Thursday, July 24, 2014

Diggin' into Next Year!



I'm linking up with the fabulous Laura Graham, from Where the Magic Happens


 Laura coordinated this wonderful series where teachers dig into next year.  I had great plans to participate all summer, but then life happened!  I actually enjoyed my summer vacation and had lots of fun with my girls! I have gotten so many fantastic ideas through this linky.  I'm joining in now for one of my favorite topics:  

Phonics and Word Study!

Phonics and Word Study!

When my little first graders begin the year, they are at such different places!  Some are reading chapter books and others are still working on letter names and sounds! I'm sure you probably find the same thing with your kiddos.  But one thing all children have in comon is they like to have fun!  Well, don't you?   Would you rather do a worksheet or play a game?  I think the kids feel the same way!  That's why I use games to reinforce the concepts I teach in class.    This is especially true with word work and phonics!

I love the way our first grade team introduces and reinforces learning the sight words.  We've had great results and it's easy to organize!  The students feel and are successful.  At the beginning of the year we assess all students' sight word vocabulary. We can differentiate to meet the needs of all students.  

After assessing, each student receives a sight word list that is appropriate for them.  This list is kept in their reading baskets.  A paper copy is sent home for additional practice.  Then Word Work activities provide reinforcement.  

Each week we introduce 5 sight words to our students.  We don't use the sight words from the Language Arts Program.  We're lucky to work at a school where we can make those kind of decisions! We use the Dolch High Frequency Word list (Download this freebie) and introduce the words in order! This way we know that our students are learning to read the words that appear most frequently in print! Isn't that what we want!  

In addition to sight words, we introduce a spelling pattern each week.  For this, we do follow the Language Arts Program (Harcourt).  We adopted this program many years ago and we find the order in which it introduces the spelling patterns works better than programs we've used in the past. 

In my class, I also have my students practice reading nonsense words!  This helps  kids with fluency and building their confidence.  But how do I do all of this and keep all of my kids engaged and learning at their own level?   Games!  

Games! I teach my students how to play certain games at the beginning of the year when we are learning our new routines.   The games are simple variations of UNO, Go Fish, and Memory Match. After the students understand how to play the games, the only thing I have to do is change the words and theme.   The kids always feel like the game is different, but really it's just "fresh"!  For example, when we are studying penguins, the word work game will be "Go Fish", "Arctic Freeze" or "Tacky Uno".  When we study rainforests, the spelling game will be "Rainforest Uno" or "Save the Rainforest".   The games "look" different, but the students are still practicing sight words or spelling patterns!

These games work well during our "Working with Words" portion of our Daily 5! 



Last year, our team of First Grade Teachers implemented the Daily 5!  Well, we did our best!  We modified it to meet our students' needs and we thought we did a pretty good job!  Then we read the 2nd edition of the Daily 5!  Guess what!  Most of the modifications we had made, are discussed in the book!  I love that "the sisters" are teachers and are reflective and willing to change!  That's what we do everyday in our profession:   adapt, accommodate and differentiate!





This year I plan to continue using the Daily 5 model (I'm looking so forward to it!)  and implement the changes discussed in the 2nd edition! I'm so excited for the year because now I have one year of Daily 5 under my teaching belt.  I know that I would need to restructure the model for this year and after reading the 2nd edition, I feel empowered to do just that!  

I love the way our first grade team introduces and reinforces learning the sight words.  We've had great results and it's easy to organize!  The students feel and are successful.  So I won't change a thing in that department! 




I hope you'll check out some of our games and see if your students enjoy reinforcing concepts through play!  


Beginning of the year Assessments
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Thanks for reading!  Don't forget to head over to Where the Magic Happens and check out the other bloggers participating in this Blog Hop!