As I was assessing letter and sound recognition, I could tell that one activity we do is having a huge impact! Many of my students would look at a letter and shout out "B is for Braylon!" or "P is for Parker!" and were then able to make the corresponding sound. This all ties back to a power point show I made at the beginning of the year to help us learn everyone's names and to help everyone recognize at least the first letter of their name.
I took a picture of each of my kiddos in front of a black board with the alphabet card with the first letter of their name:
At the beginning of the year I only had my students' pictures in the show. I have several kiddos whose names begin with J, K or L but we would do each of them the same way "J is for Jack, jam and jellybeans /j/ /j/ J." followed by the same thing for Jace and Joslynn.
Once we knew all of our freinds names and were starting to pick up the 12 or so letters in the show, I started adding pictures for the other letters. I started with my sons because my students are familiar with them, then added my assistant, Ms. Davis for D. Inevitably though, I had letters that I couldn't match up with anyone.
Ni Hao, Kai-Lan. I tried to use cartoon characters that my students were familiar with, which meant a bit of stalking Nickjr and PBS Kids. So we still had each of the students' slides, but now we had a slide for every letter of the alphabet!
We watch this on the Smartboard at least once a day - sometimes more often if we have a few minutes of transition time to fill. This, combined with letter activities from my Alphabet Letter Sounds Pack and my Alphabet Emergent Readers was really helping my kiddos recognize letter. But, seeing the same pictures can get boring after a while, and some of my kiddos were starting to "tune out". So I decided to throw in some random, seasonal friends to renew my students' interest:
Santa and Olaf were added, as well as Frosty, the Grinch and Rudolph!
My students LOVED these new characters, and were once again enthralled for the whole 3or so minutes of the show. Obviously once we come back in January, Santa & friends will have to move on, but in their place will be Tacky the penguin! I'll be updating the show throughout the rest of the year as well - I'm thinking a groundhog, Cupid, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln for February, leprechauns and Dr. Seuss characters in March etc.
So there we are - a fun way to expose your students to letters and sounds, but the key is keeping it fresh throughout the year. The great thing is that it takes just a few minutes to add in another slide or delete old ones, so keeping the slide show updated is not a big chore, yet it really makes a big impact!