Hello! I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during the quarantine. Today I wanted to share some tips and tricks for teaching sight words to early elementary students. I am writing this from a classroom standpoint, but if you are reading this as a parent, you can certainly take the ideas and use them for your child.
In our school we teach the Fountas and Pinnell high frequency words. There are 25 words in kindergarten, 50 words in first grade and 100 in second grade. If a kindergarten student masters their word list before the end of the year, I will start to teach them the first grade word list. These high frequency words are important to teach students because they appear often in the leveled books they will be reading. If students are able to recognize some words, they can focus on sounding out the words they don’t know and still have some understanding of the text.
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1. Introduce Each Sight Word
I like to introduce 2 sight words a week. We discuss how many letters the word has and how many of those letters are consonants /vowels. I also ask students to use the word in a sentence. If a word has more than one spelling (for, four) we discuss any misuse of the word as it comes up. While flashcards aren’t my favorite, I do use them for a quick, daily practice the sight words we have already learned.
Kindergarten has changed so much over the years with many Kindergarten programs going from a half day to full day and with more academic content and skills. This is how I set up our daily schedule on a typical day. This is the order I like to keep for our schedule, but it may vary slightly since our specials times vary from day to day.
Arrival (25 minutes)
After students unpack and make their lunch choice, they do a morning worksheet. This year I plan on implementing a soft start approach to our morning (students choose a preferred activity to help adjust to the school day) I am working on getting activities together to implement this soon. I will do a separate post on soft start mornings later on.
Over the course of 20 years kindergarten has changed so much and the requirements have increased immensely. Kindergarten isn’t just a time for students to learn letter names and sounds, but by the end of the school year they are also expected to put letter sounds together to read and write. As a kindergarten teacher, we spend the first few months of school reviewing letter names and sounds, but this moves at a quick pace. In general, students who come into kindergarten having some letter and sounds knowledge have an easier time later on when we begin to put sounds together to read and write.
Teaching toddlers and preschoolers letters is a great way to give children an introduction to letter names and sounds that will make kindergarten easier later on. Learning the alphabet can be fun and should be incorporated into play. By starting them early they become immersed in letters and sounds that will later help them be successful in reading.
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Start by teaching meaningful letters
Don’t worry about teaching letter names in order from A to Z as this is often not the best approach. Picking one or two meaningful letters to focus on at first is a good start so your child doesn’t get overwhelmed. Once your child learns a letter, add another one to practice (but don’t stop practicing the first, you don’t want them to forget what they already learned)
Teaching a child the letters in their name is a great way to start introducing letter names. Connecting letters to something important to them helps get them interested and helps them retain the information. Other letters to teach when first getting started could be M for mom, D for dad, B for ball, S for Superman etc. Focus on what your child is interested in. Dawson is into animals right now so we have taught him E for elephant, L for lion and T for tiger.
Dawson is 2.5 years old, so right now we are only focusing on uppercase letter names. If you are teaching a child that is a little bit older they may do well with learning the letter name and sound. For younger children I recommend starting with capital letters because they are a bit easier for kids to remember.
Part of our nightly routine is to read a book or two before bed. For the past week or so, Dawson has chosen to read his animal alphabet book. As we read each page
I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer! I can’t believe how fast it is flying by. Today I wanted to share with you how to find inexpensive books. Whether you are looking for books for your own personal collection, or if you are a teacher wanting to build your classroom library. It can get pricey, but it is possible to build a library on a budget.
1. Garage Sales
Garage sales are a wonderful way to find books for about .50 to $1 each. Keep your eye out for retiring teacher garage sales too.
2. Facebook Marketplace and Garage Sale Groups
I have found large bundles of books on Facebook Market Place that people were selling for cheap, although these can be a bit of a hit or miss. Because these books are sold as a lot, they are often much cheaper than purchasing individually.
3. Library Sales
Check to see if your local library has any book sales. Both of our local libraries have large sales a few times a year where they sell old library books and books from the community. The larger library in our city has a permanent bookstore that is open a few days each week. I have found a nice variety of adult and children’s books for $1 each.
Congratulations on your new teaching job! Being a first year teacher is exciting, but can also be overwhelming at times. Here are 10 tips and tricks to help your first year teaching be successful and help you have a great year.
1. Before the first day of school, create a well thought out classroom management plan.
As a first year teacher, this is probably the most important thing you can do before your students arrive on the first day. Think through your classroom management plan and what routines and procedures you want students to practice those first few weeks of school. Stay consistent with your expectation and review the rules often. Think through:
What classroom rules will your class use?
What consequences will students have for not following the rules?
Will you set up a reward system?
How will students get your attention?
When can students use the bathroom, get a drink, sharpen pencils, etc?
How will you hold students accountable for incomplete work?
What will students do once they are finished with their assignment?
How will you communicate with families?
2. Build relationships with your students
Greet them at the door each morning and learn about them and their interests. This helps so much with setting up a positive classroom community.