Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How to Store and Organize Sight Word Flash Cards

Sight Words...We know they are important, and we know children need a lot of exposure, practice, and repetition to master sight words. There are 220 Dolch Sight Words broken down into five sets (Pre-Primer, Primer, 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade). This breaks down to about 40-50 per list. That's a lot of cards to keep organized! Let me help you get a grip on those flash cards so you can spend more time playing sight word games and having fun with the words.
1. Organize words into three sections: 
"New Words," "Words I Can Read," & "Tricky Words"
-New Words: These are the new words that the child is currently learning. You might also store a stack of upcoming words here.
-Words I Can Read: After a child masters a sight word, move it to the section titled "Words I Can Read" so the child has a set of words he/she feels confident reading. It only takes a few seconds to flip through these words. It will make the child feel good about how many words he/she has learned.
-Tricky Words: It may be a word the child is currently working on or one from the past, but there are always a few "tricky words" that need special attention. Give those words the special attention they deserve. TRICKY WORDS. 😎
2. Organize flash cards in a Dollar Tree photo album
Hit up your local Dollar Tree and buy some photo albums/brag books. These are perfect for sight word cards. If you are a parent, you might buy a couple books. You could organize "New Words" in one book, "Words I Can Read" in a second photo album, and "Tricky Words" in a third. The best part is you can easily move the flash cards from one book/slot to another by sliding them out of the photo slots. If you are a classroom teacher or if your child is just starting with sight words, ONE album per child is plenty.
3. Recipe Card Box/Index Card Filing Box
Here's another cheap storage option... an index card filing box/ plastic recipe box. I would still suggest sorting the words into the three sections previously mentioned. You can paperclip them to keep the groups separated in the box.
4. Coupon Organizer/Accordion Pouch
Coupon organizers/accordion pouches are great because they are made with partitioned sections. It's an easy way to keep sight words stored AND organized. (Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, etc. or September Words, October Words, November Words, etc.)
5. Target Pencil Clip
Target always has varieties of these cute "clips" in the Dollar Spot.
This works best for a parent or homeschooler. Clip the sight words into sections: New Words, Words I can Read, & Tricky Words. Take down the cards you want to practice or play a game with, and then simply clip them back in place. Perfect to hang near your child's bookshelf or desk at home!
Hope these ideas for organizing and storing sight words will help you in your classroom or homeschool. If you are a parent helping your child study and learn their sight words, HUGS to you for being so awesome!!!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sight Word Activities for PARENTS

