1st Grade: April 2018/2019

Welcome to April!

Poetry:  “It is April” is the poem for the month. As weeks pass, use the KMPs to contrast ă (splash, splashing) and ā (April, raining).  Add the KMP/u/ for a at the end of umbrella. Do the KMP for the sound you hear. This short poem offers 3 distinct spellings that the children can gain comfort with, as you recite the poem daily.

KMPs:  We focus on ĕ, ō, ī, and /aw/ and /ph/. Go back throughout the month and layer in sounds that were previously introduced. This gives opportunity for strugglers to strengthen phonemic awareness .

Handwriting: Continue to use the handwriting stories, especially for the strugglers.

Language Calendar: Most of this month’s entries focus on Frank Asch. His books offer many opportunities to model summarizing, recalling details and using more sophisticated language in your writing.

Vowel House:   Develop the /ou/ and /oi/ windows and their alternate spellings of -ow and -oy. Contrast them over the month.

Clap out the word, umbrella.  It is a long word (more than one clap). Find the VH Window for the a in umbrella (/u/) because it is at the end of a long word. Choose words from reading, language calendar entries, or spelling.  Segment words, blend words, and “take them to the VH window.” 

Have a great month!

Dr. Terry Kindervater, Ph.D.
Educator & Founder of Phonics in Motion


Monthly poem - start simple and add additional KMPs as the month progresses!

It is April

(To the tune of Frere Jacques)

It is April.
It is April.
Flowers bloom.
Flowers bloom.
Days are getting longer.
Sun is getting higher.
Spring everywhere.
Spring everywhere.

Poem by Phonics in Motion team






bl blend; fl blend

Simple Poem Demonstration Video Advanced Poem Demonstration Video

Weekly Poem

Pitter Patter Raindrops

Pitter-patter raindrops,
Falling from the sky,
Here is my umbrella,
To keep me safe and dry.

When the rain is over,
And the sun begins to glow,
Little flowers start to bud,
And grow and grow, and grow.

Poem by unknown author




/ī/, /ĭ/, /ă/, /ŏ/



Weekly Poem

The Moon Game

I’m the moon and I play a game.
I don’t always look the same.

Sometimes I’m round,
A silver sphere.

Sometimes just half of me
Seems to be here.

Sometimes I’m a crescent,
Shaped like a smile.

Sometimes I surprise you
And hide for awhile.

Look up in the sky
For my friendly light.

What shape will I have
When you see me tonight?

Poem by unknown author




/s/, /ā/, long /oo/



Weekly Poem

My Shadow

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow —
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow.
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all.

Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson




/ō/, /ee/, /ĕ/, /j/



Reading and Writing Monster: Handwriting Stories


e escapes!

e moves away from the monster,

the monster pulls him back

and he escapes.


u is for UGH!

u goes down, moves away,

back up and back down again.


(Explain tired u would fall over without the final line.)


b is a bad, bad b.

b starts at the top of the slide, goes down,

sneaks back up the slide (line), mom yells, “b!”

he moves away from the monster

and when she’s not looking,

jumps right back on again.

bad, bad b!

(If using d'nealian, b goes down, moves away-and jumps right back on the slide. 


n is a nice nose!

n starts at the top and goes down,

moves up and away from the Monster!

n is a nice nose!
(Demonstrate by drawing an ’n’ as a nose on a face.)

The Language Calendar

  • Use entries that correlate with ELA Standards (Main character, a detail, problem in the story).
  • Include non-fiction entries. (The moon has four phases.)
  • Include entries for Science, Social Studies (It takes the moon 28 days to orbit the earth.)
  • Revisit poems and expand the number of KMPs used
  • Use either the Somebody Wanted But So Then (SWBST) framework or The Important Framework from The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown to model writing.


  • Read favorite literature to write about on the Calendar.
  • Illustrate each entry with a picture to match text.
  • Point to beginning of each word as you model reading the text L to R.
  • Clap a short word (one syllable) and a long word (2 or more syllables).
  • Stretch out a word on the arm. Say it slowly.
  • Segment and blend at least one word daily.
  • Box sight words.

