Thursday, 25 April 2013

Learning Sight Words has never been SO MUCH fun!

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Have you ever seen one of your students try to sound out a sight-word?  They segment the sounds into parts, then blend them together perfectly only to find that the word doesn't make sense and neither does the sentence.  That's because we all know that sounding out sight words does not work.  These sight words, high-frequency words or popcorn words as they are often called because they pop up so frequently, all have one thing in common - they must be recognized upon sight, or memorization.  There are so many ways to teach sight words.  Here are a few things we do in class that work and that the kids really enjoy!

Playdough Sight Words
The kids just LOVE the playdough center.  It is a favorite in our class!  Each week I put out the sight words that we are focusing on for them to cover up with their 'spaghetti' dough.  They roll the playdough into thin, long strips before applying it to the word.  It's also great fine-motor practise!  These activities are from my Playdough Literacy and Numeracy Mats Pack.  It includes all uppercase and lowercase letters, all Pre-Primer and Primer Dolch Sight Words as well as numbers, colors and shapes.

Magnetic Letters
So simple and so effective.  The students enjoy manipulating the letters to form new words.  I put out different colored or themed sight words which keeps them interested in this center since there is always something new there.  We often use these when learning new sight words during Guided Reading.

Spot the Word Game
This is a simple game that requires only a flashlight and your sight words.  We play this as a class and use the words from our Word Wall, or I put it out as a center for students to use on a table top.  Students take turns spotting the word with the flashlight.  Or have two flashlights and see who can spot the word first.  I always use the configuration of the word on the word wall so students can see the shape of the word.

Stamping our Sight Words
The students have fun stamping our thematic words, but they also love to stamp in general, so this was the perfect way to help reinforce sight-words.  This activity is from my Trace, Stamp, Write, Cut and Paste it.  The picture is from my Part 1:  Words edition, but I also have a Part 2:  Sentences edition, for more of a challenge.  All Dolch Pre-Primer and Primer words are included.  The pages have the same lay-out so that once students are familiar with what to do, they can do it independently as a center activity.

Step on the Word Sight Word Game
This idea came from my retired K teacher mom.  Thanks mom!  Kids just love games that get them up and moving and this is one of them!  Students do exactly what the game title says...step on the word!  You can play one child at a time or in opposing teams (for a little healthy competition!)  I've just uploaded it as a game to TPT with cute KPM Doodles sneaker clipart.  The pre-primer Dolch sight word list is done, and I'm currently working on the other sight-word lists, so stay tuned!

It's so fascinating to see the students learn and memorize these words through repeated exposure to fun, engaging activities, centers and games!  How do you teach sight words?

Saturday, 20 April 2013

My First Product Swap

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For the past two and a half weeks we have been trying something new in the class - morning work!  When the students would come in the classroom first thing in the morning I usually had thematic name cards set out for them at the carpet.  They would use these to review current skills we were working on in class, but since I have been a part of the Magical Product Swap, organized by Jessica Stanford from Mrs. Stanford's Class, I got to try out and use a fantastic morning work product.  

My product swap partner was Vera, The Tutu Teacher.  Perhaps you know her as Vera from Bedford, Love and Teaching, but her blog got a make-over and so did her name!  She loves to make and wear tutus!  I got to use her April morning work pack and the kids had so much fun with these worksheets.  These activities were great because the students were engaged from the moment they got to school.  There was no 'down' time before announcements began and this was because the students were busy working.  Another fabulous thing about this pack was that it got increasingly more complex as the days progressed.  For example, at the beginning of the month the students would read, then eventually trace the word April, but by mid month they were writing some of the word independently.  The pack also focused on so many skills we were currently working on -identifying sight words, subtraction, reading and writing blends and so much more!  The activities were related to current holidays or thematic days such as Easter, April Fool's Day, National Poetry Month and so much more.  We didn't get to do the April Fool's Page since we were on our Easter holiday that day, but all the activities were SO MUCH FUN!  Check out our morning work activities:

My kiddos are so used to circling the words they know in our poems or Read-Along pages that I didn't even have to tell them (and it wasn't expected of them), but they did it anyway!  

I love the sound substitution (change rain into train) and fine-motor printing practise.

The kids loved the word search pages!  This little one was doing mental math and didn't need to cross off or cover up the eggs to subtract.

Here we are circling sight words and applying knowledge of using the word in a sentence (capital letter for the beginning).

I love the visual on this little ones drawing representing "it's as hot as an oven!"  Sweat is just oozing off this person!

Here we are putting the life cycle of a chicken in order.

Here is another great visual.  In this drawing, her hand is WAY up in the air (touching the sky) - the box is that light!

Vera also used one of my products in her class.  Click here to check out her blog and find out what product she used!
The Tutu Teacher

Vera has a morning work pack available for all the months, so click the image below to go check out the April morning work pack and the rest of her TPT store.  

Thank you to Jessica Stanford (for organizing the Product Swap) and to Michelle, The 3 am Teacher for the graphics.  Click here to see who else has joined in the fun!

I'm going to leave you with something one of my littles asked me that just made my day...
Little:  "Mrs. Parisi....(pause:  thinking)...are you a grown-up?" hehehe
Wishing the 'kid' in everyone a good weekend!  

