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Level for year 1 class.

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Joined: 16 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:32 pm    Post subject: Level for year 1 class. Reply with quote

I am teaching in Ireland in a small school with the equivalent of reception to year 3 in one classroom. I use Jolly phonics with my reception class but this year I am using Phonics International with year 1. At the moment I am using sound book activity sheets from levels 3 and 4 to revise digraphs with them and also making use of other work from these levels. I just wonder what unit other people are working on with this age group. I saw on another thread that another poster is using unit 7 with her year 1 son. My class are not nearly ready for this level yet and I just wonder if I am behind most other class teachers or at a similar level.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a really good question!

I am currently revising the PI simple code level with some Year 2 children - mainly for the spelling side of things. I am using from half way through unit 2 material to revise the need for 'ff', 'll', 'ss' and 'zz' following single letter short vowel sounds. (Unit 3 introduces 'zz'). These children can read already, but the Sounds Book Activity Sheets make excellent word level rehearsal and spelling material. The children really love the use of the sheets and some of them tell me every time we use these activity sheets how much they love them. This has been the case with older junior children also.

I have printed off the Unit 2 'I can read' texts from half way through the unit. The children do grapheme searches, read the text and then I give a couple of sentences for dictation. I actively teach whilst I do this (as opposed to just 'testing') so if children do not remember capital letters and full stops, I am teaching about punctuation as well. I can also keep my eye on the handwriting which is now joined with leaders. I can scan round the group of children as they write and pick up any odd letters which need a little extra rehearsal.

I have split the cohort into two groups. The other group is currently using Unit 6 material. I use a variety of resources including the Sounds Book Activity Sheets, the 'I can read' sheets stapled into booklets for reading and grapheme searches and vocabulary development. I also use the 'Read the words, make up a story' sheets. The children actually WRITE their stories, however, in separate lined exercise books - often as a homework activity. I print off enough copies so the other group of children will use these resources but a 'term later' after a quick revision of Units 1 to 5.

Whilst I would introduce the letter/s-sound correspondences in Units 1 to 5 to Reception children, I think it works well then to revise these same units in a Year One class.

I would also, however, refer to other graphemes incidentally and through wider reading and spelling activities. The split digraph of 'magic e' needs to be taught alongside teaching Units 1 to 5 in a Reception class in an incidental/informal way as they are bound to encounter split digraph words.

The other day, although I was doing the 'f', 'ff' sheet with a Year Two group, I also asked if anyone knew of any other spelling alternatives for the /f/ sound. One girl knew about the 'ph' as in 'photograph' so I wrote that up on the board quickly, I then mentioned just as quickly about the 'gh' in the word 'rough'. So whilst we were doing revision, I was also mindful of some extension work although the focus was not on the graphemes 'ph' and 'gh'.

Then I continued with the 'f', 'ff' sheet.

Now I have designed the Early Years Starter Package, I would start off with that in a Reception class - but equally would use it in a Year One class if I had not already used it in Reception. I would quite happily combine it with the full PI programme resources such as the Sounds Book Activity Sheets whilst sending home the Early Years Activity Sheets 'home' for homework activities.

I have also used the full programme Sounds Book Activity Sheets from Unit 1 right through to Unit 6 with all primary school ages (up to 11) where the children needed a boost of Alphabetic Code knowledge. I would have no hesitation, however, on using the full programme as a spelling programme with the older children (and for some it is also invaluable to rehearse reading - it makes a great intervention, or 'special needs' programme). I would not hesitate to use the PI programme as a spelling programme in a primary or junior school - or even a secondary school with some pupils as required.

Following some very interesting feedback, I am now designing sheets with a similar format to the Early Years Starter Package to continue throughout the full programme. At the moment, the Early Years material includes the letter/s-sound correspondences of Units 1 to 6.

The point that was made to me was that the material is also useful for older learners where English is an Additional Language - it is the 'early years' of learning the language.

I think the conclusion at the moment is that the material is very, very flexible. Teachers and parents really do need to avoid thinking of the various Units as 'age specific'.

