Rolling Letters

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SWBAT blend irregular and regular words and classify them by nonsense or real words.

Big Idea

We roll letter cubes and blend the sounds on the cubes. This is a exciting activity to develop fluency.


5 minutes

Common Core Connection and Introduction

The Reading Foundational Skill for Phonics and Word Recognition states that students should know and apply grade level phonics skills in decoding words. In this lesson we work RF1.2b which includes blending sounds. We do not do blends in this lesson, but they are included in the standard. I specifically included the vowel team ea and oy. But, I have already introduced these sounds and letter combinations.

Lesson Overview

The students roll cubes with different letter combinations on them, and then say the sound on each cube. Next, the person who rolled the cubes sounds the words out, and decides whether the words is real or nonsense. If it is a real word the student writes a sentence including the word.

This lesson allows for the students to collaborate in heterogeneous groups of two or three and work toward creating words with vowel teams. Check out my video about partners: peanut butter jelly partner).  First they participate in guided practice, then they work to make the words, and last they generate sentences with the words.  Sorting and creating are two activities that require higher order thinking skills.  These activities help my students get a deeper understanding of the concept.

I also find that transitioning: transition make the lesson flow well because first graders really need to move frequently.


I show the cubes on the table and tell the class that we are going to make words with these cubes. this get the class engaged and excited, two thing I try to achieve in the introductory activity.

Then, I say: I can blend sounds.  I ask them to repeat the goal.  Then they tell their friend and repeat it with me.  This repetition helps them develop ownership of the lesson goal. Telling a friend makes it personal.  


Guided Practice

10 minutes

I roll the cubes several times and ask everyone to identify the sounds.  Then we all blend the sounds together.  The learners work with their partner to determine if the words are real or nonsense.  I write them in the correct column on the t-chart.  We do this several times to allow the students to practice blending with support from me.

Partner Work

20 minutes

The students work in the floor to avoid chasing the cubes all over the room.  I walk around and observe as the take turns rolling, blending, sorting, and writing sentences (rolling letters).  You may want to check out the model I set out for the students. The students had so much fun with this lesson. This is what they look like doing the  activities (rolling letters).

Student Reflection

10 minutes

Each child practiced their speaking and listening skills as they presented their work.  The students formed two rows.  They face each other.  Row one read to row two.  Then row two gives them feedback on what they can do to improve their work. Then they trade.  This engages every student at the same time.

To promote positive behavior I say, "Sit criss cross applesauce pockets on the floor, hands in your laps, talking no more. Keep your eyes on the speaker and think about what they are saying."



10 minutes

Each student writes one word they know with a vowel team or oy and they place it on the Tweet Board. The Tweet Board is basically the same thing as an exit ticket. Then I share what I read off the Tweet Board.  I use this information to drive further instruction.

Then we chant the lesson goal three times: I can blend sounds. This helps the students remember the lesson goal.