Initial Blends Practice

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Objective

SWBAT to recognize and produce initial consonant blends.

Big Idea

When students learn that they can combine sounds, they are able to read much more quickly!

Why this Lesson?

1 minutes

Students need to be familiar with as many blends as possible; this helps them decode with more efficiency and makes reading a lot faster.  It is our job to teach our Kindergarteners how to quickly blend sounds together and how to connect words with the same sounds.  When students can participate in repeated practice of this skill, the blending of consonant sounds becomes more automatic.  This is an important introductory lesson that really helps explicitly teach students how to work with initial blends!

Here is a very cute blends poster that I have in my room from ReallyGoodStuff that supports this lesson!

Introduction to Initial Blends

10 minutes

Students will be seated around the edges of the carpet, looking towards me.  They are seated around the edges because they need open space to move around with this activity.

"Today, we are going to work on initial blends; those are blended sounds we see at the beginning of words.  So... where will we be looking for our blended sounds?"
(Students should say, "We will be looking at the beginning of words.")

"Good!  Remember, when we blend, we stick two or more sounds together to make one.  For example, I could take the letters S and T and stick them together to make one sound- /st/, like in stop or stand.  Can anyone think of another word that sticks S and T together at the beginning to make the initial sound, /st/?" (TTW give students time to answer.  Acceptable student answers would be words like stay, stick, stomp, etc.)

Here is the blends kit that I use and an example of some of the initial blends cards that we had in this lesson.

"Great job finding words that have the initial blend of /st/!  As I said, today, we are going to work on words with many different initial blends.  I am going to pass out some cards to you- I would like for you to look at the word first, then look at the picture... What did I say to do?"
(Students will say, "Look at the word first, then look at the picture.")
"Yes.  I want you to look at the word first because I want you to decode it.  Sound it out to yourself, making sure to stick those first two letters together to blend them!  Once you've blended your initial sounds and sounded out your word, then you may look at the picture on the back to check and see if you are correct; if you are unsure, that's when you use your picture to check!"

I DO:
"Watch me!  I have a card here.  I am going to blend my first two sounds and then use that to help me sound out my word.  Hmmm.... let me look at it." (I will hold up my card with the word flip.)  "I see that the first two letters are F and L... so if I stick /f/ and /l/ together, I get /fl/... So I have /fl//i//p/... flip... I think it is flip... Let me check my picture on the back- yes, I believe I was correct!  Now I am ready because I know my word!"
"Once I have figured out my word, I am going to tell myself in my head, 'I have the blend /fl/, because my word is flip.'  I am going to tell myself this a couple of times.  Then, when it is time, I am going to walk around and tell my friends that thought- I am going to be looking for a partner whose word also begins with /fl/ as my match!  When I find someone who tells me that their word begins with /fl/, I will say, 'My word begins with the blend /fl/ because I have the word flip.'  As long as my friend and I both agree that we have a match, we can sit together.  Then, we can talk to each other and create sentences with our words!"

DIRECTIONS:
"So, I am going to give you a card.  Remember to blend your first sounds and then decode your word.  Once you are sure of what you word is, look at your picture on the back of your card to check!  When you are sure, tell yourself, 'I have the blend...... because my word is.......'  After you are sure, you can walk around and begin looking for your partner.  If you and your partner agree that you have matching blends, you may sit together and then create sentences with your words.  Does everybody understand the directions?"

WE DO:
Students are given their cards, word-side-up.  I encourage students to take their time blending and decoding their word.  Then, students look at their picture.  After about 30-45 seconds for blending, decoding and looking, I tell students to go find their partners.  As students walk around, I listen and monitor and adjust where needed.  Once all partners are together, I prompt them to tell me what their blends are and what their words are- I also ask students why they decided to be a match.  I will help guide students into the appropriate explanations.  Then, I will encourage students to share at least two complete sentences with each other; one sentence using their own word and one using their partner's.
I will be sure to point out to the whole group sentences that I heard that were good and explanations that were complete. 

YOU DO:
"Now that you have all done a great job finding a match with your same initial blend, I would like to see you do it again with no help!  So, I want you to blend, decode, look at your picture, create your explanation, find your partner and share your sentence all without me."
At this point, I pass out new cards, with new initial blends, and let students monitor themselves.  Some students may take longer, but they all can do this their own way.  I like to watch and listen at this point. 
When students are all in matches, I simply say, "When I point to your group, please tell me why you are together and your sentences."  I try to give them little guidance because I want to hear what they know and what they can explain without help.
It only takes about one minute for students to explain their match-ups.  After that, I note what I heard that I liked through a few good sentences and/or explanations.

