Wednesday, September 16, 2009

writing in the sand

The children in my classroom love to hone their writing skills in this box of blue sand.

Sand is the perfect medium for beginning writers.

It's more interesting than tracing
sandpaper numerals,
and it's more forgiving than a pencil on paper.

Usually, the children practice writing letters in the sand,
but this child decided that he would rather write numbers.
(Hooray! for thinking outside the box! As I watched him write, I thought, Why haven't I ever done this? From now on, I am definitely going to use the sand for number practice, as-well-as letter practice!)

When a group of friends gathered around the number-writing child,
he effortlessly turned his work into a game...
encouraging them to guess what number he was writing.

It's the best when the children become the teachers!


  1. I love that you find a "Teaching Moment" to report on your blog everday!Everyday there is something new that you notice or prepare! What better of a teacher could I ask for! Good Work Ms. Anne!

  2. Thanks for adding my blog on your admiring glances blog list! I'm flattered :-)

  3. I love it.... making a sand box for writing!

  4. I have the sandpaper letter, sandpaper shape, and sandpaper number for the week/month displayed right in front of the sand tray so that they can try and write/draw any of them. The children love it!

  5. I love the color!

    Okay, so I did this with my oldest for the first time today (with sand, not salt).

    I assume that when your students are done writing a letter and want to write another they shake the tray to redistribute the sand? And they do this themselves? I did it the first few times and then Kal-El tried it himself and we had salt everywhere. I thought he did pretty well with the shake too. Maybe my tray is too shallow? Any advice?

  6. My Boys' Teacher: Yes, the children do shake the tray themselves, and sand does spill out sometimes... if you click on the photo and look at it up close, you can see all sorts of crud mixed in with the sand from children sweeping it up off the floor and putting it back in the box! :) Also, the box is about 2" deep and there's less than a half inch of sand - that limits some of the spilling. I'm all about cleaning up spills, though! The children usually get the hang of a gentle, close to the table shake after awhile. Hope this helps!

  7. Grrrr. Our schoolroom is carpeted :(

  8. Maybe you could show your son how to smooth out the sand with a little rake or a bent fork - you know, zen-garden style. Hmmm... I might give that a try! Also, I was just looking through an elementary school math activity book, and it suggested having children practice writing numbers in sand in a skillet - I wonder if the handle would make it easier to shake?


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