Monday, March 11, 2013

ABC- easy as 123?

ABC order- kids learn it at a young age. And then we make it harder doing ABC order to the third and even fourth letter. But it's ok. If you get it, you get it... right? No.. not so much. We do ABC order for homework a couple times a month. It is one of those things that there isn't enough time in a day for, but with enough practice and reviewing the practice, I thought we would be good. 

I. Was. Wrong. 

We took formative assessment (well we have taken it 3 times now, but this instance is referring to the first and second one I believe) and when I got our results I saw that many of my students scored low on ABC order. This, I thought, can be fixed. 

But it had to be fixed in a way other than doing it for homework. One way we work on abc order is in Denise's Weekly Word Wizards (she has recently updated these to align with common core and the new updated versions can be found here and believe me, they are worth the investment!). Once a week there is a box that involves putting words in ABC order. Sometimes it is just simple first letter and other times it goes past the first letter. 4 words, quick and easy, but I make my kids explain WHY the words go in the order they do.

The next way I have been incorporating ABC order is by bringing a little spelling back INTO the classroom. Again, spelling is one of those things that really has to be worked on at home. That and multiplication facts are the only things I really want drilled at home. But since they aren't, my kids have been slacking on their tests. So we have brought spelling back in as well. To make ABC order a little more fun than just sitting and writing the words out, here is what I do.

I type the words out, laminate, then cut. Takes mere minutes and maybe 2 sheets of paper/laminating film a week. Each group gets the words in a bag. When I say start they are in a race to get their cards in ABC order first. BUT they can not get too loud and they can not argue or they are disqualified. Once they think they finish, they raise their hand for me to check. If it is perfect, they copy it onto a sheet of paper to turn in. If not, I tell them no and move on. I do NOT tell them what their mistakes are or how many. This requires them to rethink their solution and figure out where they messed up and WHY. And they fix it. When they finish they raise their hand again. This will continue until they get it right. (I have at one point told a group "look at your Ns" because I checked their list over 5 times and they still couldn't figure it out.) The first group to get it 100% correct, copied, and cleaned up gets a treat (gum, starburst, etc...whatever I have in the drawer). Sometimes I am nice and give it to two groups depending on how they are working.

Another way we have done ABC order is by giving each student a card with a spelling word on it. They have to line themselves up in ABC order...without making a sound. We then look over the words they have and decide if anyone is out of place and why. This way gets the kids up and moving and they really enjoyed it. (Sorry I forgot to take pics of this one.)

How do you incorporate ABC order into your class? Or is it one of those things that your kids just "get"? 

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