I always start off my letter/sound instruction by singing two ABC songs. The first one focuses just on the letters and order of the alphabet. The second one focuses on the sounds of each letter. I sing these songs every day of the school year. Even though I have not formally taught every letter and sound at this time of year, the kids quickly learn the songs and they actually recognize many of the letter sounds before I have formally taught them.
We then review pictures that begin with the sound of H. I use the same pattern for these pictures every day and with every letter. You will see this pattern throughout my lessons. The basic pattern is I say(name of picture), you say(name of picture), we say letter sound three times. For example, I may begin with the picture of 'house' with the letter H. I say: house. Students say: house. We all say: /h/ /h/ /h/
Our printing books are called Leo books. I do the capital letter as directed teaching on Tuesdays and the lower case letter as directed teaching on Thursdays. When we do letter formation practice it is very systematic and teacher directed. I do the pages one line at a time.
Here is a great video that introduces letter Hh formation!
Say: Boys and girls, pencils down, eyes on me. Where to I start for the capital H? (at the top) That’s right. We put our pencil exactly on the top line and we go straight down and touch the bottom line. (students are watching me and I write very slowly and precisely) I touch the bottom line. I pick up my pencil, go back to the top line and go straight down again. There needs to be a medium sized space between the two lines. Not too big. Not too small! I now pick up my pencil again and go to the middle and go straight across. (there is now an ‘H’ on the line) Does everyone see how my H is sitting on the bottom line? (yes) Ok. Watch me again. (I make another H very slowly) Say: Top, down. Top, down. Middle, across. I try to give simple word sequence clues for students to say to themselves as they make the letters. I only do this after I have modeled it several times, so the kids know what the word clues mean.
I believe in the power of non example as well as example, so I do a few nonexamples as well. Say: Boys and girls, is this a good capital H? I make a capital H that is not sitting on the line or one where I start on the bottom line and make the lines going up. The students will tell me ‘no’ and then I ask them to tell me why. I then stress to them to NOT make Hs that are flying in the air, meaning they do not sit on the bottom line or they will tell me I went up instead of down.
Say: Now I want you to try your H's on line #s 1-2. Only line #1-2, then you put your pencil down and wait for me. Begin. As kids are making their Fs on the first line, I assist and monitor where necessary. If students are making mistakes, I use hand over hand to help them, or I show them with my marker on their paper while they watch. I then have them make an H while I watch and offer further correction, if it is necessary. As I see that kids are finishing, I go back to the document camera and do the same routine with the rest of the page.
Here is a picture of "hand over hand" with a different letter. The letter doesn't matter. The strategy works with any letter formation activity!
Here is a completed student page!
Students rotate through the centers, going to one per day. I have a centers chart where they find their name daily and what center they are assigned to for that day. My centers are designed to address skills that students need, be it fine motor, gross motor or academic.
1. Word Work- Sight Word "have" - Students trace, write, order letters and copy a sentence for the word “have”
2. Pocket Chart- sort pictures by initial sound for /h/, /m/ and /f/. This is the first time they’ve done three categories, but they generally do not struggle with the heightened complexity of moving from 2 to 3 groups.
3. Math- floor puzzle that, when complete, has the numbers in order from 1-20.
4. Computer- students can listen to /h/ pictures and a story on Starfall.com
There are only four workshop centers this week because it is a four day school week due to a holiday. The students go to one center each day, rotating through all centers by the end of the week. So I modify the total number of centers on weeks with holidays because the kids get really upset if they don’t get an opportunity to go to each center. And they WILL tell me which center they don’t get to go to if I have too many centers on a short week!