We have been having so much fun learning our sight words lately, that I thought I would share it with you! To start with, we use the Dolch Word lists, even though technically I am supposed to be using the Literacy 1st list. Well, you know, if you look at the Scott Foresman words (our reading series) and the Dolch words and Fry's words and Literacy 1st words and all the other word lists out there, you'll soon realize they are all basically the same words, just in different order. And, if you look around you'll find way more to go along with the Dolch lists than for anything else. So I thought, why not just teach the 220 Dolch words this year!
One of the major components of our sight word curriculum this year is Marsha McGuire's Ball Words. She broke down the Dolch words into their 11 lists and assigned each a sports ball. I had no idea that there were actually 11 sports balls, but there are (well technically hockey is a "puck" but still). I hung our word lists on the cupboards above our coats and started really focusing on them for about a week and a half. We play the sight word games that she has for each set of words, and my students love the I-Spy sheets in each pack as well. We also have a short youtube video that goes through the first 50 words, which we watch daily. We make emergent readers, we write our sight words with smelly markers, we find them in our weekly reader and poem, we even take our sight word cards with us on bathroom breaks so I can quiz the kids in line!
After the first 2 weeks, I started testing. The great thing about the Ball Word packs is that there is a certificate for when the student can read all the words on the list. You should hear my class cheer when I announce "Johhny is a Baseball Word Champion!" or "Susie has mastered the Soccer Ball Word List!" etc. They are so excited to get that piece of paper to bring home! I have 4 rockstar readers who are already done with the first 100 words. Yay! They are now my experts who get to take a friend into the hallway to go over their words, or listen to a friend read aloud when there's a free minute etc. These rockstars are very proud of their status and very helpful to their peers :)
I sent home our word lists and tried to enlist parental involvement. Each child has a copy of the list that they are on in their caddy so they can pull it out whenever they've finished their work. We are reading sight words all day long!
Here's my graph of how far we've come since really starting to focus on sight words.
My students wanted to be able to easily keep track of where they were, and which words would be next, so I came up with the idea to add some penguins to our ball word lists. Each child has their own penguin, color coded to match the table they sit at, and then marked with a 1-5 so I can keep track of which penguin belongs to which student and move it from list to list as the student masters it. The students love seeing their penguins up there and I love that parents can tell at a glance how their kiddos are doing compared with the rest of the class, without me having to worry about confidentiality.
Another thing we use, are my sight word games. This week we are breaking out the Gingerbread Sight Word game! I have the kiddos play it during our literacy work stations. I pull the cards for the sight word list most of the kids in the group are on, plus a few from the list before and after, so there are some easy ones as well as some challenging ones. Their favorite way to play is as a "Hide N Seek" style game. Here's what it looks like set up:
The kiddos hide their eyes while the candy cane cards are hidden behind different sights words. For a quick game we just use 1 candy cane, but for a longer game we use 2 or 3. The students have to "seek" the candy cane by reading the word on the card they think it is hiding behind.The student who "finds" the candy cane gets to hide it for the next round and be the "Vanna White" of the game lol.
Alright, time to find out the winner of my flash giveaway for my new Winter Themed "I Have...who has..?" Word Family Game Bundle!
I did the little random number generator and came up with:
The First Grade Dream! I'm sending you an email in just a few Jennifer!
Lastly, I have to update you on our Elf on The Shelf. When last we left the Elf he was still trapped in his box, and we had a tie for names between Rosco and Elfy. Here's what we found this morning when we came in:
He apparently decided to combine the two names into "Relfy" which the students loved. He also found all of our Wild Things and gathered them up for his introductory message. Be sure to check back to see what mischief he gets up to tomorrow!