Thursday, February 18, 2016

Changing Up Our Word Work Routine: Long Vowel Teams ai ay

Halfway through my first year in first grade, we have officially gone deep into learning new phonics patterns, especially vowel teams. Each week I am introducing one to two new patterns; and it can be easy to get into a rut of introducing them all the same way with the same activities each week. Read the word. Write the word. Draw the word. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. Can you relate? Here's a tip. The easiest way to change it up and make it new and exciting for your students is to integrate a monthly or seasonal theme into the activity they'll be doing. And here's the kicker - it could be the exact same word work activity they've been doing since time began, but once you add in some new fancy themed clip art, the students get ridiculously excited and buy in to what you are teaching.

We began working on long a vowel teams ai & ay; focusing on each phonics pattern for a week at a time. By the time we got through the two weeks, we were ready to compare and sort words with each vowel team. I'm lucky enough to have a smartboard in my classroom this year, so I created a quick snowman sort for my students to interact with. They read the word on the snowman and sorted into the correct vowel team category.

Once we sorted and read all of our words, my students completed their own snowman ai/ay sort. I created two different versions to meet the needs of my learners. Some students had a sort with pictures only; and added their own labeling word. Other students who needed more support had a snowman sort with the actual words on it so that they could visually see the phonics pattern.

If you'd like to use these differentiated sorts in your classroom, click on the picture below to grab it from my TPT store! (Note: The smartboard file is not included due to clip art copyright, but I've created color cards for students to sort in a pocket chart!).

 photo snowman sort ai ay_zpswj8h8bjh.png

Another new activity I came up with to practice sorting our long a vowel team words used just one simple material: index cards! I gave each student a blank one and told them to choose either one ai or one ay word to write on their card.

On the back, they had to write a sentence using their ai/ay word.

Then, we sorted our words together in the pocket chart.

After sorting our words, we read them together aloud. My students loved it; and so did I - how great is it to have a no-prep, interactive activity like this?

I also love to find fun videos and songs on youtube for my students to get up, move, and sing with. They absolutely loved this surfer themed video for sorting ai/ay words. They laughed so hard at his "Heyyyy duddddeeee!" surfer voice.

I hope this post was able to give you a few new fun, quick ideas to use during your word work routine!