Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hiss Joins the Party

Some years ago, a fellow teacher referred to how teachers are often like cooks. When we first try a lesson, we may follow closely a very set plan (or recipe) whether someone else's or our own. Over time we begin to vary the recipes and improvise some.

Last year I stuck pretty closely to the "recipes" I was using, both from Lucy Calkins and from others such as Stephanie Parsons(First Grade Writers) and Katie Wood Ray. This year I am starting to play around more with the basic recipes.

We have already had a Writing Workshop mini-lesson on stretching out words and writing down the sounds you hear. Today in our word study time, I used an idea I got from Deb Renner Smith's blog, Writing and Reading Lessons, to reinforce the practice of stretching out words. She featured reading ideas centered on Beanie Babies ( I took the idea of using Hiss the Snake and flipped it around to stretching the words, hearing the sounds, and writing down the letters for those sounds. I used a format based on one described by Richard Gentry (Breaking the Code: The New Science of Beginning Reading and Writing) among others.

I began by introducing Hiss and saying I liked him to help me stretch out words because he is so good at stretching. As I stretched Hiss, I slowly said the word s-n-a-ke. (Maybe not the best word as it begins with a consonant blend, but it was so appropriate for Hiss.) As I pronounced the letters, I asked the students to raise a finger, starting with the thumb, for every sound they heard. The kids ended up with numbers from 2 to 4. I asked what was the first sound they heard, etc. until we had identified the 4 sounds. Then I asked each of them to draw 4 boxes, one for each sound we heard. Next I enunciated the sounds one at at time and asked for volunteers to tell us what letter they would use for that sound. Each ended up recording either s-n-a-k or s-n-a-c. I emphasized that we were not recording the dictionary spelling of snake, but the sounds we could hear in the word. We went on to do several c-v-c words based on pictures that I had (top, etc.)

1 comment:

debrennersmith said...

Thank you for posting how you are using the beanie baby ideas! Good luck with your lessons. Writing is my passion. deb