Group work is an important part of daily classroom activities that help teachers to achieve diverse teaching goals. One of the benefits of this kind of work is the opportunity to closely guide students, provide instructions that are clear, and assess children’s progress. In kindergarten, students should develop phonological and phonemic awareness at a certain level. Rhyming, recognizing different syllables, and distinguishing between sounds are skills that are acquired in kindergarten (California Department of Education, 2013). These skills can be trained in small groups during activities children find engaging.
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An activity aimed at training the differentiation of sounds can be used in a group of three. Children have pieces of paper to draw symbols that stand for different ways to pronounce sounds. The teacher shows a pattern with funny symbols that stand for sounds /æ/, /θ/, /ð/, /e/, /v/. The teacher draws students’ attention to the position of her tongue and lips when pronouncing certain sounds (MDE Literacy, 2017). After a short training session, the students draw the symbols on their sheets. First, they look at each other’s drawings, and the teacher provides feedback. At the end of the activity, the instructor pronounces sounds, and children draw the symbols. Then, they compare their drawings while the teacher shows their symbols for students to consult. The educator can make sure that the instructions are clear, and the assessment can also be easily conducted.
Another activity encompassing the use of rhymes is also effective in training phonological and phonemic awareness. Using cards with pictures can help students grasp the material easier (Cassie Franko, 2019; EPS Literacy and Intervention, 2014). In a group of two, the use of cards can also be effective. Students match the cards with pictures to produce rhymes (EPS Literacy and Intervention, 2014). First, the teacher pronounces words, while, at the end of the activity, students choose cards after pronouncing words on their own. One more version of this activity involves collaboration, which is also an important skill to be formed in the classroom environment (California Department of Education, 2013). The teacher pronounces a word, and a student picks the corresponding card, while the other child picks the word that rhymes with the mentioned one. Afterward, students switch roles to make sure that they have an opportunity to rhyme or find a word they hear. With advanced students, it is possible to use cards with written words.
The students can also use cards or other objects (medals, coins, flowers, and so on) to count syllables or sounds. The students receive a set of objects and pieces of paper. The teacher shows a picture, and students try to place the corresponding number of objects in a row (Sound Foundations for Literacy, 2020). With advanced students, they can be asked to write the words. A modification of this activity is the use of cards with letters. The teacher gives cards with letters down (and additional cards for advanced students). The students put the coins on the cards when they see a picture or hear a word. When they are done with the coins, they turn the cards and see the letters. The instructor can note that the final card is a funny face (emoticon, picture, or any symbol) to make it clear that the correct word was uncovered.
In conclusion, it is possible to note that the activities can be effectively used in groups of two to four students. The teacher can make sure that the given instructions are clear to every student, and the progress of each child is obvious as well. The teacher can provide feedback to the group or a particular child. The activities can be used with advanced students or children with special needs.
The activities described above have been used in small groups with children of different proficiency levels. Advanced students used cards with pictures and letters as they could handle the tasks. On the one hand, pictures motivated such students and made them engaged. On the other hand, the cards with letters were regarded as a challenge that was another motivational factor. The activities related to sound recognition was effective with students with special needs who found the task manageable and engaging.
Working in small groups was instrumental in gaining insights into the methods to motivate children and help them collaborate effectively. The work in the group of two was specifically useful. This assignment also assisted in gaining insights into the ways students can be grouped. It is possible to use different strategies in addition to choosing children with a similar level of proficiency. In one of the groups, an advanced student worked with a struggling learner. The students collaborated effectively, and social skills were trained effectively. The advanced student also mentioned that she developed new strategies to recognize words in the course of the activity.
On balance, it is clear that working in small groups has diverse benefits and can be utilized to address different student needs. In addition to achieving specific academic goals, students learn how to collaborate effectively. They help each other, which often leads to the development of new skills. The teacher plays an important role in the process and should be careful when choosing visual aids and materials. The employed pictures and materials could be funny, but they should not be excessively distracting.
|Date||Title of Video Watched||Video Link/Topic(s)||Video Length||Educational Growth and Connections|
|10/9/20||Elementary September- Phonological Awareness and Phonics||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrvpqlYuJU8&ab_channel=MDELiteracy||30:08||The video features an activity aimed at recognizing sounds that is engaging and can be used in small groups.|
|10/10/20||Sounds Sensible Full Lesson||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnA-81gj0Tg&ab_channel=EPSLiteracyandIntervention||30:19||The recognition of syllables and sounds is trained.|
|10/10/20||Teaching consonant blends for reading & spelling||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uN51aKwEAwA&ab_channel=SoundFoundationsforLiteracy||32:25||Spelling activity that can be modified to train phonological awareness is featured.|
|11/10/20||Kindergarten Rhyming Lesson||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dg9AIwv4nbg&ab_channel=CassieFranko||33:25||Rhyming activity is featured.|
California Department of Education. (2013). California common core state standards. Web.
Cassie Franko. (2019). Kindergarten rhyming lesson [Video file]. Web.
EPS Literacy and Intervention. (2014). Sounds sensible full lesson [Video file]. Web.
MDE Literacy. (2017). Elementary September- Phonological awareness and phonics [Video file]. Web.
Sound Foundations for Literacy. (2020). Teaching consonant blends for reading & spelling [Video file]. Web.