Welcome to Multisensory Monday! In Kindergarten or 1st grade, I remember cutting out pictures in magazines of words that started with a certain letter or had a certain sound. Later in elementary school, I remember circling spelling words I found in newspapers and bringing them in for extra credit. Even in high school, I remember a sense of pride when I encountered a recent vocabulary word in a book outside of class. These activities stand out for me because they were times I was able to directly connect something I had learned in the classroom with something from the “real world.” It was fun to hunt and discover places where words I had to memorize were actually used.
As educators, we want our students to see the value of what they are learning and how it will help them in the future or in the “real world.” This kind of connection and motivation are especially important for things we ask students to memorize. Memorizing is probably the least engaging thing we can ask our students to do, but there are times it’s necessary.
In Phonics First, one of the few things we ask students to memorize is Red Words. Red Words are non-phonetic words. They don’t follow the rules. Since they aren’t spelled how they sound, it’s necessary for students to remember the spelling. The Red Word procedure already makes this fun and multisensory, but today’s activity takes it one step further by asking students to keep a look out for when they encounter Red Words outside the classroom.
I Spy Red Words
The idea is classic; students record when they find a Red Word outside the classroom. On the I Spy worksheet, first have the student fill in the Red Word they are hunting for. Next, they fill in a row each time they find that word somewhere, filling in the date, where it was found and how it was used.
Take the Red Word bouquet for example. I recently found the word online when I was looking to order flowers for a friend, as the title of a poem and with a different meaning on a restaurant menu. Here is how I would fill in the I Spy worksheet:
The point of this activity is to help students get excited and feel accomplished when they find these words and know how to read them. Build up the search as much as you can by asking for volunteers each day to share where they found a word or by keeping a class list or by challenging students to find the word in as many places as they can by a certain day. You could even use this for a center activity and have students going through books, magazines and newspapers to find Red Words.
What other ideas do you have for making this an exciting activity for students?
Don’t worry about doing something like this for every Red Word. Save this for the ones that students may not know the meaning or usage of, or the words that students are struggling to recognize in reading. This would also be an excellent activity to use with Greek and Latin roots for older students!
What other ways could I Spy be used?
This week Dite has a video showing some of the Spelling Success games from the Barton Reading and Spelling System. Check out her blog for more!
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