This week Preschool is using drawing and labeling experiences to create individual dictionaries. Each day students have added at least three words (of their own choosing) to their dictionaries. In turn, they use the dictionaries alongside their journals to help build confidence as well as develop appropriate writing habits and strategies.
The children may attempt to spell the words themselves, so they might write APPLE as A, or A followed by a string of random letters, or for those who have a solid grasp of most letter sounds it might look more recognizable as APL; or the children can find the word in the classroom and copy it if they are more comfortable doing that.
The point of both of these exercises is to meet the children at their level of interest as well as their developmental level. The point of the small group activity is to demonstrate the process of writing and encourage the children in their understanding of the concept that they can communicate with words and pictures. They are learning that their labeling, illustrating and “writing” exploits are ways for them to communicate on paper. Teachers model the process as they go (they too have a dictionary and a journal) and make sure that students understand that there is no wrong or right way to do this.