I have a group of first grade readers that I am earning every penny of my salary. 🙂 One of my favorite groups (okay, they all are my favorites), but boy do I have to work hard to show any progress with them. It is a small group of 6 that just seems to struggle, struggle to keep sounds in their heads. To ask them to apply these sounds and switch them out during reading has been difficult to say the least. So I have tried several different ways to help them retain the sounds. One way they enjoyed was the flip book.
I wanted to be sure they knew the different vowel names. Then we not only practiced their sounds, but came up with a movement to go with each one. Brain based research says that we can remember better if we have a visual and a movement to go with what we are learning. So we did sign language for apple and egg. I couldn’t find any to go with igloo and ostrich so we made up our own that made sense to them.
My kids also made their own short vowel books. They got to come up with the words that had short vowel sounds in them that were meaningful to them. To help them remember, I had to be sure they were connecting with words that had meaning to them. A few needed me to spell Optimus Prime for them for the short o page. I had no idea who that was!
My students have done all kinds of word sorts and making words with magnetic letters during word work too. They are starting to apply the short vowels and long vowels that they have/are learning (I posted previously on this same group trying to learn their long vowel sounds-click here to read). It is all about applying these skills in reading and not in isolation. They still need prompting when reading about switching out the sounds, but we have moved from needing the teaching to the prompting. That is a BIG step for this group in the right direction!
Great ideas! Do you have the kiddos help you come up with a movement or do you already have a movement ready? I have tried both ways and just wonder what other teachers do who attach movements to learning. You are wonderful to share these fabulous ideas!
These are awesome activities! I have a few that would benefit from the flipbooks and movements.
I love attaching a movement to a word/sound! I usually start the year with the movement already planned and then slowly let them come up with it!
Light a Fire in Third Grade
Mrs. Anderson says
I had to laugh when you mentioned you had to look up Optimus Prime in order to spell it correctly. I had to do the same thing last year when one of my boys was writing about him in his journal. Love your ideas in this post! Thanks for sharing!!
Optimus who? Never heard of him. I love the combination of strategies here. Isn't it amazing how many different ways some kids need to experience something before owning it themselves? (I use visual phonics. I think you already knew that.) I've never used the vowel flip book. I like that.
Forever in First
Erica, I prefer for the students to have as much ownership in what they do as possible so that connections are made. But this time I did choose the motions, but we discussed how these motions connected to us. Like the sign for apple- where does the apple go when you chew it, goes in your cheek which is where you make the sign. Thanks!
Thanks Jessica! Hope they help! 🙂
I love movement to learn concepts too, Julie! Thank you for coming by to read and comment!
Thanks Connie! I had no idea who Optimus Prime was, but my practicum student did. I was impressed that the student came up with this word for their book on their own. 🙂
Tammy, Optimus Prime is from Transformers I have learned. The things kids teach us! This little group has caused me to pull out of my bag every thing I could think of to help them learn these sounds. They have been immersed in phonemic awareness in RTI with me for 10 weeks just to get to this point! I am not giving up. 🙂
Sandra Maddox says
Lori, adding movement to those short vowel sound will help. I use hand signals with those struggling. If they get stuck on the sound, all I have to do is show them the sign!
I so agree, Sandi! Movement helps so much! The only way I could get this group to remember the short u was to say the short u sound while pointing uppppp with my thumbs (thumbs up). All I had to do was show this sign and they immediately knew what sound to make. 🙂