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Friday, May 24, 2013

Developmental Spelling meet Picture Sorting

Do you love picture sorting as much as I do?  Don't you wish your students could spell the words after they get through sorting?  These 3 books are designed to do just that!

You may have seen my first two, but the 3rd book focuses on contrasting all the short vowel combinations while including blends and digraphs.

Picture sorting is an awesome way to help your students develop Phonemic Awareness.  Students manipulate the pictures by cutting, sorting and gluing them in categories.  Because they are pictures, students are forced to listen and feel for the sounds in their mouth.

I have had picture sorting a major part of my reading curriculum for some time.  However, I have always had the students spell the pictures by using their invented spelling because most picture sorting materials use any words.  Some have many syllables, and others are a higher level than a student who is picture sorting would be able to spell. I dreamed of someday creating all of my own picture sorts that would contain ONLY pictures that would be developmentally appropriate to spell.
I have finally created these.

If you are new to picture sorting, you must get into a routine of introducing the pictures before the activity.  Even simple pictures are not always interpreted the same by students.  However, it is well worth the effort, because in picture sorting, the student is active and in charge.  They are not being talked to, but they are listening to themselves and feeling the sounds in their own mouth instead of listening to the teacher while the teacher is in charge of the phonemic awareness activity/routine.

I feel the picture sorting is one of the biggest "bang for your buck" in the teaching of beginning reading.  Once you establish a routine of picture sorting, so many "aha" moments occur for both teachers and students.  As a teacher, when you observe a student saying a sound wrong, you understand that your student will not understand those letter combinations until they are making those sounds in their mouth correctly.  One of the most common examples is the word drive.  Many teachers know that students who are beginning to learn to read spell it JRIV.  This is because they are feeling it that way in their mouth.  But picture sorting gives you a chance to discuss it with students and not have the focus be on the letters, but on the formation of the sound in their mouth.  In addition, you are also providing another way of learning to spell by incorporating the kinesthetic association with their mouth.

Another way to focus on how the letters are formed are to teach kids about voiced and unvoiced consonant sounds.  For example, B and P are both made the same way except one is made with your voice and the other with a puff of air.  Highlighting this for your students will help them to become fluent in letter-sound correspondence and help them get through the letter-sound (letter-name) level more quickly.  I tried to highlight these combinations in the Word Family Cut Paste and Spell book.  Here is a sample page that focuses on ending voiced and unvoiced consonant sounds:

As an added bonus, students get practice cutting and pasting.  Fine motor skills lead to advancements in other areas as well.  I have noticed that when I teach handwriting solidly in the beginning of the year, that my students are much better writers by the end of the year content-wise.  This is because fluency in handwriting frees up brain space so that students can concentrate on what they are writing and not how they are writing it.  Don't let anyone tell you handwriting is not important.   Interested in the link between handwriting and quality writing?  Google "handwriting fluency" and you will see that there are many studies that link it with writing quality.  Click HERE for one good article. But I am digressing.  Just know that LOTS of cutting and pasting are good for students.

Here are some free samples of the books.  I hope you like them!

Book 1  Cut, Paste, and Spell Word Families Mini Sample

Book 2 Cut, Paste, and Spell CVC Words--Contrasting All Vowels Mini Sample

Book 3 Cut, Paste, and Spell-- Blends and Digraphs--Contrasting All Vowels Mini Sample

To purchase the full books, please visit my TPT store here: 

They are also sold separately if you are interested in a particular one.

Thanks for stopping by! 

10 more days of school for me!  How about you?

Wishing you the best summer!


Friday, May 10, 2013

Word Families SMARTboard and Cut, Paste and Spell Worksheets

Hi Friends!

The year is winding down and summer is on the horizon.  The sand and sea is calling me and creating SMARTboard centers is one of the way I am passing my time until school is out.  It is nice to be able to do this now, because in the beginning of the year there is no time to create SMARTboard files.

I love my SMARTboard, but creating good centers is soooo time consuming.  And I do not want just any centers, I have high standards.

SMARTboard files need to meet 3 criteria.  First, they must match my word study/spelling for the week.  I mean, they don't have to match perfectly, but if I am teaching short vowels to a group, they need centers that target their level.   Second, all centers have to be self-checking.  I cannot have a center that will pull me away from my word study groups.  Finally, the center needs to be long enough to last the whole time, which means 15-20 minutes or more.

My latest SMARTboard files have turned out wonderfully.  I wanted some SMARTboard files to start off next year in first grade that targeted beginning short vowels.  I specifically wanted short vowel word families and a high rate of student success.  Here is what I came up with:

I contrasted many word families that had voiced and unvoiced consonants.  If you are not familiar with that, the /b/ sound is voiced, because when you make the sound, you use your voice and vibration.  The /p/ sound is unvoiced because when you make the sound, you do not use your voice, but a puff of air.  However, you use your lips in the same way to make both of the sounds.

Teaching students to feel for the sounds in their mouths is vital at this stage of developmental spelling.  The more you can call attention to this, the quicker you can move them forward. 

After dragging the pictures to the boxes and writing the words on the lines, students click the purple octagon in the right hand corner and this is what appears:

They are able to check their work independently.

In addition to this center, I wanted matching cut/paste/spell worksheets, so I created a set that matches each slide perfectly.  This way I can either use them for an assessment after they have been in the center, or at seat work as reinforcement.

 You can download the mini-files here:

Free Word Families SMARTboard With Matching Cut, Paste & Spell Worksheets

Would you like to win all of the Short Vowel Word Families SMARTboard and all of the matching Cut, Paste, & Spell Worksheets?  Follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers and enter to win it all!  (If you don't have a SMARTboard and would still like to win the Word Families Cut, Paste, and Spell Picture Sorting, I can just send you that file if you win). 


Happy May!