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Hands On Long Vowel Activities

February 19, 2015 No Comments

So, this is how my day started…womp womp…

A beautiful pixelated picture of my computer screen projected to my SMART board.  RIP SMART board screen.  I had a moment (maybe two or three, I’ll admit) of sheer panic.  WAIT teach without my SMART board, what was I going to do?!  You don’t realize how dependent on technology you are to engage your students until it’s taken away from you..tear.  

But, every cloud does have a silver lining.  I was feeling like our phonics routine was getting stale, so I spent the morning trying out a few hands on activities to help us break out of our rut.  We’re in the middle of a long vowel review week, not just long vowels with magic e at the end but also the beginning of some vowel teams such as ee and ea.  This is A LOT of material for the kids to digest, so I wanted to make sure that the activities were fun and meaningful.  

I introduced our spelling words by flipping our cards over for a memory match game.  Instead of telling the kids what our spelling pattern for the week was, each student had to try and flip two cards over and find words with matching long vowel sounds.  

Once we were all sorted and the matches had been made, we discussed the different vowels that the words had.  The students were quick to realize that our week’s focus was to review long vowel words. So much more effective than me just telling the kids our weekly focus!  Hands on minds on is really more my style!

Afterwards we worked through a little “human sort”.  This is inspired from something Kelley Dolling has done with a short i word family game called “Stick ‘Em Up!” To check out her original post on the game visit her site, Teacher Idea Factory here !

I adapted my game to include all five long vowels instead of the short i family Kelley plays with.   I quickly titled this version, “Take it to the Vowel” to tell my kids.  I assigned a vowel card to five students (I tried to find kiddos who had long vowels in their name but had to stretch it a little with U for Luciana and E for Evangelina) Oh well the kids ate it up!  These “Vowel Veterans” were in charge of checking each vowel word that came up to them.

I broke the rest of the class into three small groups.  I assigned a writer and every other student would run up to the vowel veteran with their post-it from their team’s list.  Ohhh my love of post-its, what would I do without you in a pinch?!

Once the kids were broken up into teams, they were given a list of 14 long vowel words. When I gave the signal the teams had to work one word at a time down the list to figure out which vowel the word had in it.  Then the kids took turns running the words to the vowel veteran.  If the vowel veteran said the word had their vowel in it, they got to keep the word card.

My kids constantly were talking about the vowel sounds they heard, helping each other sound the words out, and debating which vowel had collected the most words.  It was such valuable review and so much fun! The kids kept shouting, “This is awesome!”  Love a little teacher trickery, they don’t even know they’re learning!

By the end, the vowel veterans had to read back the words they collected.  They were super excited to report back to the teams on how they all did!

Love the look of victory on these littles’ faces!  This human sort is easily adaptable to any phonics skill and is a real crowd pleaser!  I will definitely be trying more hands on phonics lessons in the future.  Thank you broken SMART board for letting us break out of our rut!

Enjoy your night!

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Hi! I’m Jayme! A former elementary teacher turned stay at home mom sharing toddler activities, mom tips, and educational resources to help you learn and play with your children. I believe in the power of PLAY and creating meaningful activities for you and your little ones to enjoy together.

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