Aaron Brengard, Principal at Katherine Smith Elementary SchoolLearning the letter names and sounds is arguably the first and most important literacy skill. It wasn’t until last year, that we figured out how to do that within the context of a project.When we started using project-based learning in 2012, our kindergarten teachers worked to create authentic and engaging learning experiences. There were very few early education examples to help them, but their very first project was a good one – Stray, Stray, Go, Away. For the final exhibition, kindergartners did oral presentations sharing ways to reduce the number of stray animals in our community.Committed to the belief that learning needs a meaningful context – including literacy – teachers created the project “What do the Letters Say?” Kindergartners learned letters sounds with the purpose of teaching preschoolers through a movie with the sounds and hand gestures . The results speak for themselves. This blog is a ten-day series by Aaron Brengard, Principal of Katherine Smith Elementary School in San Jose, Ca as part of the New Tech Network Back-to-School series. Katherine Smith School is a public, neighborhood New Tech elementary school in the Evergreen School District in San Jose, CA.

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