November 22, 2015

Sight Word Game

Sight Word Game Idea for Kinders
Looking for some new or different ways to make SIGHT WORDS FUN in your classroom?
Sight Words are a huge part of most kindergarten programs. 
My school system requires a minimum of 100 words 
to be read for promotion to first grade.
We prefer for students to master 150 for the most success in first.
We teach all 220 Dolch Sight words to all students and 
usually half or more of my entire class know all 220 words.

But how do we get them to 100 or 220 or whatever your end goal may be?
We make learning FUN.

Let me introduce you to an engaging, personal goal setting, wiggle approved way to practice,
review, and assess sight words... using ELVIS.
{Note, you can make this game into any other theme! 
You can also change the skill. 
Use this idea and make it your own!}

I should begin with how this game came about.
I have a healthy appreciation for Elvis. 
After all, he is the most attractive man who has ever walked on this Earth. 
I often get small Elvis from family members because who doesn't want to see his face everywhere?
My sister in law found this small Elvis bag and bought it for me for my first year teaching.
Elvis in the classroom? You must check out this idea!
She thought maybe I could pack my lunch in it.
I loved it but couldn't think of a good use for it.
Elvis deserves more than to hold my lunch!

In my kindergarten world, 
I was making games constantly to make sure my kinders were engaged in learning.
I usually think outside the box and I can't conform to text book curriculum.
I spent (and still spend...) 
a LARGE chunk of my personal time making games for my students.

My super power of inventing games for my students went into over drive and 
this crazy simple, yet effective game was invented.
Parts you need to makee this sight word game for your classroom

Let me introduce you to...
The Elvis Sight Word Game.
Here is what I use...
pieces to make sight words FUN in your classroom!
1. A Themed Bag, preferably one with a pocket.
2. List of students' names on paper.
3. Sight Word cards, or any other set of cards for review skills.
4. Music to dance to.
5. A simple table with names down one coumn and a measurement of time across another.
6. Reward labels.

Here is how to prep...
1. Fold the paper with the students' names in half.

2. Place the names in the bag. 

Here is how to play...
1. Play about 20-30 seconds of a fun themed song. 
Since I use Elvis as our theme, we play the song, All Shook Up... as I shake the bag.
And we DANCE and wiggle.

2. Pause the song.
When the music stops, we stop and sit.
3. Dramatically pull out one students name from the bag. 
Exaggerate as you build suspense and unfold the name.

4. Everyone cheers for their friend who gets "picked" to play. 
After their first time playing, I remind them of the number of cards they got correct last time. 
Beating their last personal best is their goal. 
I use this game for self growth, not best in class.

5. That student has their turn to read as many sight words as they can. 
If your standard requires timing them... time them. 
If it requires fluency, require fluency.
 If it requires accuracy, require accuracy. 
The point of this activity is for students to have fun and you to assess at the same time. 

6. Write down their correct number on the chart. 
We do count the cards together as a class because it is FUN. 
We get so excited as the card count gets CLOSE to that students goal!
Plus it is another way I can get my students to practice counting skills with a purpose. 

7. If they learned MORE words this time than last, they get a small prize. 
I usually give out mini marshmallows or stickers.

8. Now, I take the student's card who just played and fold it in half again. 
sight word game your students will LOVE... and it is SO SIMPLE

Then I put it in the pocket of the bag. 
Why? It helps me to clear the class one time before I call anyone for their second turn. 
Plus this allows students time to learn words in between their turns playing Elvis. 
If they get called once a day, they don't have a lot of time to master new words.

8. Lastly, I also give it out Elvis achievement stickers I personally make using Avery Labels.  
I make them and print a sheet of a time. regardless of their abilities or level, 
each time a students plays they get a sticker.
 It is a celebration. 
My former students in first grade thru fifth know all about these stickers and 
congratulate these students for their hard work. 
Additionally, it is a great way to communicate with parents in their students abilities 
and accomplishments in the classroom. 

9. If time permits, press pause again and play again.
We play a LOT when we have 10-25 words in the sight word card pile.
We play twice a day when we get to 50 cards or more.
And we DANCE and wiggle.
When the music stops, we stop and sit.

I love having a chart of accurate data for sight word growth for each student.
I can see if they are leanring 1 or 10 words a week.
I can see who knows more or less for grouping purposes or app settings.
I love having a fun way to encourage others.
I hope you can use this idea in your classroom as well..

And if you want to know now I teach sight words in my classroom, 
click here.

November 11, 2015

QR Scanning from a Laptop

Are you a huge fan of using QR Codes in your classroom?
Me too! I love them.
With iPads and iPods, scanning and using QR Codes is a breeze!

What what about it using QR Codes with Laptops or Chromebooks?
You can scan QR Codes with Chromebooks!

Like with all technology...
there are several ways to do this.
Not all will work for every device.

But this is the EASIEST way I have found to scan codes without
downloading any extensions, apps, or add ons.

Here is a quick video you can watch to see this tip in action.

