Have you tried Phonics Friends yet? If you aren’t familiar with them you can read about them here. GAME CHANGER in my room years ago! I wanted to share one of my newer ones with y’all: The A Team Cheerleaders! They help teach about the long a (ai ay) sound and spelling skill.
Let’s take a look.
LONG A VOWEL TEAMS AI AY PHONICS ACTIVITIES AND GAMES
Before starting, I want to let y’all know that the weekly and daily lesson plans that are included within Phonics Friends are simply a guide…and ideas. As always, you know your classroom and student’s needs best so I always recommend that you use Phonics Friends in a way that works best for you and your students! If that means use it front to back, great….or if that means pick and choose, then that is great, too. I understand that everyone’s schedule and allotted phonics time varies so please use these how you need and don’t feel like you have to use it front to back. I wanted to make sure there was more than enough ways to practice each sound/skill included in these resources.
Alright, now let’s really get started. Here’s a look a full week (5 days) of teaching ai/ay!
Daily Components/Warm Ups:
The A Team Cheerleaders Phonics Friends are an anchor for Long A Vowel Teams/Pairs ai ay learning. You can display them on your board to reference to during the daily lesson. We used our friends daily. I used them on the 1st day to introduce the sound/spelling rule and then I used it every day after that when starting our phonics time.
The A Team friends help students remember the ai/ay sound and that the two vowels work together as a team to make the long a sound. Really play it up when you introduce the friends and sound…bring in pompoms, your best cheer face, say AAAAAYYYYY, and get super duper excited! How fun would a classroom transformation be for this week of learning! Football and cheerleader themed!
Word Cards and Phonemic Awareness Warm Ups can also be used daily during the ai/ay lessons. You can display the Word Cards on an anchor chart or on a whiteboard by placing magnetic tape to the back.
The Phonemic Awareness cards can be attached to a metal ring and hung on an easel, board, or wherever you will be completing you whole group lessons at. There’s a different focus each day with the Phonemic Awareness cards. The daily focuses are: sound isolation, blend phonemes, segment phonemes, phoneme manipulation, and phoneme deletion.
Ok, let’s look at the individual components for each specific day. Each day is broken down by whole group (direct teach and guided), independent practice, word work (center), and home connection. Details are included on the lesson plans.
Sort it Out: After introducing the A Team Cheerleaders with the Phonics Friends (above) you and your students use the cards to discuss where the ai/ay sound is within the words. For example: the AI cheerleader stays at the mid field (middle of the word) and the AY cheerleader stays at the end zone (end of the word). As a whole group you can sort the word cards based on where the sound is.
PomPom Sort is an independent follow up activity to the pocket chart sound sort above. Students complete the sort by listening to where the ai/ay sound is within the word. Then, they sort the picture onto the correct pompom based on where they hear the sound. Remind them about the mid field/end zone sounds!
Puzzle Cards are a Word Work activity. Day 1 Word Work is called “Make it Monday”. Students work with their station partner(s) to make the ai/ay words. There are 2 versions of puzzle cards included within the resource so that you can choose which one works best for you.
These Sound Bracelets are a Home Connection activity for students to take home and show off their learning with their parent(s)/guardian(s).
Sounds on the Field is a guided practice activity where students segment the word that is called out into the boxes. They can use a manipulative (pompoms) for each sound or use a wipe off marker and spell the word in the boxes.
Heads or Tails is a partner game. Students take turns flipping a coin to spell a word next to the pictures. For example: Michelle flips the coin, lands on heads, and chooses a picture to spell. Then, Cody flips a coin. If he lands on tails…he will spell a word on his side….if he lands on heads, then Michelle will spell a word.
Day 2 Word Work is called Build it Tuesday so students build the words on the mat in a center/station.
Spin and Build is a home connection activity. This could also be an independent activity if you do not use homework in your classroom.
Table Races were a staple in my classroom. We did them ALL THE TIME! Year after year my students always loved them and begged for them. We played them in table groups. This is a guided practice activity. For this one, the teacher calls out a word and students spell the word on their tables with a wipe off marker. When the teacher says, “TOUCHDOWN”, students put their markers down. The first table to spell the word correctly (and first) wins that round and gets a table point! Y’all! This is a blast! You could totally bring in some thematic items to really amp up the engagement.
Roll and Color is an independent activity where students roll a die, find a picture that matches what they rolled, and color the correct spelling for the picture.
Day 3 is Write it Wednesday for Word Work. This is a Write the Room activity that covers a plethora of ai/ay skills and goes beyond just copying the word on the card.
Trace, Write, and Match is a home connection activity, but again this could be used as an independent activity if needed.
Tic-Tac-Read is a guided practice activity and is one of my very favorite phonics activities ever! It’s played just like Tic-Tac-Toe except that students flip a word card over and cover the matching picture with their game piece. 3 in a row wins! Simple and engaging!
What’s That Word is an independent matching activity that can be used in a phonics notebook or glued to a piece of paper.
Day 4 Word Work is called Thinking Thursday. Students work with a partner to spin and find the picture that matches the word they spun. 4 in a row wins!
Smash and Match is a home connection activity. Students match the picture to the word and sound out the word by smashing play dough.
TOUCHDOWN is a guided practice game; it is such a fun interactive game. Each student gets a game card. The teacher turns the music on and students mingle around the room trading cards. They have to read the word on the card as they trade with another student. When the music stops, the student(s) with the TOUCHDOWN card wins that round. This is a perfect game for fluency and is definitely more fun that reading words off a piece of paper to practice fluency.
To wrap the week up, students can take a Spell Check with the words used within this resource or other words that follow the ai/ay spelling pattern.
Day 5 Word Work is Fun Friday and these word dominos are just that. FUN!
And on the last day, students can take home the Sound Master Award to celebrate their hard work all week.
There you have it. Long A Vowel Teams activities and games! You can find all of the activities (plus lesson plans) HERE
Want to use the A Team Cheerleaders but don’t need all the activities? You can purchase JUST THE FRIENDS here!
Here are a few other Long A Vowel Team resources that you might like:
I hope this was helpful to you and your planning for ai/ay. If you love Phonics Friends but need them in a different sound, you can find them ALL HERE!