Monday, June 10, 2013

Sight word darts

Sight Word Darts
     In first grade, sight words are not just important for reading, but a very long list of 238 words are a grade.  Learning these words will help students read more fluently and move up reading levels.
     For readers who are on first grade level or higher, the words come easily through reading. But for the struggling readers I work with, these words are confusing and a chore to learn.  Because these readers do not catch on to these words through drill and practice, I had to come up with some fast, easy, fun ways to practice sight words without spending a lot of money.

You can purchase these at the Dollar Tree.  They have a sticky end that will stick to anything until they get too dirty.  I was able to get them to work longer by cleaning them with water.  I have gone through 2 packs in 6 months.  Which is still fairly cheap considering how many kids I see in one day. 
I also bought the foam board at Dollar Tree I used for the actual dart board.
I just drew a few target lines and wrote the words that gave the children the most trouble.
The children throw the dart and read all the words in the area the dart lands.  It is very repetitive but adds the gross motor, hand eye coordination that makes if fun.
The kids would be willing to play this everyday for an entire half hour, 7 days a week.  One child in particular that this game helped the most, had a goal to hit each area on the dart board.  He knew all 238 words by the end of the year.  Other children just wanted to hit the bulls eye, which is why the hardest word on their list is in the middle. 
How I would improve this game
     I think I will work on a score sheet that would give them points or stickers when they hit each area.  Also realize, the easiest areas to hit are the rings around the bulls eye ("s" and "o" words).  The hardest areas are the top 2 squared areas.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Book Box- Valentines Day

Valentine's Day is all about love and hearts.

Hugs and KissesThis one is my favorite.  It was a gift from one of my parents.  It could also be used during a Mother's Day theme or a farm theme since the puppy lives on a farm.  This cute puppy travels the farm to see what kisses from other animals are like just to find out his mother gives the best kisses.  Also comes in Spanish edition.

Product Details     This is another one of my favorites.  It encourages children to be creative while making valentines for friends.  We always made something with lots of heart cut outs after reading this one.

Aurthur's Valentine Countdown by Marc Brown
Bear Hugs by Karma Wilson & Suzanne Watts
The Best Thing about Valentines by Eleanor Hudson
I Love Hugs by Lara Jones
I Love you All Day Long by Francesca Rusackas
Love and Kisses by Sarah Wilson
Mouse's First Valentine by Lauren Thompson
The Night Before Valentine's Day by Natasha Wing
The Secret Valentine by Johanna Maron

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Mitten

I love Jan Brett and her books.  Here is her website that will give you all kinds activities and information about her and her books.  The Mitten is one of those books I love working with in the winter.  We don't get much cold weather down here, but it has been cold since we' ve come back from break.  So, why not use that weather to experiment and read some great winter books.

The kids I'm working with have never seen real snow, so we did a little writing about it.

If it snowed, I would   ("would" is the sight word we worked on)

We read The Mitten by jan brett and The Mitten by Alvin Tesselt an older version.

We used a story map to retell each story.

We used a compare and contrast graphic organizer with the two versions of the story.

If you have a-z leveled books available to you, there is another version of the story at level d.  it is a little low for my kids but we can practice fluency and keep them reading.

This website has lots of neat activities and printables that work with the story.

Here you could print out this neat activity.
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Here is a cool experiment using thermometers and mittens.  Which is warmer the mitten or the mitten with your hand in it.  The original idea came from Jan Brett's website, but Corkboard connections gives you good information about experimenting.

If you are in the lower grades, you can put snow (I've used my snow cone maker ) or ice to your sensory table along with different mittens and gloves to see which is warmer.

what a cute numbers to sets activity.

Make, Take, and Teach has 4 mitten activities, rhyming, beginning sounds, number to set, and adding.  I love this website. She always has wonderful freebies.

Do you have a fun mitten activity?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

We're going on a field trip!

