Digital Classroom Archives – Della Larsen's Class

Using Boom Cards to Increase Phonemic Awareness

March 2, 2021

What is phonemic awareness and how can we teach it? Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, manipulate, and substitute phonemes. Phonemes are the smallest unit of sound that can differentiate meaning in spoken words. The goal of every kindergarten teacher is to teach our students to read. It’s the single most important academic skill that we teach. It’s also the most rewarding as a teacher. Watching a child see themselves through the lens of a reader is one of the best parts of being a kindergarten and first-grade teacher. In the rush to push our students to district reading benchmarks it’s common to jump over a crucial first step. Before we begin to teach our students to read we need to make sure our students are fluent with phonemic awareness.  So often teachers ask why their students are not reading with the same success and their peers. We often need to back up and ensure that our struggling students have developed phonemic awareness fluency.  Grab a free Phoneme Awareness Checklist here.   So how do we teach phonemic awareness? One of the greatest ways to have our students practice phonemic awareness skills and assess our students’ understanding...

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What is Phonemic Awareness?

February 23, 2021

Teaching young children to read is one of the greatest enjoyments of being a kindergarten teacher. To take a child from knowing just a few letters of the alphabet to a student who can read a book from start to finish is one of the greatest joys of a teaching career. When that kindergarten student looks up at you after they finish reading a book from cover to cover for the first time your heart can’t help but fill with joy. Helping a child see themselves through the lens of a reader is humbling and powerful.  How do we get young children to become fluent readers? Becoming a reader is much more than knowing your alphabet and the sounds of letters. Researchers have identified five key concepts at the core of every effective reading instruction program. Often these concepts are referred to as the pillars of reading. The 5 pillars of reading  Phonemic Awareness Phonics Fluency Vocabulary Comprehension Phonemic Awareness Let’s start with the first pillar of reading – Phonemic Awareness So what exactly is phonemic awareness and why is it so important to kindergarten students? Phonemic Awareness is the ability to hear, identify, manipulate, and substitute phonemes.   It...

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Here comes Kindergarten!! Are they ready?

August 20, 2018

The more I see, the more I realize the importance of transitions. For students — and of course for their parents and teachers — the transition to Kindergarten is one of the iconic moments in life. In the world of K-to-12, it all begins with K! Now is the time to think about readiness. Summer is full upon us — in a blink of the eye, the little ones will be hopping onto buses or into family cars, for that oh-so-very-long journey to the first day of Kindergarten. We want the journey to be a great one. To be safe, to be fun and to be full of learning.                                                                                                                 Unfortunately, every year, more and more kids are coming into kindergarten without the skills they need. That fear creeps into parents’ minds in August — and teachers can only hope that the new students will...

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How to take advantage of Google Classroom – it’s as easy as it is exciting!

April 17, 2018

It’s obvious that we’re in a digital age. It’s a new age of reason — taken to what would have been seen as unimaginable heights just a few years ago! Everyone wants digital resources. Superintendents, principals, parents, students — and, of course, teachers. So, how do you go about it? If you give it a shot, I’m confident that Goggle Classroom will become your go-to source for incorporating technology with education. It’s not hard. I have been teaching for over 30 years. I’ve seen trends come and go – technology is here to stay! I still teach the same skills, I still track my students’ progress, and I still try to engage them in exciting ways so that they will look forward to school. The difference is that I do it easier, quicker, and better — with Google Classroom. Getting back to the physical classroom — we’ve gone from chalk and chalkboards, to colored markers and white boards, to smart boards with video capabilities. We’ve gone from mimeograph to Xerox copies. From collating and stapling by hand to letting the machine do our work for us. There’s no question that new technology can be daunting. It can also be...

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A Digital Classroom, a Google Classroom, an Engaged Classroom – Your Classroom!

April 15, 2018

We may be uncertain about educational technology — but our students aren’t! Our students are coming to us having already mastered digital devices. Next time you are in the grocery store or out to dinner notice how many children are using tablets.  It’s our job to provide technology that is hands on, engaging, and empowering to children. We need to choose digital resources that enhance our children’s cognitive and social abilities. They’re going to use it – but we can control it. Technology and Google Classroom is an effective tool to excite students, to engage them, to keep their interest—and it’s a powerful and easy way to differentiate their levels. Learn more with my Getting Started with Google Classroom Guide. Here’s a quick example. You could use a hundred worksheets — but think of the time you spend during lunch making copies.  Not to mention everyone in your class is working on the same skill. I don’t know about you, but in 30 years, I’ve never had a class where everyone is working on the same level.  Technology makes it easy to differentiate. Have you tried Boom Cards? They are self-correcting, and Boom tracks your student’s results and shows...

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How to Use iPads along with Flipped Lessons and Boom Cards to teach ELA and Math.

March 20, 2018

We have iPads in our classroom.  You may even have a whole cart of ipads. They’re a perfect size for our students. They are naturally drawn to this technology. The question is: What do we do with these things? It would be a shame to use them only as a place to display apps or a device to view videos. An iPad is a computer — much more powerful than the onboard computers American astronauts used to go to the moon. I’ve found that using flipped lessons is like making a clone of yourself — so that you can work individually with each student at the same time. In my kindergarten class, I use our iPads to teach ELA and math with Boom Cards and Flipped Learning. Let’s look at Boom Cards. One terrific deck of Boom Cards teaches beginning reading by having the students drag the correct word to match the illustration. There are a huge amount of variations — teaching students to match sight words, letter sounds, beginning sounds and on and on. Flipped Lessons are videos that students view on the iPads, while using a matching worksheet. The kindergarteners follow along using the instructions on the...

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