I taught this lesson at the beginning of the year, when I really wanted to lay the foundation for listening and speaking expectations in my classroom while also tackling some basic content, such as the topic for today's lesson: sight words.
We all have sight word vocabulary in our reading series that we need to teacher our students each week. This is a routine I incorporated within my daily phonics lesson. With the implementation of the Common Core standards, I wanted to "beef up" my listening and speaking activities throughout the day. I started doing this last year and have found that my student's oral language abilities became much stronger. My low language students started using syntax correctly and all my student's sentences became longer. Today students will be taking turns speaking to each other by using our sight word vocabulary. This addresses standards SL1.1, and SL1.1a.
I look at the sight words for the week and decide how I'm going to teach the students to attack the word. If it's a word that has a pattern, I will teach the students how to decode and spell the word by the pattern, regardless if we've gotten to that pattern in our phonics lessons or not. If the word is irregular, we will spell the word by rote memorization. You will just need to preview your words for the week and decide how you will teach them to your students. To truly know what a word means, students must be able to understand the meaning of the word and be able to use the word in a sentence. Students will be using our sight word vocabulary in sentences. This addresses standards L1.4 and L1.4a.
If your district doesn't have a specific phonics program or there isn't a phonics component in your reading series I've found two Common Core aligned series that have a good scope and sequence. You can view them here Phonics_Scope__Sequence.pdf and here Journeys_Scope-Sequence_2014_gradesK-6.pdf . You will either need your Smartboard Word Tapping and Mapping.notebook or Activboard Word Tapping and Mapping.flipchart lesson for the phonics component of your lesson. You will also want to make practice papers Phonics Practice Sheet.pdf for each of your students. You'll also need your sight word flashcards that usually come with most reading series. If you don't have those, just make some from index cards. Again, if you don't have a phonics series, you can check the scope and sequences for which sight words to teach each week.
My students have little kits with all of their phonemic awareness tools in them. Since I am focusing on language development in this lesson, I will tell you to do some phonemic awareness activity here. Check my unit on phonemic awareness to if you need ideas for an activity. At this time we also review our letters and sound patterns. I have a set of sound spelling cards that came with my reading series, and I mix them up regularly. I say the letter, word, and then sound. I say this quickly, just like any other flashcard pack, and then the students repeat after me. We do this daily, so students are working toward automaticity with recognizing the letter and the sound it makes. If your reading series doesn't have a set of sound spelling cards, you can find some here.
After going through our sounds I said, "OK boys and girls. I am going to show you how I can take a whole word and split up, or segment the word into the different sounds. Watch and listen to me closely." I took my list of words that we would be working on that day. Let's say for the purposes of this lesson, I am working on words with beginning blends.
This is what I do:
So if I was doing the word "stop," I would model it like this:
Then I explained to my students what a phoneme was (a sound part). I asked my students, "How many phonemes are there in this word?" and students count. I don't shy away from academic vocabulary like "phonemes." Students need to know that a phoneme is a sound unit. One of the key shifts in Common Core is the emphasis on using and making sure students understand academic vocabulary. I want my students to not just be able to decode and encode, I want them to understand the process behind what they're doing. At this point we are concerned about how many letters there are - only how many sounds.
After I modeled the first word we work on the rest of our words that we will eventually spell in later parts of the lesson, we just work on them phonemically first.
I looked at my phonics scope and sequence and looked at the words that we were going to spell that day. I always take those words and have the kids work on them phonemically first because I know if students can't break down the sounds in our language, they'll never be able to decode once they see letters. Since I am focusing on the language aspects in today's lesson I will simply say to include a phonemic awareness activity here. (Look at my unit on phonemic awareness for many more lessons.)
I've included some videos that can give you an idea of activities you might want to do in your classroom: Hoola Hoop Frog.m4v, Bead Train Segment.MOV, and Slinky Segment.m4v. Phoneme segmentation should be done every day and will really only take you 3-5 minutes to complete.
