Sight Words!!! (Assessment, Activities, Ideas, & FREEBIES!)

Hello friends!  

I'm happy to say that after 5 weeks of traveling, I'm finally home and settled for a while!!  I absolutely love getting to meet so many amazing teachers all over the U.S.  It's definitely been the highlight of my year.  Just this past week I had the opportunity to travel to Wichita, KS and work with some of the sweetest, kindest Kindergarten teachers.  And let me tell y'all...they had some GREAT ideas!!!!  

One of my sessions covered sight words...mainly quick and easy sight word centers and activities to implement into the classroom for immediate practice and review.  I usually get a lot of questions about how I assess sight words in Kindergarten and how many words my kids are expected to know by the end of the school year in this particular session.  I think I can safely say that this is one expectation that varies GREATLY state-to-state, district-to-disttrict, school-to-school.

I'll go ahead and break down how I assess sight words in my classroom. 

One of the girls on my campus created a wonderful checklist of all pre-primer through 3rd grade Dolch list sight words.  She then took those words and broke them down even further into 12 different lists each containing 20 words.   At the beginning of the year, I sent home sight word flashcards with each of my kids containing words from the first 2-3 lists (these were the easier sight words including color and number words as well).  



We encouraged our parents to work on 3-5 sight words at home with their child every week.  Of course, some kids were capable of retaining more...some weren't quite ready for quite that many every week...so it was important to remind parents to take cues from their child to see what they were able to handle.  And just in case you're wondering, I taught in a Title 1 school.  I truly believe in raising and setting high expectations and BELIEVING every child is capable of doing BIG things.

Every Friday morning, right as the kids were coming into the classroom, I'd pull them one-by-one to my teacher table and go through their own checklist of words starting with list 1.  If they missed 3 words on that list, I'd stop the quick check and write those words in their weekly agenda.  They would take their agendas home with those words so that their parents would know what words to practice at home the following week.  I would also have them bring up their personal word walls.  These were just word walls kept in a file folder that were different for every student.  If they were able to read the words on the list, I would write the word on their personal word wall.  (I wrote them so that they were legible :) I would tell my kids that I expected them to be able to write the words correctly if they could read them and if they got stuck, they would have a personal resource at their fingertips and they could use it ANY time!  

If you're interested in giving your kids their own word walls, just click on the pic for a FREE download!

Each time they mastered a list (20 sight words), they'd get a little prize or incentive.  When they mastered the first 6 lists, I would buy them a drink/slush/shake from Sonic.  When they mastered all 12 lists (all pre-primer through 3rd grade Dolch lists!!!) I'd buy them a pizza from Pizza Hut and have a lunch date with them.  Out of the 19 kids I had last year, I had about 11-12 who knew all 12 sight word lists by heart by the end of the year.  The other 5-6 kids knew at least the first 5 lists and I might have had 1 or 2 who were still diligently working their way through list 4.  They all did such an AMAZING job and worked SO hard to learn and read their sight words!

In addition to our weekly sight word assessments, I also had a sight word center in my classroom.  While we were constantly working on sight words in various centers throughout the classroom (poetry, reading, writing), I had one specifically set-up with lots of different sight word activities from which my kids could choose.  It was a great little center because it was easy to differentiate for each of my kids depending on their independent lists.

One of the activities my kids loved was our Sight Wordles...

Each of my kids had their very own sight word rings they kept in a plastic bag in their desk.  They could take their rings to the sight word center and use them to find words in the wordle that they knew or I might prompt them to find the words they NEED to know.  It just depended on the student and the objective.  If you want to know more about how I used this center in my classroom, or learn how to make your own Sight Wordle, just click on the pic above for more info.


Another activity my kids adored were our Hide & Seek Sight Words.  

These were super easy to create.  I just took strips of construction paper and wrote sight words on them using a white crayon.  I'd place them in a basket along with a sight word checklist (in a dry erase sleeve) and then the kids would use markers to make the words appear and an expo to cross the words off of the list.  As the year progressed, I would make 1-2 of my friends responsible for creating this activity for the center.  They LOVED this and it freed me up to make different things!!!!



Here's another activity I kept in the sight word center.  This one was great for partner play...
Tic, Tac, Toe!

