Monday, March 23, 2009

Writing Practice: Word Cards

Although making them is a bit of a time commitment, the alphabet and themed word cards I made are one the best teaching tools I ever made. To make them I just brainstormed lists of words for each letter of the alphabet. I had anywhere from ten to twenty for each letter and theme, with even more for some.

Then I found clip art representations of each word either within a home publishing program I have or online, and combined the two in a word processing program. I learned from trial and error that making a chart on MS Word with two columns and three rows makes it easiest to get a lot done at one time. Then print out, cut, and glue to index cards. I laminated mine for durability but if they are for home use this step probably isn't necessary.

You could also purchase a few sets of inexpensive alphabet flashcards and use them although you may run into duplicate word and picture combinations. This would probably provide you with enough for a home based activity. I needed so many cards for each letter because my students were in groups of five for centers and I wanted them to have a variety to choose from for activities.
Here are some of my Halloween word cards, as you can see I changed to a font in which the a is formed in a way more similar to basic printing.

There are many uses for word cards:
  • Introduce a new letter of the week by holding them up one at a time during circle time.
  • Combine several from different letter sets and then sort by beginning letter into a pocket chart
  • Say the word and clap syllables
  • Use with alphabet playdoh stamps and stamp words into playdoh
  • Use with alphabet letter stamps and stamp the words
  • Make a set with one from each letter, provide with an alphabet strip, and put them in ABC order
  • Use with magnetic letters and have the kids use the card to make words, the side of a filing cabinet works great for this.
  • If yours are laminated, students can trace over them with dry erase markers
  • Use to practice writing on a variety of surfaces such as dry erase boards, magna doodles, and mini books (an example of that follows)
One popular center, that got the kids to practice their handwriting without using worksheets was to make a picture dictionary. We did this for almost every letter and they never got tired of it, amazingly enough! I had several different version of illustrated children's dictionaries that I'd alternate with the word cards in the center along with these books.

I made mine on a word processing program and for themed picture dictionaries I'd add a little clip are to jazz it up a bit. The child adds the letter to the title and their name. Then they chose five to seven words that begin with our letter of the week.
Inside the book there is a space to write the word and draw a picture of it. The children said they really liked this center because they got to choose what words to write and draw. I think it's nice to give them independent choices as much as possible too.

2 Friends Said:

Vickie said...

Good idea, Katie!

DomesticDivasFancy said...

Iremember doing the letter people in school. With the songs and I remember using the scented markers with the letter people on it too! Fun Fun!
The one thing I never could get was my times tables...I was awful at math.

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