Friday, December 28, 2018

Bright Ideas for Teaching Blends {Including FREE Resources}

Over the years, I've learned that teaching students to read is a "squishy" process. There are so many skills students have to grasp in order to read fluently with a high level of comprehension.  One set of skills that benefits most students is having phonemic awareness and a knowledge of phonics.
Knowing letters, their sounds, and how they work together can give students the tools they need to attack many unknown words.  I like teaching phonics.  It is usually pretty easy to tell if a student has it or not.  Phonics is a little less squishy than some other aspects of teaching reading.

I incorporate a variety of activities into our weekly work to practice phonics.  For early readers, I think it is very important to continuously work with and review phonics skills.  One simple way I  accomplish this goal is by using picture/letter cards (or posters) with my class.

In my district, we use Wilson Fundations as our primary language program.  It sets the sequence and scope for the phonics that I teach in class.  Foundations includes a frequent review of letters and their sounds through the Letter-Keyword-Sound activity.
I created this set of cards (and posters) so that my students could review initial and final blends through hearing and saying the letters, the keyword, and sound for each set of blends.
I usually use these cards during our group time on the carpet.  Below is an example of how to use the card for Letter-Keyword-Sound practice.

While I'm teaching the blends, I will go over these cards daily.  After we've moved on from blends, I'll pull these out once or twice a week as a quick and easy review.  
If you do not want to fool with the cards, you can use the posters for your Letter-Keyword-Sound work.

Of course, you can use these cards and posters for display or anyway you would like.
For your FREE set of blends cards and posters, click here or on any of the pictures above.

Other ways my students work with blends include...





These type of exercises are a great way for students to work independently with blends.
If you are interested in any of these print-and-go resources, they are part of my Words at Work packets, available at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Click here for more details.


In addition to the card review and the printable practice, I also incorporate blend work into literacy centers.  I love math and literacy centers for spiral review throughout the year.  Literacy centers give students yet another opportunity to explicitly work with initial and final blends.  
Pictured below are two FREE literacy centers that focus on initial blends.  Click on either picture for a FREE copy of that center.



Students generally catch onto initial and final blends fairly easy.  Giving them ongoing practice with these skills helps ensure that your young learners will not forget these letter sounds and how to use them when decoding words.
I hope some of these ideas will be useful to you in your classroom.
Thanks so much for stopping by.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Last Minute Foxy Valentine Bag Freebie

Please forgive me sweet teacher friends.  It's been a LLLOOONNNGGG time since I've had a chance to share anything here at School Is a Happy Place.
Long story short, I moved schools (very last minute) and changed grade levels.  I'll save the details for another time.  Needless to say, change is a lot of work and much more consuming than I would have ever imagined.
But, today I carved out a little time to share a quick and easy Valentine's Day craft that your students will really enjoy.

It's My Foxy Valentine Bag.  Students make these bags to keep all of the cards and goodies they receive at our class Valentine exchange.
To make these cutie bags, I start by copying the various sized hearts onto colored paper (red or pink for Valentine's Day).  Students cut the pieces and assemble them.

It's really pretty fun to let students guess what they're going to make before showing them the sample.  
After students assemble their fox, they will glue it on their bag.  I print name tags for each student as well.
When the glue dries, the Valentine bags are ready to go.
If your students are like mine, they will love this project.

You can click here for a free pattern for this project.

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a happy Valentine's Day.