Friday, March 10, 2017

Wrestle, despise, maybe friendlier with... {Slice of Life Story Challenge}

Prologue - I wrestle with my districts systematic phonics resource at times.  Honestly, use to despise it but everything needs a chance so I've been a rule follower and done it pretty faithfully for two years.  I spent a day this past summer with an "official" program trainer and she had some good ideas but didn't have some of the answers I wanted.  I wanted to know how to differentiate the program.  I wanted to know how to extend those natural born spellers.  I wanted to know more ideas than repeating what I had initially done with the strugglers.  I asked some questions and was told if they are natural spellers they probably still don't know these rules and should learn them.  I don't know these rules after two years and have to really pay attention to them each time to hold on to them.  For example, f, l, and s get doubled at the end of a word and we call them bonus letters only when they are in a closed syllable - aka short/one syllable word.  I sometimes think if I could make a new resource in anything if I just change the name of what we've done before.  Repacking can work wonders sometimes!  

Today - I'm so excited my old CD - Phonics Lessons CD Grade 2 can work in our old laptops in the computer lab.  I've decided to blend some resources but anchor it to the topic in the systematic phonics program.  I found lesson LS16 for vowel teams and wanted to focus on ay and ai.  I used some words found on the CD list and then pulled more from the systematic phonics book to make some different games for a word study menu.  I easily typed in 30 words and had 24 random generated lotto boards today.  I made a game sheet for dominoes - matching words with the same vowel team.  I made a memory game where students would flip over two cards and look for the same vowel team feature.  The last game is a bit simple.  It's a game board called Follow the Path where students read practice reading words.  Bright colored cardstock, laminated, and will be ready to go on Monday.

I've been noticing my struggling spellers are identifying new letter sound combinations, can identify where they should go but struggle with applying these rules on the summative assessment and within their own writing.  My purpose for offering some menu choices is because I feel like we need to see the words in print more.  We need to notice and think about word families.  We need to notice what is the same and maybe it will help us internalize how to use these rules they must learn and how to use them with greater success.   We need to talk to each other about these words and rules. 

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing this Slice of Life Story Challenge.


  1. You sound like such a thoughtful and dedicated teacher. I agree with you wholeheartedly that giving students choices helps. Games help. New, bright materials help. And having a teacher who cares so much really must help.

  2. You are on the road to answering the questions the trainer could not. Sounds like this could be a way to get more eyes past print. Good luck!

  3. Mandy, One of the things I most admire about you is that you always ask questions and you make purposeful decisions based on what your students need.