by: Carmen Willings
These activities, accessible to students who are blind and visually impaired and their sighted peers, are designed to build students' phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, understanding and knowledge of concepts of print, the alphabetic principle, and other basic conventions of the English writing system. Developing a strong reading foundation is a necessary part of reading program in order to develop proficient readers. Choose from the following activities, with the Welcome Back to School! unit, to meet your students unique learning needs.
To prepare for this activity, record sounds throughout the school: drinking fountain, toilet flushing, water running in sink, door shutting, sounds of kids playing on playground, ball dribbling, sound of kids playing in gym, sounds from the cafeteria, etc.
Talk to the students about the importance of sounds and how they give us information. Listen to prerecorded sounds of places within the school building or sounds you may hear at school. Have students locate the object or printed word to match the activity. Ask students to name the sounds that they hear. End the activity by summarizing the importance of sounds and how they convey meaning.
Record students, teachers, therapists, and other school employee voices using your iphone, ipad or other recording device. Play the recordings for the students and encourage them to identify the voices.
Take the students on a tour of the school to refresh their memories or simply to greet those they haven't seen since the previous school year. Bring along a set of recordable buttons such as these from Learning resources.
Identify words that rhyme with words related to school. Make a chart with a few of these words at the top. List words that rhyme.
School: Cool, drool, fool, rule, mule, tool, fuel, pool, spool, rule, preschool, footstool, molecule, ridicule, whirlpool
Bell: cell, dell, fell, gel, sell, tell, well, yell, swell, spell, shell
Bus: fuss, plus, thus, discuss
Car: are, bar, char, far, jar, par, star
It Rhymes With...
Place school related materials in a lunchbox. Give rhyming riddle clues to students. Have them guess what is in the lunchbox based on the rhyming clue. I have something that rhymes with "_____".
- I have something that rhymes with stencil. (pencil)
- I have something that rhymes with ran. (crayon)
- I have something that rhymes with darker. (marker)
- I have something that rhymes with chaser. (eraser)
- I have something that rhymes with took. (book)
- I have something that rhymes with cooler. (ruler)
- I have something that rhymes with vapor. (paper)
The Rhyming Game
You may remember this song like game from your childhood, typically sung using people's names. Replace the names with school related words.
Pencil, pencil, bo-bencil, banana-nana fo fencil, me my mo mencil, PENCIL!
Eraser, eraser bo-racer banana-nana fo racer, me my mo macer, ERASER!
Marker, marker bo-barker banana-nana fo farcer, me my mo marker, MARKER!
Book, book bo-book, banana-nana fo fook, me my mo mook, BOOK!
Students practice directional and body concepts by playing Teacher Says (ex. Teacher Says, put your fingers on your ears, etc). Alternatively, move object in relation to body (ex. Teacher says put the pencil on your shoulder). You may choose to use your name instead of "teacher" (ex. “Mrs. Johnson (or other name) Says”).
Have students place their fingers on: ears, eyes, nose, mouth, chin, hair, hand, feet, brain, heart, stomach, shoulders, knees, elbows, ankles, wrist, etc. Make the activity more challenging by having the student put hand on foot, elbow on knee, nose on knee, etc.
"I'm Going to School"
Sitting together as a group, have the students take an imaginary trip to school. The first student will share an item to bring on the trip (e.g., "I'm going to school and I'm going to bring a notebook'). The second student will repeat the last student's item and then share their own (e.g., "I'm going to school and I'm going to bring a notebook and a book bag). Continue around the circle until someone forgets a previously mentioned item. You can then choose to end the game, or start a new trip. Extend the activity having each item be named in alphabetical order (ex. Apple, bookbag, cookie, dice, etc.)!
Modification: If students are unable to recall items, adapt the activity by presenting items and encourage the student to select or touch the items in the correct order or provide hand under hand assistance to touch the items in the correct sequence.
School Blending Guess
Have students blend and identify a school related word that is stretched out into its basic component sounds. Provide words from the unit (bus, car, van, bell, class, etc). Tell the students that you are going to say a word using "snail talk", a slow way of saying words (e.g., /bbbbeeeellllll/ for bell). Encourage the students to determine what word is being said.
School Syllable Count
Prepare cards with the classroom centers/stations, materials, and/or school locations written on them or use the vocabulary cards from the unit. Have students clap out the syllables in the words. Sort the words by the number of syllables in the word. Have the students compare and determine which syllable count they has the most words.
Cafeteria (5), gym (1), computer (3), manipulatives (5), art (1), library (3), etc.
Prepare a mini lunchbox for each student. Fill each lunchbox with unique materials that sound fun when they are shaken. Encourage students to chant or sing songs that direct them to shake present in relation to their bodies.
Ex. Sing to the tune of "Shake Your Sillies Out":
We're gonna shake, shake, shake
Shake, shake, shake
Shake, shake, shake
Shake them (preposition)our (body part)
(behind our backs, over our heads, between our legs, etc.)