Easy and fun sight word ideas
Last week, after a meeting at church, I chatted with a sweet friend. She asked me, "Liz- what in the world are SIGHT WORDS, and do you have any ideas for how my daughter and I can practice them at home?" (Her cutie had just started Kindergarten...) Before long, a few other Moms joined in on the conversation, and I knew right away I wanted to write a blog post sharing EASY and FUN sight word activities that parents can do at home with their kiddos.
Just as parents help their child study for a weekly spelling test, they can also help their child read and review their weekly sight words. This blog post is filled with ideas for PARENTS to help their children practice and review their sight words at home to compliment what the teacher is doing at school.
Sight word activities and ideas for K-2, homeschool, for parents
Sight word activities at home should be...
1. Tactile/Hands On
2. Games/FUN
3. Visual
You want your child to have an opportunity to build, touch, and experience the sight words so that his or her brain can make a connection between the letters and the word itself. It's all about exposure, repetition, and practice.
1. Glitter Sight Word Flip Books 
Tactile sight word book using glitter glue
(This video explains how to make them.) 
2. Whipped Cream/Shaving Cream Writing
Ideas for parents to practice sight words at home
Spray some whipped cream or shaving cream on the counter or table. Have your child spread it out and then practice writing his sight words. Provide a flashcard or list for reference. It's all about practice, repetition, and exposure to the words. Don't worry if your child needs to look at the word list.
3. Sand/Sugar letters
Fun idea for reviewing sight words and letters at home
Get a school supply box or cookie sheet with edges and fill it with play sand or granulated sugar. Have your child practice writing sight words in the sand with his or her finger. It's all about the touch! *Hint: You do not need very much sand!*
4. PlayDoh
A great way to practice and learn sight words at home or in the classroom
Flatten a piece of play doh and use a toothpick or skewer to write sight words in the PlayDoh. Kiddos can also form long snakes with the PlayDoh and then build the words with PlayDoh.
5. Build the Word
Build the word using magnetic letters, cut up pool noodle pieces, alphabet cereal, or with yummy items from the pantry!
Engaging sight word activities for teachers and parents
Brynn had a blast with this pool noodle sight word activity. Such a cutie. 
Use Twizzlers to build sight words. Fun and easy!
PULL AND PEEL TWIZZLERS
They are so easy to bend and shape. So much easier and less messy than PlayDoh. Delicious too! :)
Sight Word Ideas and Activities for Kindergarten and First Grade
Sight Word Snacks: Pull and Peel Twizzlers, pretzel sticks, raisins, chocolate chips, spaghetti noodles, Cheerios, Cheez-It letters, animal cracker letters, string cheese...
6. Go Fish
Make a set of playing cards with index cards using the words of the week or the words your child needs to review. (2-4 per word) Deal the same number of cards to each player and then leave a "Go Fish" pile in the middle.
7. Memory
Sight Word Game: This would be perfect for centers and small groups.
Make a set of playing cards using the words of the week. (Two per word) Place all of the cards upside down. Each player flips over two cards and reads the words aloud. If the words match, the player keeps the pair. The player with the most matches wins. *If you child has A LOT of words to learn, start with just a few and then add more to the memory game as they become more comfortable with the words. Your child will be extremely frustrated if they have 20 cards in the game and they can't read any of them, so start simple.*
8. Hopscotch
Great activity for preschool, Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade
Grab some chalk and make a hopscotch board in your driveway. Fill in the week's sight words, and have your child hop across while practicing the words. While you are outside enjoying the weather, let your child decorate the sidewalk or driveway with all of his or her sight words. 
9. Hide & Seek Sight Words
Write the weekly sight words on sticky notes. When your child is not looking, hide the words all over the house! After you hide the words, let your child loose to go find all of the hidden words. For extra practice, your child can write the words after he or she finds them. This game is so easy and endless fun! 
Great sight word activity for parents to try at home
Tip: Collect found words on a clipboard.
10. Printable Board Games
I love this editable game from Playdough to Plato. It's FREE! I love that you can type in the words that you want on the game board. So cute and fun for practicing new sight words. (If you don't have a TpT account, you will need to sign up to download the freebie.)
11. SWAT Game
Write all of the weekly sight words on index cards. Grab a fly swatter. Yes, a fly swatter. :) Call out one of the words. As quickly as possible, your child SWATS the word with the fly swatter. Silly fun! If your child is struggling with ALL of the words, just start with 2-3words. Add a few more words as they become more familiar with the words.
12. Sight Word Password
Sight Word Password printable
Kids love secret passwords. Use this love of passwords to help learn sight words. Pick the trickiest word of the week and make that the "password." Write it on a big piece of construction paper and post it somewhere in your house that gets a lot of traffic (i.e. the bathroom, the fridge, the pantry...). To enter the pantry, everyone in the family must read the password. Hearing Mom, Dad, and older sister say the "password," as well as looking at it and making a connection with it throughout the week will help your child remember it as well. Remember, it's about exposure, repetition, and practice.
Password Poster printable- for sight words
If you are a teacher, please feel free to share the link to this blog post with parents in a weekly e-mail, class newsletter, during Parent Teacher Conferences, etc. Please e-mail me at TheHappyTeacherTPT@gmail.com if you have any questions.
If you would like to download the sight word cards I used, visit my TpT store.
Dolch Sight Word Cards and lists by grade level
12+ Easy and Fun Sight Word Activities for Parents, Homeschoolers, and K-2 Teachers

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Graphic Organizers for Nonfiction Text & Research Projects

