Monday, August 1, 2016

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sight Word Candyland

Wondering what to do with extra board games you just don't use anymore!!??  Recreate them into games for your classroom!  There are tons of games you can find in your home your family no longer uses or when you are out browsing for some cheap games for your classroom at yard sales.

Spice up your literacy center with this recreated game - Sight Word Candyland!  My kindergarten students love Sight Word Candyland and you can recreate it for your pre-k students, firsties or second grade students in only a few minutes!  Below I list different ways grade levels can differentiate the game and directions on how to create it in only 3 steps!

Materials Needed:
  1. Candyland Board Game and Playing Cards
  2. Black marker
Directions for Creating:
  1. Determine a specific skill you would like your students to practice with their new literacy center (alphabet recognition, sight words, blending cvc or nonsense words, etc.)  See the list below of differentiated ideas for different grade levels.
  2. Use a black marker and write on the playing cards.  I wrote my sight words on the white part of the playing cards.
  3. Laminate the playing cards so they stay fresh for years to come!  This game is very loved in my classroom and the cards and board game gets used heavily.  If you laminate the cards you will be able to use the game for longer.
  1. Pre-K/Preschool/HeadStart/Kindergarten/1st grade/2nd Grade
  2. Literacy Centers/Word Work Centers
  3. Small Group Instruction/Guided Reading Groups
  4. RTI/Interventions
Ideas for Differentiation Between Grade Levels:

Pre-Kindergarten/Pre-School/Head Start Programs could differentiate this game by writing Alphabet letters (Uppercase & Lowercase) on the playing cards.

Kindergarten - depending on if you are half day or full day you can choose from many different skills.  You should also determine when in the school year you would like to use this game.  I wrote sight words on the game because we focus on Fry Words 1-50 and we are constantly reviewing these throughout the entire year. It makes the game useful for many months.  

I typically begin using this game for sight words in my full day kindergarten classroom after the first 25 Fry Words have been introduced (December/January).  There are many other uses for this game other than sight word practice for kindergarten.  Alphabet letters on the cards would be useful for the beginning of the year.  You could even make it more challenging and  write CVC or Nonsense Words on the cards to practice blending phonemes.  

1st/2nd Grade could differentiate this game by writing sight words you focus on at your grade level.  You could also focus more on blending phonemes.  You could do this by writing the following types of words with these letter patterns: CVC, Nonsense Words, Digraphs, Blends, Silent e, Vowel Teams, R-Controlled Vowels, etc.  The sky is the limit for you!  Just determine what time of year your would like to use the game during.

Have fun creating this new literacy center for your classroom!  Your students will LOVE it!

If you are looking for more ways to practice sight word fluency or letter naming fluency check out two of my products below.  Visit my store, Kindergarten Smarties, for a Fluency Bundle that includes practice with letter naming, sight words, CVC, Nonsense Words, and Words with Digraphs!

Letter Naming Practice Sheets
Sight Word Practice Sheets

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Kindergarten - Summer Letter Home!

Every summer I send a summer letter home to my future kindergarten students and their parents.  I find that it can be difficult to find the right words to say.  I have included a FREE letter in this post for you to download to help you write your own summer letter to your future kinders!

You can download it for FREE at TeachersPayTeachers.  FREE Kindergarten Summer Letter Home

The product you download comes with directions on how to use it.  I only provide one sample letter in a word document format.  You can then edit it as you wish.  You will want to change my name to your name, my school building to the building you teach at, etc.

The product has 7 pages:
Page 1 - Directions
Page 2 - Sample letter - borderless.
Pages 3-7 - Sample letter with 5 different borders

In the FREE download, I included a letter on borderless paper (Page 2 of the product) for a few reasons.  I like to print on colorful store bought paper.  I usually buy colorful decorated paper for a $4-5 dollars and print my borderless letter on that. I think the letter pops a little more, looks exciting, and it appears as if I spent a lot of time on sending the letter.  It is another first look at you from the parents.  The mommies and daddies want to know that you care about their sweet little one and their new experience of school!

In the FREE download, I included the letter on different borders (Pages 3-7 of the product), just in case you don't have time to run out to the store, and you need these letters printed asap. : )  You can print them on card stock and colored paper to make them look more appealing.  Just pick the border you like, the kind of paper you want to print on, print, and send.  You can see the borders below...


You can download my summer letter for FREE at TeachersPayTeachers.  FREE Kindergarten Summer Letter Home


Sunday, October 26, 2014

What Children Really Need Most...

As parents and teachers, we get so caught up with time.  During my school day, I am constantly racing against the clock to fit in my whole group reading lesson and then trying to meet with all my small groups for their guided reading instruction.  After that, I need to make sure I get in my whole group mini writing lesson followed by meeting with my small groups for their writing instruction.  Finally, I breathe for a moment during lunch, but that lasts for as long as I am in the bathroom (the first time and probably only time I will use until my students leave for the day).  I rush back to my classroom, set up my math lesson and all of its corresponding manipulatives or station materials which is followed by prep time which then I prep my room again for science.  

The race with the clock is what makes my day fly on by, but some days I wonder...Did I remember to ask Joey about his pet hamster that passed away the day before or did I see how Olivia did at her soccer game that she has been talking about all week.  

There is so much pressure to get all of our academic instruction in that we forget about What Children Need Most.  I have this printed out (just a small copy) in a place in my room that I know I will look every morning before I start my day.  It reminds me that children need love and respect.  They need to be listened to and to have fun.  They need affection, smiles, and hugs.

Every morning I look at this and it helps me.  Children won't remember that they learned to read or do math when they were in your classroom.  They will remember how you made them feel when they were with you...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Parent Involvement

The National Education Association (NEA) reported in 2009 that high parent involvement results in higher student achievement than students receiving low parent involvement. 

Stay involved in your child’s education. 
  • Play games when you are at home. 
  • Go on a letter or word hunt
  • Read stories together
  • Count items in your house
  • When you and your child are driving in the car, have your child tell you the letters, numbers or words he or she sees. 
  • In the car you can play addition games.  Give you child a math story.  For example, “I bought 3 red apples at the store and then I bought one more.  How many apples did I buy?”  Your child can use fingers to figure it out. 
  • Include your child in cooking dinner and use math to help
  • At sporting events, go on a number hunt.  Ask your child, "What numbers do you see on the players' jerseys?" or "What is the score of the game?"
  • Use money to count and skip count.  Children love money because they can see how it directly relates to real life experiences!
Stay involved!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Drop and Count - Math Game

Last week we played ‘Drop and Count.’  Play this game at home with your child or play with your students in your kindergarten classroom.  The game works on one-to-one correspondence and number sense.  The variations of the game work on addition and subtraction concepts.  See pictures of the children below!


  • Hard small items (pennies, beans, legos)
  • A tray (baking sheet, cooking pan)
  • Two people

Directions: One person closes their eyes and they must count the items being dropped.  The other person drops the items one at a time.  Once all the items are dropped, ask “How many?”  The partner with their eyes closed now knows they can open their eyes and give the answer.

Variations:  Integrate addition and subtraction problems to challenge your child.  After the items are dropped and counted the partner who dropped the items can ask addition/subtraction problems.  “How many pennies would be left if I took away one?”  or “How many legos would there be all together if I add two?”