This post contains some of my favorite sight word activities and resources to help your students practice those sight words and high frequency words. If you haven’t read part 1 (Sight word instructional tips), be sure to do that as it contains information about research based teaching strategies. These all focus on ways for the child to actually read / say the word and use in a sentence, not merely matching, copying, or building the word. Here goes!!
Notice that in all of these methods, the students need to read and say the word (and perhaps use it in a sentence). Be sure your sight word activities reinforce these. Activities in which students just merely match, stamp, copy, write in different colors, recreate with letter tiles, etc. do very little to help them really know the word. Have FUN!!!
What other sight word activities have you tried that you’d like to share? Take care, friends!
]]>Sight words are those which students can identify automatically without the need to decode. They often do not follow phonics “rules.” Examples: who, all, you, of. They may include some high frequency words (HFW). High frequency words are those which occur most often in reading and writing. By learning 100 of the HFW, a beginning reader can access about 50% of text. According to Fry, these 13 words account for 25% of words in print: a, and, for, he, is, in, it, of, that, the, to, was, you.
When are students ready to learn sight words? According to the experts from Words Their Way (Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton), student need to have a more fully developed concept of word. Concept of Word is the ability to track a memorized text without getting off track, even on a 2-syllable word. In other words, does the child have a one-to-one correspondence with words? When tracking, does their finger stay under a 2-syllable word until it is finished, or are they moving from word-to-word based on the syllable sounds they hear? In the sentence shown, does a student move their finger to the next word after saying ap- or do they stay on the whole word apple before moving on? Students in the early Letter-Name Stage (ages 4-6) start to understand this concept. It becomes more fully developed mid to later stages of Letter Names (ages 5-8).
Students with a basic concept of word are able to acquire a few words from familiar stories and text they have “read” several times or memorized. Students with a full concept of word can finger point read accurately and can correct themselves if they get off track. They can find words in text. Therefore, many sight words are acquired after several rereadings of familiar text.
Instructional Strategies KG-2nd Grade
1. To help children gain concept of word:
2. Explicit Instruction: Dedicated time each day for sight word work
3. Flash Card Practice (Research based method) with no more than 10 words:
4. Word Wall Suggestions:
What are your thoughts on sight word? We would love to hear success stories from you!
P.S. This was a revised article on sight words from one I published earlier. Stay tuned for more sight word strategies and activities.
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Last week I reposted my blog regarding use of number lines to assist students with number sense and rounding. Check it out for free activities and rounding charts. Today I am sharing some more rounding activities I developed and used with students to practice (with either whole numbers or decimals). These activities can be varied to suit your students’ needs.
These grid templates are to use the activities with 2-4 students (or teacher vs. student if working one-on-one online). I developed 3 different grid sizes (4 x 4, 5 x 5, and 6 x 6). You will also need something to generate numbers for each set of players:
The objective of the game is for a player to capture 4, 5, or 6 squares in a row (horizontally, vertically, diagonally). You decide based on the size of the grid and the skill level of the players how many captured squares are needed.
The teacher can write in possible answers on the grid and laminate for continued use (samples below). Then students can use a game piece (flat stones, two-color counters, etc.) or different color dry erase marker to mark their square.
Here are some different variations of the game (whole number rounding to nearest 10, 100, 1000 and decimal rounding to the nearest tenth or hundredth).
Rounding to the nearest ten: You can use the blank grid to write in your own numbers randomly. Consider which number generated options you are using. If you use 1-6 dice, the biggest number on the board has to be 70 and remember there’s only 2 ways to achieve 70 (by rolling a 6 and 5 or a 6 and 6). If you use 1-9 dice or number cards, then you can place numbers from 10-100 on the board. This gives a few more options and a chance to round higher numbers.
Rounding to the nearest hundred:
Rounding to the nearest thousand:
Rounding to the nearest tenth:
Rounding to the nearest hundredth:
Other tips for playing:
Let me know if you try these! Pass along any extra tips you have.
Also, a reminder to contact me if you would like personalized professional development over any reading or math strategy. I can do a Zoom session with you or a group of teachers. Flexible payment options. Also, check out my link on the side bar for Varsity Tutors regarding the opportunity for you to tutor students online or in person (and earn a bonus for using my name).
Take care, stay safe!!!
