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Showing Liza Mathews

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First Place

K-2 | Reading & Language Arts | Video Production

Station KQED in California

My Classroom Innovation

Using the classic PBS “Sesame Street” program as our inspiration, my kindergarten students created their own video to help learn the letters and sounds in the alphabet. We viewed several episodes of “Sesame Street” and discussed and analyzed what we learned from the program. Students were thrilled to learn that we could make our own version of a program to teach letter identification and letter sounds. I put students into small groups and had them be responsible for choosing how to demonstrate each letter and corresponding sound. Giving students this control and choice empowered them to work together cooperatively and creatively to showcase each part of the alphabet. We also included the motions that correspond to our “Zoophonics” alphabet sound program, further integrating our curriculum and giving students a kinesthetic way to remember each letter sound. We then videotaped each segment in “Sesame Street” style, and I edited the segments together into a DVD for each student to take home.

How Students were Engaged

This video project proved to be the most effective tool for my kindergarten students to master two essential pre-reading skills – learning to identify each letter in the alphabet and knowing with automaticity each letter sound. All students were fully engaged in creating the storyboard for the video, from brainstorming the ideas to represent each letter, to working in collaborative groups to demonstrate the sound the letter makes. Great excitement surrounded the filming and the entire process was so much fun that students did not realize how much they were learning! Each student received a DVD of the completed movie to be shared at home with family and friends. Parents reported that their children watched this DVD over and over again (probably because the students themselves were the “stars” of the video!), which effectively meant that my students actually taught each other all of the letters and sounds through watching the DVD repeatedly. Empowering my students to understand that teaching others is the highest form of learning was a wonderful byproduct of this project. After assessing my students before and after the video project I was thrilled to learn that all 22 of my students had mastered both letter identification as well as being able to produce each letter sound accurately. As a result, none of my students were referred to “reading support” services for letter identification/sound this year. My students have applied what they know and are now learning to read with success. We also shared the DVD with first grade classes as a reinforcement lesson on letters and sounds.

PBS Program/Content Used

Sesame Street