the task more achievable. My own children loved trying to make the different capital letters at home too.
In another literacy centre, I placed both lower case and upper case letters on the side of individual Duplo blocks for the children to match. To make this task more independent, I had also matched the colour of the blocks for added support.
As my students have become more confident in identifying the capital letters, I recreated the same task but using the longer Duplo block for all the upper case letters and any tall lower case letters or letters that fall. In the first rotation, students were asked just to match the upper and lower case letters but in the second rotation later in the term, they were asked to do the same and then work on putting them in alphabetical order as well.
Another literacy idea I used from The Unofficial Guide to Learning with Lego: 100+ Inspiring Ideas book was one for practicing sight words. I used this one both in the classroom and at home with my youngest child who loves being able to practice her own word list different hands-on ways. I have adapted the idea slightly from Mom Inspired Life's original idea to write the focus word on a longer block as a base.
We've also used our Duplo blocks with our Say It, Make It, Write It word mats. There's so many ways to use these! You can download your own copy for free.
If you have some Lego fans in your classroom, I can highly recommend this book for plenty of fun hands-on learning ideas.
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