The topic is Sight Words which is a big deal in our district. At our kindergarten curriculum meeting this summer there were teachers advocating for teaching 200+ sight words and requiring teachers to teach a certain set of sight words each week. This was to help cut down on our more transient students missing out when they move from school to school - I've had kindergartners go to 5 schools in one year just because the family moved around within the district so much.
While I applauded the attempt to make sure that transient students don't fall behind because Teacher A covered a different set of sight words than Teacher B, I also believe that each class is different and that teachers should be free to customize their instruction to their kiddos. Some classes are not ready to learn sight words from Week 1, especially those in Title I schools where most of our kiddos don't attend pre-k and thus can't differentiate between a letter or a number, let alone memorize 5 sight words each week!
Luckily sager heads prevailed and it was agreed that the goal to shoot for is 100 words by the end of kindergarten - both sight words and family names, environmental print etc. Our school uses Literacy 1st and it has broken down the sight words so that 1st grade students are required to know the first 100 words by December and the 2nd 100 words by the end of the year. These 200 words roughly correspond to the Dolch sight words. There's a 3rd set of 100 words as well that students are supposed to know by the end of 2nd grade.
One of the most fun we've had with learning our sight words was our Sight Word Super Bowl and Sight Word World Series! Of course I can't find my pictures of the events but let me tell you how we did it:
The Sight Word Super Bowl consisted of a goal post made out of pvc. We had some foam footballs with velcro dots attached and some sight word cards with velcro as well. One students played the part of the center and hiked the ball back to the quarterback who attempted to read the card attached to it. If they were correct they got to run the ball down to the end zone and throw it over the mini goal post. One of our K teachers was dressed as a referee and was in charge of attaching a new sight word to the ball after each play and monitoring whether it was read correctly. I was in the end zone, keeping score and tossing the balls back to the referee after each touchdown. This all took place in the hallway outside our classroom, and the students who were not in play sat on the "sidelines" with pompoms and cheered for the quarterback. After the game (which my class won by the way!) we had nachos in the classroom to celebrate!
Obviously this game took a lot of planning on the teachers' part, plus a lot of time and effort from the kiddos to learn the lists the we sent home. However, since there was an actual deadline and a "competition" we found that we had a lot more parent involvement than usual in getting the kids to practice their sight words at home!
Our Sight Word World Series was pretty much the same, although we had 3 outfielders and a catcher for each child at bat. One of our teachers pitched the ball to another teacher who held it for the batter to read. We used whiffle balls and each ball had 4 sight words written on it to give the kids a chance to hit a single, double, triple or home-run. One of the sight words was very easy to ensure that even our lower kiddos got a chance at a "hit". When the batter finished reading the words the teacher put the ball on a tee for the batter to hit and he ran to the appropriate base determined by how many sight words he had read. You should have seen the kids' face as they scored "home-runs"! There may or may not have been strategic placement of the batters to ensure that every 4th batter was capable of bringing all the runners on bases home. Oh alright, there definitely was strategy involved, my competitive nature got the best of me! My class won our 1st game but got beat out by 1 run in the second game.
Again, a lot of work on our part to set things up, we even had the Superintendent come out to throw out the first pitch, and the newspaper came to take pictures! However, the kids enjoyed it so much and they were highly motivated to practice their sight words! Since they had already had experience with the Super Bowl event, they knew they really had to study their words so as not to let their teammates down!
Another thing we do is post lists of 10 sight words on our walls. For each list a child reads correctly, they earn a small treat - an ice cream sundae or a bag of gummy worms etc. When they move on to a new sight word list they are required to read all the words that came before to ensure that the sight words are staying in long term memory. In this way, the students are all studying at their own pace and working on their own set of sight words. the students can go read their sight word list throughout the day whenever they have a spare moment. It is great to see students helping each other as they look at the lists!
I've also created some sight word games that I have in my TPTPre-primer, Primer and 1st grade Dolch word lists so that you can differentiate the game for each small group. It has some fun "specialty" cards to enhance the game play too. I find that my students love these types of games and pick up quite a few sight words from playing - particularly my ELL students who get the chance to hear their peers reading the words aloud. You can click the picture to check it out in my TPT store.
Of course, there are alternatives to buying ready-made games as well. For one of our parent meetings I put together packets with two easy, inexpensive sight word ideas:
Alright, those are some of my ideas, please go link up so you can share yours!
Here are some giveaways going on right now that you might want to check out - hurry though some of them end fairly soon!
I'm a little late joining this linky party, but you have to check out this fabulous resource - a whole lotta k-2 blogs linked up in one place for easy browsing. Go find your new favorite blog (besides mine of course lol!):
There's another blog list that has blogs up to 5th grade, be sure you check it out too: