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K Clark s3538819

Reflection on blends/digraphs sequence


My sequence of lessons incorporated the notion of blends and
digraphs in regards to reading and writing. Learning about
phonograms such as blends and digraphs is vital for students
understanding of spelling and grammar. Understanding sequences
and speech sounds (phonemes) is essential for learning to read an
alphabetic language because alphabet letters and letter
combinations represent basic speech sounds (Spalding, 2003).
My mentor informed me that the students have learnt about blends
earlier in the year and through their knowledge of spalding and
phonograms (which they undertake three mornings a week) they
have developed a good understanding of digraphs. However, Keren
was not with this class for the first six months of this year so
suggested that my first lesson revisited blends to test students
abilities.
My teaching sequence only contained two lessons with technology
as my mentor teacher prefers using other tools rather than
technology in her lessons and I did not want to disrupt her classes.
My aim for these sequential lessons was for students to understand
the difference between blends and digraphs and well as being able
to recognize and use them. In terms of AusVELS, these lessons
lined up with the dimension of Writing and Language within English
at level 2, with a particular link to understand how to digraphs,
long vowels, blends and silent letters to spell words, and use
morphemes and syllabification to break up simple words and use
visual memory to write irregular words (AusVELS 2015,
ACELA1471). Furthermore, students in the second and third lesson,
students had the opportunity to create short imaginative,
informative and persuasive texts using growing knowledge
of text structures and language features for familiar and some less
familiar audiences, selecting print and multimodal elements
appropriate to the audience and purpose (AusVELS 2015,
ACELY1671).
In order for me to judge whether students to have a good
understanding of blends and digraphs they need to demonstrate to
me that they can recognize and be able to actively use various
words in their work. My sequential lessons outlined below scaffolds
students learning and are flexible they provide me with the
opportunity to change the following lessons depending on how
students finish in the lesson. I have also tried to develop my lessons
in Gordon Wells view of scaffolding. He believes that when
scaffolding, students should carry out a task which they would not
have been able to manage on their own, this is my premise for the
first lesson. Scaffolding should be intended to bring the
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student/learner to a state of competence and confidence that allows
them to eventually to complete such a task on their own (lesson 2).
Lastly, Wells believes that scaffolding should demonstrate through
evidence of the learners having achieved some greater level of
independent competence as a result of the scaffolding experience,
my premise for lesson 3 (Wells 1999, p221). I will be able to judge
students learning from observation, correcting their individual work,
and through students confidence in recognizing and using various
blends and digraphs.
The first lesson (appendix 1) re-introduced the notion of various
blend words. Students have previously learnt about blends so it was
a quick recap and to find out how much they remember. I started
the lesson by asking what is a blend, and what blends they know
such as sk blends and gr blends. Following this, students parted
into their ability-based reading groups. My mentor devised activities
for the two higher groups and I taught the lower group. My group
called the dolphins read a book about crabs, when they had
finished the book they were asked to go through the book again (as
a group), familiarizing themselves with the various blends from each
page. The students were then asked to complete an activity in which
they would have to think of 6 cr blend words and place them on
each of the crabs legs (see appendix 2). Students found this activity
engaging and interactive. Many struggled to think of words at the
beginning of the activity, but once they worked together - they
couldnt stop thinking of others! Laal and Ghodsi (2011) and
Janassen et al. (2008) have found that collaborative learning often
leads to higher achievement and greater productivity, greater social
competence and self esteem, due to students ability within this
group, it was important to me that students work collaboratively and
share ideas in order to reach that higher order of learning.
I was really happy with how this lesson went as an introductory
activity. As Wells (1999) believes, it is important to gradually
introduce students to an idea as building on what they have already
learnt achieves the best learning results. The first task
demonstrated to me that students knowledge of blend words
exceeded my expectations. My mentor had also informed me that
the other two groups completed their activities with ease. Hence,
my following activity asked students to demonstrate their
knowledge of blends and digraphs in their own work.
I started the next lesson (see appendix 3) reading a favourite book
of mine called Patricia. This books illustrates a young girl named
Patricia who was struggling to find someone to share her thoughts
with, in the end her grandpa wakes up and she is finally able to
share what shes thinking. I asked students to respond to the book
through writing about a person that they feel connected and are
able to share their thoughts with. Once students were finished with

