This lesson comes from the Making
Words block of the Four Blocks Literacy Model. The Bethalto School District has
had numerous trainings in Four Blocks over the last few years, and this is one
activity that I use repeatedly in my third grade classroom. There are several
reasons why I think these lessons are beneficial for my students. Most
importantly, it helps them to become better spellers and decoders. I use Making
Words to teach students that there are patterns in words and that a little
change in the letters of a word changes it in a predictable way. My students
also find out that words can be sorted into patterns and then used to read and
spell other words. Making Words is a lot of fun if you keep it fast paced.
When you are finished, the students are still eager to make other words with the
The students will first
cut out the letters that we will use for this lesson. Then they write the
capital of the same letter on the back of each lowercase letter they were
given. There is always a secret word that will be spelled using ALL of the
letters given. They try to figure this out right away so they can be the
first one to find it.
I tell them to use 3 of
their letters to spell art. I give them an example of a sentence for
each word I ask them to spell. (We draw and paint in art class.) Use
3 letters to spell air. Use 3 letters to spell tip.
Then I tell them to add 1
letter to spell trip. (We are planning a trip to Disney World.)
Change 1 letter and spell
Use the same letters you
used for trap but move them around to make them spell part.
Change 1 letter to spell
Use 4 letters to spell
Use 6 letters to spell
Now it is
time for the secret word. I give them a minute to try to figure it out. Most
of them have a guess by this time in the activity. If they do not know, I may
give them a clue like airplanes land here. Usually someone in the class will
figure it out fairly quickly.
At this time, I will have
the students give me some more words that they have found that can be made
using only these letters. I will let them come up to the pocket chart and use
my letters to make the words for the other students.
After all the words have
been made, I have the students sort by patterns such as beginning sounds,
rhyming words, prefixes, plurals, etc.
We will use these patterns
to complete the Sort and Transfer sections of the worksheet.
At the end of each lesson,
I always remind the students that rhyming words can help them read and spell
Another way to do
this lesson is to just let the students give you 3, 4, and 5 letter words
from the beginning to let them see how easy it is for them to spell their
own words when given certain letters.
1.A.1a Apply word analysis
skills (phonics, word patterns) to recognize new words.
Phonics by Patricia M. Cunningham and Dorothy P.
Hall. Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company, Inc.
Lessons for Home or School by Patricia M.
Cunningham and Dorothy P. Hall. Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company, Inc.