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I get requests from many teachers to help with instructional strategies regarding rounding, so I am happy to share my thoughts (and freebies) with you. Difficulty with rounding usually means students lack number sense. The essential goal of rounding is: Can you name a benchmark number (whole, tens, hundreds, thousands, tenths, hundredths, etc.) that a given number is closer to? I have found the more experience a student has with number lines, the better they will be with number sense, and the better they are with rounding to the nearest ___. Then this rounding practice must be applied to real world problems to estimate sums, differences, products, or quotients.
When doing a google search for tips on rounding (ie Pinterest), you very often find an assortment of rhymes (such as “5 or more let it soar, 4 or less let it rest”) and graphics showing underlining of digits and arrows pointing to other digits. These steps are supposed to help children think about how to change (or round) a number to one with a zero. Many students can recite the rhyme, but then misunderstand the intent, often applying the steps to the wrong digit, showing they really don’t have number sense but are just trying to follow steps.
My answer (and that of other math specialists) is teaching students how to place any number on a number line, and then determining which benchmark number it is closest to. Continue reading to see examples and get some free activities. And watch next week for some new rounding activities for grades 2-6 (whole numbers and decimals).
You may find that just because a student can count sequentially from 0-100 or higher (either orally or in writing) doesn’t mean that they have number sense. This also includes concepts such as greater or less than. Placing a number on a number line is more effective and efficient towards gaining number sense than using an alligator to decide which one he is eating. When using a number line, the “arrows” at the end automatically show the less than and greater than signs.
After students are adept at locating and placing numbers on the number line, they should be noting that the mid-point on number lines involve the use of the digit 5. For example: 15 is half way between 10 and 20; 45 is half way between 40 and 50; 150 is half way between 100 and 200; .15 is half way between .10 and .20.
After these 2 concepts are mastered, then the matter of rounding should be readily apparent. If I am trying to round 37 to the nearest 10,
I can locate 37 on a number line and note that it comes between the benchmark tens of 30 and 40. I know that 35 is half-way between 30 and 40, I know that 37 is more than 35 but less than 40, I know that 37 is 7 away from 30 and 3 away from 40. Therefore, I know that 37 is closer to 40 — so 37 is rounded to 40.
The number line provides a pictorial representation of the number, whereas the underlining and arrow method are abstract processes. You know I preach the CPA progression for understanding (conceptual/concrete, pictorial, abstract). When students have used these concrete and pictorial/visual methods to mastery, then they may begin to mentally process this information. What is 334 rounded to the nearest 100? “This number is between 300 and 400. Because it is less than 350, it is rounded to 300.” or What is 286 rounded to the nearest 10? “This number is between 280 and 290. Because it is 6 away from 280 and only 4 away from 290, then it is closer to 290.”
Here are some examples of how to concretely and pictorially practice this important skill.
The above activity is free here. You will get the large blank number lines plus benchmark numbers to fit any needs (less than 100, 100-1000, and decimals). You will need to create your own target numbers (white cards).
The Rounding Charts (pictured at the beginning of this post) are available free. I have included one for each set of 100. (0-100, 100-200, 200-300, on up to 900-1000).
Two rounding games for rounding decimals are included, free. They are appropriate for 4th – 6th grades: Rounding Round Up Game and Rounding Match.
A blank one-page template of open number lines for rounding is also included free here.
Enjoy!! This was a repost from April 2017. Next week I will post some more rounding activities / games I developed which would be appropriate for 2nd-6th grades (rounding whole numbers as well as decimals). STAY TUNED!!
]]>This is part 2 of a series on ways you can efficiently listen to your students as they read, identify cueing systems the child is using / neglecting, and offer helpful prompts that will guide them as they read. This blog will focus on the Structural Cueing System. Even though this is considered an early reading strategy, there are many intermediate elementary students (and higher) with reading difficulties who would benefit from this type of analysis and prompting.
The second cueing system is the use of (S) Structure or Syntax of our English language. Much of a child’s knowledge about language structures comes as a result of speaking or listening to how language naturally sounds. A reader attempts to make it sound right. Below are 3 possible scenarios with analysis of a child’s possible response.
Using this text: She runs with the puppy.
1. Suppose a student read it this way:
√ ran √ √ √.
She runs with the puppy.