K Clark s3538819
their short writing piece, I either corrected their work or sent them
off with a dictionary to check their spelling (depending on their
abilities). Once they felt their spelling was correct, they were able to
type up/publish their work. Lastly, using the word documents
highlighter application, students were to use two different colours
highlight the various blends/digraphs. This task was then to be
printed and placed in their portfolios (see appendix 4 for an
example).
This task allowed me to observe students knowledge. It represented
to me that students have a sound knowledge of digraphs. They
easily recognized a digraph as it makes a new sound. However, their
knowledge of blends was not as sound. As I have previously stated,
students at the school learn Spalding and many of them circled
various phonographs rather than blends. They often circled ee or
oo, forgetting that the blends we were discussing were consonant
blends. I asked one of the quick finishers to create a data table on
the whiteboard with blends and digraphs and record how many
each student had. The students finished the activity with 92
digraphs and 15 blends. While they may have had more digraphs
than blends in their work, this data represented to me their inability
to recognize a blend.
When I was first discussing the classes I would take with my mentor,
my third and last sequence lesson was originally to use Book
Creator and combine their individual works into a collaborative class
book. However, after the previous class I really wanted to further
their understanding and recognition a blend, verse identifying a
digraph. Thus for the final lesson (appendix 5) I developed a
PowerPoint to put on the interactive whiteboard to test their
knowledge (see appendix 6).
The PowerPoint had a word flash on the screen and students were
called upon to place the word in either the blend or digraph area.
Originally, they were going to use the interactive whiteboard and
drag the word, but unfortunately it is very unreliable and didnt
work when I tested it in the morning. Instead, I created a new slide
for each word that flashed up on the screen for students to check if
they were right or wrong. In between each word, I had various
effects to maintain students interest. We went through eleven words
and students remained interested during the entire activity.
The next game on the whiteboard was a speed game. This game
provided students with 22 words on a PowerPoint page and students
were to come up to the front in pairs and take turns racing to find a
blend or digraph and that I called out. For example, students were
asked to find a digraph beginning with an S or a blend that starts
with the letter P. Due to this activity incorporating competition,

K Clark s3538819
movement and ICT students found the task engaging and
interactive.
These activities allowed me to gauge that students were developing
a sound knowledge when they are asked to recognize a blend or
digraph. When they were completing the activities I recognized
competence and confidence in many of their answers. Many seemed
to have that light bulb moment which was very rewarding to see.
However there were still a few students who struggled to be able to
decipher when the letters have kept their original sounds, thinking it
was digraph but through sounding the letters out with them
afterwards they were able to see the difference between the sounds.
After all the students had a turn at the speed game, it was time for
them to show me they can develop sentences in their workbooks
with blends and digraphs. They all did a great job and were very
excited to show me their various, and often quite witty responses.
Many of the students wrote about Charlie Chaplin and trucks that he
drove it was fantastic to see the students actively thinking and
using these words.
Ultimately when creating these sequential lessons it was vital to me
that students learning was meaningful and ensured students safety.
Jonasson et al. (2008) believes that meaningful ICT learning can only
take place when knowledge is constructed, not reproduced, when
students converse with learning and its articulated, when it has a
collaborative element and allows students to reflect on their
learning. I do believe I achieved these aspects with my lessons. I
was conscious of not creating ICT lessons purely for the nature of
this assignment, I wanted to use it to aid students learning in a fun
and exciting way. I found it difficult to create a task due to the
limited resources the school had, and the limited use of technology
the class was used to. I was conscious of creating lessons that were
not too different from what the children were used to ensure they
understood and responded well to me as their teacher.
My mentor felt my lessons achieved what we had aimed and was
impressed with my calm approach (appendix 7). Geoff Shacklock
also visited me during the last lesson and was pleased with I
responded with the students and how they responded with me
(appendix 8). However, perhaps most importantly, my personal
reflection allowed me to recognize my strengths and weaknesses in
the classroom. I have noticed that my own confidence and
competence that is growing as a teacher and I am developing
greater flexibility within a classroom which I believe is vital.

K Clark s3538819

References:
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority
(AusVELS) (2015). Level 2, English Reading and Viewing:
Language. Retrieved from: http://ausvels.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Level2
Jonassen, D., Howland, J., Marra, R. M. & Crismond, D. (2008)
Meaingful Learning with Technology (3rd Ed), Upper Saddle River:
Pearson Chapter 1
Laal M and Ghodsi S (2011), Benefits of collaborative learning,
Precedia Social and Behavioural Sciences, Volume 31, Pages 486490
Spalding R B, (2003), Writing Road to Reading, Chapter One: The
Spelling lesson, 5th edition, New York, HarperCollins (original work
published in 1957).
Wells, G. (1999). Dialogic Inquiry: Towards a Sociocultural Practice
and Theory of Education. New York: Cambridge University Press.

K Clark s3538819