What do you think?
Worth a try?
FREE and EASY to use!
{Think BYOT too!}

And if you are looking for ideas to make QR Codes more fun in your classroom...
you can check out these products I created.
 These are my best selling QR Scan & Learn Sight Word Books

 And here are Scan & Learn

 TONS of additional QR Codes activities can be found by clicking here.

October 31, 2015

Letter Pp Activities

Letter Pp Activities for little learners

This week we are diving into the letter Pp.
 And man... is this week loaded with PERFECTLY fun activities.

We complete these letter Pp phonics sheets for three days.
Letter Pp Phonics Sheets

I love to use these printables to see who can recognize the uppercase and lowercase Pps.
Letter Identification Printables for Little Learners
And we work on these letter handwriting sheets.
Letter P Formation Printables for Little Learners

I strongly believe that handwriting practice 
should not only focus on the focus letter of the week,
but also on all the other letters
This holds true for P and all those tricky letter that confuse little thinkers 
since it is a good idea to work on all those b, d, p, and q 
to help sort the formation in your little wonderful's minds. 

We use these pirate themed printables are a fun way to promote letter formation.
Pirate themed letter formation practice

And we love using these fun sound printables for morning work, 
word work, 
or even homework help.
And these pigs can't wait to get to their initial sound barns!
Sorting Sound Printable with PIGS

When I cover a letter, like Pp, and its sound, 
I make sure to connect that letter theme through other educational elements such as math.
Here is one of my PIE themed math centers for sequencing numbers.
Pie Number Fill In Center Activity
You most likely see the pie number tent first.
I use this as a resource to help those who need more number support or formation assistance

Draw your ideas to the pie cards.
Students fill in the missing number from the pies to order numbers.
A class favorite is the number puzzles.
Number Puzzles PERFECT for Kindergarten
There is a mat you can use to trace and/or form numbers in order.
And there is a matching mat you cut apart to create a puzzle.
This activity helps with sequencing and counting numbers.

I also created these popcorn themed ten frame matching game.
You can use this mat many ways.
POPCORN Ten Frame number sense game

You can have your students draw in the number on the ten frames using a dry erase marker.
Or you can use the pre-made popcorn themed cards to match the numbers.
One of the basic skills we focus on is creating a set of 10
 and how many ones to make two digit numbers. 
Popcorn ten frame game for kinders

 For our reading time, we use this letter Pp reader.
Letter Pp Reader
It contains both sight words and initial letter Pp words.
I print out a copy, back to back, staple on the side and cut it in half. 

We read this book together and my higher group uses the alternative version 
which allows them to fill in the initial letter work instead of just reading it. 
Then we read it over and over again.
And I do mean over and over and over and over again.
These are always a huge hit.
I also love sending home readers with my Title 1 students 
who may not have a lot of reading materials at home.
{One year I got a sibling and the mom told me she saved all the readers 
I sent home with the older child so she would have "good things" 
for her second child to read. 
Talk about powerful.}

We also use a focus book to guide our reading strategies and encourage learning fun. 
This week we used the book,

We read this story out loud and laugh along the way.
Then we sequence the story using these cards. 
Pig a Pancake Sequencing Cards

 As another tie into math and ordinal numbers, 
we sequence the story.
sequencing the book, If You Give a Pig a Pancake

 We can also use the actual book to sequence the events.
help sequencing using ordinal numbers

 We also use our literacy time to write about the book. 
There is a word wall and different writing sheets your students can use.
Word Wall and Writing Prompt

 Here is a look at all three versions.
I use a different version for all three of my ability groups.
Use different prompts for different learners

On Friday's we chart our letter Pp words.
I have to start out each year teaching my students how to chart.
Then we grasp the idea, we excel at this!
Charting P Words

 I created differentiate guide cards to encourage charting and then 
allow this activity to be a write the room activity.
I love to use the chart whole group,
 then have cards hidden in the room for them to create their own!
Use different write the room cards for different learners

 You can see all three versions of the cards here.
One version has just the word on it.
One version has just the image on it.
The last version has both the word and the image.
Write the Room Cards- 3 VERSIONS

Since I am usually the collaborative teacher,
 this is also a huge help with my special ed student who need picture support.
Ironically, the cards with only the image NOT the easiest, 
they are actually the hardest.
Those students have to sound out the picture and write the word "pool" on their own. 
And the cards with just the word allow students to copy the word, 
but then I make them read me those words too.

 We play this reading comprehension game.
It is so much fun and so easy to collect data on comprehension skills for students.
Reading Comprehension Game for Kindergarteners
 We play this in small groups, at our Daily 5 Stations.
I read the cards out loud and my students answer it.
My EIP teacher LOVES these too. 
 She can play these in small groups easily.

For additional word work activities, 
we write these CVC words.
Making CVC Word FUN

And here is a fun file folder game for initial sounds!
Can you see the ladybug piece by the letter L?

We use the pictures to cover the letter that picture begins with!
Play this initial sound file folder game often!
 This is ideal for an instant initial sound assessment or RTI data collection.

Here are links these activities.

October 20, 2015

iWatch in the Classroom

iWatch in the Classroom
Any teachers out there interested in an iWatch and 
how it can be used efficiently and effectively in the classroom?
Wearable Technology is coming.

