Phonics is the heartbeat of elementary classrooms. Students can’t read or write without applying phonics skills. Which is why phonics activities and hands on practice are so important, right? But what about digital phonics activities? Since the global pandemic, I think we have all come to realize the importance of integrating digital learning into our classrooms before “distance learning” or “at home learning” can take place. As a first grade teacher, I have been pondering all summer how to add digital phonics activities into my curriculum without it being too difficult to navigate for my little learners.
We all know now how little advance notice we get when we are immediately required to change from traditional classroom teaching to using online platforms. Therefore, it is so important to start next year, if you go back, with technology based activities early! That way students are familiar with platforms, logging in and manipulating the parts of the lesson.
Another reason I am going to add digital phonics activities is because it limits the amount of cleaning and sanitizing between use. If each student has a device, they can clean it between rotations. If I have to clean every center piece prior to students rotating, that would just be impossible. Now I am NOT saying that students will be on devices all day. NOPE! But I do need a few workaround stations that can provide meaningful learning without having to be sanitized every few minutes.
How does it work?
I am currently using Google Slides as my preferred platform. Students can use the games and activities on computers, interactive TVs, iPads, tablets, etc. For all of my digital phonics activities, students drag and drop to complete the task. To make it easier for students, I also create a short video of directions. That way they can watch and rewatch the directions as many times as needed.
How do students access the games?
I prefer to use Google Classroom for students to login and access “assignments”. I prefer this over SeeSaw and other platforms because I can assign, conference, assess, and assist all while students are working. Parents also love that they can see all the assignments at one glance. It works a lot like powerpoint so more parents are familiar with how the platform is going to navigate. I will teach my students how to login and work on slides like those mentioned above within the first two weeks of school. Even firsties can catch on quickly to navigate the site.
What skills are covered?
I am slowly making and creating more, and my goal is to have all of my Phonics Intervention Bundles digital by the end of the summer. That means that from letter recognition to final stable syllables all be available with digital games to supplement any curriculum. So far, I have the following digital activities completed for my students. Click here to see these on my website.
- CVC Dot Cards
- Three Piece Word Puzzles
- Word Family Puzzles
- Picture and Word Match Puzzles
- Words with Blends Dot Cards
- Four Piece Word with Blends Puzzles
- Words with Blends Picture and Word Match Puzzles
- Blends and Picture Puzzle Match
- CVC Concentration Game (hosted on website)
- Long Vowel Letter Tile Mats
- Long Vowel Puzzles