If your literacy program includes work with phonics, you can use Wixie to both practice and evaluate phonics skills, as well as provide students with creative opportunities to apply them. Students can use Wixie to combine pictures, voice, and oral recordings to demonstrate their understanding of phonics skills and apply them while writing and speaking.
When students show skills in phonics, they can demonstrate and use the relationship between sounds and how these sounds are spelled. Building phonics into your literacy program means providing students with opportunities to practice and engage in tasks that help them make this connection.
Evaluating student understanding – formative assessments
Teachers can use existing activities in the Template folder for formative assessment purposes to help them better evaluate student understanding of phonics skills such as:
- word production through deleting an ending sound (changing many to man),
- sorting words into correct categories by initial digraph sound
- producing words orally based on their knowledge of the sounds of graphemes.
Many of Wixie’s phonics activities are built for students at multiple levels with a particular skill and teachers can assign different activities to different learners in their classroom. Teachers can also customize these activities to better reach their range of learners, or create their own structured assignments in Wixie.
To find an existing activity like these, browse the Templates folder at your teacher home page and browse the Language Arts folders, or use the search field at the top.
You can also use these Wixie activities and assignments as part of a blended approach to station rotations. Maryland educator Alison Doubet uses various Wixie activities as part of the technology station when she does phonics rotations. She shares,
"Wixie also allows me to create and assign different activities to each group. I create Wixie projects that focus on particular concepts or skills and assign those projects to the students who need more practice in that area. Wixie allows me to create personalized content, so I know my students are getting what they need.”
Play with sounds, don’t drill them
Many Wixie activities provide a great formative assessment for a specific phonics skill. You can make work with phonics much more fun by asking your learners to combine text, images, and voice narration to create and publish unique artifacts that show off their learning.
James Asher, and other researchers in the field of language acquisition, have found that language learning that doesn’t involve stress is much more effective. Wixie excels in helping you create an environment that engages students in their learning.
For example, you could ask students to play with initial sounds and their spellings as they build alliterative sentences. Use the Amazing Animal Alliterations lesson plan to combine your young student's love of animals with alliteration practice.
Connect to Literature
You can also make phonics fun by showing students how effective authors play with language to make their writing interesting. Read these stories to engage students in powerful phonemic awareness and then ask students to create their own versions to practice the skills on their own.
For example, you can read Raffi’s book, Down by the Bay (the book even comes with a CD) and ask students to use the pattern in the book, combined with their knowledge of rhyming words and how they are spelled, to create their own verses.
Wixie even includes a Down by the Bay template to make this process easier for students. To open it, select the Templates folder in the list on the left. Open the General folder, and choose Down by the Bay.
Students can open this template from their home page when they log in or you can open it and assign the template to students so that it appears at the top of their home page when they log in.
You could complete a similar project using Dr. Seuss’s How Now Brown Cow or Charles G. Shaw’s Sheep on a Ship.
Dr. Seuss’s There’s a Wocket in my Pocket really tests students understanding of phonics by using nonsense words. Ask students to create their own page in the story by choosing a location and then developing their own name for a creature based on the location.
Asking them to write/spell the word and record it, provides great formative assessment of how well students can match sounds to spelling and produce words (sounds) correctly based on the spellings they see.
Matching these sounds to their spellings really comes into play with Dr. Seuss’s Fox in Socks. This story begins with a warning to “Take it slowly. This book is dangerous.” It then challenges the reader to correctly read sentences with similar spellings, but vastly different pronunciations like, ”Sue sews rose on Slow Joe Crow’s clothes.” Put your students in the driver’s seat by asking them to use their knowledge of phonics to write their own tongue twister stories.
As you work to design phonics instruction, use Wixie for a range of phonic-focused activities that engage students in practicing skills that help them become powerful readers and writers who enjoy the craft.