Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Using Technology in Small Groups: Phonics and Word Study

While you are reading this, I'm at the beach. Hopefully having a great family vacation with my whole family. I'm sure we're having a wild and crazy time with three kids 5 and under. But it is definitely needed.
I can't believe I'm actually able to post two blog posts in a row. I've set my goal of posting once a week. If I post once a week for the next few months, I'm going to reward myself with a facelift to my blog. I have missed blogging. I enjoy having something to share and focusing on the content rather than getting caught up in the whole "business" side of the blog. There is so much pressure through social media to be a certain way and to keep up with the newest trends. When I couldn't keep up because of my sweet girl, I kind of gave up on blogging. But I am finding my groove again and I'm remembering why I started the blog to begin with.
Anyway, moving on from that tagent. This week I'm going to share a few activities to use in your small groups that have to do with phonics and word study.

The first activity uses the app Post-It Plus. This is a free app from Apple iTunes but I wasn't able to find the app on the Google play store. I learned about this app from the Apple Education event I got the opportunity to go to in April. It was a great training and I learned about several great activities. This app is used organize and sort information. The app is billed as a way to capture information from collaboration sessions and then share it. There are so many applications for education. You take a picture of the post its and then you can move the post its and create different boards.
In the small group, we had been working on short vowel words. I had post its with different words on it. The students took a picture of the post its and sorted the cards by medial sound. We did it with words but you could do it with pictures as well, provided the pictures are the size of a post it.

You can move the post its into several different groups within the app. Yes you can do this with the post its and not add the tech component. But technology offers a little higher engagement for students which gets them more into their learning. When I first saw this app, the first activity I thought of was a can, have, are chart. Once completed as a class using post its. Students could reorganize the information during a center and create their own chart. I plan to try this next year with my first graders. 
The ABC - Magnetic letter app that I talked about in part one can be used for phonics as well. You can use the letters to build words from a word family. What I liked about this, is there is a line magnet that students could use to underline the rime and onset of the words. Here's an example using the -ot family. 

You could also use the Doodle Buddy app like I suggested for the sight words for word work.

I really want using the iPad to be more intentional that just getting on apps and playing. But there are some great apps out there for students to use to practice skills that they need practice with. I use this time during small groups to show students specific apps that I want them to practice on. For example, there was an RTI group that I was working with that was really struggling with rhyme. I had this app Bud's Rhyming Words that I showed the kids and we worked on some games with. Then they knew when they were using the iPad during center time I wanted them to work on this app.
This is a paid app. It costs $3.99. But one of the things I like about it, is that kids can have their own username on this game and you can track what they are doing.
Here are a couple of other phonics apps that I like.

  • Montessori Crosswords - Fun Phonics Game for Kids to learn sound letters and alphabets ($2.99)

  • Alpha Writer by Montessorium - $4.99 - So this one is expensive but I like it because it has all the digraphs, blends and other vowel teams already in chunks for kids to work on.

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