Monday, January 17, 2011

OA Sound Bin

The boys also worked with a sound bin today for the sound "oa" as in "boat." I put together a basket full of objects for them to explore together. I don't like to be handcuffed to the idea of only using "miniatures" for these types of activities. I tend to use a larger basket now then I used in the beginning and just throw in full-sized items. I am also not ashamed to use a picture once in a while. They are not as engaging but as long as there are only one or two they provide an opportunity to teach some new vocabulary and fill out a collection for a difficult sound. For example, I don't think I had ever used the word "loaf" with the boys before today.

The "oa" bin contained the following: coat, loaf, boat, toad, goat, toast, oats, soap (to the left of the coat cut off a bit). I wanted to include "foam" but couldn't find a piece when I wanted it and all the pictures on line were more of "sea foam" which the boys would keep trying to call "bubbles."

The downside of using "real items" is that Kal-El keeps trying to put them away. He put the soap back in the bathroom at least three times and kept complaining that the bear that usually wears the "coat" was crying because he was cold.

Kal-El and Me Too are at different stages with this type of thing but it is still possible to do the activity partially together if I plan ahead. FIRST I took Kal-El aside and showed him the double sandpaper letter "oa" and told him we were going to look at some objects together that use that sound. THEN I invited Me Too to join us (he is not ready for the written symbol). After we were done looking through the bin Kal-El went away and pulled out the sand tray to write "oa" ...

...while Me Too and I played "I Spy" with the box of objects.

When Me Too was ready to move on to something else I gave Kal-El a presentation on how to use two different-colored alphabets to practice building words that have a double-letter sound in them. I started by setting out the "oa" combination several times on the mat and Kal-El chose objects to put next to them. We did the first one together and he took over after that. He was less than halfway through "toast" however when he lost interest in this and decided to start writing his own words (not containing "oa"). That is what the movable alphabet is supposed to be for in the first place so I left him alone. I needed to give a presentation on using the alphabets together and I did that. He now has the information for another day.

He wrote "superhero" words like "tic" (one of the X-men?) and "zap" (a superhero sound). I was really happy he chose to write a word with the letter "z." This bodes well for his future Scrabble skills.


  1. I think this is a great idea you came up with using the larger sound items. Bigger items for bigger words! Your school day looks like a lot of fun. I am going to try this idea of yours. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Can you explain more about
    "sound bins" and how you use
    and store them?

  3. Kathy,

    "Sound Bins" is actually one of my "tags" so if you click on the tag you'll find all my posts to date about them (I may have forgotten to tag a couple).

    Here's a link to my original post about them:

    Two main things that have changed since that post. (1) I am now stricter about not exposing Me Too to the written symbol so I now put that part of the work on the shelf separately. I'll try to explain that further later this week. I still put the two little magnet letters on the outside of the object box just as a "label." I keep 3-4 baskets on the shelf at once and Me Too needs some kind of identifier on the outside of the basket as a visual cue to which ones he has done in a certain day. I think it would be frustrating to pull an unlabeled basket off of the shelf and bring it to your rug thinking it was a new one just to get it there and realize you did it ten minutes ago.

    (2) is that Karen Tyler's course only does these for initial sounds and for single letter sounds. I also do these for double letter sounds and for those don't limit it to the initial sound. I also create supplemental sound sorts using single letter sounds in different positions. I have said several times on the blog that I think the Tyler course is weak on aural prep.

    I don't store them as a unit when they are not on the shelf. All the components come from my materials collections and I just re-assemble them as needed. I know that Karen Tyler keeps them all assembled in ziplocks in a box. That might make sense for a school but not for us at home.