Tuesday, May 1, 2007

May 2007: Deborah Berry, Alphabetical Order Superstar



AmeriCorps Mississippi
America Reads - Mississippi 

Meet Deborah Berry, the author of the May 2007 America Learns National Strategy of the Month!

Deborah is an AmeriCorps member with America Reads - Mississippi (ARM).  One of the reasons we love this AmeriCorps program so much is that its mission is much, MUCH larger than having its 270 members ensure that Mississippi's youth develop the strongest possible literacy skills.  ARM also works to address the state's teacher shortage by training and then motivating its best tutors to further their educations and become the state’s next cohort of top-notch teachers.  It's been an honor to watch the program realize this part of its mission since it joined the America Learns Network in 2004.

About Deborah’s Strategy
May07SSOM_HomeAs you're about to learn, Deborah Berry has the potential to become one of Mississippi's top-notch teachers.  Several weeks ago, her students were having a difficult time understanding the concept of alphabetical order.  So rather than relying upon flash cards or making lists of words, she led her students to create their own alphabetical order picture puzzles!

The Strategy


Created by: Deborah Berry, America Reads - Mississippi
(America Learns Network member since 2004)
Topics: Alphabet
Grade Levels: First & Second
Arrangements: One-on-One; Small Group; Large Group
- Magazines students may cut up
- One sheet of scratch paper for each student
- One sheet of construction paper for each student
- Scissors and glue
- One pencil for each student
- Optional: laminating machine; large freezer bags or large paper clips

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Situation: We were reviewing the concept of alphabetical order and some of my students were having problems understanding it.
Step 1: Tell your students that they'll be making puzzles today!

First, each student will need to create a list of five or six alphabetized words. Encourage your students to help one another check to see if their words are in the correct order. You should check each page as well.

Step 2: Pass out magazines and one sheet of construction paper to each student.

Ask your students to each cut out one full page from a magazine and to glue that page to the construction paper.

Step 3: America Learns: Picture Perfect Alphabetical OrderOn the side of the construction paper without the picture, have your students draw zigzag lines, making one row for each word in their alphabetized lists.

Now ask your students to write one word from their alphabetized lists in each row. Be sure the students list their words in alphabetical order.

Step 4: If possible, laminate these pieces of construction paper.  Even if you can't laminate them, cut the papers apart along the lines the students made for the rows.
Step 5: America Learns: Picture Perfect Alphabetical OrderYour students can now use these pieces as an alphabetical order picture puzzle!  They will put the words in alphabetical order and then flip the pieces over to see their pictures.  If the words are placed in the correct order, the picture will be too!

After the students have fun with their own puzzles, ask them to trade their puzzles with other students to work on alphabetizing additional word sets.


Please share your thoughts about this strategy and any messages you have for Deborah by clicking the grey “Comments” link below.