Tip Tuesday: Teaching Analogies to PK kiddos!

Boarder: From the Pond @ http://frompond.blogspot.com 

When I first started working with preschoolers I thought it was bit crazy to think of teaching analogies to 4 year olds.  But after thinking about it, I realized that analogies are just about understanding relationships between two objects.  So here are my tried and true steps to teaching analogies.  These steps can be modified for all ages as appropriate.

3 Steps to teaching analogies:
1.  Understand attributes of objects:  The first thing I do is teach my clients that every object has several attributes.  We discuss the concepts of size, color, shape, object function, location, etc.  So I ask my kids questions about objects “what color/size/shape is this?” or “what do you use (object) for?”, etc.  A PK student may not be able to describe objects by multiple attributes but if they can answer the above ?s I know they UNDERSTAND the concept of attributes and we can move to Step 2.  If they don’t, I know I need to back up and teach those concepts first before we can answer these questions.
2. Category Sorting:  I spend a lot of time having my PK kiddos sort small objects, photographs of real objects, and pictured objects into categories.  We spend time sorting them by the same attributes we trained above (size, color, shape, object function, location, etc.) and discuss why we sorted these objects this way.  I ALWAYS use visuals for sorting at this age.  Some examples of how I do this are listed below (but you should always do whatever works for you kiddos):
  • I may have a picture of the ocean and a barn while I have my clients sort ocean and farm animals, or maybe I use my Little People Farm and a fish bowl and we sort the same animals;
  • Or I’ll have several different colored cups (colored egg crates, colored pieces of paper, etc.) and we sort objects by color;
  • Or I’ll use picture of “road” and “sky” to sort vehicles by the means they travel (object function), etc.

3.  Discuss relationships, thus creating analogies:  The final step is actually just making the small leap from sorting and discussing categories to creating the analogies.  So I may give a child a lemon and an apple and they will sort them, the apple on the red piece of paper, the lemon on the yellow.  And I’ll say something like “Great job, (child name).  The apple is red; the lemon is (pause)” and the child completes the analogy with “yellow”.  And voila’ the analogy is born!!!

And that’s it!  These are my 3 simple steps to teaching analogies for PK kiddos.

How do you teach analogies?  What are your tried and true methods?

Happy Talking!