Monday, January 14, 2013

Sensational Sight Words

Well, here we have it, I am proud to present you with my very first Guest Blogger, Amy...From Teaching in Blue Jeans!

I was very excited when I read her blog post, because I am always looking for new ways to make sight word instruction fun in my classroom.  Amy has some great ideas to share with you, so read on and then pop on over to say hello to her!

Sensational Sight Words

by Amy Biddison from Teaching in Blue Jeans


 I am so excited to be joining you here at The Teacher's Chair for Blog Swap Sunday!  Thank you Tracey for giving me this opportunity.  I wanted to start and get this out of the way up front - no I don't get to wear blue jeans everyday.  I love blue jeans and the feeling I have when I am in them.  They are comfortable, familiar, and I am always a little more free when wearing them.  I am more eager to try new things, think outside the box, and just all around more fun.  Why?  I don't know - I think it has to do with not pulling and tugging at hose, or some other uncomfortable garment.  But I do love me some blue jeans.  So when I am planning and teaching I always strive to make my classroom environment feel like a comfortable pair of blue jeans.  OK - now that your not unnecessarily mad at me for getting to wear jeans, lets get down to business.
Long story short - I am an attorney turned teacher. I taught 1 year in middle school as a dyslexia intervention teacher, 3 years in 3rd grade and now I am in my first year of kindergarten.  Through the last 5 years I have seen the importance of sight words to a student's reading success.  I don't think it matters your grade, if you struggle with sight words your reading will be hindered. 
I have always loved a multi-sensory approach to learning and sight words are no exception.  A quick side note on multi-sensory learning: not every student learns in the same way.  There are those students that will never "get it" if it is only told to them.  There are those students who will instantly "get it" when its told to them.  The more sensory channels you can use to send information to your students' brains, the more likely they will retain the information. 
In my classroom we are working with sight words on a daily basis.  Some days we are spelling them and adding body motions as we spell (Auditory, Verbal and Kinesthetic Learning).  Some days we are building them out of play dough or word tiles (Visual and Kinesthetic Learning).  When I plan an activity I try make sure that at least 2 different learning styles are used.  We do sight word practice whole group, in our guided reading groups and as word work.  I am always looking for fun new ways to add sight word practice to word work.  Here's just a few of my favorites that I found on Pinterest!
Recycle letters from boxes to make a
Letter Basket for building words.
Use legos with sight words
to build towers.  Make it
a game and the tallest
tower wins!  Or put only
letters on the blocks
for some word
building!
Pinned Image
FREE scrabble tiles to print out and use
for building words or playing word
games.  Just click the picture for
your free scrabble tiles to print
and use in your classroom.
        
I also like my students to have some 1-on-1 time with their words.  This year I created this sheet that my students completely independently during word work.  We started by doing 2 together whole class so I could model my expectation.  Now they are pros and do it on their own.

What I love about this sheet is the many ways it gets my kids working with the word.  They start by touching the word, saying it and spelling it orally.  Then they trace the word and write it on the lines.  Next up the class favorite, Rainbow Writing.  There is something about using different colors that really helps those visual learners.  Then its time for a little word search and finally building the word.  I created this little freebie of 5 sight word pages for you to try in your classroom.  Just click the picture below to take you to them.



There's just one last resource I want to share with you that has been hugely successful this year.  I really wanted my students practicing their sight words everyday at home as well as at school.  In their reading bag, each student has a Sight Word Sticker Book.  Earning stickers has been a huge motivator for my kids and they love practicing their words!  This is a booklet on a ring that stays in their reading bag.  Every night the students read through their sight words at home.  About once a week the students see me or my parent volunteer to be "quizzed" on their sight words.  I quiz them on flash cards not the ring because I don't want rote memorization.  I also suggest to parents that they practice the words in random order too! 

When I quiz a student I give a count to 3 in my head for each word.  They either know it or they don't and since these are words they should know by sight I'm pretty tough when it comes to reading them fluently.  If they get it right, they add a sticker to their sticker book.  If they don't get it they keep working on it.  I LOVE how this helps me differentiate my sight word instruction for my students.  I add new pages to the ring as they are ready.  This helps my lower kids from getting overwhelmed and my higher kids keep moving right along at their pace.  Here's a sample of my Sight Word Sticker Book. 



I'd love to know how you teach sight words in your classroom.


Wow, Amy...that was fantastic!  Thank you for sharing with us.  The information, strategies (and freebies!) are very much appreciated.  You are right, kids love stickers!  What a motivating idea to make learning fun.  I look forward to trying this with my first graders. Please feel free to share your ideas with us ANY TIME!  It was definitely fun working with you!

Don't forget to leave a comment and then stop over at Teaching in Blue Jeans for more of Amy's great ideas!


35 comments:

  1. Amy, thank you for such an insightful blog post. I love the ideas you shared. This year, we are using the Superkids Reading Program and it includes sight word practice within the program, but I definitely think that I would like to do a little more with the kids, The ideas you shared would work great for me during My Daily 5/Reader's Workshop!

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    Replies
    1. Tracey,

      I am going to be using The Superkids reading program with my son in a homeschool setting. I would love to see a sample of one of your lesson plans if you have one you don't mind sharing. Thanks so much!

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  2. Thank you for the opportunity Tracey. I really enjoyed sharing with you and your readers!

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  4. Amy, I particularly loved the idea for attaching sight words to blocks and making towers. So many games are coming to mind. With your permission, I would love to add your idea to our site: www.keepkidsreading.net/sightwords.html

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  6. WOW!! Thanks. I am a teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and so we do a lot of memorization--thanks for sharing such a wonderful resource!!

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Notes For the Teacher