Teacher Toolbox for Building Initial Language Skills

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SWBAT experience routines for sentence segmentation, syllable segmentation, onset-rime segmentation and phoneme segmentation with this overall unit!

Big Idea

You can use this overview of how to set up solid phonemic awareness instruction in whole and small groups... Once you know where your students are, you can meet them there and begin building a solid foundation!

Why This Lesson?

1 minutes

It is important that we provide our students with a solid foundation of phonemic awareness.  Students MUST have a good background with phonemic awareness skills before they can move to phonics and/or orthography.  Basically, students have to be able to hear it before they can see it, read it or write it!  This "toolbox" provides students with many ways to practice different phonemic awareness skills while also giving the teacher a dependable, easy tool!

Creating (Teacher Only)

25 minutes

I had to make "baggie packets," as I like to call them, for each child. 

Each packet includes student materials for sentence segmentation/blending, syllable segmentation/blending, onset-rime segmentation/blending and phoneme segmentation/blending.


** It was my decision if I wanted to make them for small groups, whole group or both... and I decided to make them for small groups only (that is, until I had a mom volunteer to help me at home and I sent her all of the materials)!

Materials I used:

1x1 red squares (6 per baggie) for phonemes
2x2 dark green square and a 4x2 light green rectangle (1 of each per baggie) for onset and rime
2x2 blue squares (4 per baggie) for syllables
4x2 yellow rectangles (5 per baggie) for words
baggies-- I prefer the portion size bags from WalMart (smaller than the snack bags)

[The reason why I used different colors to meet each skill is because I want students to train their brains to be able to use manipulatives without having me repeat the rules, etc. each time.]


*** Attached is a small reference small paper reference chart  that will fit inside the portion sized baggies.  I like this because I can quickly look and remind myself which colors I will need for certain activities.

Introduction to Students

50 minutes

Introducing the materials to students will take 5 days; 10 minutes per day.
(I really like to do this in small groups- 10 minutes, per group, per day)

When I do this in small groups first, I am better able to pay individual attention to students.
(Even if I plan on only doing these activities in whole group, the introductions are best practiced in small groups.)

Day 1- introduce materials and expectations for using them
Day 2- introduce sentence segmentation/blending materials and routines
Day 3- syllable segmentation/blending materials and routines
Day 4- onset-rime segmentation/blending materials and routines
Day 5- phoneme segmentation/blending materials and routines

After all materials have been introduced and students are able to use them, I regularly do the following:
      Practice in whole AND small groups so I can monitor and adjust regularly
      Begin each experience with these manipulatives by saying, "Today, you are going to need your ___(color)___ shapes.  Remember: that means we will be working on ___(skill)___. 
[I do this so my students will be reminded with their color AND a key academic vocabulary term of what exactly they are going to be doing; I don't want them to get confused and start sounding out syllables while we are working on phonemic segmentation, etc.]

Daily Practice

5 minutes

In order for students to really grasp using these tools to learn, they will need to have repeated, meaningful practice with their materials!

I like to choose one daily phonemic awareness activity for students to focus on.  Of course, I scaffold this instruction and approach the different skills in the appropriate order; however, I also like to mix things up and review all skills when possible as well.

I introduce students to the skills in this order:
1- hearing individual words in a sentence with sentence segmenting and blending
2- breaking apart syllables with syllable segmenting and blending
3- breaking apart a word into onset and rime with onset-rime segmenting and blending
4- breaking apart individual phonemes with phoneme segmenting and blending
(In the skills lessons linked above, you will see videos showing students' practice of each skill!)

Once students have grasped number one, I move to number two.  Once students have shown mastery of one and two, then I will move to three.  Students will need to have repeatedly shown mastery of skills 1, 2 and 3 before moving on to 4.

After students have really had practice with all of these skills, I will implement the attached Established Phonemic Awareness Schedule.  I like to give students practice when possible, even if it is in one or two minute bits through small group time.

In the end, students will really benefit from having repeated practice with these skills because they will be able to strategically and fluently syllabicate, find onset and rime and also hear individual phonemes when reading and/or writing!