From the archives...
A customer wrote us the following message on the (now discontinued) LOE Forum.
I am a Montessori teacher with a class of 24 3-6 year-olds. After taking the LOE training this summer, I decided that the first thing I wanted to do with my class is Phonemic Awareness. Montessori is great for teaching the letter sounds but has nothing in itself on Phonemic Awareness. I am simply doing each Phonemic Awareness lesson in Foundations A with the whole class at circle time 2 days/week. My class only meets 3 days/week, otherwise, I would do this on more days/week. The children love it! They love making the sounds and are currently working on gluing sounds together. We catch children making sounds to themselves during lunch or nap.
One question I have is, do you have any suggestions on how to know if the quiet ones, the ones who don't raise their hands, are getting the concepts. I can ask them individually but I don't always get around to it, or even have time to notice who they are. Ideas?
Also, I have a 5 year old who just started in my class and she didn't know any letter sounds when she started. I decided to introduce all the sounds that a particular letter can make right from the beginning. I was sceptical, since in Montessori, we start with only the most frequent sound for each letter. Well, she really took to the three sounds for "a" and has remembered them perfectly since day 1. She has not done so well with the single sounds. I guess this is anecdotal evidence that, at least for this child, 3 sounds are no harder to remember than one sound.
Great to hear about your new student taking so easily to all the letter sounds! (And I love the bit about students making sounds themselves during unstructured time)
I would love to hear others' suggestions for drawing out the quieter ones, but two things occurred to me:
One, do lots of repetition of the games with turns for everyone or adjust games so that you ask one student at a time. C.f. Foundations A Teacher's Manual phonemic awareness activities for Lesson 6 (blending active words), Lesson 8 (blending treasure hunt), Assessment D (segmenting/blending basketball), and others.
Two, once you get to the point that students are beginning to segment successfully, you may be able to have them work in pairs or small groups sometimes, taking turns, with activities where one person segments a word and others blend it. So, for example, you could do the treasure hunt or I spy with one student segmenting a word and another blending and finding it.