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Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Easy and Amazing Ways to Empower Students Utilizing Sight Words!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Lots of Love to Great Teachers Out There!

Valentine's Day is a wonderful way to have students reading.  They love looking at their cards, reading them, and having fun with them.  Students  actively engaged in reading is what teachers want.  A simple, and easy strategy.

When I started teaching in 1969, (yes, I am closing in on 70 years young) reading was taught using sight words, and very little phonics.  

In the ensuing years, I taught Language Experience, in which we would engage students in an activity, and they would write and read sentences about the experience.  This was fun, but challenging at times.  

Example, they had to learn the word want, so every child wrote a sentence about what they would want to get for Christmas.  Then, I had to make copies of the story, and they would spend time finding the word want, circling it, highlighting it, and spell it using clay or other materials.  It was fun for them, and they learned the word want. 

Years passed and the focus became teaching reading with the 220 Dolch Words, plus 95 nouns.  Then, phoneme awareness became the norm.    Words their Way was a great way to teach reading using word families.

So, I continued on, utilizing these methods, and then, Dr Edward Fry developed a list of sight words.  In 1996, he published a book with   1000 sight words for students to learn through elementary school, commonly known at the Fry Words. 

As good teachers, you knew all of this, but sometimes it can become a little overwhelming!  

What do I teach and how!

How do I integrate sight words, with the phonics and word families? 

 Students learn at different rates, some easily, and others struggle. 

 But, having the command of sight words, helps all of them feel confident in reading.

What are easy ways to practice sight words. 

First, it has to be fun!  

Second, Students need to be able to use all their modalities. 
 See, hear, feel, and move to be able to  own the words.

Here are some suggestions you might try in your class for the study of sight words!

  • Write the words in color using crayons, colored pencils, and pens.
  • Write the words using water and a sponge.  Great outdoor activity.
  • Act out the word, such as jump! Say the word, spell the word, and JUMP!!!
  • Use different voices to read the words, loud, whisper, high, low, angry, happy, etc.
  • Clap and Tap out a pattern using several words.  Have the words in a line, so they can read as they tap and clap a pattern.  Such as:  down, downarounddown, downaround.  Let them make their own patterns.
  • Use technology to flash the words quickly for them to read or highlight.
  • Have a set of words, and put them in alphabetical order.  (This is one of my most successful methods.  Easy to use, and they practice reading while arranging the sequence.)
  • Cut out letters to make the words you are focusing on that day or week.  This helps to pattern their brain to remember the word when they see it in other print material.
  • Make up songs, rhymes, or chants using the words of the week.
  • When they come in each day, have words around the room that they need to walk to, read the word, and jump or clap after each word.  It doesn't have to be many, but get them moving.  (This could be a job for two students to arrange new words each day in the selected spots in the room.  They can do it for a week, then two more students can be the ones to make sure the words are posted.)
  •  Homework, have index cards for parents to put around their home, and every time the child passes the word, they have to touch the card and read the word.  Only do three to five words at a time.
  • Let them look in books to find the word.  If it is a word in your reading series, they can use the various tones of voice every time they see it in the story.
  • Remember, when standing in a line for lunch or the bathroom, always have some flashcards with you to for them to read.

Technology is wonderful, but students still need to use their hands and bodies.  Let them come up with new ways to learn their sight words.

  They might want to paint the word, make it in clay, draw the word, write it on paper, read the word, then scrunch up the paper into a ball, and throw it into the trash can, like basketball. 

These are just a few suggestions, I know you have many more ideas. 

 Get with a colleague and actually take ten minutes to make a list of ways you can get the students reading, while being engaged.

To help you along, here are two activities you can use for beginning readers.  Just click on the link, and enjoy!

Have a Great Valentine's Day!  


Monday, 12 February 2018

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Winter Fun Freebie #1

This is the time of year teachers and students need a little extra LOVE!  I am going to be posting several freebies for the rest of February. 

I hope you take the time to stop by and check them out.

Here is my first one!



Sunday, 14 January 2018

Astonishing Results on Diversity That are Unique to a Crayon!

I am going to tell you a story about a teachable moment, 

which was spontaneous

in my classroom.  All events are true and happened as described. The only change is the name of the student involved.

Setting:  Urban school in the mid 1990's in January.  Population of the school was 50% white, 50% black students.  This is a first grade classroom with 28 students.  Students desks are grouped in sets of four. Each group of students shared job responsibilities.  

I was finishing up with a reading group at the reading table.  I had a moment to check out what was happening in my class.   

I then overheard this comment from Michael.  "I am the only Black child in this group, so you have to listen to me.  I am the Boss of you!" (The others, three white students just looked at him, but didn't comment.) 

I didn't like what I heard, but knew that Michael's family was very insistent on teaching him that their skin color was better than anyone else's.  I also didn't like the idea of him bullying the other children.

I called Michael up to my reading table, and said, "I heard what you said to your group about you being the Boss, because you are black. But Michael you are not black."

Of course he looked at me like I was crazy!  I asked him to bring his crayon box up to the table.  He did.

"Michael take out your black crayon and put it against your hand."  He did, and it didn't match.  "So Michael you can't be black, because you don't match."  I asked him to get out a white crayon and put it next to my hand, which he did. "So Michael, I'm not white either, I don't match the white crayon."

His response was a quietness, and less arrogance after seeing this.   We then went through the other crayons and tried to find matches to our skin.  His turned out to be a beautiful shade of brown, and mine almost peach.

We then shared our findings with the rest of the class, and everyone was trying to find a match to their skin tone.  

After that, we had many discussions about how we all were people with unique qualities.  However, no one was the BOSS of anyone else in the room, just because of skin color.

I have to say that Michael did become a kinder student as the year progressed.

As I stated at the beginning this was all spontaneous.  I might never had thought of using the crayon shades, if I hadn't overheard Michael's remark to his classmates.  But we all learned a lesson.  We were a diverse group of people making up this first grade classroom.

Since this is the time of year honoring Martin Luther King and his peaceful response to disparity, and the upcoming love month of February.  You might want to try getting out crayons and finding the multitudes of shades in your own classroom.


Sunday, 24 December 2017

Merry Christmas Countdown Day 1

Merry Christmas!

Countdown Day 1

I hope you stop by for some $1 deals!  

My special deal is for January Number Sense!

Have a Great and Joyous Holiday!


Saturday, 23 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas Sale Day #2

Countdown to Christmas
Day #2

Stop over for some $2 deals. 

My Special Markdown is
great for reading comprehension! K-3

Happy Shopping!


Thursday, 21 December 2017

Countdown to Christmas Day 3

Countdown to Christmas 

Day 3

Time for more great deals!

 Great Deal from my store is Alphabetical Order by the Second Letter!  Definitely a hard skill with minimum resources.  I hope you can use check it out!

Enjoy Shopping!