Let’s talk about vowel teams today, but before we do sing the title of this post to the tune of a famous boy band song from quite a few decades ago. I won’t say which one, but it you get if right, you got the right stuff, haha!
You know how we all see these cute CVC activities all over the place, but then students get to other phonics activities and suddenly…bam, the availability of hands-on centers are too often replaced with worksheets galore.
One of my wise college professors use to say, “If you can turn it into a game, do it!” Then she would go on to explain how they will learn more because if it is interesting to them, it is engaging to them. If they are engaged, they are learning!
Relevancy is just important! What we view as relevant and what a young child views as relevant is two different things. Most often, they are not thinking about that math they will need when they are 25 to balance the checkbook. Nor are they thinking about how they need to become fluent writers to become a celebrity spy one day, I mean journalist. No way! Of course, they need plenty of writing opportunities. My point is they are not usually thinking they need to improve all their skills, so they can “adult.” To really engage them in learning, its important we get into their world to make it relevant. So what do children find relevant? Things like games, yup, that is relevant.
Enjoying putting puzzles together with their friends. Relevant.
Participating in class discussions with interactive anchor charts. Relevant.
Hands-on word work activities that tie into what they are learning to read. Relevant.
Doing fun things like feeding sharks and gators as a word work activity in an interactive notebook. Yup, you guessed it. Relevant.
Adding some laughs to learning with some fun puns doesn’t hurt the learning process either. 😉 After all, research shows the connection of our memories with emotional experiences. (I have no research paper to point to on that one. It is researched-based though. I recall reading up on it many times in my college days. You’ve probably heard that before too).
Now, I know, I know, I know. No prep printables have their place. Sometimes, you need something for a quick review, homework, for a filler, etc. I get it. I am not saying those don’t have their place, but I am just trying to say its important kids get plenty of kinesthetic, relevant opportunities to master important things like vowel teams. The main point I am trying to make is worksheets should be kept in moderation, and children need more than just worksheets.
Vocabulary cards are also very handy. They can be used for self-checking and more. Some other ideas include putting them in alphabetical order, games like go fish and memory, matching rhyming words, and whatever else you can dream up. Cards like this are just handy and versatile. 🙂
Now this unit is HUGE. It is over 500 pages! Here is some organization inspiration. Baggies are my best friend, for real. I write on each bag what is inside to keep my sanity. 🙂 I like to keep it all in one spot (in the large coral container, minus the dice. When I plan on using these, I place them in a smaller bin like the shoe box container, and the reading center is ready to rock and roll.
If we want students to become fluent readers and writers, giving them relevant hands-on word work experiences, then we got to keep it relevant to young learners. That is what my vowel team bundled unit is all about. Making it relevant. Engaging. And ultimately, giving students a firm foundation in phonics to enable them to be fluent readers and writers. Click the picture below to learn more about this resource.
You can find these in the store as a big bundle and individually.
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