Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Teaching Letters & Sounds with Greg Smedley

Today, we bring you another guest blog post from Greg Smedley. For more from Greg, be sure to check out his blog!

Hi! It’s Mr. Greg from Smedley’s Smorgasbord of Kindergarten! 

On the first day for a new sound (which is usually Monday), I introduce the sound only—no letter just yet. I make the sound and then have the students make the sound. We talk about what our mouth is doing, and we take turns making the sound.

Next we listen for the sound to see if we can distinguish between sounds. I say a word and if it has our focus sound we raise our hand. For example, if our sound is /m/ I might say “money” and the students raise their hand. If I were to say “sun” they would not raise their hand.

After we listen for the sound, we make a circle map of words for that sound. However, we use pictures and not words. Today was the /m/ sound, so we came up with /m/ words. As the students generated the words, I drew pictures on our circle map.

On day two, I tell the class that yesterday we learned the /m/ sound, and today we are going to learn how to spell the /m/ sound. I tell them that /m/ is spelled with a letter "m". I use this terminology to make the sounds more writing-friendly. I am hopeful that by hearing that we use the letter to spell the sound, this will translate to their writing!

After we discuss how to spell the sound, we go back to our pictures from day one. We name the picture and then we write the word. I ask them how to spell the /m/ sound and they say ”m,” so I write the "m" and then I spell the rest of the word by saying each letter as I write it. For example, if the word is monkey, they say “m” and I write m. Then I would write o and say “o,” write n and say “n,” and so on until the word is spelled.

After we have written our words, I pull out our Letter Buddies book for "M," and we learn some other M-words that we might have missed!

>> CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT LETTER BUDDIES <<

Finally, on day two, the students do a picture-sort where they must find the words that begin with our sound and cut them out and glue them to their paper.

This is a new method that is working well for us thus far. I like that the focus is on the sound initially and then the letter is introduced. I also like that the idea of spelling is introduced as the way to write the sound.

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My name is Greg Smedley-Warren and yes, I am a bit of a rockstar! I am a male kindergarten teacher! It’s true! We are a rare species, but we do exist! I have been teaching for eight years and I have taught 5th grade, 2nd grade and kindergarten. My heart is Kindergarten! I believe that every student can succeed and that it’s my job to give them the tools they need. My classroom is full of energy and fun. We are always singing, dancing, moving, and learning. If you were to appear at my classroom door you would see chaos. But it’s really organized chaos. I am famous for my love of all things glitter, all things mustaches, and silly hats! I also write a teaching blog, Smedley’s Smorgasbord of Kindergarten, which is a peek into my silly and chaotic life as a teacher!

I live in Nashville, TN (Music City USA) with my husband and our Golden Doodle, Butters!

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To learn more about the Letter Buddies books mentioned in this set of activities, click here to visit the web page, or click the image below to download an information sheet on the series.