First you'll need to create a set of sight word cards that will fit into a 3 column, 3 row table.  I created mine in Power Point, however you could easily create yours using paper, a ruler, and small index cards!!!  Just make sure to laminate the table or place it in a dry erase sleeve.  Each card has a different sight word printed on it.  To start play, both players will need an expo marker.  Without looking, players will take 9 of the sight word cards from the deck and place them face down on the tic tac toe board.  Players can toss a coin or roll a die to determine who goes first.  Player 1 turns over a card on the board.  If he can read the word, he will place either an "X" or an "O" in the box on the board and then remove the card.  If he cannot read the word, the card returns back to the board face down.  Player 2 will do the same.  Turn over a card and read the word.  If he can read it, he places his "X" or "O" on the board, and if he can't, the card returns to the board face down.  The first player to get a tic tac toe, wins!  My kids LOVE this game!!!!! 



Here's a FREEBIE for you.  This is just a little sample of our Roll a Word.  This was one of our interactive word wall activities, but this also doubled as a fun sight word center to give my kids lots of practice not only with their sight words, but utilizing the word wall as well.




We do a lot of whole group activities with sight words as well. I like to fit in review and practice as often as I can.  My kids LOVE our sight word ring of chants and cheers.  They're ALWAYS asking for these!!!!  
These chants and cheers are really nothing new to the teaching world.  They've probably been around longer than I've been alive ;)  I just printed them out, laminated them, hole punched them in the top corner, and then placed them on a binder ring.  I keep the ring on a command hook on a shelf in the middle of my classroom for easy access.  The chants and cheers are great for transitions, snack time, whole group activities, and incentives, too!

There have been several teachers asking for my copy of the sight word chants and cheers at the last few conferences and I told them I lost the file.  Well praise the Lord...I found it!!!!  YAY!!!!!  And I updated the fonts and clipart so that you could have a copy, too!!!  Just click on the picture below to take you to the FREE download.



Another whole group activity we love is Ready, Aim, FIRE!!!!  


You can find out how to play this game HERE.  I wrote all about it a few months ago, but sometimes it's great to bring things back up for a little refresher!  


You may have seen this little post about the "make your own sight word songs", but just in case you haven't, this is something else I love doing with my kids.  As you can see, it doesn't take a creative genius to come up with these simple, catchy tunes.  However, the kids love them and when they get stuck remembering how to read or write a sight word, all I have to do is hum the tune of the matching song and 9 times out of 10 they can make the connection and remember the word in question.


Whew!!!  I hope that covered what I promised to cover!  Hopefully the freebies and games will work for you and your class.  I feel like consistency and high expectations is the key to a good sight word instruction.  Giving kids multiple exposures to words and opportunities to manipulate, read, and search for these words is so important.  If we expect them to learn, we have to provide the tools and the instruction to get them where we want them to be.  Of course, it's wonderful when parents value this instruction as much as we do and practice sight words at home, but we all know that we don't live in a perfect world.  It's MY job to make sure my kids get what they need and anything above that is a bonus!!  As you can see from the examples above, I absolutely love any kind of activity that's hands-on and meaningful.  We learn best when we're having fun and fun activities result in lasting memories.  When kids are making those kind of lasting memories, they can easily make connections as well.  

If you'd like to share some ideas, or link back to any sight word ideas you've posted about on your blog, just leave a little comment!  I'd love to add more ideas and activities to my ever growing collection!!!  

In the meantime, if you're looking to build not only your bank of ideas, but your bank of resources as well, TpT is having a sitewide sale today and it ends at midnight!!!  Just use the code HEROES at checkout to take an additional 10% off of your purchase.  Everything in my little store is discounted 20%, so you can find many of these resources for an almost 30% savings!



If you liked the Roll a Word freebie included in this post, you can find more activities like that in this little packet of fun. Great for sight words and incorporating more interactive use out of your word wall.


Here's a little sight word packet I incorporated into the classroom a few years ago.  It includes games, center activities, ideas, and printables.  


I just uploaded my March Work on Writing packet...





...and by request, my Coin Flip Strips are finally up and ready for download!  Sorry that took so long!



Book Study! Want to Join?!

Happy Tuesday, friends!

How many of y'all are snowed in today??  I keep seeing crazy snowfalls and iced roads on the news and I have to admit that I'm grateful we're only battling temps below 50.  Praying for all  y'all affected by this nasty weather!!!

Now how many of you guys enjoy a good read?  I mean, like we have any time to read anything, right?!  I've always felt that way.  I typically like to reserve my reading for the summer and then I read in bulk.  You know, 15 books in a 20 day time span ;)  With all the demands and obligations during the school year, I find it so hard to carve out the time to just sit down and read for me!
But I do love a good "educational" read.  #teachernerd  I love to learn.  I love to absorb research based practices.  I love to find new and better ways to reach the hearts (and minds) of my kids.  I'm always trying to get better (which seems like an impossible task sometimes!!!)   As cheesy as it sounds, that sort of thing is my cup of tea.

