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Flash card suggestion 
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MES-Member

Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:20 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Sado Island, Japan
Post Flash card suggestion
Hello Mark! Great site. I just found this site the other day and I've been looking over your cards and handouts and thinking about replacing some of the stuff I have (5 years worn out!) with your cards! They're really great. :)

One question/suggestion I have (and I don't know if there's already been a discussion on this or not...if so, ignore me) for the flash cards: Why are the words in all caps? Do you think it would be better to have the words in lowercase, since students will mostly see those words within a sentence and written in lower-case? It might help with site reading and such.

Anyway, great site and great materials.

EDIT: Ackk! I didn't see the suggestions/feedback forum down there at the bottom of the page. Sorry! Please move this thread there if you can.


Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:19 am
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Site Admin

Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
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I'm glad the site and resources will be helpful to you. And welcome to the forums!

I'm not sure what you mean by the cards being in all caps. Are you talking about the backings?

I think the only place I use caps is on the card backings (sometimes) and in the word searches.

However, there's always a possible problem with fonts and how they get encoded. They may appear different for you when you open the files. So, if you're seeing caps somewhere, please let me know where.

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Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:42 am
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Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:20 pm
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Location: Sado Island, Japan
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What?! You can't read my mind? ;)

I was talking about the alphabet-phonics cards. For example, the card for "Aa" apple and alligator are coming out as APPLE and ALLIGATOR in my pdf viewer (using evince and xpdf, pdf viewing programs, in Xubuntu Linux). I'll have to wait until I get home to check and see if maybe they show up differently in Adobe on Windows.


Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:25 pm
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Location: Nagano, Japan
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Ah-ha. Indeed those are all upper case.

I made those flashcards years ago (I still use them though.)

I believe the thought behind those was that I didn't really expect the students to read the words. I was just trying to make the first letter and sound recognition bold. I show them the letter and then show them the pictures on the back. I point to only the first letter to show them the items start with that letter.

The choice to use caps was probably because upper case is more widely recognized by new learners than lower case. I can't really remember, but I would probably do the same again. Although, there are other things I'd like to change about them ...

When you get to the beginning blends flashcards and on, the text is all in lower case. I believe by that time students are actually trying to read some of the words and remember.

Anyway, for that there was some thought behind it. Good or bad is up to you to decide :wink:

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Thu Feb 22, 2007 2:16 pm
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Oh, OK.

Right now I'm looking for some replacement word cards, as I'm thinking about making a change to the curriculum I teach. I have been using the Let's Go Starter series and the vocab for those words for the past 2 and a half years. But, recently, after reading a post on the ETJ listserve, I've been teaching the alphabet as sounds only and not teaching the name of the letter (the theory behind this is that the students will eventually learn the name of the letters through encountering English on TV and in song, and the sound is the most important part anyway), thus I can begin to teach reading easy words at an early stage. Also, I'm just looking for a change in routine. :) This change might take the form of using the Let's Begin Series in place of the Let's Go Starter series.

Would it be against the end-user license for me to alter the flashcards to have lower-case letters?


Thu Feb 22, 2007 3:13 pm
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
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Location: Nagano, Japan
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mwdowns wrote:
Would it be against the end-user license for me to alter the flashcards to have lower-case letters?

No. Sorry.

mwdowns wrote:
But, recently, after reading a post on the ETJ listserve, I've been teaching the alphabet as sounds only and not teaching the name of the letter (the theory behind this is that the students will eventually learn the name of the letters through encountering English on TV and in song, and the sound is the most important part anyway)


Interesting. I have lots of questions and out of pure interest. i7m curious how this has worked for you.

How long have you been doing this?

How would you spell a word? Don't have to?

What happens with digraphs like qu, wh, ch, ea and so on?

Do they just acquire passively the name for the alphabet or do you actually teach/confirm it at some point?

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Thu Feb 22, 2007 6:16 pm
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Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:20 pm
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mesmark wrote:
How long have you been doing this?

How would you spell a word? Don't have to?

What happens with digraphs like qu, wh, ch, ea and so on?

Do they just acquire passively the name for the alphabet or do you actually teach/confirm it at some point?


Unfortunately, I haven't been doing it for very long. Only for the last 3 or so weeks (right after I read the post). Mostly I just gave it a try out of frustration with my students inability to distinguish between the sound and the name. Doing short reading exercises, words like "bad" the students would sometimes say "bee-eh-dee" or some variation of names and sounds. Maybe I was just teaching it wrong or something.

However, since trying out the sound-only method, the students seem to be picking up the sounding out bit a little better. Granted, it's only been a couple weeks and I might be seeing things that aren't there. But it seems to be working OK.

My schedule and curriculum was so short with a lot of the schools I go to that I never really got into some of the more interesting phonics constructions (like the ones you mentioned). I don't see, though, how the sound only method would hinder such constructions like "wh". Do you teach it as "double-you-eych"?

My understanding (and, remember, this is just some things I read on the listsever, so it's not gospel ;)) is that the kids do acquire the letter names passively. I've seen this myself when I would teach new letters and the kids already new the name of the letter.

I will try and make a post about this in the teaching section sometime, cause I'm curious to see what some of the readers in this forum think of the idea. Thanks for discussing it with me.


Thu Feb 22, 2007 6:53 pm
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