Popcorn Words FREEBIE

The other day on Facebook a teacher asked for ideas for making their alphabet flash cards more engaging for her students. I don't remember the curriculum, but this teacher was required to use a specific set of flash cards daily and her students just wilted every time she pulled them out. I thought back to when I first started teaching and didn't have a Smartboard - I used flash cards for my sight words. I shared what I used to do back then to keep my kids engaged, and several teachers loved the idea and asked me to share it:

When using flash cards, create extra cards with pictures of a bucket of popcorn on them. Insert these randomly into your deck of cards and when your students see the popcorn card they're allowed to jump to their feet and hop in place while saying "Pop, pop pop!". This was always engaging for my students because they couldn't wait to get a to a popcorn card, so they watched those cards like hawks! Simple idea, but an easy way to make flash cards more interactive!

Now that I have a SmartBoard however, I've gone beyond flashcards to PowerPoint shows. I created a show for my sight words, and again, I've inserted some fun "popcorn cards" into the show. Then I realized that you can't shuffle the slides in a PowerPoint show like you can a deck of flashcards, which makes making it random a bit more difficult. Luckily there's YouTube videos for everything, so I taught myself how to make a macro that will jump to random slides. Now when I hit the "play" button on my slides, it randomly jumps to any slide in my presentation.

I've saved my Popcorn Word slideshow and I'm sharing it today with you. It's set up so that you can type in your own words, so you can use whichever sight words you want. Right now I just have it looping the first 20 Dolch sight words over and over. If you need more slides to make a longer show, you just right click the slide and hit "duplicate". Easy peasy lemon squeezy! I used Comic Sans and Century Gothic for my sight word fonts because I wanted to make sure the letters were kinder friendly and I think most people have those fonts by default.

When you play the slideshow, you'll notice that you have to click the "play" button on the lower left hand corner to jump from slide to slide - this is what makes the slideshow random and will keep your students on their toes! When you're ready to end the show, just click Esc on your keyboard. Make sure that when you download the file you save it as a pptm (PowerPoint Macro-Enabled Presentation) so that the macros work.

Here's a caveat - before you use the slideshow, make sure that you teach a signal to your students so that they know when they have to sit down after "popping" up. I bring my hands up to my eye level, palms down and then bring them down to my lap in a silent signal for my students to sit. This means I'm not competing with their "popping" noise, and even the students who aren't looking right at me when I give the signal catch on when others start to sit. Generally they "pop" for about 20-30 seconds before I make them sit down again.

We use this slideshow daily, and it only takes a few minutes - sometimes I even use it as a brain break between other activities, because it allows may students to make noise and get some energy out! Its a good reinforcement of sight words, and my students always love it. Hopefully yours will too! Just click here to download the show for free from my Google Drive!

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