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simple paired activity using wordlists

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Joined: 21 Oct 2007
Posts: 14
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 9:58 pm    Post subject: simple paired activity using wordlists Reply with quote

I have suggested this activity before and the children did enjoy it, however I now have thought of a new way of using it which is proving more popular with the pupils- which is always a good thing!

I laminated A4 sheets for the children to to use as mini whiteboards and ordered a supply of whiteboard markers.

Make sure to use shiny laminated sheets as whiteboard marker cannot be erased from the matte ones (and I didn't discover this until I had 22 laminated Rolling Eyes )

It is easier to erase the marker if the child is reminded not to lean too heavily when writing.

The children work in pairs.
Each has a different wordlist- obviously using GPCs already taught.

Child A reads out a word which Child B has to segment, count the sounds, write the daashes and then write the correct grapheme on each sound line.

Child A then checks and corrects the spelling- they love ticking.
They then switch roles.

I was working with individual readers as the others were working at this avtivity and I found it much easier to keep an eye on what was being written due to the materials used compared to when they just used lined templates and pencils.

They were eager to continue this exercise for longer than when using paper and pencil.

Admittedly, lists written on paper can be filed as a record of progress, but you could do it using paper occasionally for this purpose.

There is a lot of peer teaching involved- I heard children remindng each other about correct letter formation, to check alternative spellings on the alphabetic code chart etc. as they worked.

I intend to extend this to a sentence dictation activity, depending on ability and as time goes on.

We also used the materials in a circle time discussion about elephants today.

We were discussing 'tusks' and then 'trunk' and I got them to count the sounds, write the dashes and then map the graphemes onto the dashes.

I was very interested to see thet one 4 year old wrote t u s x .

This led to an advanced discussion involving /x/ actually irepresenting a combination of 2 phonemes, plurals and root words, which words ending in /k/ are spelt with a 'k'and which with 'ck'and why!!!!

While much of this may have gone over some of the childrens heads, many of amazing these young people seemed to get the gist of it!!
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Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 2515
Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kat - thank you for your description of how to improve the children's enjoyment of segmenting games.

I think the key factor is 'ringing the changes' - sometimes do paper-based activities, sometimes whiteboard activities and sometimes you can provide magnetic letters or grapheme cards for manipulation (especially good for poor and/or slow handwriters. Every unit in the Phonics International programme has a set of handy-sized Grapheme Tiles which can easily be printed on card or laminated. These are then ideal to make up spellings in segmenting games such as you have described. School teachers could also send home paper-based Grapheme Cards to support learning in school.

Another good resource for spelling activities is the Can Do Cubes programme. This can complement Phonics International (or any other good synthetic phonics programme) - and information can be found at .

You can also 'ring the changes' by using different resources to provide your actual word lists.

Just a reminder, then, that handy sources of cumulative word lists include the Sounds Book activity sheets, the My Word word lists and the Blend Word Cards. The words on these resources are all the same and all cumulative - but the different 'format' can help learners to think they are 'doing something different' when actually they are rehearsing the same skills needed for spelling.

Teachers could even use the Mini Posters if these were available either laminated or in some kind of display folder.

I have been meaning to make the suggestion that most of the Phonics International resources are very handy and useful when simply presented in folders. They make a form of 'book'.

Where I work, we often make booklets, for example, by simply stapling together all the sheets of the I can read, write and draw strand or the I can read text level strand. We then just use each text as we have introduced the next new letter/s-sound correspondence. We can then annotate these booklets and they can ultimately be kept for record-keeping or can be sent home.

You can also shrink some of the A4 posters down to A5 to make smaller books. For example, I am currently producing new Alphabetic Code Frieze Posters which will be ideal for wall display (e.g. in classrooms, corridors and on phonics displays) and for making up 'books' for learners to browse through or teachers to refer to.

[Note: Only the unit 1 Alphabetic Code Frieze Posters have been uploaded - I am hoping that the remaining ones are uploaded tomorrow!]

I also want to mention the 'trunx' spelling you described above. I have made an A4 Mini Poster to be added to the current strand in unit 4 which provides word examples which all have the /ks/ sound in them, but which are spelt in different ways. So, there are sections on the poster with headings 'x', 'ks', '-cks' and 'k-s'.

There are quite a few other helpful posters which I am going to be adding to the Mini Posters strand in units 1 to 6. Once again - I am hoping this will be as soon as tomorrow but in any event, it won't be long!

Kat - I know that you are aware of these ideas, but I just wanted to take this opportunity to mention them for the benefit of other people who are either new to synthetic phonics teaching or new to the Phonics International programme. Wink

I hope other people will soon follow your lead and describe some of their practices and results from using the various resources. Laughing
Debbie Hepplewhite
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Kat!

The additional Mini Posters that I mentioned have now been uploaded in units 1 to 6.

This includes the /k+s/ poster that is ideal to support teachers when they explain that the letter 'x' is code for two sounds combined; that is /k/ and /s/.

This is so easy to apply when reading (going from 'print' to 'sound') as the reader just sounds out /ks/ on seeing the 'x' letter.

But the Alphabetic Code knowledge required and the 'understanding' is more complicated when spelling.

When the learner segments (splits up) the focus word orally, for example 'box', the learner can identify two sounds at the end of the word, that is /k/ and /s/ - but should the word be spelt 'boks' or 'box' or 'bocks'?

When a learner is inexperienced at seeing words in print, he or she may not know which spelling variation to choose for a word such as 'box'.

The teacher, therefore, needs to provide more experience of word specific spellings such as demonstrated on the /k+s/ poster which can now be found in the Mini Posters strand in unit 4 (module 4).

Later on, of course, the teacher teaches the Alphabetic Code where the letter 'x' can be code for /g+z/ as in the word 'exam' (see the Sounds Book activity sheet, the Mini Poster and the I can read resources in unit/module 7). Wink
Debbie Hepplewhite
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