return to the popple

How to Popplet Word Families

The form that education will take in the near future is deeply uncertain. Fortunately, there is one thing that is certain: the learning will continue. If you’re acquainted with Popplet then you already know that something magical happens when it’s touched by tiny fingers. Popplet is super-intuitive and easy-to-use; kids love it. Don’t worry if you haven’t used Popplet before, you’ll get the hang of it in no time at all.

Popplet Activity: Word Families* 
(Kindergarten – 1st-grade, small groups)

Phonic awareness is still a staple in the Early Years classroom. Helping youngsters crack the language puzzle on their journey to literacy is the single biggest goal of the Early Years educator. Once learners have acquired the ability to recognize patterns they can then decode more and more language with ease; studying Word Families helps with this process.

*This lesson is based on the activity in the book Innovate With iPad: Lessons to Transform Learning, by Karen Lirenman and Kristen Wideen.

Typical Word Families are:

  • -at: cat, hat, mat…
  • -it: sit, kit, pit…
  • -all: tall, fall, call…

Main Learning Objectives

  • Recognize, read, and write Word Families
  • Use letter patterns to create new words
  • Comprehend and pronounce words with similar patterns correctly
  • Learn how to use Popplet

Lesson Plan

  1. Introduce students to Popplet if they haven’t used it before and demonstrate how to create a popple adding text, images, and color. Allow them to practice a little.
  2. Have students clear what they are doing and begin with a fresh popplet.
  3. Create a popple.
  4. Type the word ______.  (Depending on the Word Family)
  5. Add a suitable image to the popplet. (See the red arrows)

6) Size the popple appropriately using the triangles at its edges making sure there is space for more words.

7. Create more popples and continue adding words that rhyme with ______.
8. Have students share their work with the class correcting any mistakes.
9. Students save the popplet in their Popplet accounts or export it and then save it. Students can also print off the Popplet and display it.


    • Make sure students have plenty of time to experiment with Popplet. Let them do whatever they want, let them make mistakes
    • Students should keep a record of their “Word Family” work
    • Encourage students to add to their popplets when they discover new words
    • Depending on the level of the students, control the activity by providing the words and images
    • When students have completed a number of different families they could create a global Word Family Popplet, with each Word Family contained in a single popple
    • Introduce grammar for older learners using color to distinguish between parts of speech

Look out for more Popplet lesson plans, good for virtual and face-2-face classroom learning. New to Popplet? Try out one free popplet to get started!

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