After visiting RCA, we were so inspired by what we saw that we wanted to take our learning a step further, so we picked up the book Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites (by Marcia L. Tate).  We've heard so many amazing things about the author and we thought this would be a perfect little something to extend our learning and inspire us to find new and exciting ways to engage our kids in hands-on, meaningful learning.  The more we got to thinking about it, the more we thought that maybe y'all would like to join along, too?!  

So we decided to start a little book study and we hope you'll join us!!!  


You don't have to "read in bulk"...we've paced out the study so that it's kind to those of us with crazy schedules!!!  (Ahem...EVERYONE ;)  Here's what we have planned....

linky parties will take place on these different blogs each time. Here is the order so you can plan accordingly :)

Kickin it in Kindergarten- Chapters 1 &2 (February 28th)
Mrs. Wills Kindergarten- Chapter 3 (March 7th)
Queen of the First Grade Jungle Chapter 4 (March 10th)
Fabulous in First  Chapter 5 (March 14th)
One Extra Degree Chapter 6 (March 17th)
Mrs. Jump’s Class Chapter 7 (March 28th)
The First Grade Parade  Chapter 8 (March 31st)

In April, you will be visiting these girls for the remainder of the study:

Mrs. Ehle’s Kindergarten Chapter 9 &10 (April 4th)
What The Teacher Wants Chapter 11 (April 7th)
First Grader At Last Chapter 12 (April 11th)
Erica’s Ed Ventures  Chapter 13 (April 14th)
KinderGals Chapter 14 &15 (April 18th)
A Rocky Top Teacher Chapter 16 (April 21st)
Mrs. Wills Kindergarten Chapter 17 (April 25th)
Little Warriors Chapter 18 (April 28th)
Falling Into First Chapter 19 (May 2nd)
Kickin’ it in Kindergarten Chapter 20 (May 5th)

"You can join in for whatever part you like! If you are not a blogger, that is OK! We will want you to join in on the fun. You can participate in the conversation in the comments. We want this to be a positive collaboration between teachers! The whole point is to encourage each other with inspiring ideas while still using research based best practice."

Hope to see you on the 28th!!!

Hello Alabama! (Kindergarten Teachers, That Is ;)

I'm finally home from another great conference and ready to share a few things I discussed with some of the best teachers in the state!!!  There was a lot to cover in 2 days and 8 sessions, so I hope y'all were able to take away a few new tips and tricks without feeling too overwhelmed!!  

As I've said before, I think the best kind of professional development is the kind you get from the teachers in your own building.  Watching others teach & listening to their ideas can be so very powerful.  I wouldn't be half the teacher I am today had it not been for the girls with whom I taught.  We were all so different in so many ways, yet I learned so many invaluable things from each of them.  Great behavior management strategies...teaching techniques...approach to instruction...the list could go on and on.  Just like the teachers with whom I've taught before, I learned so many NEW things from the teachers whom attended my sessions at the Alabama K Conference this past week.  I hope I was able to give you a few new ideas as well!!!

One of the highlights of my trip was *finally* getting to hug these girls in person!!!  Julie (Mrs. Lee's Kindergarten) and Jamie (Mrs. Mayas' Kindergarten) are two of THE sweetest girls I've ever met.  I've been following them for almost 4 years now and their ideas...and precious personalities...are beyond compare.  They are the REAL DEAL!!!!  Just love them to pieces!!!!  

#ihaveoldface #andgrayhair #and10extrapoundsresidingonmythighs

I met so many other fabulous teachers and I wish I lived closer because I'd love to see them all in action!!!  I know they're just amazing!!!  

Here are the links to the freebies and resources as promised.  Thank you SO much for coming.  It was great to meet each and every one of you!!  

INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY INTO THE KINDERGARTEN CLASSROOM

Such a BROAD topic and we could've spent a whole day diving deep into each different type of technology available to us.  Y'all gave me some great suggestions for websites I hadn't heard, apps I haven't tried, and ways to integrate those different things into our school day.  Thank you!  

 If you're looking for a great Kindergarten technology resource, you should check out Brittany Banister at Mrs. Banister's Kindergarten Kids.  



She's a wealth of knowledge and great ideas when it comes to integrating tech into the classroom.  She also has a technology blog she co-writes with another teacher and you can find all their great ideas at 2 Techie Teachers



Just make sure you're cozy because you'll be reading for hours!!!  

