I’ve been using PronPack a bit in class recently. I was going to review it, but I think it’s more interesting to write about how I’m using it instead.
I’ve just taught my teen classes the phonemic chart and we’ve been identifying some of the sounds they have difficulties with. Hancock’s Vowel Breakout (Book 2) was a good springboard for practice the other day. If you are unfamiliar, this is an activity where learners find their way out of a maze by following a path of words which include a certain sound.
I used this task as a quick review of our vowel focus the previous week, but I extended it by getting learners to make their own mazes for sounds they found difficult/problematic to produce or identify.
- I got learners to turn over their handouts and trace one of Hancock’s hexagonal maze grids.
- Learners (working in a pair) then chose a sound/phoneme that they found difficult to identify/produce. They wrote down words that they knew included this sound. I let them choose either a vowel or a consonant sound, just whatever was relevant to them
- They then identified sounds that they often confused with the target sound. They wrote down words which included these sounds to become the distractor words in the maze.
- They added the words to the maze, which resulted in some adjusting and tweaking of maze design.
Students can use the transcribe function on phonemicchart.com to check if a word includes the target sound.
Rather than just swap a maze with another pair, I got learners to walk around and take a photo of each maze. They used the pen/highlighter tool on their phone’s photo editor to trace their path through the maze. This was useful as they could then send it to friends to practise too, then send them a screenshot of the answer.
- Personalisation and more relevant for the learners
- Lots of practice identifying the target sound
- Learning from each other
- Student-generated, reusable activities
- It was fairly challenging for my learners, so they got quite engaged in it.