I think you all know I am a huge Apple Fan.
I love iPhones, iPads, and even iPods.
But I am not obsessed with everything Apple.
I will tell you like it is!
{Honestly, I am not a huge fan of iTunes on the computer... 
it gets the better of me each and every time.}
I also can't work a Mac computer efficiently.
I can do the basics.
Nothing fancy.

And I am not an early buyer into new products.
I don't see these items and immediately see their uses.
I am the opposite.
When I "heard" about an iPad I thought it was dumb and wasn't going to fly.
When I saw it being used I thought it was cool but not useful.
When I discovered what it could do in the classroom,
I fell in love and have never turn back!

The same holds true for the iWatch.
My hubs uses the expensive Garmin watch for running and "stuff."
I see the point for him.
But why do I need an iWatch?
Would I use an iWatch?
Is an iWatch worth the actual cost?

Then I saw those iWatch commercials.
I liked them.
I was interested.
I actually told the hubs that I had to stop watching them.
He laughed.

I caved.
I finally ordered an iWatch for myself and 
had to endure the wait to get it in stock and delivered.
I was scared every day that it would be a huge waste of money for me.

Then IT came.
The iWatch came!
{Side note: I missed the delivery! 
Then I demanded hubs stay home ALL day the next day to get it. 
He left to go running and also missed the second delivery. 
He literally saw the truck leaving our house at the end of his run and
 had to RUN AFTER the FedEx truck and get my watch!}

And here it is...
Hello Love
iWatch for the Classroom

After the easy set up, I put it on the same day.
It was easy to start up, even for me... the hater of iTunes.
And iTunes wasn't involved.
And it was pretty cool.

The more I wore it, the more uses I found for the watch.
I started using it over the summer.
By the time I Teach K rolled around I knew I had to share how to use it in the classroom.
And by the time August came, I dove into classroom uses right away.

So let's get started plowing through some of the awesome iWatch uses in the classroom.
{Side Note: Your iWatch works with your iPhone.
It is not a stand alone.
But using this watch allows me to be hands free and safely discounted from my phone,
but with functions that allow me to do my job efficiently and effectively.}

iWatch iTunes Controls
I love to use music in my classroom regularly.
We transition from table to table when we hear songs.
I play the clean up song to remind my little ones to get our room back together.
We shake our sand trays when we hear Shake It Off.
We also play the Elvis Sight Word Game when we hear the song All Shook Up.

I have all these songs on my phone...
which I can leave it docked across the room and/or hooked up to speakers.
And I can control these songs with my watch, leaving my hands free.
And hands free in K is a blessing
because there is always a shoe to tie,
a pencil to pick up,
a bag to shake,
a child to dance with...

Calendar Access with an iWatch
I put tons of meetings, appointments, and reminders in my phone.
It is just the easiest way to keep my life together.
But I usually can't keep up.
And I hate running to my phone when I can't remember
if the SST meeting starts at 8:30 or 8:45...
or what room it is in.

Or that you can set an appointment in your calendar to get your out of that meeting
you are stuck in to pick up your students.

My calendar items show up on my watch screen
as a reminder of what is coming up in my day.
And I can glance at quickly and be alerted as needed.

Read Email and Text Messages on the iWatch

I get important emails and messages often.
My team mates and I often text each other
as needed when we are not on our computers.
And if it is something we need to know asap.

My watch lets me know when I read these messages and
 allows me to respond simply as needed.
In easy terms...
I get the info I need quickly and without wasting my time...
and therefore my students time. 

Team Member :Can we change groups in 5 minutes instead of 10?
Me: Yes
TA: Jimmy got sick and I am taking him to the nurse.
Me: Okay
Co-lab Teacher: I am covering for another teacher and will be late getting there.
Me: {thumbs up}
Camera Controls via the iWatch
A picture is worth 1000 words!
I can take pics of my class in action for professional documentation with...
you guessed it...
the watch!
On our teacher evals, we have to show evidence of professional standards,
many times in action.
I can position my phone and use the watch to snap photos of learning in action.
This also works great for classroom pics and "us"ies for my class Instagram account.
This means I can be IN the pictures WITH my students!

Not only is this COOL.
But powerful!
I love being able to capture learning.

Stopwatches and Timers on the iWatch
Ever have to time a fluency passage or give a timed test?
What about telling your students they have 2 minutes left on a project? 
or 30 minutes?
I have these functions all on my watch. 

I am finding more and more uses for the watch everyday.
Do I have to have it?

But is it convent to have it?

Can I use it for personal reasons too?

I love driving and setting a location on Google Maps using my phone.
{My car is older and the GPS is outdated and therefore usually isn't helpful.}

Yes it gives me the weather and even my steps and calories daily.
I ignore all that since I lack any motivation in the athletic area. 

There is a "remote" app that I can add a device to.
Maybe I will try to add an iPad and see what that does...

Some thing you can do, but I just don't have a need for?
Keynote app allows some keynote connections.
 I am not a Mac computer person, but maybe it allows you to change slides?