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Week two with dinosaurs

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Since I teach full day, alternate day Kindergarten, my students either see me 2 or 3 times a week.  That really isn't enough time to get through everything there is to explore and discover with a theme or topic, so we usually do our themes for at least 2 weeks.  It was quite fitting learning about dinosaurs this past week since while we thought Spring was on its way, we felt like we were in the ice age!  We had a very bad ice storm.  The trees were frozen stiff and when the wind would blow it sounded like a bowl of Rice Krispies (Snap! Crackle! Pop!) only MUCH louder!  Well, it might have been blistering outside, but we were having fun learning inside.  Here are some more dinosaur activities we did this week.

This is our dinosaur pocket chart activity.  We practised writing our color words and reading with intonation (voice inflection goes up for a question and reads with excitement for an exclamation).

We graphed our favourite dinosaur and then wrote facts about them in our journals.
My favourite dinosaur is a Stegosaurus.  It has spikes on its back.

My favourite dinosaur is a Triceratops.  It has 3 horns.
My favourite dinosaur is a T-Rex.  It has Sharp teeth.

Here are our literacy centers for the week:

Making words.  We found little words within the big word 'Dinosaur' and recorded our findings.

Writing our CVC words.

Working with the blends br-, tr-, st-.

We reviewed our vowel sounds and found the middle vowel sound in the word.  I always sing this little song with the kids (it's from my daughter's Leapfrog Making Words DVD)
They're the vowels
They're the glue
They stick the words together
Stick the words together!
As a class we brainstormed Dinosaurs can, have, are...
and then the students used these words to personalize their own dinosaur with our finger-paint activity.

All the activities above are from my Dinosaurs Math and Literacy Activities.

We wrote our dinosaur words around our classroom.  This activity from my teaching partner, Alessia Albanese.

We had a special day when we were Paleontologists.  We had our own special hats and of course, we needed tools.  The kids had a blast 'digging' out bones (okay, they were chocolate chips) out of the ground (okay, it was out of a cookie).  Our tool was a popsicle stick (you could also use a toothpick).  They counted how many bones (chocolates) they found and recorded their answers.  Our Reading Buddies in Grade 3 helped us out with this activity.  Then we got to eat our cookies!  Mmmmm!

We stamped our dinosaur thematic words.  This activity is from my Dinosaurs Trace, Stamp, Color, Cut and Paste it.

I wish I could show pictures of what a great time the kids had, but our School Board does not allow we we are (the teachers) having a great time!  Pictured below:  Mrs. Albanese, me (I'm not really that short...I'm squatting so you can see the cute paleontologist on the door!), and Ms. Bucci (student teacher).

Have a great week!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

And the winner is...

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Thanks everyone for participating in this flash giveaway.  The winner is...
#5:  Lori!!!  Check your inbox (or junk filter if it's set to exclusive!) for the file.
Check back everyone for more freebies, giveaways and classroom ideas!
Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Having a 'Rawr'ing good time with Dinosaurs and a Giveaway

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Dinosaurs has to be one of the most fun units to teach!  The kids (and myself!!!) just love it!  It is so interesting to learn facts about these mysterious creatures that lived so very long ago.  I like to begin units by showing the kids thematic pictures, seeing if they can identify what the picture is and talk a little bit about it.  I then put these pictures (with the words beneath) at the writing center with thematic paper for them to use for creative writing.  I made these thematic vocabulary cards years ago with a simple dinosaur template and thematic words.
I've uploaded it as a FREEBIE to TPT, with newer, cuter clipart.  Click the picture below to grab your free copy!
We then looked at vocabulary cards from my Dinosaur unit and matched the definitions to the cards.  Their little mouths did a really good job pronouncing some really BIG words - om-ni-vore, pal-e-on-tol-o-gist, car-ni-vore!  

These were our math activities for the week:

We reviewed all different kinds of patterns and the kiddos chose their own stegosaurus plate pattern.  Look at the detail on this one!  This kiddo was loving this activity!  This idea is from the internet.  If it is your original idea, please let me know so I can give you credit!

The rest of the ideas are from my Dinosaur's Math and Literacy Activities.
We have mastered numbers 1 to 10, so we are now working on numbers 11 to 20.  We pointed out places in our classroom where students could look if they needed a visual to help them order the numbers (calendar, number chart, number line).  They did a great job with this!

Addition is a new skill.  We have worked with making and breaking sets, but this was one of the first introductions to the addition (plus) and equals symbols.  I was so impressed with my littles, and loved hearing their self-talk.  "I know! Six plus six equals 12!"

This was a fun little activity where students had to 'deliver' the bones to the museum.  Isn't this time of year wonderful in Kindergarten!  The kids have grown so much and show such patience and maturity.  This is the time when we get asked if we'd like to teach Kindergarten again next year and we all say "YES! YES! YES!" while the go to bed at 7:00 p.m. days of September are all but a flicker of memory!  All joking aside, teaching kindergarten really is the best job in the world!  With this activity, I was so proud of how all the kids took turns so well!

When there are no bulletin boards left, I use the walls, windows and curtain shades for displays of student work and for thematic posters.

 These are four (out of eight) dinosaur posters from my Dinosaur unit.

We are having a 'rawr'ing good time with all of our Dinosaur activities, and I'd like to share these activities with you.  I will be giving away my Dinosaurs Math and Literacy Activities Pack to one lucky winner through  If you would like a chance to win, simply leave a comment below.  
The winner will be announced Sunday, April 7th at 8 a.m.
Good luck!