It’s spring time again (though once again the weather doesn’t seem to know it), and once again the stores are flooded with plastic eggs, chocolate bunnies, and lots of flowers. This time of year always gets me thinking about the various activities I do with plastic eggs, such as Coin Eggs, Scrambled Words, and
Contraction Eggs. But those activities are all for students who already know the basics. What about our early learners (both in age and linguistic proficiency)? If you’re looking for a new and fun way to practice the alphabet that involves plastic eggs and egg cartons (these all involve the larger size cartons—the ones that you get with 30+ eggs in them), read on because I have two of them for you!
Upper- and Lower-Case Eggs
Last April I saw a video on Twinkl ESL’s Facebook page about using paper eggs and a large egg carton to practice matching upper- and lower-case letters. The basic idea is to cut egg shapes out of colored paper and write a lower-case letter on each. In each cup of the egg carton, you write an upper-case letter. Students then match the two by placing the egg into the cup with the corresponding upper-case letter. It looked like a lot of fun!
The video got me thinking though. Rather than making paper eggs for the lower-case letters, what if you used plastic eggs? On the larger half, use a Sharpie marker to write an upper-case letter. On the smaller half, write the corresponding lower-case letter. Separate the halves and mix them all up together in a box or basket. Place the basket in the center and students can work together to match the egg halves. They can then place the eggs in alphabetical order in the carton. Now students are getting practice matching upper- and lower-case letters and putting the alphabet in the correct order.
Egg Carton Letter Formation
One of the countries I’ve had the privilege of traveling and doing teacher training in is China. While visiting Nanao Primary School in Guangdong, China, I saw this fun artwork displayed in a classroom. I loved how colorful it was and how the student had used painted cups cut from one egg carton, arranged in a
second egg carton, to make a cool picture. As I looked at it, my teacher-brain started whirling and I thought, “Why can’t we do something similar to practice letter formation?”
The basic idea is this: give students a large egg carton (or two, or three…) and some type of material to place in the cups. I used lids from various jugs and bottles for my example, but you could use marbles, small balls, erasers, just about anything. The student then places the object in the cups to form the target letter. You could do this as a center activity, an art activity, or
even hold races to see who can be the first to make the letter the teacher calls out. I’ll admit that some letters are easier than others to make (and I found upper-case easier than lower-case), but it was still a lot of fun to try. It’s also great motor skills practice for our younger learners!
It’s not too often I get to teach the alphabet anymore, most of my students (even the beginning level proficiency students from languages with a different grapheme system) already know it, but every once in awhile I need to review it with a student or two. These activities are good ways to practice that aren’t quite as “babyish” as others, but they are still simple enough for my colleagues who teach preschool and kindergarten to use. Give them a try and see how they go in your classroom. Happy teaching, everyone!