CLOSE:
As I collect the cards, I will close the lesson.  "You guys did a great job finding your matches today!  I think that you worked hard practicing your initial blends.  Now... who can tell me what it means to find an initial blend?"  (TTW call on a student who is able to answer pretty well to share.)  "Yes, ____ was correct.  An initial blend is found at the beginning of the word; it's where we combine more than one letter to create one, blended sound.  Great job.  We use initial blends because it helps us decode our words more quickly- the faster we can sound out words, the faster we can read and write... So we really do need to try to blend at the beginning of words as much as we can!"

Here is a video of my student match up and practice for this lesson!

Assessing this Task

5 minutes

Throughout this task, I look and listen to students.  I like to pay attention to students as they speak with one another and note who is stating their blend and their word versus who is just listening to others- those who aren't able to voice their blend and their word need to have more time spent with re-teaching this activity, as they are lacking confidence in their skills.

I really like to assess students' explanations to me.  I like to hear them say WHY they KNOW that they have a match in their own words- this shows that they truly understand the blended sounds. 

I also like to listen to students' sentences, as it is always important to see whether or not students are able to construct sentences appropriately.  This also helps aid in their speaking and listening skills because they have to speak their thoughts to their partner (and to me) and they have to listen to their partner's thoughts as well!

Here are some great teachable moments from this lesson!

Extending this Task

5 minutes

This is a "game" that I love to play frequently as a transitional task once we have done this introduction a couple of times.  I like to review this skill in whole and small groups because it truly does build students' decoding fluency.

I also really like to practice this skill in centers- after I have done this introduction a couple of times and we have participated in daily practice, students LOVE looking for initial blends.  Attached are some really fun initial blends activities that I have used this year that I think students really enjoy and truly learn from.

This brief activity is really easy to extend into daily learning.  I like to take our blending skills and apply them when doing things such as Morning Message, or small group decoding.  I also really like to have students practice blending in centers- this gives them a chance to talk through their blends and also allows them an avenue for practice before application (during reading and writing).  Attached are some fun center activities to extend this lesson!

Initial Blends Write the Room and Additional Activities
Initial Blend Flash Cards
Beginning Blends Write the Room Pack

Daily Practice

10 minutes

"Let's take a break to review our initial blends.  Where can I find an initial blend?"
(Students will say, "You can find it at the beginning of a word.")
"Yes, we will be looking at the beginning of words for a group of letters that we can blend together to make one sound!  Before we work on finding matches of blends with our partners, let's remind ourselves of some of the blends we should be familiar with!"  Here, I play the video!

I like to use this video because it allows students to come up with the blends sounds for themselves.  The music is kind of loud, but the kids love it (I just try to keep it low).  As the video plays, I let my students dance around and "yell out" (say aloud) the blends.  It seems simple, but it is great practice!
If that video is just too much (due to the loud music and lack of guidance), I like to play this cute one as well.  It guides them through repetition of individual sounds, blends and words that go along with the blends!

After we watch a video about blends, we are ready to practice them for ourselves!

At this time, I have students seated around the edges of the carpet.  I do this so they have room to move around.  Then, I pass our initial blends cards that came from Really Good Stuff.  Unfortunately,  My Blends Cards Box (it came with a kit) is now unavailable; however, this is something that could be easily found elsewhere, or even made!

Students are given their cards, word-side-up.  I encourage them to take their time blending and decoding their word.  Then, they can look at their picture.  After about 30-45 seconds for blending, decoding and looking, I tell students to go find their partners. 
As students walk around, I listen and monitor and adjust where needed. 

Here is a group explaining their initial sounds matching!

Once all initial blend partners are together, I prompt them to tell me:
1) What is your blend?
2) What are your words?
3) How do you know you are a matching pair?

Once I have taken about a minute to prompt each group, I have students talk to their partners and create a sentence using each of their words.  I do this to reinforce the blend and the fact that their words begin with the same sounds, as well as to reinforce their speaking and listening skills!

I will be sure to point out to the whole group sentences that I heard that were good and explanations that were complete.

Throughout this task, I look and listen to students.  I like to pay attention to students as they speak with one another and note who is stating their blend and their word versus who is just listening to others- those who aren't able to voice their blend and their word need to have more time spent with re-teaching this activity, as they are lacking confidence in their skills.

I really like to assess students' explanations to me.  I like to hear them say WHY they KNOW that they have a match in their own words- this shows that they truly understand the blended sounds. 

I also like to listen to students' sentences, as it is always important to see whether or not students are able to construct sentences appropriately.  This also helps aid in their speaking and listening skills because they have to speak their thoughts to their partner (and to me) and they have to listen to their partner's thoughts as well!