Let's Talk Sight Words!

Monday, October 16, 2017
Let's talk about sight words, shall we?  Sight words (or high frequency words, whatever you would like to call them) are so important for little firsties.  Being able to read sight words will improve reading fluency.

In my classroom, the entire class is assigned 4-7 sight words each week to memorize.  In the beginning of the year, we start with only about  sight words and many of these are review from kindergarten.  As the year progresses, we add more sight words.  These words come from my school's curriculum and I have to teach them.

The real sight word magic in my classroom, however, happens in small groups.  My small groups are grouped by ability based on initial assessments.  I usually have about 5 groups.  I meet with my lowest group every day and my highest group only twice a week.  My three groups in the middle meet with me 3 times a week.

Each group has a sight word list that I create based on the assessments from the beginning of the year.  Every week, each group is given 3-5 words to learn.  These are words that the majority of the group members do not know fluently.  On the day the words are given, the students create flash cards using index cards.  My two or three lowest performing groups create 2 sets of flash cards so that the cards can be used in a game of memory at home and later in the week.  The students take these flash cards home for practice and take them back to school.  My lowest group then spends some hands on time creating and reading the words using letter tiles, magnetic letters, or some homemade play dough.  We often spell the words in the air with our finger tips and say each letter as we write it.  The goal here is to give them the practice and start the memorization process of the words.  Tuesday is an early dismissal day at my school so our small group time is really short.  Tuesday is spent having the students read the words in context, either in a sight word passage or book.  By Wednesday, my lowest group is playing the memory matching game.  In this game, the students put all of their flash cards face down and mix them up.  Then they place the cards, still face down in rows.  Each student takes a turn flipping over two cards, reading the cards, and if it is a match, they keep them in a pile.  We go around the circle until one person matches all of their cards or until we run out of time.  On Thursday, we are writing sentences with our sight words, either in our journals or on our whiteboards.  On Friday, I do sight word assessments with my lowest two groups to mark progress.

How do you help your students learn their sight words?

Using Phonics Interactive Notebooks in the Primary Classroom

Saturday, July 23, 2016
Hello Teacher Peeps!

Today's post is all about how I use interactive notebooks in my phonics lessons.  This is how I use them in my classroom so know that you may have to tweak/change things to make it work in your classroom.

Since my school uses McGraw-Hill Reading Wonders for our ELA curriculum, I generally get my topics for teaching from the curriculum.  Each week, we focus on one phonics skill.  After teaching the skill Monday-Wednesday, we spend Thursday heavily reviewing and practicing the skill with our classmates.  On Thursdays, we also do our interactive notebooks for phonics.  Right now, we are only sorting our words and then reading each word to our class reading buddy.

The best part?  It serves as a great resource for the kids to refer to!  And they definitely do!

Does it make the classroom a mess?  Yes.  Do kids sometimes lose their words?  Yes.  But it is still so worth it!  The kids create a great visual for themselves and practice those fine motor skills when it comes to cutting.  My early finisher kids get to write sentences on the back of their paper using some of the words.  While the kids are working, I go around the room to make sure everyone is sorting correctly and to do informal assessments by having the kids read the words to me.  After everyone is done, the kiddos sit with their reading partner and each partner has 2 minutes to read the words on their page.

Do you use interactive notebooks in your classroom?
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