I passed out the practice papers for my students and they got out their 5 tokens. I pulled up my Smartboard lesson and we practiced the exact same words that we had done in the phonemic awareness portion of our lesson. I made this video Tapping and Mapping sounds Ending Blends.mp4 that shows how we tap our words first, then map them out. After students have mapped out the word, I ask them "How many graphemes does this word have?"Again, I'm using academic vocabulary so students understand the process of how they learn to read. In the video we tapped and mapped the word black. Black has 5 letters but only 4 graphemes because the /ck/ works together to make one sound and so both letters go in one box. The eventual goal is to be able to have students make the connection that the number of phonemes should equal the number of graphemes.
After we have mapped our words out, the students write the word again on the line to the right. The students who don't need much support can write the word easily. The students who need more support have the built in scaffold of copying the word from the map that we've just completed.
As students get more confident and fluent with tapping and mapping their sounds, you can support much less. In the 3rd quarter last year, I noticed that the mapping slowed my students down and really bored them. So we tapped out the word together and then I would say "OK you write it." Then I would write the word and the students would check to make sure they had spelled the word correctly. I told them they had to do more of the work because we were getting closer to 2nd grade and this would be expected of them next year. They loved that and made them feel so grown up.
This is the part of the lesson that I really want to highlight to show you how to incorporate learning those sight words in the context of a phonics lesson. I am going to use the word "saw" as an example.
I would hold up my sight word card and cover up /aw/ so students could only see the /s/. I said, "What sound does this letter make?" After making the sound, I covered up the /s/ so students could see the /aw/. I said, " I call /aw/ the cute baby chunk. What do we say when we see a cute baby?" Then we made the /aw/ sound. Then I said, "Let's put our two phonemes together. What word is this?" My students were able to tell me what the word was. It doesn't matter if the phonics lesson focused on words with the /aw/ spelling pattern. If the word can be decoded by pattern that is how I teach the word. Students need to see that most of the English language is built on patterns, and there really aren't many words that are irregular. For more guidance on what research says about teaching sight words click here.
After students tell me the word I said, "Do you know that the word saw has two meanings? Who can tell me one meaning? Does anyone know another meaning for the word saw?" It's important to talk about the multiple meaning of words so students won't be hindered in their comprehension when encountering these words. This will be important when we get to our sentence dictation.
My students are partnered up and one partner is Person 1 and one partner is Person 2. I said, "Person 1, tell your partner a sentence using the word saw - with the meaning "to see". Person 2 - listen carefully, making sure your partner speaks correctly and in a complete sentence. When Person 1 is done, Person 2 you may speak your sentence."
Once partners were done I said, "Person 2 now you get to start. Tell your partner a sentence using the word saw - with the meaning of "a tool used to cut". Person 1 - listen carefully, making sure your partner speaks correctly and in a complete sentence. When Person 2 is done, Person 1 you may speak your sentence."
At this point it is important to circulate around the room and listen to your students, fixing any mistakes. You don't need to wait for the speech teacher to help your lower language students improve with language skills.
We go over the sight words each day, teaching the students how to decode (if they are decodable) and giving them time to practice writing them each day. Once we do that we practice a sentence dictation that utilizes our patterned words for the day along with our sight word vocabulary. You will see from this video Rereading Strategy - Sight Word Lesson.mp4 how I show the students the rereading strategy to help them to monitor their own writing. You will also see how after the sentence dictation is completed that they have to read the sentence and determine what the meaning of the word saw is in this sentence since its a multiple meaning word.
I try to give students as many opportunities as possible to work on the sight words throughout the week. I include opportunities in our small group reading lessons and in centers. Here are some great games I've found that you can use in your classroom:
Usually for my phonics lessons I just ask questions to highlight some of the points from our learning. I said, "Do all sight words have a pattern to them? Can sight words have more than one meaning? What are some of the meanings that we learned with our word saw today? How did we figure out what the meaning of the word saw was in our sentence?"