This student is using structure because “She ran . . .” sounds right. He/She is also using M (meaning) because it makes sense. And the child is using visual (V) cues because ran / runs are visually similar.
2. Suppose a student read it this way:
√ runned √ √ √.
She runs with the puppy.
This student is not using structure because “She runned . . .” does not sound structurally / grammatically correct. However, it still makes sense (M) and is still visually similar (V).
3. Suppose a student read it this way:
√ chased – √ √.
She runs with the puppy.
This student is using structure because “She chased the puppy” sounds right. He/She is also using (M) meaning because it makes sense. The child is not using (V) visual cues because chased and runs are not visually similar.
When a child is not using structure, their errors in reading are typically with verb tenses. Often with -ed ending words they will use the wrong pronunciation (such as look-ded), or they will generalize by adding -ed to words which don’t use it to make past tense (runned, swimmed, bited). Or a student may be an English Language Learner – be sensitive to their needs. They may not know what “sounds right.” In that case, you as the teacher should model what it should sound like.
Helpful teacher prompts to help a student monitor for (S) Structure / Grammar:
Remember, it is often most helpful to wait until the child completes the whole sentence before prompting or trying to correct an error. This gives the child an opportunity to monitor themself and perhaps self-correct. If the teacher (or parent) jumps in right away after the error is made, it is the teacher doing the monitoring, not the student.
To assist you with documentation about the child’s cueing system, see part 1 about Running Records. In your notes for the child’s oral reading, write the word they said above the word from the text. Analyze to see if they are making meaning, structural, or visual errors. Does the child tend to use one cueing system over another? What prompts can you offer to help the child monitor their reading and self-correct?
Finally — be sure to let the student know when you notice their self-corrections and montoring. For example: “I noticed you changed the word ‘runned’ for ‘runs’ in the sentence. You made it sound right! Good for you!” This reinforces use (and hopefully continued repetition) of the strategy.
Happy Listening! Next time Visual Cues – Part 3
Clip art courtesy of MS Office.
]]>This has been an incredibly difficult year in so many ways. But during these difficult times, you teachers do what teachers have always done — you show unbelievable flexibility, you adapt to changing situations with a variety of resources, spend countless hours making sure you have the best lessons, and continue to show compassion and caring for your students — because that’s who you are!! I am proud of you, and I want to thank you for hanging in there with me this year. I hope I was able to provide some help as you navigated through uncharted waters.
We are all looking forward to 2021, and hope to get closer to “normal.” I wish the best for you, your family, and your school. May you have a brief respite here at the end of December and time to enjoy it and relax a little bit. Happy Holidays to you! I will resume my blog articles in January.
Take care, be safe!! Cindy Elkins, OK Math and Reading Lady
]]>Taking a running record is written documentation of a child’s oral reading. It consists of listening to a child orally read a passage while you document it as best you can on paper. As the listener, you note errors (such as omissions, insertions, substitutions), pay attention to strategies they are using or neglecting, and are alert to what is easy and what is hard. Many publishers now provide a written page of the text for you to keep track of the child’s reading page by page, while experienced notetakers can do it at a moment’s notice on any blank paper.
I attended a Reading Recovery workshop about mid-way into my teaching career, and heard from two teachers who described how to take a running record and then analyze the results to determine which strategies students were using or neglecting. That one workshop forever changed how I listened to my students read, and how I talked to parents about their child’s reading successes or difficulties. About 8 years after that I had formal training in Reading Recovery methods, and subsequently completed a Masters in Reading . . . all because of that workshop! I learned all mistakes are not equal and provide a huge clue as to what cueing system a child is using. I learned that I can help steer a child toward a neglected strategy by carefully crafted teacher prompts. I learned that there are much more effective prompts than the standard, over-used: “Sound it out.”
The benefits of running records
As a Reading Recovery teacher, I was able to take a running record each day for each child with whom I worked. The results helped me determine which verbal prompts and strategies I needed to emphasize – my instructional plan.
As a classroom teacher, you don’t have the luxury (or time) to do this on a daily basis. Hopefully you can find time to conduct a running record on your students (especially those who have difficulty reading) on a weekly or monthly basis. Click on how-to-do-a-running-record
BUT, here’s the good news!! Even if you can’t take a running record on a regular basis, you can practice listening to students (during your guided reading small group sessions) and learn a little bit about how they process when they read. What kind of errors are they making?
