Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Beginning blends and the magic silent e

Tuesday at Kaiser School the first graders were getting a heavy dose of phonics.  During workshop, instead of small groups working on different skills, everyone had the same worksheet.  One side had pictures and then the ending of the words.  The children had to put in the beginning blend.

A picture of  grapes        apes.  They wrote in the blank gr.  grapes.  They had bl, gr, sl, sk, tr, st to pick from.  Most of it was easy.  Snail, trunk, tree . . .   And then regional and age differences showed up. There was a picture of a blouse.  80% of them didn't know what it was.  All they could think of was shirt, but the clue was      ouse.  Little girls wear cute shirts today, not a blouse.  Then we had a sled and ice skates.  No idea what those are.  It doesn't snow in the Bay Area.  Some of them might go skiing, but if they do something like sledding, they use a snow disc.  Ice skating, not in their vocabulary.

Later they worked on the vowel blank silent e rule.   In words ending with a vowel, a consonant, and a silent e, the vowel will be long.  No e, the vowel is short.  We had 10 sentences with a word left out.  They had a choice of two words and had to add the correct word.

I like to _______ my bike.       rid      ride

The lamp is ________.            dim   dime

The page had a ________ .      rip   ripe

This didn't go well because some used only the words ending in e.  That is what we are studying, so it has to be right.  They didn't read the sentences.  When I had them read the sentences to me, they would say, "Oh, that doesn't make sense."  It is not just we have a long vowel.  It is also no e we must have a short vowel.

Ms H asked me to read to the children.  YAY!  It was one of my favorite books, Herb the Vegetarian Dragon.  If you are not familiar with this book, do check out the link. The illustrations are wonderful. And there are lots of things on the website that are fun to check out, like recipes. The point of this book is it is wrong to condemn others for living differently than you do. We all can be different and still live together and be friends.  At the same time this book is not the sweet PC book that is dumbed down so the children will not be scared.  The dragons eat people, pictures show people in the dragons' mouths.  Herb is almost beheaded.  The children love this book.  They also know it is make believe.  Just like my generation knew Hansel and Gretal were not really in danger and they didn't really throw the witch into the oven.  It is called make believe.

We did a lot of work yesterday.  The children really buckled down and finished their work.  No one stayed in at recess.  No one really acted out yesterday.  A very successful school day.

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