Friday, February 5, 2016

Sight word Fun!

I have a 2nd-grade group this year that is focusing just on sight word knowledge and fluency.  We work specifically on 5 different words each week but incorporate others into our games and activities to make sure we are reviewing other words.

 This first game the kids call the smartie game.  They ask to play on an almost daily basis.   I found the original idea here and adapted it to fit out needs. I use 5 cups and write one of our weekly words on each cup.  I then hide a smartie under one of the cups and move the cups around trying to confuse the kids.  To make it a bit more difficult, I have the cups facing me while I mix them up.  Once I stop and turn the cups back around, the kids write on a white board what word they think the smartie is under. They are all very secretive about their answer.  We then lift up each cup after reading the word to find out who was right. If they get it right they get a smartie.

This is an activity that I made with one of my non-verbal students in mind.  Trains are of high interest so I used train clipart and put the words on each car.  I then call out a word and the student moves the Thomas the Train piece to the word.  The Thomas the train piece was something my son had lying around on the floor in the playroom and I just put it to good use. 

Another favorite activity of my students is magnifying to sight words.  They tell me that this is like detective work.  I pick out a picture of something seasonal, for example, this week I used a ground.  I then open the picture in power point and just add words to the pictures using a text box  I like to make the font a size 3 so it is super tiny.  I then give a place for the kids to write the words once they find them.  You can find lots of these already made if you do not want to make your own. 

This next activity involves using sight word videos from Heidi's songs.  If you haven't checked out Heidi's videos I highly suggest it.  I not only use the videos for sight words, but my early childhood special education kiddos love learning their letters and numbers of the week using the videos. I play the videos and the kids sing along and write the words on their white boards.  The goal of this activity is to work on spelling the words more than recognizing them (This group of kids have a particular difficulty with writing their words). 

We also play a lot of card games.  I have a bunch in my store that the kids love to play.  Their favorites are Oh Peep! and Alien's steal underpants.  In these games, the students pull out a card and read the word.  Some cards have different sayings on them (Such as Oh Peep! Or Aliens stole your underpants!) which have the students do different things like put all of their cards back or pass their cards to the right.   You can go from having the most cards to the least very quickly.  You can check out all of these games by going to this link.
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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Making snow!

We do not get a lot of snow here in our little corner of Virgina so I decided to make snow with my kiddos to play with.  I had never done this before and am super excited how awesome it came out.  It was even cold!!! I was able to send each student home with a little baggie of it to show to their parents.  I made sure to include a note so the parent knew what we were up to!

To make this all we did was mix baking soda and shaving cream.  I didn't measure it, I just poured it out and we started mixing it up with our hands. The kids had no problem digging and getting dirty.  Every child's was a little bit different depending on how much shaving cream they used. 

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Shaving Cream Snowman

This is one of my favorite activities that we do during the school year.  So simple, but the final product is awesome.

Last week we talked about snow.  One of the activities we did was making a snowman using shaving cream and white school glue (Elmer's is the brand we used).

I prepped the project by drawing 3 circles on large blue paper so that the students had an outline for their snowman.  I also precut hats, buttons, eyes, nose and the mouth out of scrapbook paper.  I have a silhouette ( type of die cut machine) that cut out everything for me.  This was a huge timesaver! (If you have the same machine and would like the  file, leave a comment below).

I started by having the kids mix the shaving cream and glue in their own containers.  We used equal parts shaving cream and glue and stirred with a popsicle stick.

Next the kids start spreading the mixture onto their snowmen.  The thicker the better (makes for an awesome texture).  Each student ended up needing two bowls of the "paint".

After they had their snowman painted, we added the details.  I forgot to take pictures as we were decorating, but I think the final product gives the idea.  The kids were each able to pick which ever hat, scarf and buttons they wanted.  They had to add 5 "pieces of coal" for the mouth and 2 for the eyes.  They were able to just stick each part onto the snowman.  Once it dried everything was stuck.

