Add some life to learning about words

How do you teach Phonics?

Have you ever found yourself, cringing thinking about showing the students another 2-way sort sheet of phonics to complete? Have you ever thought if they are actually retaining all the rules you teach each week? Well iTunes U has a wonderful variety of videos to add some spice to your phonics.

i Tunes U

I subscribe to the iTunes U Electric Company Podcast. I use the videos to launch my lesson for phonics. Using the Fountas and Pinnell phonics lessons requires me to do a lot of verbal teaching at the board. Students work on their fine-motor skills by cutting out all the word cards, sorting and gluing them down. But I often wonder if the lesson stays with them during writing and reading. That is until I walk by and hear one of them singing "silent e is a ninja". I've occasionally heard beatboxing to accompany the song and a seen a little dance. Students make the lesson personal by using their bodies to move, and repeating the song as they complete the assignment.

Silent 'e' is a ninja

The Electric Company | Shock & Lin: "Silent E is a Ninja" | PBS KIDS GO!
During the phonics lesson I often pose the question "what do you notice about these words?" and this engages the students to declare their observations about the lesson. At the end of the silent e lesson, students begin to tell me how the 'e' can change words and we do a recap with watching another EC podcast. They are all singing and responding to the video by the end of the clip.
James Iglehart - "Silent 'e'" Music Video (The Electric Company)

Another option for reviewing what they learned about silent 'e'

Manny's Silent 'e' - The Prankster Cam (The Electric Company)
As educators, we are charged with teaching the whole child. It is my passion to take a flat lesson such as learning about silent e or the combination of vowels with the letter 'r' and adding depth or life to them. I am concerned about what technology is doing to our students because less of them know how to adequetly cut, color and glue. The phonics lesson as written addresses the fine-motor. But what about differentiation? What about students that need a beat to hum, repeat or just dance to as they process the rule? I let technology work with me and provide my students in stations options on how they will listen to the lesson. Some students like the beat boxing duo and others like the dance tunes. This is not how phonics is taught all over our school, but it is how phonics is taught in room 215.

Bossy 'r' - Shock & Lin-Manuel Miranda (The Electric Company)
Veronica Jackson - "Bossy R" Music Video (The Electric Company)