Throughout The Month

  • Count the words after you write.
  • Use entries that correlate with ELA Standards (Main character, a detail, problem in the story).
  • Include non-fiction entries. (The moon has four phases.)
  • Include entries for Science, Social Studies (It takes the moon 28 days to orbit the earth.)
  • Revisit poems and expand the number of KMPs used
  • Use either the Somebody Wanted But So Then (SWBST) framework or The Important Book (Margaret Wise Brown) framework to model writing.

Example of Entries

  • We read Moongame by Frank Asch.  Bear played hide and seek with the moon.


  • Introduce the author Frank Asch to the students. Have many of his books on display. (Make sure to include books that are also by the author but not about Moonbear, for instance Water; Sandcake, Goodbye House; Like a Windy Day.) Ask the children what they notice about the books. After students share things they notice, tell them that over the next month they will be reading many, many of his books.
  • Read Moongame. When finished, ask students to name the characters, setting, Bear’s problem, and solution.
  • Record the information on the large graphic organizer you have set up to display throughout the unit.
  • Journal:  Draw a picture of the problem and solution for one book a week. Include the title of the book and the characters.
  • Play hide and seek in the room. Choose 1 student to hide and another to look for him. Play this multiple times.
  • Journal:  Write a paragraph about playing hide and seek. Include each of the children playing in the story and a sentence about where the child hid.

Example for CAP Focus

  • KMP: /oo/; /ee/
  • Underline title of book
  • Ask and answer key details from a text
  • Describe character, setting and major events.
  • Compare and contrast adventures of characters in stories
  • Period at end of sentence
  • Capitalize first word of a sentence
  • -ed ending as past tense marker
  • Mark big mouth -e (See manual: Language Calendar section, page 14)
  • Sight words : read, bear

Example of Entries

  • We made a class book titled, “It Was Really.” Bear thought it was the moon but it was really a balloon.


  • Review Moongame. Discuss what happened when Bear searched for the moon.  For example, He thought it was the moon but it was really a balloon.
  • Cut out a 2-inch yellow circle from construction paper to model and  1 for each student. Model thinking about what Bear thought: Bear thought it was the moon but it was really a piece of cheese.
  • Create a list:  a balloon, ball, light bulb, flashlight, piece of paper, ball of yarn, flower, cupcake
  • Journal: Create a picture and sentence to describe thought independently.
  • Create a class book with the pictures.

Example for CAP Focus

  • KMP: contrast long versus short /oo/ (book/moon)
  • Big Mouth -e
  • Answering questions
  • Sight words: thought

Example of Entries

  • In Mooncake, Bear wanted to take a bite out of the moon. But he couldn’t reach it with his bow and arrow. So he built a rocket to get there. Then, he climbed inside, fell asleep and woke up in the winter to taste the moon.


  • Read Mooncake. When finished, add it to the class graphic organizer of characters, setting, problem, solution.
  • With the students, model writing a Somebody Wanted But So Then paragraph.
  • Journal: Write their own SWBST story.
  • Revisit the text. Discuss the illustrations that show a change of seasons.
  • Journal: Choose a season. Draw the rocket in  that season from the book. Provide evidence in drawing of the season.
  • Share with a partner.

Example for CAP Focus

  • KMP: /ō/ /oo/
  • Underline title of book.
  • SWBST writing
  • Clap: rocket; arrow
  • Twins at the end: fell. (Manual page 28 of Language Calendar section)
  • -ed ending
  • Transition words
  • Big mouth e
  • Sight words: there; couldn’t

Example of Entries

  • The important thing about the sun is that it shines. It keeps us warm. It helps our plants grow. But the important thing about the sun is that it shines.


  • Read The Sun is my Favorite Star by Frank Asch.
  • Discuss what the sun does for us, using text evidence.
  • Reread or discuss The Important framework. (Topic sentence, 2-3 details, restatement of topic sentence. See entry for LC)
  • Model it both orally and in your language calendar entry.
  • Students write their own important paragraph about the sun (or the moon if you’d prefer).
  • Discuss that The Sun is my Favorite Star has characters and a setting but no problem or solution. The text gives us information.

