How To Use Pop Its to Help Your French Primary Students Read & Write

Question -- if you’re on Instagram, have you been seeing those Pop It fidget toys all over your feed, too?

I first saw them via @happy.little.hearts and decided to grab a 2-pack to try last month.

Well, I can tell you now that my students are OBSESSED with them, and I've seen so much conscience phonologique progress in such a short time that I’ve since ordered two more packs and now have 6!

(I do find them expensive, so will likely stop at 6. 6 ensures that I have 3 for when I'm working with a small group, and 3 that the rest of my students can access independently).

They are SO simple, but really effective.

Curious about the "pop it" craze in the classroom, but not sure exactly how to use them with your French primary students? Check out this blog post for some fun ideas to help you integrate them in your literacy block!


What is a Pop It?

A Pop It is actually designed to be a fidget toy - it’s basically reusable bubble wrap made of silicone! Whoever is using the Pop It can push in the bubbles (it’s super satisfying!), then flip it over and pop them again, as many times as they want.

You can pop one by one, a few at a time, in patterns… whatever you like!

Curious about the "pop it" craze in the classroom, but not sure exactly how to use them with your French primary students? Check out this blog post for some fun ideas to help you integrate them in your literacy block!

Since each “bubble” can be popped individually, and you can pop them from left to right, this makes Pop Its an awesome tool for phonological awareness and writing, especially with your small groups!

How I Use Pop Its During Lecture Guidée

  • I say a word.
  • Students segment the word, one sound per "bubble", and push down a bubble from left to right for each new sound.
  • Students write the word based on the sounds they heard. They can almost always hear EVERY sound by using these!
  • The words I ask them to write contain our target son composé of the week. Last week, we did « in ». We usually write 5-6 and they always beg for more!
  • I sanitize them between groups (they are made of silicone). My students also sanitize their hands before we start.
Curious about the "pop it" craze in the classroom, but not sure exactly how to use them with your French primary students? Check out this blog post for some fun ideas to help you integrate them in your literacy block!


How I Use Pop Its for Writing

Small Group : 

The pop its are available at my table. When a student needs to write a new word, I remind them to segment it using the pop it and write the sounds they hear. Simple!

Independent Writing: 

During the writing centre, when students need to write a new word, they can sanitize & grab a pop it. They segment, write the sounds they hear, and circle the word.

Once independent writing time is over, I circulate and see how they did with the words they circled.

A few things to keep in mind...

🌟 Clear expectations! I do allow my students to play with these during their down time if they sanitize before and after. I find that this reduces “explore/play time” when they are meant to be using them to help them with their work

🌟 Practice with everyone before you give everyone access. It’s impossible to expect your students to use these correctly if they haven’t all had the chance to practice with your support :)


In Conclusion...

I love the Pop Its because, even though I find them a bit pricey, I HAVE seen a big difference in my students’ skills and confidence, and they are able to use them as support during so many moments of our day.

Since I bought my Pop Its, if seen them become available at dollar stores for even less than I paid. So, you could likely find a pretty inexpensive version as well!

I love having a tool I can put right in their hands when they come to me and say “comment est-ce qu’on écrit….?”!

If you’re interested in getting your hands on some pop its, you can find TONS of shapes, colours, and choices on Amazon. I just searched “pop it fidget toy” and a bunch came up. I also have an affiliate link right HERE.

🌟 Once your students get really good at segmenting sounds and putting them together, and they know their letter sounds, here is a great “next step” activity to try. It’s a game my students love to play during Lecture guidée : Lis et couvre!


If you want a go-to list of words to use for segmenting, check this out!

I've created a go-to list of words withOUT sons composés/lettres muettes that you can use with the pop its.

You can grab a copy of my go-to list by clicking on the image or the link below! Just enter your name & email, and I’ll send you a copy straight to your inbox (be sure to check your spam if you don’t see it right away!)

Note: When we are using Pop Its to practice our son composé de la semaine, I usually just grab my Sons composés strips for the target sound and use those as go-to lists.

I love having this list right at my fingertips -- no more frantically trying to come up with a word on the spot, or using the same ones over and over!

Looking for a go-to list of French words where all the letters "talk" to help with phonemic awareness practice? Check out this blog post and grab your copy!

Again, to grab your copy of my go-to list, click HERE.


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