I love the way these came out and they have been a big hit hanging in the hallway.  I let the students touch the one I made the next day so that they could see how neat it felt.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Opening (morning) circle

So who is back into your school routine?  This is day two back from break for me and my boys and I are dragging.  I am hoping sharing my opening circle (which is sometimes morning circle, depending on the time of day).

This is my calendar board for this year, but I threw up the sight word song so you could see how it fit.  I only do colors if the group needs it.  My calendar only focuses on one week at a time.  I have a sight word of the week and number of the week posted. I make minor changes each year depending on what the group needs (level of difficulty, music, movement, etc).

If the group or parts of the group are ready, they have individual binders that they use in addition to our board. I will talk more about the binders as we go through the routine. This post will focus on the kids that use the binders. I will do another post about the years where we do not use the binders.

Sit at the rainbow table.  Bring over whiteboard on easel (some years my calendar board is stationary, others it moves).
  • Hold up binder and ask which student it belongs to. (This helps with name identification, communication, etc. Once they get it down, then I would ask a student to hand out all of the binders to their classmates while I asked about marker colors.)
  • Ask each student what color marker they would like (Use “I want” picture cues and have them say the sentence)
  • Students trace or write their name on the first page.

  • Turn the page and complete the Daily Calendar

Daily Calendar
  • Teacher asks "what month is it?" Students verbally respond if they can or point in binder ( or use communication device). Students circle the month in the binder.
  • Sing months of the year song (I keep my music on an iPod, but other years I have used a cd player). Students point to months as we are singing.

  • Have a student put up number for the day in the calendar(Sometimes we count it out starting at 1, then when I get to whatever numbers we have up I start pointing and then when we get to the next number we say it and add it, other times we start wherever our calendar is)
  • Read days of the week together on the calendar. Identify Today is, Yesterday was, Tomorrow will be. Students circle in book.

  • Sing days of the week song (on ipod).  Someone can point to the days on the calendar.

  • Ask students what the weather is like outside.  (Everybody look out the window! What is the weather today?)
  • Put up weather card.  Students circle weather in their binder. The pictures in the binder are made to try to match the pictures that we use on our calendar.

Number of the week: (I put up a new number each week that we need to work on frrm 1-50, but you could easily do this for 1-100)
  • Turn to next page in book.  Point to the number on the board.  What is our number this week?  Students can answer out loud or point.
  • Students find the number of the week and color it in on the chart in their binder.
  • Have each student say the number ( or best approximation or use their communication device)
  • Stomp your feet/clap your hands and count by 1’s to to the number (you can also count by 2’s, 5’s etc) (Students like to high five each other for this part)

Sight word of the week: (I put up a new sight word each week to practice. This word is also posted outside my classroom door to read when they come in)
  • Read the word.  Sing sight word song…. (check out this post for more on our sight word song)
  • Write the word under the numbers in book

Poem: (I change this out with my units)

  • We all read the poem together, while  students point to the words in their books.  Hand over hand is given if needed. Students then read it independently to the class.  With a big group they could read it to each other or only one or two read a day.  
  • I ask the students to circle a word in the poem or a particular picture.  For example, when doing a money poem, I also had pictures of the coins.  We would circle the nickel, put an x on the quarter, make a box around the dime, etc. In a poem about spring, I asked the students to circle the word this or the picture of the bee.
 There you have it! This is one of my favorite parts of the day. My pre-k opening circle looks different but still covers a lot. I will post about that on another day.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Pass the sight words

A few weeks ago I shared an activity on my facebook page from Fun in First about her pass the plate activity where the teacher write a sight word on a stack of plates.  The students sit in a circle and pass the plates around the circle while music is playing.  When the music stops, the student reads the word on their plate.  I loved this idea, but needed to adapt it to fit my group better.

