Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sight Words: 5 Ways to Engage with Sight Words in the Classroom

I absolutely love working with sight words. Over the years I have tried to come up with new and engaging activities for sight words that I know my students would enjoy. Here are a few ! Hope you try them out. I know your kids will enjoy them too. There are lots of goodies and freebies in this post so be sure to read all the way through. 
Usually with sight words, I start out by first assessing my kids. Every child will come to you on a different level. It's important to know where they are and where you are planning to take them. I teach first grade so I know that some of my students are coming to me not knowing some of their kinder words.  I start with the kinder list of words first to get students at least caught up with their kinder words.
I test all my kids on the kinder words using these general assessment sheets placed in individual data folders that I prep over the summer. Use whatever kinder sheets your school or district uses. Note that as the year goes on some of your kids catch on to new words anyway through exposure within your classroom and so I never wait until the whole class is caught up on kinder words to start the first grade list.
After I finish assessing all the students on kinder words, it looks a bit like this. My copy here looks a bit messy but  remember it is a working tool because I am individualizing to get most to all my kids caught up. I check off what they know and put a little dash on the ones they don't know. Then whenever I have time, I will call over individual students to do a flash review with them. Of course you can make it cute and neater than what I have here but this is pretty much how I have done it just to get a preview of their gaps.
As the months go on and they learn the words that I have marked with a dash, I place the date beside the words to show when they actually got it right. It looks something like this. It starts to look better with fewer yellow marks and  fewer dashes which is what we want.
Doing an individualized sight word data folder enables me to  get to know each of my 
kiddos personally  in this area and work with them to effectively achieve their reading goals. For their flash review, I have their specific kinder words on little index cards or on large computer paper and run through them when I call them over.  These are examples of the flashcards I individualize for each student . I place them in their sight word folders that I created for each student. This helps me keep track of  exactly what words I am working on specifically for that child. 

I add the first grade list usually in the folder behind the kinder words. As a class we work on 5 first grade words a week. That ends up being about 20 a month. I assess at the end of the month for the first grade words. It has worked well this way for the years I have been doing it. I place the words each week on our sight word wall. Last year I didn't do the regular ABC order type word wall just because I want the wall to double as a center where they go and place different words in ABC order themselves. So last year our walls were in rows of 15-20. Kids would go over to the wall and place the words in ABC order or write sentences with some of the 20 words we have been working on all month. This was challenging yet engaging and it kept the words fresh in their mind. Here is what our sight word wall looked like at the beginning of the year.

Next, I record how many words they know on my master sight word record sheet. I must tell you, I am so glad I made these. They are a life saver. I  hate having to look multiple places for their sight word information and though I keep their sight word assessments in a folder, I am not gonna pick up those folders and bring them to data meetings with me. It's way too much. I created this MASTER SIGHT WORD CHECKLIST so I can have a quick and easy snapshot of all my kids at the same time. It is so helpful and easy to use. Did I mention that it is also free and editable. Download here:SIGHT WORD MASTER

Now here are a few ways we have fun while we are learning. 

This is one of my favorites and a sure motivator. So this took a lot of work but it was so worth it. When I explained what these were, all  my kiddos were pumped and excited to learn the words on their monthly sight word list. I did the hard work so you wouldn't have to :). This is completely editable by the way. Get them here: SIGHT WORD BANDS.

I prepped these in advance over the summer and placed them in little tubs by set. They are the Fry's first 100 words but it is editable so you can add your own district words or whatever you use. I added sets of 10 and sets of 20. We used the sets of 20. At the end of the month we have  a little award ceremony and my little friends get their sight word bands if they can say all the words correctly. I encouraged them to say them to teachers in the hallway and to their parents when they get home. They absolutely love this ! It gave them something to look forward to at the end of the month.

This is also on the list of favorites. You can use anything that is safe to hop on but I simply made this one out of Astrobright paper .  You can stick it down with some painter's tape. I only choose up to 17 words as review words from the 20 that we have for the month. You can also do this outside with chalk but it is so much fun in the classroom .

If you have a hard surface, it is easier to tape down than on the carpet. Laminate for durability.  Make this a sight word center. Be consistent and change out the words each month and watch their word count go up.

Just type the words you need in a powerpoint file. Get some fun colors and go for it.

When I came up with the idea for this comprehension and sight word combo, I had not idea what I was doing but I knew I wanted it to be a fun and meaningful activity. Sure your kiddos will learn the sight words in isolation but will they still be able to recognize it and apply it in context? This super fun activity helps with that problem. My kids loved the challenge when I introduced these. It became the highlight of our center rotations, especially with my higher students. They absolutely loved the challenge of cutting out multiple words and finding the pieces that fit perfectly in the puzzle. It became a good and meaningful challenge for them.
So first the kids pick a story that they want to read. These are seasonally themed so I pull out the different sets depending on the season. You can get them here : Sight Word Cut and Paste Passages (Seasons Bundle) They cut out the little pieces and start to read.Next, they paste the words into the right place and throw away the extra words. They read the story to themselves one time and then a second time.
There are three little pictures at the bottom for your kids to color each time they read the story.

After reading the story twice, we all play a little game as a class that I call MUSICAL SHARE. It's played similar to musical chairs except we don't move chairs. All the kids get up and stand behind their chair. I play some music and they move around the room dancing.

When the music stops, they have to find a partner to read the story to. It gets really fun and engaging. We do this a couple rounds so that they get more than one opportunity to read to a friend. I walk around to different groups to hear them read.
It's a great way to get them up and moving while practicing sight words.
There are different formats to these cut and paste passages but they are all fun readers and help the kiddos to retain the sight words they have learned. Get a few center bags ready where they can use multiple times at a station.

    These make easy  centers. Whenever they have choice centers, this is one of the most popular. 

I added velcro so they can stick the correct word in place for these comprehension centers.

They are stored in ziplock bags in my ELA tub for easy access. 

Center time is a blast with these.

You can purchase the entire yearly bundle here: 
They are on a discount price and you get all 11 months filled with informational passages appropriate for the months as well as stories.

They are easy to print and use in your centers in any way that you choose.

A lot of the times I will just place a few of these out at their center station and let them go at it.

Though these are sight word focused. There are ones that are grammar and phonics focused as well.

Get the entire SEASONS BUNDLE by clicking on the picture below.

This little game is so simple and fun. Place sight words on some index cards or colored construction paper. Hide them all around the room.

       Have students close their eyes until you hide the words.
They can only pick up one word so that each child in your class gets a chance. Play a round of music and let students find the words.

When the music stops, they freeze in their spot and and you call on them to call out their word and return the card to you.

I hid this one between two bins in our library. I hide them in trash cans if the trash is emptied. Hide them wherever and have fun with it.  You can do this for a couple rounds. This is a great little game to play if you are homeschooling also and looking for movement activities in learning sight words.

           Can you spot the sight words here?
      Well I have to let you know that my kiddos led the way on this one. I sent them to do something completely different and well...this was the end result. It's great to be able to use things you already have when having fun with sight words. Give students a list of words to make and let their creative powers roll. Add in a little sentence writing with each word for good measure :) 
Be sure to check out the sight word tools I mentioned here in my TPT store. If you are not yet following my store, click the follow button above when you enter my page. 
Check out this sight word free tool below. A lot of teachers have already downloaded and used it. 
Would love to hear from you in the comments about  what you do with sight words. 

Here's a little freebie to get you going. This is an editable sight word list with Fry's First 100 words. Use it however you choose.  Click on the picture to get it. Stay tuned for sight word engagement part two :)