Do you teach phonics?

Phonics Should Be a Part of K-2 ELA

There's nothing wrong with teaching phonics, but, and I mean BUT, it's all in how you teach it. Even the gurus in the publishing world put out some pretty confusing messages. Consider Fountas and Pinnell for instance. There's no denying that much of what they produce is quite good. However, be smart and use your flexible common sense when using their resources. Don't assume they know it all, in fact, you've probably worked with students more often and longer than they have so again, I remind you to use your common sense.

I was scanning one of their phonics resources and under long vowels - specifically U they list the following words as having the long u sound: use, cube, huge, tube, clue, glue. I ask you, does u REALLY say its name in tube, clue and glue? Not at all! Sounds more like an 'ew' sound!

No wonder kids get confused with phonics! All vowels CANNOT be classified under long an short. Let's just look at a for a minute: bad (short a), lake (long a) call (?) car (?) ball (?)

Let's get our students to notice the different sounds the vowels make and learn the patterns and the anomalies. Remember - teaching isn't a science or there would be one best way to do everything. Teaching, is an art and requires your common sense and creativity.

So what do we do? What great teachers have always done! Teach the sounds that vowels make, then teach the sounds that vowel combinations make. Don't get locked into the long and short of it. Do what's best for young learners, which means, don't confuse them.

Here are the free worksheets that address the sounds that vowels make. And well I'm on the topic, I might add that many vowel and vowel combinations sound the same. There's NOTHING wrong when it comes to classifying vowel sounds by the sounds they make and not by the letters, it actually supports better learning. For instance a learner could classify the following words in the same category: blue, flew, too, shoe, do, you.

Have a thought or two? I'd love to hear from you.

A Second Chance to Get it Right? Hardly!

Classroom management is everything! 

Many so called voices of authority throughout the educational jurisdictions will tell you something a little bit different. They'll tell you that great instruction will have your classroom management or discipline issues magically disappear.

I can assure you and I am a bit of a veteran, you need both and if you don't have exceptional classroom management strategies, you can be guaranteed to have problems and eventually you will develop a big dislike for the entire educational profession.

So what advice do I have for you? Well, aside from reading my articles on effective classroom management here it is in a nutshell (and believe me, I'm not trying to make it sound simple, it takes sincere commitment and follow through consistently to get it right).

Here is what I adhere to in my classroom:

1. If you say it, mean it.
2. Don't say it mean.
3. NO power struggles ~ nobody wins.
4. Use an assertive/progressive discipline plan.
5. Always respect your students and they'll respect you.

Teaching is most often about good relationships.

Teaching can be a worthwhile career, especially if you get it right. After all, why do so many of us still like it? And oh, yes, I too have taught in intercity schools!

New Worksheets!

Some Great Science Worksheets for K-3 Grades

If you are a K-3rd grade teacher looking for next generation science worksheets, printables and teaching ideas, be sure to check out the following ideas here.

Well, I said I'd work to add more worksheets this summer and here they are! A new science category for Kindergarten to 2nd grade. Be sure to check out:
Your feedback by way of comments is most appreciated. For those of you who like me are enjoying the summer vacation, the best to you! I'll keep plugging away at worksheets and you can be sure that I'll share them with you.