Click on the links below to get to some of the apps/websites we talked about on Tuesday and let me know if y'all have any questions.  If I've forgotten something, will you leave it in the comments?!  Thanks!!!


Some of my favorite apps for classroom use are...

We also talked about the app you can use to display your iPad on the whiteboard (if you don't have Apple compatible products in your classroom).  It's called Show Me.  Here are a couple of tutorials on using this app.

Don't forget to search You Tube for tutorials on most of these apps/websites/resources if you're in need of step-by-step visuals and instructions!



I KNOW IT BY SIGHT (Sight Words) 

I promised I'd come back and share a couple of those sight word resources with y'all so here we are :)  

Here's the printable Word Collector Notebook I promised as well...

For links and resources to the other sessions, click HERE.

Thanks again for coming and have a WONDERFUL rest of the week!!!

ATTENTION TX Kindergarten Conference Attendees!!! Your Goodies as Promised!!!

These last couple of weeks have been a bit of a blur, so I'm lacking in my posts these days.  However, I have to say that I've LOVED my time with all my Texas 1st and Kindergarten teachers these last couple of weeks.  I swear I'm not biased or anything, but Texas has some of the sweetest, best teachers around ;)

I was able to spend a lot of time with our TX Kindergarten teachers this past week at the SDE Texas Kindergarten Conference.  It was awesome!!!  I loved meeting and talking to so many talented, dedicated teachers across our great state.  During our time together, I promised these teachers I'd come back to the blog and link to a few resources, activities, books, and free printables we discussed during each session.  Hope this is helpful!!  I also put my little store on sale for a limited time so that you could grab some of these resources at a discount if you're interested.  Sale ends tomorrow!!

Now let's get to the good stuff!!

READER'S WORKSHOP

These are the books I referenced regarding implementing & organizing a Reader's Workshop as well as mini lesson ideas.  Great for your teacher toolboxes!





We talked about those parent letters for lending the library and interest surveys.  As promised, here are the (free) printables.  Reader's Workshop "Lend your Library" parent letter & Interest Survey



This is the bookmark I had in my Reader's Toolkit.  You can grab it for free here:  Reader's Toolkit reading strategy bookmark


This is the parking lot visual for the sticky notes we talked about.  As promised, here's the (free) printable:  Reader's Worskshop Parking Lot Thinking Stickies


Some of you asked where I got my Reader's Workshop mini lessons and did I have a curriculum I followed.  I mentioned Kim Adsit's Reader's Workshop units.  They are fabulous!!!!  If you haven't started a reader's workshop in your classroom and don't know where to begin, these are great resources chock FULL of mini lessons and ideas.  I highly recommend!!  



WRITING INTERVENTIONS

Here are the finger spacers I showed y'all...great for spacing and directionality.  (Writing Inhibitor - Spatial/Sequential Ordering)




This is the Marshmallow Spaces Activity I mentioned when we were talking about those spatial/sequential writing inhibitors.


These are the checklists and visuals many of you asked about during our discussion about interventions for those kids struggling with memory & focus.  As promised, here's a free download of those resources.  Writing Intervention Checklist & Visuals 



Here  is a link to the book I referenced:  The Pre-K - 2 Writing Classroom - Growing Confident Writers


We talked about offering prompts/sentence starters as a modification for students struggling with language and higher order cognition.  I promised I'd link to the resources I created for this and use in my classroom.  




This is a WONDERFUL book and I LOVED using this in my classroom!!!  I referenced this resource when we talked about adding detail.  Marvelous Mini Lessons for Teaching Beginning Writing




I also referenced these books...GREAT reads!!!!   Engaging Young Writers / In Pictures & In Words


I KNOW IT BY SIGHT!  (SIGHT WORDS)

I hope y'all got some ideas you could immediately implement in your classrooms when you returned on Wednesday.  I know we covered A TON!!!!  

These are the Sight Word Bracelets (Really Good Stuff) I showed y'all and promised to link to.


Here is The Sight Words on the Bus Song I used in my classroom.

I have been searching and searching for my "ring of chants" file, but I'm pretty positive I was right...it was lost when I transferred :(  SO SAD!!  Here are sight word chants you can print on labels and adhere to popsicle sticks (free download!!!!)
Here's the link to the portable word wall many of you asked about (free)!!


This is the Sight Wordle activity I put in my sight words center. This post details how to create your own wordles!!!  



BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT TIPS & TRICKS

So much to talk about, so little time :)  Behavior management looks different in every classroom because we don't have the same dynamics of kids to love :)  Don't forget about those relationships!!!!  
Here's the download to the Behavior Punch Card we talked about from What the Teacher Wants

We also chatted about reward coupons for a minute.  These are my FAVORITE!!!  And they're FREE from Amy Lemons at Step into 2nd Grade!!!!!

This is the recipe I used to make my Calm Down Glitter Jar

And this is the tutorial I followed to make my scratch off lottery ticket!!!!




MAKING MATH MEANINGFUL & FUN!

Another session chock full of info...SO much to talk about!  





I also referenced this post about problem solving (whole group, independent practice)



We talked about integrating CGI in the classroom and here's a bit more info about CGI and what it is. Like I said, I've been using this approach to teaching math since my first year in the classroom 13 years ago!  LOVE IT!!!!!


Here are the number anchor charts that were on display and many of you asked where to get them so I'm including the link.


I'm still searching for the number line prompt file!!!  If I can find that, I'll upload that, too!!

If you're looking for more activities to add to your math tubs, some of these might work for your classroom!


ANCHOR ACTIVITIES (Make & Take)

We talked about choice trays making an excellent anchor activity - these really help give our kids a sense of autonomy and ownership over their learning.  Here's a printable choice tray (free) for you to use how you wish!



The clipart  I used for the CVC cards is from  Pink Cat Studio. 

The other questions about clipart - I also love Educasong and Whimsy Clips!!!

All of the anchor activities we talked about will be available in the store this weekend (by request).  Great suggestion!  Thank you!!



CALLING ALL CREATIVE WRITERS!

Whew!  What a session!  So sorry it was cut short due to the fire alarm!!!!  I sure shot out of that room like I was on fire, didn't I?!  HA!!!  I had a few of you asking if I planned that...I sure didn't, but boy would it have been PERFECT!!  Especially since we were talking about setting the stage to engage!!  Why didn't I think of that?!  HA!!!!!  

Remember to keep in mind that writing won't just look different in every classroom, but it will look different with EVERY.SINGLE.STUDENT.  Y'all already know this, but I felt like that was such a big discussion I wanted to mention it again.  It's a scaffolded experience for our kiddos.  It's going to take TIME.  Lots and lots of TIME to develop the stamina they need to become independent writers.  Be there to support those struggling writers.  Help them ride their bikes and when they're ready, slowly take off the training wheels.  Progress is growth and that's what's most important...GROWTH!!!!  Just because Johnny's writing doesn't look like Susie's writing doesn't mean he isn't writing.  He's just writing differently :)  Even if that means Johnny is scribble writing while Susie is producing novels ;)

Part of our discussion led to the mention of these fabulous bloggers.  I wanted to link to them so you can pore over their ideas...they have some GREAT ones!!!






We also talked a lot about setting the stage to engage our emergent writers.  Giving them experiences...I mean, was that fire alarm not the PERFECT experience for a writing activity?!  Hope King has an EXCELLENT ebook all about setting the stage to engage.  I wanted you to know about this resource because so many of y'all expressed interest in this!!!


Some of you asked about a "writing curriculum" to support our varying levels of writers.  I used Deanna Jump & Deedee Wills writing workshop units in my classroom and wanted to link to those as well since some of you asked about this!


These are the books I referenced as well.  Engaging Young Writers In Pictures & In Words



VOCABULARY BUILDING:  A CHALLENGE & AN OPPORTUNITY

This is the book I referenced.  AMAZING!!!  I definite "must" for your teacher toolbox.


Here's a link to my mini vocabulary notebook (free)



This is the interactive vocabulary notebook from Abby Mullins (aka Babbling Abby) I referenced.  One of my favorite resources perfect for either the whole group notebooks we talked about or for individual notebooking as well.


I hope that covered what I said I'd link back to :)  It all seems like a blur, so there's a good chance I might have forgotten a few things!!  As always, if you have any questions about anything, please feel free to shoot me an email at thefirstgradeparade@gmail.com or leave me a comment below!

Thanks again for coming out to the conference!!!  I feel blessed to be in a profession where so many teachers are EAGER to learn more and add new tips and tricks to their toolkits to make learning more fun, meaningful, and engaging for your kids!!!  Y'all know how hard it is to write sub plans and come back to goodness knows what.  I'd rather be sick that write sub plans, y'know?!  So THANK YOU for being such dedicated teachers.  THANK YOU for taking time out of the classroom and away from your sweeties to learn more!!!  You guys are AMAZING!!!!