Do your students know how to break words down into syllables? Do they know how to sort? These two skills are essential for early learning as they are part of building a strong base for concepts coming up in language, math, science and making sense of our general world. Learning by being involved in an active, social, non-competitive and fun play activity is very effective. Kids’ feel confident, have a positive attitude towards learning and are more willing to try new things. And in my experience, young children remember positive hands-on learning sessions!
Learning to read and write is like putting together a puzzle. Hearing the sounds in words is one of those pieces. Hearing syllables allows students to break words into parts. It is only when the parts have been broken down that the sounds within those parts can be further managed.
Click here or on the image to take you to my premade set if you are interested in the labels, over 200 cards and more that will be discussed later. You may very well have everything you need right in your own classroom, however, or between yourself and a teaching partner! Check out this list below!
- Preteach your students about syllables. Explain that words have ‘beats’ and model how to use the cards to them first. I like to have students take turns coming up, pulling a card out of a ‘hat’, and saying and clapping out the ‘beats’ for them for a few words, then having them chime in.
- Next, I bring out the numbered bins and tell them we’re going to sort the cards by syllables – beats. We take a vote as to which bin will fill up first by the time we run out of cards.
- We practice taking turns. When it is someone’s turn, they blindly select a card, show the class, then put it in the ‘done’ pile, leaving their hands free for the beanbag. We have a pre-established mark on the floor where the underhanded ‘soft toss’ can be made from. After 3 tries, if the bean bag hasn’t made it in, the student simply places it in.
- Once everyone knows how to play the game, it becomes a center.
Extending the sort: Seasons and more!
The kids fly through the syllable sort, even with hundreds of cards, and I found that the tidy-up was a bit of a mindless mess!
I just added holiday, seasonal, people, places, things, and animals labels to my Syllable sort product. I put them on small envelopes, then laminated them (sealed), and sliced off their tops so they are like little, laminated folders to go in my card box.
Now, students have the opportunity to sort again as they tidy up. This helps keep everyone focused right to the end of centers. This has been a great opportunity for negotiation and problem-solving, because I leave them to work out the ‘how’ / ‘who is in charge of what’ of putting everything away in an organized fashion.
I usually only have 4-5 envelopes of cards available to them at a time, which usually equals the number of group members tidying up at the end. At any given time of year, 1-2 batches of cards are seasonal.
How do you teach syllables in your classroom?
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