I have a second grade pull-out group of 5 students that work on sight words.  We are not only working on reading the words, but writing the words.  So I decided to use the die cut machine to cut out some evergreen trees.  I had the students each write 5 of the words from our sight word flashcards.  We then turned on some holiday music and passed the trees around the table.  The para professional that helps out with this group and I also participated.  This way the kids heard us read the words.  I also added in an extra tree so that someone would end of with extra words to read (the kids did not mind one bit).  We played for a solid 20 minutes and the kids begged to keep going.   To say it was a hit is an understatement.  I plan on playing this game once a month or so with different cut outs.

Check out some of my other sight words activities by clicking here or check out some of my games on TpT. 

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Easy(ish) parent gifts

Hi All!! Better late posting than never right?!

 So I was going to post about dinosaurs today, but that will be waiting until next week.  Today I am going to share some of the Christmas gifts I have made with my students in the past in hopes of inspiring a few people!

#1 is was using one of the mugs that you can find at a craft store  that comes with a coloring sheet.  Instead of the included sheet, I just used my own paper.   To make the mugs the kids used brown paint and the finger of their choice to make finger prints on green paper.  I then added a nose, eyes, and antlers with permanent markers to make reindeer.  I just love the way they came out!  

For #2   I used a wreath die cut to cut out wreaths from foam in varying colors.  The kids picked which wreath they wanted to decorate.  They added stickers to it to make it their own. This made for lots of fine motor work as they had to peel the backs off of the stickers to get put it on their wreath.   After they finished, I added a piece of white foam to the back. I attached it with glue dots, but I am sure hot glue would work great also.  Then to add a picture to the middle I used the pictures that we get from our school pictures every year.  In addition to the kids pictures that they order we get 4 "stickers" with their pictures on it.  I stuck one of those stickers in the middle.  I then hole punched on the top and added a piece of yarn. Simple, yet cute and no out of pocket expenses.  Everything I used I had in my classroom already.

There are tons of other ideas that you can use.  You can find a bunch on my Pinterest boards. I especially love this one from Coffee Cups & Crayons. You can also check out a calendar I made a few years ago, but that definitely was not considered easy.   

I would love to see what you are making with your students!  Please share in the comments. 

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Fall Experience Books

A few years ago I did my first post on experience books.  I have always loved the way my seed book came out and I knew I wanted to do another one.  With that came the idea of a Fall experience book.  To say this went well is an understatement.  The kids had a ball!

First we talked about Fall and listened to a book on Epic(if you haven't checked out this book site, you need to right after you finish reading this post).  We talked about different things we might find outside in the Fall.  Then I showed the kids the book I made with items I found.  The original plan was to go on a scavenger hunt on the playground and little open space next to our playground, but nature had other plans, rain. So to combat this we "planted" fall items on the front porch and the kids had to find them.

We made a list before we started of all of the things they were supposed to look for: leaves, acorns, pumpkin, gourd, and sticks. The kids each had a bag and they put their items in it as the hunted.

After we finished, we went inside and got to work on putting our books together.  I talked the kids through making their bags by all of us putting things in a bag at the same time.  For instance, I gave all of the kids a new bag and told them to put their acorns in it.  We did the same with all of the other stuff.  Just in case you are wondering I used fake gourds that I picked up at the Dollar Tree and die cuts of pumpkins for the kids.  The leaves, acorns, and sticks were real though.

 Next we made a cover.  The kids each had to write their name in the author's space (yes, we always talk about what an author does) which was a way for me to sneak some name practice in there. That page then went into a bag.

Finally we put all of the bags together to make the book.  (You can find detailed directions on how to put together an experience book by going to this blog post)  I picked up some fall themed duct tape at the Dollar Tree and I also pulled out some green that I had.  The kids chose which tape they wanted to use for their book.

Then as the kids went to free play we called them over one at a time to label the pages.  We wrote what ever they told us was in each page and the kids put the label on the book.

The next day each student took a turn reading their book to the class (I think that was my favorite part). Overall, this was a huge hit and I am already trying to figure out how I can fit this activity in more often.  It provided such an opportunity to add in new vocabulary and for discussion.

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