Thursday, June 3, 2010
A Fun High Frequency, Whole Word Flash Card Practice Routine - "Say it like a Barbie!"*
A Facilitative Role Play Version of An Intensive Sight Word Paradigm
[* Vici Cope, music teacher from Tustin, Ca, first suggested this pretend refrain from a campfire song, Say it Like a Barbie]
Begin: The teacher holds up a flash card or writes a word on the chalkboard:
Teacher: See this word? The word is and. Everyone look at this word, and say it together.
Teacher: That’s correct. Now say it five times while looking at it.
S’s: And, and, and, and, and
T: Good. Now say it louder.
T: Come on, you can say it louder than that!
T: Okay, I have three other cards here ("again", "answer", "arrange"). When I show a card that is not “and,” say “No!” in a loud voice. But when you see “and,” say it in a whisper.
S’s: (whisper) "and"
T: Great. Look at it carefully, and when I remove it, close your eyes and try to picture the word under your eyelids. Do you see it? Good. Now say it in a whisper again.
T: Good. Now spell it.
T: Now pretend to write it in the air in front of you with your finger while saying each letter.
T: Good. Now describe the word. The way you would describe a new kid to a friend who hasn't seen him yet.
S1: It’s small.
S2: It has a witch’s hat in the beginning.
S3: It has a belly at the end.
T: What’s its name again?
T: Ok, now let’s PRETEND. Let’s say it like a Barbie...Good, now like a He-Man, now long and scary like a Ghost (This last pretend is most useful from the point of view of phonemic segmentation because it draws out the word and hence exposure to its letter sounds. The two prior pretends, however, seem to catch the imaginations of children who will continue in this playful manner in their private speech- self speech that is barely audible.)
The teacher ideally should encourage such post lesson learning by adding something like: Let’s search for “and’s” throughout the day and even after you go home tonight. We’ll ask you later if you found any in school and again tomorrow morning if you found any at home.
And in the morning, to reward such self-instruction – the real purpose of all teaching – the teacher should have on the board, “Did you find any and’s last night?” You can expect to hear the answer to this question like a Barbie, or some other invented character. Over the next few lessons, ask if the student has seen an and. Up to three words a day usually can be taught in this general way. It is best to be sure that the target words do not look too much alike in this early learning phase. Words that are shown in context with the object word and that do look like the object word should not be stressed. These often will be learned incidentally, as the student sets about distinguishing these look-a-likes from a firm footing of words learned to 100% accuracy in flash recognition.
Facilitative Pretending Is a Legacy More than a Discovery
A little thought will reveal that Facilitative Role Play is validated by much of human experience, and has just been waiting to be named and made more accessible for a variety of instructional uses. If you will recall, Shakespeare, who seems to have captured much of human frailty as well as wisdom, had something to say about this in As You Like It:
All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely Players
They have their Exits and their Entrances, And one man in his time players many parts…
It will be interesting to see how many new parts are written for Facilitative Role Play, or Facilitative Pretending should this formerly bit player wins a marquee name.
[Excerpt from: Reading/Learning Assessment for Diagnostic-Prescriptive Teaching, 2nd edition (.A. Manzo, U. Manzo and Julie Albee) Belmont: California, Thomson/Wadsworth Publishers (2004).]