Do you take your children on field trips?
We are taking our Pre-K kids on a walking field trip to the local museum just down the road.  Preparing your children for a field trip is important for safety and insuring your children have a successful learning experience.
from DIY Classroom
It is important to talk about rules of walking or bus riding, bath rooming, staying with teacher, and whether this is a touching place or looking place.
It is equally important to talk about what you might see and what you want your children to learn from this trip.
I absolutely love this before and after graphic organizer.  It was made for 1st graders to do individually, but it can be done with little ones as a whole group. 
Get it from Fluttering Through First Grade.  She also has a zoo paper.  Our 1st graders go to the zoo, so I'll pass that on to those teachers.
After the field trip!
After visiting is a great shared writing opportunity.  Let children retell the trip in order and include any exciting parts.
Do you have a fun way to learn from a field trip?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Science center

Having a science center or multiple science centers is a great way to encourage creative thinking, process thinking, and questioning along with exploration.  I love science.  Kids love science.  The US doesn't even compare to other countries in the subject of science.  I am always disappointed when I don't see much science done with young children.  So, I'm glad to share some of these fun things you can do to encourage your children in the skills they need in science.  You don't always have to understand science to do experiments.  Check these out and try one in your classroom.

First, try teaching the scientific method.  Here are some free cards to help.  Then leave them in the science center to remind children what real scientists do.
Thank you Ginger Snaps

Materials needed:
magnifying glasses
lab coat (optional but cute)
notebooks or paper
writing utensils
little clipboards are fun
An Experiment (try these)

Sensory table- Made for exploring materials by using mainly your hands and by using your hands you can use other senses and explore (pouring) measuring, language, sharing.
This site does a good job explaining why sensory play is important.
You can learn how to make your own sensory table at Teach Preschool.
remember when making a sensory tub to have at least 2 inches of materials and enough extras to provide each child with one or more. Remember it takes time to explore these skills, sometimes a child will pour something 100 times before they are willing to give up the item, so this center is not recommended to use as one to teach sharing, it just happens when they want something new, they might trade but probably wont take turns. Children need to be reminded to keep the materials in the tub and to pic them off the floor when they do fall. if you find children taking something out to play with it somewhere else, you should provide another one to play with. don't confuse the sensory tub with a place to provide a game- such as fishing game in water. Children need to use their hands to explore.
beans, rice(slippery), pasta rocks, shells, water, fake snow I found these cute plastic bulldozer type car, real snow, Easter eggs, Easter grass, ice with salt, sand (slippery), fake leaves
Things to include: scoops, tongues, measuring cup (i also use laundry detergent lids), turkey baster, egg beater, toys magnifying glasses
Here is something called cloud dough. It looks like a good substitution for moon dough.
here are some cute ones to look at and each of these sites usually do a monthly sensory bin you can look at others they've made
space theme I love the shiny pasta.


rainbow garden its bright and uplifting

flower garden to this one you could add colored cups to encourage sorting

Another cute one.

Here are some other ideas for sensory tubs.

Here are some amazing and colorful sensory tubs.

Water table
     sink and float- try it with apples and pumpkins this fall

If you have one you would like to share please leave your site on the comments section. I love to see how creative people can be.

Discovery Bottles
This is the easies, cheapest and least messy way of allowing kids to explore and question.
Check out this previous post for how I store mine.

Great discovery bottle ideas

Light Table
make your own light table or less find directions at Teach Preschool and then look at how she made light table disks.

Here is another mini version light table which might be more appropriate in the older grades. If I could find one of these containers I would make one this size, maybe two.

ideas for light table including a cool Christmas tree


See through planter

This looks like amazing fun. Neat version of salt and ice.

Baking soda and vinegar, the more scientific version

Lots of weather related stuff here

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I love it when learning becomes 3D.  I am so sick of seeing the Water Cycle worksheet.

Steve Spangler science always has neat experiments

Cloud Jar
clouds in a jar from teach preschool

Color mixing using flashlights

ice in a bag, color mixing too

More color mixing, but also how to use a science journal