Hopscotch Blending – A fun and active strategy to increase learning PLUS a Freebie!!

I forgot.  Ummmm……I’m not sure.  What’s this word? /s/p/o/t/……tip?  I don’t know.  I can’t read it. 

Have you heard some of those things in your classroom?  Do they sound all too familiar?  They are the sounds of students who are struggling to read efficiently.  There can be many reasons of course…ADD….cognitive issues….memory issues….motivational issues….and many more. Whatever the reason, it is a big challenge for students and their teachers.  If you have students like this and have tried all the ideas you can think of, how about one more idea? We know that active learning is the way to go, so let’s kick that up a notch with this activity. This one is lots of fun and combines physical movement with reading.  It is a high success activity for those students who are hard to reach, and it’s also a great activity for all students during the springtime when their attention and motivation have disappeared!  It’s called “Hopscotch Blending” officially, but it works for sight word learning too. (It also works for math fact fun!)

Here’s what to do.  Make some hopscotch frames with sidewalk chalk on the playground. For blending, write the onset in the left square and the rime in the right square.  (See picture)  Teach students to hop with their left foot onto the onset and say it as they do so.  Then, hop on the right square with the right foot and say the rime.  They then hop onto the single square containing the whole word, and read it out loud. I like to make them with all the same rime, but different initial consonants or blends, using whichever ones the students are struggling with.  You can use it for so many different combinations though.  Compound words, contractions, prefixes/base words and suffixes/base words, work well for older students. Try putting sight words in all the squares, too.

As an added benefit….as soon as you and your students leave the playground, other students will quickly take over the hopscotch fun!  (That makes a teacher’s heart happy!) You will be the favorite teacher for providing a new and fun activity! As we know, there is something magical that happens when we combine physical movement with learning, and this activity really works that magic in confused brains!

Do you live and work in an area that’s often too rainy to go out?  I hear you!  Living in the Pacific Northwest, we see more rainy days than not.  What do I do then?  We do it inside with our fingers and these hopscotch boards.  Students do the same activity but with their fingers as the hopping kids in place of themselves. It works like hopping outside with only slightly less fun.  Give it a try.  I’m betting you and your kids will like it.  Here’s a link to a freebie of the hopscotch board, if you would like to try it out. Or click the picture:)

Happy teaching!


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