Phoneme segmenting and blending is an extremely important skill for Kindergarteners. After students have mastered letter-sound correspondence, it is important to hone in on letting them hear the sounds in words through regular practice. Once students have had repeated practices with hearing the sounds in words, they can phonetically sound out words as they read and spell.
Teaching student to HEAR each sound is necessary before they can ever write it.
This practice is made for hearing sounds only- this is the step needed before phonics practice (no letters are involved with this lesson). Now, this lesson can be changed, as time passes, to include letters; however, Tap It, Map It, Hear It, Zap It is a lesson that trains students' ears as a first foundational step in phonemic awareness.
I begin this practice in small groups using this technique.
Eventually, I change over to this fun activity using "learning tools." After implementing this technique, I can use it with whole group instruction as well; however, the small group is easier and more informative, as I can pay closer attention.
I do this practice at least 2-3 times per week, if not more often, at the beginning of the year! Once my students can own this skill of hearing individual sounds, we then slow down and only practice this with blends, digraphs and other building skills.
Attached is the reference chart that I like to use for myself and/or my students throughout the year!
In order to teach this lesson, I needed some extra special and fun materials! That's it!
All I had to do was get these things once...
my teaching and my students' brains do all the talking from then on!
Here's what I got:
magnetic chips (6-10 per student) in a small baggie
paper charts with Elkonin boxes (see these in the attachment- I made these!)
*Tip: I got a mom to bag up all of my chips and I gave each student one bag with their name on it... if you lose a chip from your bag, sorry, Charlie! This is a simple way to reinforce management skills for my students and it also prevents me from re-counting or finding chips during lessons!
As a part of this practice, it is important that students have been exposed to left-to-right progression routines. Here is one idea for this!
*I would intro this in small groups, as it is extremely hard to introduce this skill in whole group.
When you begin this process, you need to teach your students how to use their "learning materials." You need to set your expectations for how your students treat your materials high so they will actually use them for the education purposes you intend them for.
I usually say, "This is a new learning tool. I am going to show you how to use it, and I want you to pay close attention. Remember though, it's a learning tool.
We are going to use this tool to.... help us segment and blend words.
We will use this set of tools (hold the wand and magnetic chips up) to help us segment and blend words. What do we use this set of tools for?"
(Students should say, "We will use this set of tools to segment and blend words.")
Introduce the materials, one by one, and show the students how to use them.
"These are magnetic chips; we use these chips to map out our words on our color charts." (See the linked idea above to view my color charts.)
"This is a magnetic wand; we use this to blend our words back together. Once we have sounded out the word and we are sure we know it, we can sweep across the chips and swipe them up, then say the whole word."
"We treat these learning materials nicely because we will use them often to make our learning more fun. Now, even though they are fun, please do remember that they are not tools. Let's learn while we use these!"
This learning game can be played in many different ways!
I play this game in whole group, in small groups and with independent practice! There are so many options for my students (and for me and my schedule)!
Also, I can differentiate this game however I want to!
I can play this game with initial blends, with final s., etc.
I play this game with my students at least 1 times a week in small groups and at least once a week in whole group! The kids love it and they don't even realize they are participating in meaningful, developmental learning!