Short Vowels and Much More - Queen of the First Grade Jungle

Short Vowels and Much More

As a parent, I think you begin thinking about your child starting kindergarten pretty much as soon as he/she is born.  Not in terms of “Can’t wait to get there,” but just as some distant point WAY off in the future.

Somehow it still sneaks up on you.

My little man started kindergarten this week.  I feel so blessed to have him at my new school with me.  He has a beautiful classroom and a wonderful teacher.

Happy Boy= Happy Mommy

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In addition to Nash starting school, I taught my first three days with my new second graders!  I am in LOVE!  They are absolutely darling and already so independent! 

About halfway through my first day of teaching, these gorgeous flowers arrived for me…

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….they were from my old teammates in Kentucky!!! It means so much to me that they still think of me and wish me well!

The first two days were FULL of superhero activities. 

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We learned a lot about each other and established our expectations for the classroom. I also used some of the activities to give me a benchmark of what skills my students felt comfortable with and which skills needed more practice.

We also spent some time reviewing short vowel sounds.  I created this chart to look like one my Reading Recovery teacher gave me at my old school.


After I introduce this chart to my students, we use our pointer finger and middle finger to help use practice isolating the initial vowel sound- “a-pple, a-pple, a,a,a” “e-ddie, e-ddie, e,e,e” and so on.  Clear as mud?  I promise it works! You can snag this free chart on my FB fanpage

After lots of practice, we begin the Vowel Drill!!

photo (49)I created these cards four years ago and they are still in perfect condition.  It is important that when you are making these cards that all the a’s are the same color, e’s the same color… you get the point!   You will use the color as quick way to scan the room and see how your students are doing. These are simply index cards folded right down the middle. <Just a side note, I collect these as a group of five –not all the a’s, all the e’s etc., because it makes passing them out super simple!>

In order to practice, I would yell out a vowel sound and the students hold up the vowel they heard!

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They LOVE it!  After we hold up our card, we say our vowel chant so we can implant the sound even more in our brains (a-pple, a-pple, a,a,a…A says a).  By the end I was selecting students to be the expert and say the sound.

On Friday my students worked on the vowels in isolation.  Since they did such a fantastic job {great job first grade teachers} we will move on to Vowel-Consonants on Monday, and Consonant-Vowel-Consonant later in the week!

Now, since we survived the first three days of school, Emmie and I are treating ourselves to a pedicure! Have a wonderful weekend!

your photo name


  1. Your son looks so cute on his first day! I didn't realize you were going to be teaching second graders. I teach second graders as well. I couldn't agree more about the independence. They seem to grow so much over the summer from leaving first grade and coming into second grade. I am your newest follower and can't wait to read more about you second grade adventures. Thanks for sharing.


  2. love it.... such a quick and easy 'check in' with their answers... thanks for sharing!

  3. Love the vowel card idea- definitely will be using that one of these days- thanks!
    Learning to the Core

  4. Kindergarten! Don't blink your eyes, or your son will be starting his senior year in high school, like mine. Looks like you're off to a great start in your new grade level!
    Swersty’s Swap Shop

  5. Love all of your ideas, Katie! That little chart is genius. So glad your beginning of the year is going well. xoxoxo

  6. Thank you for the chart!!! I love the idea of the vowel cards! What a great way to collect data (quickly)!!!

    Literacy Without Worksheets

  7. So glad your year started off on the right foot. Nash is just darlin' . . . such a BIG boy now :) I miss you bunches my friend!

  8. Love the idea Katie for vowels! And the pants on that little guy of your are killing me! So stinking cute! My own son won't wear anything other than jeans! I have given up on trying to make him all preppy! =) Too cute!

  9. Love this activity! I will be testing it out this week! I went for a mani/pedi today, also!

  10. I love following your blog and I have many of your TPT products. Thanks for all you do. Have a great school year!

  11. Sounds like a great start to the school year! Love this activity too.

    For the Love of First Grade

  12. I LOVE this post! We are really trying to pump up our writing program in first grade and we are beginning with narrative writing and small moments. I love the way that you told about your progressions. I cannot wait to read more soon! I hope to be able to report back to you on my progress as well! :)

  13. Your "vowel drill" is actually our (IMSE's Orton-Gillingham) Vowel Intensive. Make sure students repeat the vowel sound that you state. Then they should verbalize a says /a/ while holding up the card. Start with vowel only. Then progress to vc and cvc syllables. Students should repeat syllable and then isolate the vowel sound. Such as "cag a says /a/". We also have vowel visuals that encourage motor memory. Enjoy!
    Director of Professional Development at IMSE Orton-Gillingham

  14. Hello!

    I'm trying to get your short vowel chart from your Freebie fan page, but cannot get to it@ Would you mind sending it to me via email?! Thannk!!!

    1. Hi there!

      I am also having a difficult time accessing your short vowel chart. Can it be purchased and emailed?

      Thank you!

      Danielle Davidson


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