Example for CAP Focus

  • KMP: /sh/; /th/; /or/
  • Writing  a summary.
  • Clap: important
  • Find the VH window for  grow 
  • Sight words: about

Example of Entries

  • We went outside to observe the sunlight. We wrote down things we noticed. The sun felt warm, and we saw many shadows.


  • Take students outside on a sunny day. Have them bring a notebook/pencil to write/sketch a few observations.
  • When back inside, students turn and talk to a partner about their observations. Have some students share out to the class.
  • Students choose 2 of their observations to write about in their journals. Journal entries should be descriptive with a picture to match.

Example for CAP Focus

  • Clap the word, outside
  • Discuss /ou/ “OH, you! Stop it.”
  • Compound word
  • Clap sunlight
  •  Discuss “I I I! I’ve had it–go home (long i says to  -gh). Add igh spelling to long i window.
  • Clap saw; which window?
  • Sight word: many

Example of Entries

  • Each of us wrote about favorite Frank Asch book. Mr/Mrs. ______’s favorite was The Last Puppy.


  • Discuss the children’s favorites Frank Asch books.
  • Model writing about your favorite book. For example: My favorite book was The Last Puppy because I love dogs.
  • Journal about their favorite book. Use the word because.
  • Share favorite and reason.
  • Discuss the right to an opinion.

Example for CAP Focus

  • KMP: /ee/; short /oo/
  • Segment and blend: each. Find the  VH window.
  • Clap: favorite
  • Wr- (See Language Calendar section of manual, page 30)


Continue to select a few words daily from poems and calendar entries to take to the Vowel House.  Can your students find the window?  (Remember, the window is based on the “sound” the vowel is making.) Always link the KMP to the window; it is a listening (phonemic awareness) experience. It’s not the spelling or the name of the vowel; it’s the sound. For example, students identify the same window as they listen for words that have the  _a-e sound, such as play, ate, mail, and came.

As you move through the month, at this time of year, your children should be comfortable choosing the correct window.  You are introducing “other ways to spell” the vowel sound.  As you move through the month, make sure to review with your students the meaning of the wavy lines (~) (a letter can go there) and the underscore lines _____ (a letter must go there.)

Throughout The Week

  • Choose various words from weekly poem
  • Identify vowel
  • Do KMP for vowel
  • Locate corresponding window
  • Choose 3-5 words daily from vowel focus of the week
  • Clap out word
  • Say and stretch word slowly from shoulder to fingertips
  • Segment into onset/rime
  • Segment into component sounds
  • Identify vowel
  • Locate the corresponding window
  • Independent Work: Individual sorts with particular vowel focus from Scope and Sequence. (See sample sheets Masters 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, VH Section in manual.)
  • Individual word hunts for the focused sounds (Language Calendar, Reading, Poems, Journals).

Throughout The Month

  • Choose words from poems
  • Identify vowel
  • Do KMP for vowel
  • Locate the corresponding window
  • Remember to ask, “What do you hear?” and “Show me!” (asking for the KMP).
  • Model the integration of vowels into natural language
  • Point out sounds in poems
  • Highlight a similarity or difference in vowel sounds while writing on Language Calendar
  • Use KMPs continually (ai as in Spain; ay as in Bombay) from April’s Chicken Soup with Rice poem. (Some children need you to point out that these sounds are all around us.)
  • Contrast some alternate spellings we have developed.   Choose words from our poems. (a-e window; /ee/ window; i-e window; o-e window)