Some of the material from Units 11 and 12 may be more suitable for junior children and secondary children rather than infants.
Debbie Hepplewhite
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw on another thread that another poster is using unit 7 with her year 1 son.

More thoughts on this:

It is perfectly reasonable to be teaching Year One children about the different /ul/ endings such as '-le', '-al', '-il' and '-el' so I wouldn't NOT introduce these at the stage it seems appropriate.

I would also teach any of these endings incidentally when the situation arose. For example, the children might be writing about a 'castle' or need the word 'sandcastle' or they could be writing about 'animals'. The teacher might say, "Let's say the sounds for the word 'castle' together. How many beats (or syllables) can we hear in the word? 'cass - ul' - yes, two beats (syllables). Let's segment the first beat (syllable) /k/ /a/ /s/ [three sound-dashes]; now what sounds can we hear in the last syllable /ul/.

Now, there are several different ways that we can spell a word when we hear the /ul/ sound at the end of a word. You might think it would be with an /u/ and then an /l/ (that is letter 'u' and then letter 'l') but we usually spell words with the /ul/ sound with the following spellings (or graphemes):

-le -al -il -el

The word 'castle' is spelt with this one:


A few other common words spelt like this are 'little', 'puddle' and 'middle'."

The teacher might also decide it is worth drawing up a quick chart on the board and ask for other words with an /ul/ sound on the end. The learners might come up with 'animal', 'hospital', 'tickle' - or whatever. The teacher can write the words under the correct grapheme heading.

Alternately, the teacher can reach for his/her tub of GROUPING THE SPELLING ALTERNATIVES POSTERS (I am finding these truly invaluable).

She/he can then find the Unit 7 poster for the /ul/ sound and bull-dog-clip it or blue-tac it somewhere prominent.

I use the GROUPING THE SPELLING ALTERNATIVE POSTERS throughout the Units all the time. It reinforces the concept of spelling alternatives and it ties in with a copy of THE ALPHABETIC CODE CHARTs.

What I am trying to illustrate here is the 'layered' approach to teaching phonics for both reading and spelling which includes both a formally planned, systematic approach to teaching phonics - and an incidental 'do it as appropriate' approach.

I also think what happens is that teachers do need to make decisions about 'revising' past lessons particulary for spelling purposes.

The first time round that the teacher teaches the letter/s-sound correspondences is for both reading and spelling - but it is, in a sense, an 'introduction' to the alphabetic code knowledge and the blending and segmenting skills.

If the learners are very young, it is likely that handwriting is very new or insecure.

Later, the teacher (often the 'next' teacher) will need to return to the letter/s-sound correspondences already introduced not so much for reading (unless the programme is being used for weak readers) - but for the spelling and handwriting aspects of teaching and learning.

What I am finding (as I use the programme myself in my teaching job), is that I am using some strands for introduction, and then returning to various strands - particularly the SOUNDS BOOK ACTIVITY SHEETS, the I CAN READ texts and the SAY THE SOUNDS POSTERS and the WORD LISTS for revision.

I often return to, or use more of, the READ THE WORDS, MAKE UP A STORY strand (available in Units 1 to 6) as a revision and extension resource. This time round, the learners are asked not only to 'make up a story' but to write it down. I am finding that my Year 2s are really loving this activity and they are doing it for homework voluntarily.

Finally, we play memory games of 'recalling' as many words as possible of a specific spelling alternative. For example, "How many 'soft g' words can you recall?"

Having received ALL the Sounds Book Activity Sheets with the additional lists, having conducted a 'grapheme hunt' of the I CAN READ texts and put the 'soft g' words into columns on their blank column sheet for spelling alternatives, having read the I CAN READ text, and all the word lists and written a silly 'soft g' story, you would be astounded as to how well they can remember all the 'soft g' words.

I believe this range of activities is the best that any teacher can provide and instigate to help with future spelling and, also, to make learners particularly 'observant to detail' when they read the literature.
Debbie Hepplewhite
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2008 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your replies Debbie. You have as usual given me plenty to think about. I expect to have several more questions over the coming weeks as I use more of the resources.
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