Graphic organizers for reading, writing, and science
As educators, we know the importance of research skills. We know students must be able to gather, comprehend, evaluate, and synthesize information from a variety of sources. So what does this look like in elementary school? What does it look like in K-2? How can we prepare the littlest learners to read (or listen to) nonfiction text and share the information learned in a meaningful way?
Nonfiction text for elementary students starting research
First, we must find the right text and MODEL, MODEL, MODEL. In the primary grades, this can be done through think alouds, where the teacher models her thinking as the class reads the book together. Graphic organizers will help organize information, facts, ideas, questions, etc.
Download ALL of these FREE graphic organizers!
Comprehension of nonfiction
Love this graphic organizer for How to Survive as a Shark
Graphic organizer for nonfiction text, How to Survive as a Shark
Nonfiction graphic organizer
Fact or Opinion lesson activity
It's not a one and done. It's an ongoing skill that must be modeled and worked on throughout the year, and that's why the research standards are blended throughout. For years, I did animal research projects at the end of first grade. it was more of a separate unit. Although students LOVED it, and they created beautiful projects, I think ongoing BRIEF research opportunities would be even more meaningful. Having the opportunity to dive into interesting nonfiction text and discover new information many times throughout the year is key. 
FREE Activities for research skills
Use the same graphic organizers with additional nonfiction texts. 
Model through think alouds.
Let students work in small groups to discover new texts.
Kick start student research projects.
Send blank printables home to help parents as they work with primary students on their research projects.
Free printable for student research
How to Survive as Shark Activities and Printables FREE

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Creative Writing Prompts

Y'all know I love labels. I've long touted the beauty of putting writing prompts on sticky labels. So easy for students to just pick a fun label, stick it in their journal, and start writing!
Teacher Hack: Print creative writing prompts on sticker labels! Brilliant!
If you don't have the same love affair with labels or want something a little more reusable, check out this teacher trick... Put your writing prompts on a metal binder ring so they can be used over and over again! 
**Laminate before putting them on a binder ring for durability.**

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Addition and Subtraction Strategies

A great visual for number bonds and missing part
In order for students to have automaticity with their math facts, they must first have good number sense. They need to be able to visualize numbers in different ways and see the relationship between the numbers. It's a skill that can be practiced all year by composing and decomposing numbers. When kiddos can see number bonds and parts of a whole, they will master addition and subtraction facts effortlessly. 
Awesome visual for students to see parts of a whole and relationship between numbers
This isn't a lesson or skill that is taught in a week or a month. The strategies should be incorporated into the curriculum and practiced or spiral reviewed throughout the year, rather than in an isolated unit of instruction. Creating an anchor chart for math strategies is a great visualize for students to reference.
Ideas for small group tutoring
While students are working to gain fluency with their math facts, manipulatives should be readily available! In this case, students are using the part part whole strategy with counters. Seasonal erasers or unifix cubes also work well.
Math strategy for building fluency with basic facts
Composing and decomposing numbers and number bonds will build number sense and automaticity with math facts.
A great way to let students have continual practice with this skill is to let them "play teacher." It is great for math centers, math workshop, or independent practice. Students use manipulatives and create their own math problems and answers. If you have a student that needs a little more direction, you can give the student a baggie of dominoes to use when creating his or her problems. Dominoes are set up like parts of a whole, so it will guide the child.
Part Part Whole Strategy for teaching addition and subtraction
To save paper at math centers, you can slide pages inside of dry erase pockets. Students can self check with the answer key!
Addition and subtraction activities to use throughout the year in math centers and math workshop.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Word Work & Spelling with Pool Noodles

