Can we just take a moment to thank my blue and red ABC magnets for their many years of use at my independent phonics station? The hands that have touched them over the years… I’m going to keep them in the cabinet and hope that I can bring them out in the future.
In the meantime, this is a problem! How do students study phonics independently while socially distancing and not sharing materials? I hope to offer some digital solutions for the classroom or for virtual learning at home. Are they what we envisioned for our students? Nope. But I hope they will provide activities for your students to practice their phonics skills until we can break out our ABC magnets again.
Classroom Apps For Your Phonics Stations
So of course, you’ll need to use devices for your students. Hopefully you’ll now have 1-1 iPads or Chromebooks for your kiddos. These will be our new best friends this year. If all of this keeps you up at night and gives you nightmares… stick with classroom apps. Use them as much as you can. It’s okay. It really is. Here are some free apps or websites that your students can use for independent phonics station practice.
Spelling City: Plug in your spelling list and it generates games and quizzes for you! You can upgrade for more games and to generate reports on your student’s activity, but the free version usually works well for independent phonics practice.
Magnetic ABC: This was an app that I had on my classroom iPads. And it was free. I’m sure there is a paid version as well. There are letters at the bottom, and the students pull them up to a board to spell words. You can post a list and they can practice spelling their words with magnetic letters.
Starfall: This is an excellent website for emerging readers. There is a “Learn to Read” part that has a lot of quality beginning phonics games and activities.
Dry Erase Board Activities
I have a collection of dry erase boards that I’ve used over the years. If you are in the classroom, instead of having your students pick one from a shared tub, they’ll have to have one assigned to them. I think I’ll make a label to put on the back. They’ll also need their own markers. In the classroom, post a list of your spelling words, and they can practice writing the words, or making sentences on their boards.
If you’re virtually learning from home, and your kiddos don’t have white boards, most platforms like Seesaw have a drawing tool for a dry erase board substitute. If you’re new to digital platforms, you can read an overview of them here.
Digital Resources For Your Phonics Stations
Assign your students digital resources that match your phonics skills. You can either make them or purchase them. Here’s a helpful article on how you know which digital resources to make or purchase. Buying resources is an investment, but search for year-long bundles that you buy once and use all year. If the products have the same activity with different skills, your students will know what to expect, and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each week.
Here are some of my phonics resources. They come with emoji pictures that the kiddos drag down to the correct spelling of the word. Super fun! You can find this and more digital resources for your phonics stations in my store!
Whether you’re in the classroom or virtually learning from home… picking little solutions for big problems like these will help take one more thing off your to-do list. Hang in there, and as always, reach out if I can help!