I hope back to school has gone smoothly for any of my followers that have started back already. Some schools will reopen this week and I wish everyone the best of luck.
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I have spent the last week updating my own resources and making more to share with everyone. This week I have been focusing on Phonics and phonemic awareness in the senior classes. In the Senior classes, we can focus more on grammar and the traditional spelling test, but it is important to remember the key skills in phonological and phonemic awareness as these skills are important for spelling, reading and writing.
When I had senior classes, I tried to make the move away from traditional spelling tests and for a term I focused on Word Study instead. An excellent PDST advisor used sorting cards with us during in-service and I started to develop my own sorting cards to use with my phonics and spelling programmes in my class. These approaches for word study would be represented in Learning Outcomes 4 & 5 of the new Primary Language Curriculum.
The sorting cards are a mixture of words which may focus on a particular spelling pattern or phonic lesson. Initially, you would give the sorting cards to pupils and let them create their own groups to see which patterns they have identified or may recognise. Taking a photo of their groupings is great for assessment, to see which groups may or may not recognise the patterns or sounds.
The next part of the activity is to discuss the groups of cards with the pupils and identify their own reasoning for the groups. This is always fascinating to hear their own reasoning and again, it is great for assessment of learning.
The next activity is a pre-spelling test with words that focus on the spelling pattern or phonic rule you are working on. Then you would formally introduce the lesson and remind the children of the word sorts from earlier.
I encouraged my class to identify the spelling pattern or phonics rule in words from readers, workbooks as we went through the week. In this way, they are listening for the sounds of the spelling pattern/phonics rule and the more often they recognise the word, you would hope they can commit the spelling pattern to memory.
Finally, at the end of the week I had a dictation test, where I called out a series of sentences which contained the words we had been working on this week. I prefer a dictation test rather than 20 words in isolation as it makes the process more memorable and engaging for the pupils.
I have designed my first set of Word Study Cards along with a pupil workbook that is fully printable for your class. As it is my first set of this resource it is available in my Mash.ie store for €3 for the weekend, it will be €6 euro normally. This set of work could be used for station teaching in the classroom and also for group work within an SET setting. The cards are printable and once laminated can be sprayed or wiped clean for another group. I hope that you will find them useful in your class.
If you have any questions about this resource, please send me a DM.