  • /ou/ window
  • Use Master 12 page 29 of VH section
  • Write the /ou/ spelling as listed in VH
  • Generate list of words (whole group) with the /ou/ spelling.
  • You may need to give clues to get the words you want.  [e.g. the opposite of in the door (out); A loud yell (shout); What rain comes from (cloud); 60 minutes = 1 (hour); What do you say when something hurts? (ouch)]
  • Write words on vowel house window shutters.  After you have 5 or 6 entries, ask the students what they notice that is the same in each word.
  • Highlight and circle the pattern.  Review that sometimes there is a letter in front (wavy line ~) but always one at the end (solid line __).
  • Clap each word
  • Segment
  • Write beginning, middle, and ending sounds, circling the /ou/ and underlining the consonants
  • Children can add words independently
  • Children can illustrate some words (see page 32)
  • alternate spelling -ow for /ou/
  • Use Master 12 page 29 of VH
  • Write primary spelling /ou/ just as listed in the Vowel House (~ou__)
  • Generate a list of words, providing clues, e.g. The color of chocolate (brown); We get milk from a (cow); The sound a wolf makes at night (howl); What a queen wears on her head (crown); If you are sad, instead of a smile we see a (frown)
  • Write the words on the shutters.  Circle the common spelling.
  • Highlight and circle the pattern.  Review that sometimes there is a letter at the beginning or end and sometimes not.  (~ow~ [~owl; how; howl].
  • Clap each word
  • Circle the spelling
  • Use Master 6 or Master 11
  • Students record 8-10 words, adding 2 of their own
  • Follow-up worksheet Master 13 page 30
  • /oi/ window and alternate spelling /oy/
  • Use Master 12 page 29
  • Write /oi/ spelling just as listed in the VH.
  • Generate a list of words (whole group) with the /oi/sound, e.g. If you’re not a girl you are a (boy); If you put water on the stove, it will (boil); Something to play with (toy); Penny, nickel, dimes are (coins); Another name for dirt (soil); When you like to do something, you (enjoy) it)
  • Record similar spellings below each other on the shutters of the window.  Ask students what they notice.  Circle the different vowel patterns.
  • Underline consonants before and after the vowels
  • Discuss that -oy is another way to spell /oi/
  • Clap each word
  • Segment
  • Write beginning/middle/ending sounds
  • Circle the oi or oy spelling
  • Children can add words independently
  • Students can illustrate words (see page 32)
  • Contrast /ou/ versus /oi/ words
  • Put up 2 VH windows, just as listed in VH
  • Have a group of words on cards.  Students read the words and place them in the appropriate Vowel House window
  • Use Master 2 page 17 or Master 13 page 30.  Write the window spelling just as listed in the VH.  Place words on lines.  Students write in correct VH.
  • Clap each word
  • Segment
  • Sort
  • Follow-up Worksheet
  • Students should add 2-3 words of their own per window
  • Students can illustrate (see page 32)



Week 32

ou words


cloud, house, out, ouch,
shout, pound, ground, count
foul, scout, mouth, south
loud, about, flour, our, round

Week 33

ow words


town, plow, owl,
fowl, flower, down,
shower, vowel, cow,
brown, crown

Week 34

oi/oy words


boy, toy, enjoy
annoy, oyster, royal, joyful

boil, soil, voice
point, coin, noise
oil, oink

Week 35

ou/ow/oy/oi words


See lists above

Monthly Tip for Engaging Parents

This month, we are learning about the author, Frank Asch. Visit your local library to find many of his books and read them together at home. Ask your child about the characters Bear and Little Bird. Have them describe these characters. What do they like about them? Would they want to be friends with them?

Here is the monthly poem you can work on at home:

It is April! (To the tune of Frere Jacques)

It is April.
It is April.
Flowers bloom.
Flowers bloom.
Days are getting longer.
Sun is getting higher.
Spring everywhere.

Spring everywhere.

Poem by Phonics in Motion team

Reread the poem multiple times and focus on their phrasing. Make sure they are not reading one word at a time, it should sound like natural speech. Take turns – you read a line, they read a line.

Let’s become investigators of this poem!

  • Look at the difference between the words splashing, splash, and splish.
  • For example, the number of syllables, the different vowel sounds (/a/,/i/) or the ending -ing. What other word has an -ing ending? Which words end with -s?
  • What is the base word that is left if you cover up the -y in rainy? This helps your child to take words apart.
  • Highlight sight words such as: rainy, through, it, day, and is.

It is a great month to talk about the phases of the moon. Over the course of the month, go outside and point out the moon.  Is it a full moon? New moon? Quarter moon? Draw and write about each phase of the moon. When talking about “phases,” you might want to talk about how “ph” is another way to write the /f/ sound.

Have a great month!

The Phonics in Motion© team



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Engaging Parents

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