Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Phonics Dance!

I have had a few questions about the phonics song that you hear in my Day in the Life of a 2nd Grader video so I am going to post a bit about The Phonics Dance!  Now it is not mine, but I have been dancing it for at least 8 years.  When I first did the training,  I was teaching first grade and it fit perfectly into my literacy program.  Ginny Dowd the founder and creator presented to us in a small hotel conference room.  She was such a breath of fresh air and totally just a teacher.  Like me!  I connected instantly with her and have been using her teaching strategies ever since.

The picture above shows my Phonics Dance board.  This is where we keep our Chunks after they are introduced.  We dance every chunk...everyday!  I have a pretty magic wand that I mount at the bottom of the board.  Each chunk was purchased from The Phonics Dance. I started with the black and white ones and colored them.  I mounted them on colored card-stock and laminated them.  Eventually, I moved to the beautiful colored ones you see in the picture.  I also have The Phonics Dance alphabet posted around the room.  When you purchase the manual to go with the cards you will receive the chants.  Please do not worry if you don't get them perfect.  It takes a lot to memorize them.  They offer a CD as well.  I just went with it and made them my own.  It is fun to learn them with your class...the students love to add their own take.  

Another good idea to help with learning the chants is to print them on the back of the cards.  As you show the card to present them you can check the chant on the back.  (You will get all of the chants when you order The Phonics Dance book!)

To introduce the dance, I start with our Magic Sprinkles...just some fun cake sprinkles.  I use my wand to put a spell on the sprinkles.  This is the best part!  You can find more information about this in The Phonics Dance manual.  I HIGHLY recommend this book! 
Be sure that once you introduce a dance it EVERY DAY!

Like I said,  I taught first grade when I first began using the dance. I so excited to get it started!  I wanted to begin right away but first graders take a bit longer to learn the one thing  I did to get us going the first week was to learn the ABC chants and also work on my What's My Ending Packet.  I used the same format as The Phonics Dance I just made it with basic word families.  It is a great review for students and also gets them ready to start The Phonics Dance.  

Download a copy of a basic week of at, it, ot, ut, and et families.  Feel free to edit the file if your crew of kiddos need more practice with word families.  I usually only do this for a week and jump right into The Phonics Dance. 
Another thing that I have done is to create a powerpoint of the Chunks.  I wanted to save on paper and when I moved to 2nd grade I felt like my class had a good understanding of basic phonics so we did the pages for each Chunk together on our SMARTboard.  
I had my students record the chants for each chunk and I linked them to each chunk image on the slides.  The next slide I added The Phonics Dance page.  
 When I introduce this Chunk...we look at the picture clue and write the letter sounds phonetically.  Then I write the word spelled correctly and we Hunk and Chunk.  Hunk is a word inside a word and "sh" is the Chunk.  In my class we underline the Hunk and circle the Chunk. We also give our E some magic with a star and underline our blends with a squiggle line. By doing all of this we are training our eyes to look for parts of words that we recognize.  WORD ATTACK!
Before we go through the phonics page we sing We Will Hunk and Chunk the tune of We Will Rock You!  It is a great movement activity.  

In 2nd grade we also Hunk and Chunk poems for our poetry journals.  This is a great way to practice our word attack strategy.  I promise that if you start training your students to look at words The Phonics Dance way you will see some amazing readers and writers develop.  Just promise that when you do the do it loud and proud!