Hands on word work activities
Have you seen them? Pool noodles are everywhere... especially Pinterest. I'm here to share my ideas on using pool noodles for word work, spelling, and sight word activities in the classroom or for your homeschooler.
Keep reading for my "oopsie" moments as well!
Literacy center ideas for Pre K, Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade
If you are wondering why pool noodles are all the craze, let me tell you why...CHEAP. QUIET. EASY TO FIND. TACTILE. FUN.
Seriously, pool noodles are my new favorite manipulatives because they are so inexpensive and don't make any noise! They are colorful, easy to manipulate, and perfect for fine motor skills. You can stock your literacy centers with pool noodles for building sight words, practicing spelling words, creating word families, or working on CVC/CVCe words for just a couple bucks. 
Literacy activities using pool noodles
I was cutting my pool noodles while my littles were napping. My cat was very skeptical. She couldn't imagine what we were going to do with all of these.
Independent activity for Word Work literacy center
As soon as my preschooler saw these, he was all over it. He wanted to build every word he knew! He started with his name and then progressed to some simple sight words that we keep on index cards. We worked together on this activity, but he could also work independently by using the sight word cards to build his towers. These noodle letters are great for building spelling words and word families too.
Literacy activities for homeschool, preschool, kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade 
Here is my #1 tip for teachers and homeschoolers who are planning to run to the Dollar Store to bring this activity to life for their kiddos... Think about which way you write the letters on the noodle pieces. When I first started writing with a Sharpie, I was writing them all sideways. OOPS moment #1. Here is my next tip- think about how you want kids to build the words. Do you want them to build towers like this? If so, a paper towel holder from the Dollar Tree is perfect. If you would rather them build the words horizontally, like they are written, you will want to use something like a dowel rod instead. 
Tactile, fun, cheap, DIY idea for elementary classrooms
This is my four-year old, Reed, when he first started building his name. He started with R, so he ended up spelling "deer." Oops #2. 
Tactile, hands on, engaging activity for preschool, Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade students
I'm loving pool noodles for hands on, easy, and fun additions to any Pre K, Kindergarten, 1st grade, or 2nd grade literacy center! I would love to find out how you use noodles in your classroom or with your homeschooler. Leave a comment and share your ideas!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Journal Writing: 100 Creative Writing Prompts for Kids

There are two kinds of writers in the world. The first have an endless assortment of ideas that magically pop into their heads when it is time to begin writing. The rest of us look like this...
100 Journal Writing Prompts for Upper Elementary
Frustrated. Annoyed. Defeated. Tired.
I don't want students to feel like this when it is time to write in their journals or work at the writing station, so I created a solution to this problem... 100 Creative Writing Prompts.
100 Writing Prompts for Kids
Here is the best part. I formatted them so they can be printed on 2x4 labels. So when it's time to start writing, and you have a kiddo that says, "I don't know what to write about," you simply let them choose a sticker label with a writing prompt on it. They peel it off, stick it in their journal, and get started! You can get a huge pack of labels on Amazon for super cheap. You could use these for an instant writing station. Just add some paper, journals, fun pencils & pens, and the writing prompts, and you are all set.
Fun and easy ideas for writing
If you don't want to buy labels, you can print the writing prompts on colored card stock. Laminate for durability, and then store them inside of an index card filing box. You can also hole punch them and put them on a metal binder ring. 
Creative writing prompts for journals and writing center
Quick and easy writing lesson for upper elementary
Writer's block no more! Happy Writing! Get them HERE.
Fun writing prompts for any occasion

Friday, August 4, 2017

Ten Frame Activities for Addition & Subtraction

Math manipulatives, ten frames, addition and subtraction
Ten Frames are awesome. Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade students can work on so many essential concepts including number sense, subitizing, counting on, addition, subtraction, basic facts, making ten, and more. I HEART TEN FRAMES, and I hope you will too, after reading this blog post! 
Fun, easy, engaging activities for math stations
Ten Frames are a part of many direct teach lessons, but I utilize them to spiral review in math stations, as well as small groups and tutoring. Ten Frames are concrete, and I like that we can swap out manipulatives to make it fun and engaging. Add tweezers, pinchers, and grabbers to make it even more exciting and fine tune those fine motor skills! DONUT HOLE MATH!
Fun and easy ideas for math small groups Kindergarten and 1st grade
Engaging and fun math ideas for K-2 students
I created four sets in this resource: Addition, Subtraction, Mixed Set, & a Challenge Set.
Ideas for storing the cards...
1. Laminate & put them in baggies
2. Index Card Filing Box
3. School Supply Box
4. Dollar Store Photo Album! 
(See video below)
My other favorite way to use these cards is for a class "scavenger hunt." When the students are at lunch or specials, I will hang a set of the cards around the room in random hiding places. When they return, I will give them a recording sheet and let them go hunt throughout the classroom to find the cards. It's such a fun and interactive way to practice the skills they need to be review. Math is so fun!
Fun and easy idea for math centers in Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade
Fun ideas for math centers and small group tutoring
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