Being a special education teacher means you probably teach multiple grade levels, have students for multiple years and teach multiple academic levels. The last thing we want is for a student to be doing the same activities from K-3 grade because they are in our classroom all 4 years. So it is very important for us to a have a large bank of activities to pull from to keep students engaged. Today I am sharing with you some of the ways I teach phonics in my classroom. This isn’t everything I do but these are some fun and simple ways to change it up!
This is one of our favorite activities. I write words, letters, diagraphs etc. on note cards, attach a paper clip and use our magnetic “fishing pole” wands to retrieve words. I scatter the note cards around the room and then tell the kids to go and get them. This is where the differentiation can come into play. For some students I may say, go find 2 words that start with s. For another I might say, go find 4 words. Another group might be go and fish for a word that sounds like “not”. The kids will then go and fish for them, bring them back to our meeting space and we will talk about the words they found. Depending on time and the number of words we have left around the classroom I send them out again. (You can find the wands on Amazon or at Lakeshore Learning).
For this you will need a fly swatter and word cards. I use a giant fly swatter that I purchased at the Dollar Store a few years ago and then the same note cards that I used for the fishing game. I lay the cards around the room and invite students to “swat” the words. I will say things like…. swat a word that makes the “ch” sound. Swat a word that has the letter a. Swat a color word etc.
BEAN BAG TOSS
You will need something to toss, bean bag/ beanie baby, hacky sack etc and again….some word cards. I use the same words cards that I have for the other games and a beanie baby. I lay the words out and have the students stand behind the line (I use masking tape to create a line). Students then toss the beanie baby and aim for a word. Whatever it lands on they must read, tell me a letter, use it in a sentence…whatever level they are at I go with it.
Pull out your Legos and print these letters (for free!) I put the Legos in the middle of my room and tell the kids to fill their letter. For early finishers I give them a different letter or ask them to use their letter to write as many words as they can. If another student is done they can do the same or see if their letter is in any of the words that the other student wrote down.
Even though this isn’t a huge list hopefully it added a few more ideas to your basket of tricks. What phonics activities do you do in your classroom?