Literacy Throughout the Day

Below is an example of how literacy can be developed through the inquiry model.

Children were engaged in play, during self-selected learning centres. Five students were using a varietyof tubing and funnels at the water table. They were discussing with each other how to get the water to flow through different tubes at different heights. The students were stating their opinions and communicating their ideas to each other. As they were talking with their peers, one particular boy began sharing his knowledge of how his dad had water coming out of a hose from his pool to empty it. The boy sought the assistance of his peers and asked them to hold the hose low into a bucket below the water table. He then asked a peer to hold the hose in the water. He then sucked on the hose and the water started to pour out into another bucket. The children at the table cheered and some other children came to see what the excitement was all about.


earlylitaThe educators were watching and listening to the children as they engaged in their exploration. They realized the children were having difficulty naming the various tools and the outcome of their actions. They wondered if they could support the children in acquiring more specialized vocabulary at this centre.

At this point, an educator entered into the play. She was able to introduce the word “siphon” by labelling the process the students created while also introducing other vocabulary words. Such as: spout, sieve, and nozzle.   The educator also asked a few higher level questions. For example; What is happening? What did you notice? Why do you think that the water travelled down the tube? What do you think will happen if you change the height of the hose?

The learning was captured on the iPad and later the educators displayed a picture on the Smartboard, during Sharing Circle. The students that were involved had an opportunity to orally share their experience and discoveries with their classmates. It was noted that the children were now using the new vocabulary for the rest of the class to hear. The educators also noticed that the children were pointing to parts of the picture when they were orally sharing their experience with their peers.


earlylitb earlylitc

At the end of the day, the educators then analyzed their observations.   Together they tried to find ways that they could expand on this experience and extend the children’s thinking.

The next day the educators facilitated their learning by:

– Posting video clips of siphons on the smartboard , while children were engaged in free-choice play. Students who were interested could view the videos at their leisure.

-They then invited the children involved in the siphon discovery to join a small group. The children were provided withpicturesof the students while they were creating the siphon. The educator asked the students if they could explain what was happening in the picture. She then introduced the idea of labelling the picture and explaining how labels help other people looking at the picture to understand what is happening. The educator modelled how to find a clear spot to write the word tube. Next, the children engaged in interactive writing as they used their knowledge of letters and soundsto help create the words for a demonstration picture. The educator then supported the students as they wrote labels on their own individual pictures. The pictures were celebrated, hung by the water table to beused as a documentation piece as well as a learning piece for other children to view while playing at the water table.

As the days progressed,the educators continued to:

  • place clipboards and pens near the water table and encouraged the students to draw about some of their experiences at the water table.
  • encourage some students to try labelling their pictures, just like the ones posted of their friends when they discovered how to create a siphon.
  • take pictures of children engaged in play at the water table and provided students with opportunities to write/label their pictures too.
  • frequently enter into the play at the water table in order to encourage more opportunities to respond, challenge, and extend the students’ understandings.earlylitd

Speak Your Mind