1. Overview

See a picture card and decide which “special sound” (digraph) is in the word and whether it comes at the beginning or end of the word. Then put the picture card in the appropriate sack.

sorting sacks
I6: Sorting Sacks

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2. Materials & Preparation

Print the picture cards and sack labels onto sturdy card-stock paper and cut them apart. Attach one label to each paper sack. The word list is for the adult’s reference only.

Place the labeled sacks in front of the child, arranged in two rows of four. Go through the picture cards with your child to be sure he is using the correct word for each picture (e.g., ship instead of boat). Then shuffle the picture cards and put them in a face-down stack.

*Option: Print out the eight labels, prop them up, and let the child match the corresponding picture cards. Call this activity Sorting Stacks instead of Sacks.

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3. Activity

Video: How to play Sorting Sacks

Before starting the game, do a quick review of the digraph sounds, using the labels on the sacks. Explain that on the sack labels, a dash in front of the sound (e.g., -ch) means the special sound comes at the end (or tail) of the word, but a dash after the sound (e.g., ch-) means the special sound comes at the beginning (or head) of the word. Use the pictures on the label cards to demonstrate.

Adult: Ch-. Cheese.
            /ch/ is at the start — the head — of cheese.

Now introduce and demonstrate the game for your child. He will turn over a picture card, say the word, and decide which sack it should go in.

Adult: Okay, turn over the first picture card. What is it?
Child: A watch!
Adult: That’s right. Which sack does it belong in?
Child: [points to ch-] That one?
Adult: Are you sure? Say the name of the picture.
Child: Cheese. It has a /ch/!
Adult: Yes, but listen to where the /ch/ sound is: cheese.
            Is the /ch/ sound at the beginning or the end of cheese?

Child: The beginning.
Adult: Now look at your picture card and say the word.
Child: Watch.
Adult: Is the /ch/ sound at the beginning or the end of watch?
Child: The end!
Adult: Right. So which sack has the /ch/ sound at the end?
Child: Um…that one! Peach!
Adult: Good job. Put the watch card in the peach sack.

Go through at least 20 words in a session, in random order so the child gets a mix of special sounds at both the beginning and end. Make note of any words or digraphs the child is struggling with, and revisit those words at the end.

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4. Extension

Time how long it takes the child to correctly sort 20 picture cards into sacks. Then shuffle the picture cards and play the game again, challenging the child to beat his own time by sorting the cards faster!

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5. Small Groups (2-5 children)

Lesson Objective: Aided by picture cards and digraph letter cards, children will say the name of the pictured item, isolate the digraph phoneme, determine whether the phoneme comes at the beginning or the end of the word, and sort the picture into sacks labelled with beginning and ending digraphs.

GELDS (Georgia Early Learning & Development Standards): CLL6.4f

Georgia Standards of Excellence: ELAGSEKRF3.a

Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.3.A

Additional Materials:

  • optional: second set of sack labels, to label both sides of each sack for better visibility

Adaptation: Read the main activity, watch the video, and follow the instructions above, with the following changes:

You can play this game in a circle on the rug. Go through all the picture cards with the group, explaining the meaning of the dash before or after the special sound.

Give each child three picture cards at a time, face down. “What is your picture? What sack does watch belong in?” Make sure the children get several opportunities for practice.

If the children struggle with identifying the location of the special sound (at the beginning or end of the word), focus on that by playing the game with only the ch- and -ch sacks and picture cards. Once they understand this concept, add the other sacks.

Reinforcement: Place the game in a center for independent partner practice. Check their work when the game is finished.

Use this Reinforcement at Home form to tell parents and guardians how they can reinforce lessons outside the classroom.

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