Hello everyone! Today I am excited to share with you the Idea Contest Winner! It’s called “The Alpha Mat,” and it is used to teach the letters and sounds. I hope you enjoy this great idea.
You can find out how to make the Alpha Mat by watching Diane’s great video below, which explains it very well! Here are links to where you can purchase the supplies for the Alpha Mat:
1. Clear vinyl envelopes from Avery that can be found on Amazon at this link.
2. A large vinyl tablecloth with cloth backing.
3. The large alphabet cards from the HeidiSongs Songbook, Flashcards, & Bingo to support Singable Songs for Letters and Sounds. (Printed on colored cardstock)
The basic idea is that you hot glue the clear plastic sleeves down onto the tablecloth, making sure that they do not fuse themselves shut in the process! (Watch the video below for tips on how to do this and also to see how the mat can be used!) The pockets have to remain open so that you can change the cards in the pockets in and out. This increases the diversity of the learning tool so that you can use it to practice many different things.
Below is the letter I received from our contest winner Diane! I will put our idea contest submissions in italics and my thoughts in regular type. Enjoy!
I just want to thank you so much for your wonderful curriculum. For the last year and half, my 5 yr old son has really been struggling to learn his alphabet and letter sounds. As a former first grade teacher, I was baffled. I tried everything I knew, and still could not seem to help my son. I finally googled how to teach the alphabet to a struggling learner and came across your website. I pulled up a couple of videos on YouTube and was hooked. I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a shot. What happened over the next month was nothing short of amazing. I saw my son go from being lost and confused to feeling confident and having fun while learning.
The large flashcards seemed to help my son a lot. Since he was having so much success with the larger flashcards, I tried to think of other fun ways that I could incorporate them into our learning. I came up with the Alpha Mat. We play lots of games with the Alpha Mat and hope to incorporate a lot more as we get more curriculum. Here are some of the games that we play and how to play.
1. Letter Hunt: The teacher calls out a letter and has a student find the letter on the mat and step on it. Then, the child sings the jingle and does the movements for that letter. The game can be played with the whole class or with just 1 or 2 students.
2. Upper/lowercase Match-Up: I do this activity 2 different ways. For the first way, I insert all uppercase flash cards into the Alpha Mat and have the kids lay the matching lower case letters that I’ve printed off from the Bingo game, on top to the correct letter. The other way is done in reverse with lowercase letters in the mat and uppercase letter are placed on top.
3. Beginning Sound Match: To play this game, either fill the mat with upper or lowercase flashcards. Then, have kids place the matching beginning sound picture to it’s corresponding letter.
4. Spell- It: The last game that we play involves spelling CVC (Consonant-vowel-consonant) words. I shout out a word and my son steps on those letters to spell it out. If it’s not too far of a stretch, I challenge him to not step on any other letters while spelling the word. He really likes this added rule.
5. Many Others- There are lots of other ways to use this mat since you can easily interchange the inserts. You could use it for sight words, shapes, colors, numbers, etc.
I’m so glad I found HeidiSongs. Thank you again!
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