Monday, 17 October 2011

Consonant Blends...

Been a while since I have written a post... must seem like not much happening at the roythezebra camp! There is! Like a duck... lots going on behind the scenes/beneath the water.

The first thing I'm excited to talk about is the launch of a new piece of software that I've built specifically to support the teaching of consonant blends. If you're involved in teaching then the big push with synthetic phonics is well known about... but just a quick recap... as soon as a child can identify phonemes, then the key next step is the skill of blending them together and segmenting them, the former to help with reading of words and segmenting that will help improve spelling of words.
... showing virtual phoneme frame
To start with CVC words are blended, then progression is made on to CVCC and CCVC words... this software focuses on CVCC and CCVC, helping the learner make that transition from simple blends to more complicated ones.

This set of games has two main activities that will help with teaching... a blending activity and a segmenting activity, the segmenting uses a virtual phoneme frame. I've also introduced some new functionality that allows the teacher to create a custom list of words... not yet released (but about to be) is the ability to save multiple custom lists of words. I'm currently retro-fitting this to the Tricky Words software and will then fit it to Consonant Blends.
... custom word list
As always... (!!). I've tried to make the game as fun as possible whilst ensuring that the learning objectives are met. And as usual, it's fairly whacky - when did you last see a zebra flying in a hot air balloon - all perfectly normal in the land of Roy!
... hot air balloon
This time the zebra involved is not Roy but Little Mo, Roy's cousin from the final chapter of the story and inspired by my surrogate daughter Mollie (RTZ quality manager since 2003). It involves Mo's secret garden where she's growing some monster plants - they'll only grow with successfully blending or segmenting phonemes, which earns you Z dollars, which then means you can visit Zed's garden world... simple!

Comes with lesson plans and a range of printable resources... You can download the software at: DOWNLOAD LINK and also play a free version of the game there.

Really interested to know feedback and look fwd to hearing back...

So what of Operation Rescue Lucy... my last post (some time ago now said it was on-hold until further notice). Again, if you've been waiting then thank you for your patience and I'm really sorry that it's not complete yet... I really want to start on it, but currently I have to focus on the side of the site that makes money - it underpins all the free content. The introduction of the software has made a big difference but not enough to give up production of the paid-for content. The long-term vision is a 70:30 ratio of free and paid for content, currently it's sitting at 95:5.