Phonics centers are the core of my teaching when it comes to emergent readers. As an early literacy teacher for over 25 years, I’ve learned a thing or two about how children successfully acquire and practice reading skills. In Kindergarten, our focus is letter sounds. That is the foundation of decoding letters as symbols for sounds we hear in language.
Once students can tell you which letter makes which sound, we are ready to move on to isolating those sounds. The [Read More…]
This post is all about teaching reading, and it also contains a FREE alphabet printing activity for you to download!
You may have seen my recent post about my HUGE teaching dilemma last year: a new teaching partner who had no experience with teaching primary math! How could I make sure that my new partner stayed on track without spending HOURS talking about math lessons, planning, intervention and reporting?
My solution? I had the idea to make a whole year of paperless daily [Read More…]
WHY USE BOOK COMPANIONS?
Book companions allow teachers to use one story to practice a number of core reading and writing skills.
In my classroom, it ensures that I continue to use literature to explore things like story structure, sequencing, character traits, letter writing formats, comprehension and more. We can also have fun with stories using partner plays, comic book writing, and art projects.
Using book companions keeps all the lessons focused and organized, makes my planning easier, and makes assessment simple because [Read More…]
Do your students love directed drawing? Mine do!
Read all about how I use directed drawing and writing prompts, and even directed drawing VIDEOS with my class!
DIRECTED DRAWING VIDEOS
Using Directed Drawing videos is a fun new way to practice drawing with your students! It saves a lot of teacher time by being no-prep – just give students some paper and pencils, press PLAY, and students draw along with the video! You can pause whenever you like, and replay the video at [Read More…]
Do your students love animal research projects?
It’s a great way to introduce non-fiction writing, and it can be a source of pride for students who feel very “grown up” because they are doing research! However, this enthusiasm can be dampened if emergent writers are not supported with reading materials at their level, and so long as the information sources are not too overwhelming.
This is why differentiating your non-fiction materials for emergent writers is so important.
Here are some tips for implementing your [Read More…]
Teaching phonics can become a bit monotonous day after day, but there are lots of ways to keep it engaging!
Here are a few examples of the ways I’ve tried to keep phonics lessons interactive, hands on, and FUN!
Phonics instruction can also be differentiated with a little creativity.
BUILDING WORDS & SENTENCES
This activity allows for differentiation because the tasks get more complex as you work down the page. Some students will only be required to print the letters and build the [Read More…]
When do you start teaching phonics?
There are so many things going on at the start of a new school year!
We are getting to know new personalities, watching them interact with each other, and at the same time, we are taking notes and assessing abilities.
One of the first things I set up are my EASY and independent literacy centers.
These take very little explanation, and students can happily work on literacy skills while I use valuable time to assess their abilities before moving [Read More…]
WHY DIRECTED DRAWING?
There are many reasons to try directed drawing with your students! Here are a few skills and benefits:
improve skills in following directions and attention to detaila fun way to practice fine motor developmentincreased stamina in focus and attentionincreased self-expression and communicating ideasgrowing skills in drawing and appreciation of artperfect for celebrating seasonal content and decorate the classan easy center activity to switch out each weeka fun activity to do at home! Send the link to parents and ask [Read More…]
One of the most engaging activities in my classroom over the last 20+ year has been Secret Sentences. Students LOVE to solve a secret mystery, and even better when they are practicing their letter sound knowledge at the same time!
WHERE TO BEGIN: SIMPLE WORDS
We begin with simple words. We use word tiles, scrabble tiles, or homemade tiles with n
As shown, student place tiles to match the FIRST SOUND of each little picture. They can also use dry erase marker on [Read More…]
Directed Drawing is a fun and engaging way to integrate art and writing.
Here are some ways that I use art in my classroom to encourage more writing!
After your whole class directed drawing lessons, invite students to do a “gallery walk” around the room to see other students’ work. Then, leave a post-it note beside each picture and assign secret partners. Students study their partner’s drawing and write a compliment on the post-it note. Students love to return to their [Read More…]