Friday, January 20, 2017

Teamwork in Phonics

The ability to work as a group toward a common goal is a skill that people will use throughout their lives.  We emphasize working collaboratively so that students develop social interaction skills, think critically, understand concepts at a deeper level, and stay engaged in learning.  In our phonics lesson today, we had so much fun identifying the beginning sound of words due to cooperative learning.  As a group students were asked to pick a letter and determine which picture began with that letter.  In order to ensure that all students were working to find the answer instead of one student completing the assignment for their group, students had some restrictions.

The game we played required all students to work together.  The task could not be completed without the participation and understanding of every child.  Each group was given a rubber band with four strings attached.  Every student was responsible for one of the strings, and no one could touch the rubber band.  They needed to pull simultaneously in order to open and close the rubber band.  There were a number of letter balls that were placed at one end of the classroom and cups with pictures at the other end of the classroom.  In each cup was a picture that corresponded to one of the 11 letter balls.  For example, the letter 'Gg' ball would need to be dropped into the cup with the picture of the goat.  Once students understood the task, they were so excited to begin!  In order to add a little more collaboration, we needed to work as a class to get all of the letters balls into the cups in less than ten minutes.  

They were incredible!  The groups were encouraging each other and discussing which letter should go in each cup while coordinating how to pull the strings just the right way to complete the task.  At the end they were all cheering for the final group bringing the last ball to the cup!  What a fun way to practice identifying beginning letter sounds.  After the lesson students shared the ways they found success.  They talked about working together, listening to each other, communicating to explain how to pull the strings, and of course cheering for each other.

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