PHONICS & WORD RECOGNITION
Using bus shaped die cuts, print/braille the uppercase alphabet on one set of die cuts and the lowercase alphabet on a matching set of buses or other school related die cut shape. Encourage the students to match the uppercase to the lowercase letters.
Adaptation: Encourage student to match objects or pictures with the same beginning letter.
A-Z at School
Provide a stack of school related words written in print/braille. Challenge the students to sound out the words and place the word in alphabetical order. Go around the school and place print/braille labels at the correct locations with the students.
A=art room, b=bus stop, c=cafeteria, d=desk, e=elevator, f=floor, g=gym, h=hallway, j=janitor, l=library, m=music room, n=nurse, p=principal, r=restroom, s=secretary, t=teacher's lounge, x=exit signs, etc.
Adaptation: Locate objects/pictures of theme related items and present these to the students paired with an auditory description. This is a lunchbox. Lunchbox starts with the letter "l". "L" says "lllll". Can you touch the lunchbox ? Encourage student to touch the picture of the lunchbox in order to advance to the next picture (may be presented on iPad).
Have students search the room for materials and places that begin with the letters of the alphabet. Create labels for the items/places, accentuating the beginning letter.
Door, Clock, Paper, Table,
Provide the students with vocabulary words from the unit along with needed letter tiles in print/braille. Encourage the students to create the word(s) using their letter tiles. Alternatively, present a choice of three letters for the student to choose from as a letter is requested in order to build the word. Enhance the activity by discussing the letter sounds each letter makes and words that begin with that letter.
Adaptation. Provide students with objects or pictures of unit related items. Discuss the sound the initial letter makes and compare to other words that begin with the same sound.
Word Family Sort (rimes)
Attach word family cards (-ag -ack,-ell, -ill) to the outside of containers/boxes/bags. Pair the containers with an object/picture that can represent that word family (Objects can represent the word even if they are representations, just be sure to explain the connection.). Provide students with a collection of related word family word cards to sort into the corresponding containers.
Bag, brag, flag, gag, hag, lag, rag, sag, snag, stag, swag, tag, wag, zag, beanbag, dishrag, handbag, mailbag, sandbag, schoolbag, washrag, zigzag, litterbag
Back, black, crack, jack, lack, pack, quack, rack, sack, shack, slack, snack, stack, tack, track, attack, backpack, backtrack, callback, comeback, feedback, payback, setback, thumbtack, unpack
Cell, dell, fell, hell, sell, shell, smell, spell, swell, tell, well, yell, barbell, doorbell, eggshell, farewell, inkwell, lampshell, nutshell, retell, stairwell, unwell
Chip, clip, dip, drip, flip, grip, hip, lip, ship, sip, skip, slip, snip, strip, tip, trip, whip, zip, courtship, filmstrip, friendship, hardship, nonslip, township, fingertip
Provide students with letter tiles forming various vocabulary words. Encourage students to rearrange the tiles to form as many new words as possible.
Cafeteria café, ate, tear, tar, cat, tea, tee, eat, fat, rat, fit, far
Computer cut, cot, rut, put, more, come
Notebook note, book, bet, net, not, too, ton, bone, boot
Onset-Rime Partner Up
Create a set of cards with school related words and pictures/objects/tactile graphics. Leave off the first letter or letter blend at the beginning of each word and replace it with a Velcro dot. Provide students with letters and blends to match that will create the correct word.
Ex. Sch-ool, p-en, stu-dent, mar-ker, pa-per, mu-sic, pen-cil, b-ag, l-unch
Sort by onset
Provide students with lunchboxes labeled with onsets to focus on. (Choose onsets that your students need to practice.) Provide students with words written on cut outs that use these onsets. Encourage students to read the word and use it in a sentence before placing it in the correct lunchbox. If students need help, allow them to ask peers for assistance or assist them in using strategies to sound out the word(s).
Words we know
Present students with vocabulary words they know from the unit. Prepare cards ahead of time that allow the initial consonant or initial consonant blend to be removed. Have students use consonants and consonant blends printed on cards to create new words. Provide shakers or musical instruments for each student. Encourage students to take turns selecting consonants and blends from the draw pile. If they created a real word, have the students shake the shakers signifying it's a real word. Encourage students to use the word in a sentence. Write/braille the new word and place the words on the word wall.
Sn-ack. Back, black, crack, jack, lack, pack, quack, rack, sack, shack, slack, snack, stack, tack, track,
B-ell. Cell, dell, fell, hell, sell, shell, smell, spell, swell, tell, well, yell
L-unch. Bunch, crunch, hunch, munch, punch
Compound School Words
Discuss with students how compound words are made when two words are put together to form a new word. Inform students that they are going to play a game with compound words. Provide each student with part of a compound word. Have each student read their word out loud prior to the activity. Next have students find a peer that has a word that can be added to the beginning or end of their word to create a new word. Select known or common words. After students make a match, provide them with new cards.