Learning vowels can be very challenging for our young readers and writers because they make different sounds in different words. Vowels can either make a short sound such as the /a/ sound in the word “cap” or a long sound, such as the /a/ in the word “lake”. When reading, children must decide whether the vowel in the word makes its short or long sound. There are several ways to make a long vowel sound in words. One way is to add the Magic e at the end of a word. The Magic e usually changes the short vowel sound into a long vowel sound. Teaching children this rule helps them to determine which sound the vowel will make.
A simple explanation of the Magic e rule is “An ‘e’ close behind another vowel (with no more than one letter in between) usually makes the first vowel say its name, and the ‘e’ is usually silent.” Using a story to teach this rule is often helpful. Here is the story that we often use with our students:
Magic e has magic powers! He flies over the consonant and when he comes to the first vowel, he taps the vowel on the head with his magic wand and shouts, “vowel, say your name! Make the sound you say in the alphabet!” Now, Magic e is so tired. He flies back to his spot. He has no more energy so he goes to sleep without saying a sound.
We typically teach the magic e rule in the middle of first grade. Teaching the rule is actually a lot of fun. You can have your students make their very own Magic e wands and act out the story. Below are a few activities that can be used when teaching the Magic e rule in your small group instruction or within your literacy centers.
The Clip The Magic e is one of my favorite activities to use when beginning to teach the Magic e rule. It is available on my Teachers Pay Teachers Store for $2. There are 12 cards with picture cues and 13 cards without picture cues. Click HERE to download this activity.
Click the following link to download the FREE Magic e 4-In-A-Row template. This template addresses the long a vowel sound. Magic e 4 In A Row Activity
A board game is always a popular activity with the kiddos. Click HERE to download 4 FREE Magic e Game Boards.
The Magic e Activity Pack contains 10 hands on activities designed to teach the Magic e rule. The Activity Pack includes step-by-step directions for teaching the rule as well as a teaching manual with directions for each activity. The Magic e Activity Pack is available on TpT for $8 (119 pages!). Click HERE to check out the activities.
Two years ago I was noticing a pattern when I was working with first grade students. I had groups of first graders who were very accurate with their short vowel sounds on the nonsense word fluency assessment of the DIBELS. At times, these kiddos would quickly make motions while reading the CVC words. The motions served as a cue to the correct pronunciation of the vowel sound. I then did “sort of” an informal field study. I determined which teachers were using hand signals to teach vowels and which ones were not. I then compared student data and confirmed what I thought to be true. When teachers use hand signals when teaching short vowel sounds, students are much more accurate when reading words. It all makes sense. I am a true believer in using multi-sensory teaching and using movement is a multi-sensory strategy.
My very good friend, Jen, in her role as a Reading Specialist, was one of the team members who helped to start our RtI initiative in our schools. Jen is now a middle school principal (what a job that is!) and I miss her terribly in the elementaries. After noticing the trend in the data in regards to the hand signals, I asked Jen if she could again put on her old Reading Specialist hat and help me create a video for using hand signals for the short vowels.
Several of our kindergarten teachers use hand signals and movement for all letters and sounds of the alphabet. I’ve noticed the same trend not only with the vowels, but will all the letters. So if you haven’t tried using hand signals, give it a try and see if you notice a difference.
This coming school year will be our 9th year of our Response to Intervention (RtI) initiative. Honestly, the years have passed so quickly and it’s hard for me to remember how we used to function before RtI. Not that everything is perfect now by any means, but RtI has become such an integral part of our school culture that it seems almost natural. One of the reasons I started this blog was to share with you content information as well as our personal experiences we have had while traveling along our RtI journey. Implementing a RtI model does not happen overnight as I’m sure those of you who have started such an initiative can attest to. There are bumps and blocks along the journey. By sharing our experiences we can help each other along the way.
I’ve put quite a bit of thought into how blog about this topic. I live and breathe RtI every day in my job and I want to do it justice. With this in mind, I’ve decided to organize the blog posts around the Eight Core Principles of RtI put forth by the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE, 2006). These core principles are the heart and soul of RtI.
I. We can effectively teach all children
II. Intervene Early
III. Multi-tier Model of Service Delivery
IV. Problem-Solving Model to make decisions
V. Scientific, research-based validated intervention and instruction
VI. Monitor student progress to inform instruction
VII. Data driven decisions
VIII. Assessment for the purposes of screening, diagnostics, and progress monitoring
Of course not all my posts will be directly related to RtI. For those posts that are, I will code them with a logo corresponding to one of the eight principles. So when you see a logo such as one at the top of the post, you’ll know it is a RtI related blog post.
Click the following link to download your free poster. 8 Core Principles of Response to Intervention
Ever since posting the video on how to use these blending cards to help students blend CVC words, I’ve been receiving emails asking for the directions on how to make the boards. The students at our Career Tech Center made blending boards for every kindergarten and first grade teacher in our schools with scrap wood they had laying around so getting specific directions was a bit difficult. Kind of reminded me of my grandmother’s directions on how to make her delicious potato pancakes (a pinch of that, a little bit of this…). So I trucked on down to see the friendly folks at the Home Depot for expert advice.
You will need: 1″x 4″ board, 5 mm underlayment for the backing, general purpose door stop molding, finishing nails
1. Cut 14″ from the 1″ x 4″ board
2. Cut 14″ from the molding
3. Cut the underlayment board into a 14″ x 4 1/2″ section
4. Using a table saw, cut an angle approximately 1/2″ deep at a 110 degree angle approximately 1″ from the front of the board. Depending upon your saw, you may need to pass twice. The 5 mm board must be able to fit in the crevice.
5. You may want to use a jig saw or a scroll saw to curve the top edge of the 5 mm board.
6. Using the finishing nails, fix the molding to the front of your board.
7. Sand rough edges and paint if desired.
Click the following link to download a printable pdf of the directions Blending Board Directions
Click HERE for the link to the past post where you can download FREE blending cards
I am so excited and honored! The Make, Take & Teach blog has been chosen as one of five finalists in the 2012 Really Good Education Blog Awards by Really Good Stuff in the category of Best New Blog. My heart was literally pounding out of my chest when I received the email. Now I’m need of your help. Please click on the link below and vote for Make, Take & Teach. I’m up against some pretty stiff competition and could really use your support.
Just click HERE or on the above link and you’ll be directed to the voting page. Voting ends June 22. That’s this Friday.
Thank you for your support with this and with all your support. I really enjoy blogging and creating products and love to share them with you.