Preschool – X Marks the Spot and X-Ray
We finally covered letter X in our home preschool and co-op a few weeks ago. I hadn’t been looking forward to it, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to find nearly as much inspiration from Pinterest and other sources as I usually do when planning a lesson. And when I started looking for ideas, I found that, in fact there isn’t much out there about X. I pulled together some ideas I found and came up with a few of my own to teach our preschool co-op. Here’s what we did:
I started by reading Alphabet Mystery by Audrey Wood. This book introduces the concept that the letter X is not a frequently used letter, but can be used as a symbol for other things, like kisses (XOXO), as is the case at the end of the book.
In the book, the other letters go searching for the little X when he runs away. So the next thing we did was to do a letter X search on our white board. I wrote a 4×4 grid of letters, half Xs and half other letters. I got the idea here. The kids took turns, and with each turn had to find an X and circle it, and find a non-X and “X” it out.
The kids really loved the book and the grid activity, and these were a great way to introduce the next part of the lesson. I explained to them that in addition to being a way to symbolize kisses, X is also used as a way to mark the location of something, as in “X marks the spot” on a treasure map.
I passed out “Xx marks the spot” coloring pages from this printable pack and told them it was their treasure map. I then gave each of the four kids a section of the room to search (to avoid fighting or having just a couple of kids getting all the booty) and told them to find the treasure hidden under the Xs. Earlier I had placed small squares of construction paper with Xs on them around the room and under each one was either a gold “doubloon” or a gem. After the kids found all of the loot, they glued them to piece poster board in the shape of an X. Here’s Lass’s:
After completing this we returned to our rug. Usually I take some time to have the kids come up with as many words as they can think of that start with our letter of the week. But this time, considering the paucity of X-words, I tried something different.
I talked to the kids about how very few words begin with X but lots of words end with the letter. I then held up a bag with several different
objects of pictures of objects in it and had the kids take turns picking something out.
With each item they had to name it and then tell us whether the item starts with X or ends with it.
Then we moved into talking about X-rays and read the book Jessica’s X-Ray by Pat Zonta.
We made these super easy and fun X-ray crafts:
E-Z. Trace hand and part of arm on black construction paper with a white crayon. Give each child seven and a half Q-tips and a small cup of white glue. Have them dunk the Q-tips in the glue and place on paper to make basic finger, wrist, and forearm bones. They loved it.
All the snack ideas I saw involved eating something that could be placed in the shape of an X, like strips of cheese, pretzel sticks, etc. I opted to stick with my emphasis on learning the sound of X by talking about words that end in X, so we ate Chex Mix. Big hit.
And that’s that. Though I wasn’t really looking forward to doing X, it ended up being the most fun co-op lesson I’ve taught. And the lesson was very easy.
In addition to the co-op day, we did other letter X activities just in our homeschool, like making these St. Francis Xavier dolls:
They were inspired by the ones at Catholic Icing. We just used different materials that we happened to have available.
We also read lots of other books about X-rays and bones, like My Mom Has X-Ray Vision by Angela McAllister, Dem Bones by Bob Barner, What Does the X-Ray Say? by Second Grade Students at Longfellow Elementary School, and Curious George Goes to the Hospital by H.A. Rey.
Letter X wasn’t too bad. And now we only have two more letters of the alphabet to complete. We’re doing Y right now, and in a few weeks we will do K. Then we will be done.
I’m really excited about this because I’m ready to move on from focusing on a Letter-of-the-Week style of homeschooling (though for us it’s usually more than one week per letter). I have purchased some different curricula for Miss to start working on kindergarten stuff, and I’m eager to start something new. I really don’t care that it’s April and an odd time to change what we’re doing in our school.
I just bought Five in a Row Volume 1, and I’m really looking forward to starting it with the girls. I also have some kindergarten materials from Seton Home Study School for Miss and grabbed some new preschool books from Rod and Staff for Lass to start on. We will be adding other components when kindergarten starts for real in the fall, but I think these will be the perfect change of pace for us for the rest of the spring.