Bustin' Out Letter Monster

I am probably a *little* too excited about this, but I can't help it.  My heart is deeply devoted to early childhood education.  When I see a group of kiddos highly engaged while learning...and BEGGING to learn more, I love it!  Letter Monster is one of those things.  I am telling you, Letter Monster is such a hit with pre-k and kindergarten friends, I can hardly wait until I introduce him to my kindergarten friends Thursday!
  


I found the idea of Letter Monster on Pinterest several years ago.  It was a very simple printable that happened to be free.  I printed him on Astrobright paper, laminated him down to an old hot chocolate container with clear Contact paper, and used en X-acto knife to trim out the mouth.  Clearly, Letter Monster is nothing fancy, but my students adore this activity.  Here's how it works.  We all say the chant together, and it goes like this:

Letter Monster, Letter Monster
Munch, munch, munch
What letter will you eat for lunch?

Then, one of my kindergarten friends must choose a letter.  They find both the upper and lower case version of the letter.  (They are spread out on the table or floor in front of the group.)  From there, that friend holds up both magnetic letters, says the name of the letter AND the sound it makes, the group repeats the name and letter sound, and the friend holding the magnetic letters FEEDS THEM to Letter Monster!  After that, we all write the upper and lower case version of that letter on an individual white board.  I am able to differentiate the level of difficulty for each group of kiddos I am working with at the time.  For instance, I used Letter Monster with a very young 3 year old preschool class, and I had children simple name the letter.  When they popped their letter in Letter Monster's mouth, he let out a big, "Yum, yum, yum yum yum!"  Of course, that sent my group of 3 year olds into a fit of laughter each and every time.  I love that this is a group effort activity.  It is a great way to build community and learn letter names and sounds.  If any child ever needs assistance, they can either ask a friend or me.  Sometimes they even ask Letter Monster.  Go figure!

My sweet husband cut my whiteboards for me.  He rounded each corner so my little friends would not get maimed in the process of learning to write.  He also drilled holes in the corner of each board so I could use a book ring to attach a BLACK men's tube sock, which we use as both an eraser and a house for a dry erase marker.



Notice I said black tube socks?  Yep, that is because white socks, or pretty much any color other than black, look TERRIBLE by the end of the school year.  I have used the same black socks for several years, and I have not had to replace a single one.  I do make a point to wash them at the end of the year...just because.  I mentioned above that one marker lives inside each sock.  This makes it super easy for my friends to simply grab a board out of the basket I use for storage, move quickly to their spot on the carpet or at the table, and get to work.  We are not messing around with crinkly gallon Ziploc bags or felt scrap erasers.  Of course, I teach and re-teach the marker saying DAILY so my markers last much longer than they once did.  "Give the cap a clip or the marker will get sick."  We do not want our markers to dry out because we loooooove using the white boards, so they are very well cared for by most of my kiddos.  Notice I said most and not all.  ;)

Do you have a favorite activity to do with your class?  One you just love bustin' out year after year because it is such a hit with students?  

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