There are 3 cueing systems (sources of information) which good readers utilize to comprehend text. The goal is for readers to integrate all 3 of them.
I will focus on (M) Meaning in Part I.
When a reader comes to a hard word, is he/she only trying to sound it out? Or are they thinking about what makes sense and sounds right? Hopefully, a little of each. A good reader looks at the letters, combined with the structure and meaning of the story to decide what that tricky word could be.
If this was the sentence in the story (supported with illustration):
“Jack and Jill had a pail of water.”
When the reader comes to pail, do they say pill or pal? – which both almost look right, but don’t make sense when using the picture for support. Do they say bucket? – which makes sense, but doesn’t look right. Or do they look at the picture, focus on the /p/ along with the /ai/ and realize it is pail? – because it makes sense, looks right, and sounds right in the sentence. Pail is another word for bucket.
How could I help this child use meaning?
If they had read the whole sentence (without attempting to self-correct it) as: Jack and Jill had a pill (or pal) of water. I might say:
If they had read the whole sentence (without attempting to SC it) as: Jack and Jill had a bucket of water. This child is using meaning!!! Hooray!! I might say:
If there wasn’t a supporting illustration, you could also reason that pill or pal could make sense. Reading only to the point of error: Jack and Jill had a pill. Or, Jack and Jill had a pal.
Both of those DO seem to make sense and sound right. But phonetically pill and pal don’t look quite right if we use what we normally know about the sound the ai combination makes. I would have the child continue reading to the end of the sentence, then ask: “Did that make sense?” “Try that again and make it make sense. What could they have to hold water?”
Using Meaning to problem solve is the most important of the 3 cueing systems. Even if the child said “bucket” instead of “pail,” they still understood what was going on in the story. This error did not interrupt the comprehension of the text.
Do I want a child to correct all Meaning errors? No, not necessarily. It depends on the child or the complexity of the text. Suppose a child never uses meaning as a strategy and this one time (as mentioned above) they do. I would not have him/her correct it. I might not even mention it – because that was a small victory for that child. If I call attention that it was really pail and not bucket, it would probably be a little deflating for their ego.
Finally, here are some prompts the teacher can use to promote use of Meaning as a strategy.
Happy Listening!! Next time – Part 2 – Structure
Clip art courtesy of MS Office.
]]>Hi! This is Part 2 regarding ways to do number talks using dot cards. This post will feature random dot cards. See the last post for strategies with ten frame dot cards and some background information about why and how (click HERE).
My pictures below feature dot cards provided via an extra purchase from this great resource regarding Number Talks. I blacked out the number in the small print at the bottom of each card because I was using them online and didn’t want the magnification to show the number. When showing them in person, the number is too small really for a student to notice or I can use my hand to cover it when showing the card. Anyway . . . that’s for those of you wondering what the little black smudge was. Here’s an amazon link to the cards which you can get digitally for $19.95 (279 pages worth): Number Talk Dot Cards
My previous post (linked above) also listed 2 resources for ten frame and random dot cards. Here is another one you might like and is great to use with partners as well. I’ll describe an activity with them below. Dot Cards for Number Sense ($2 from mathgeekmama.com)
You may like checking out mathgeekmama for other wonderful FREE resources.
Random Dot Cards
While I refer to these as “random” dot cards, it really doesn’t mean the dots are just scattered willy-nilly. The dots on these cards are still organized, but just not on ten frames. When using these cards, the goal is for students to “see” patterns with the dots to aid their subitizing and quick recall of number pairs. You might start with dot dice first, then look for these on the dot cards:
I also often point out to students how I mentally “move” a dot to visualize one of the above scenarios. This will be shown in the pictures below with an arrow.
Procedures for whole group (either in person or on Zoom):
What do you see with these? . . . Plus some examples:
How do you see these? . . . Plus suggested outcomes:
Procedures for individual or partners (great for online tutoring or class center activity)
With the activity I mentioned earlier from mathgeekmama.com, this is a great with partners. I would recommend dot cards with no more than 8 dots for this activity:
As an individual activity, provide the laminated dot cards and a dry-erase marker. Circle the dots. Write a math problem to match it. Take pictures to record answers. (Recommendation: Do this after you have already modeled it during a Number Talk session.)
Take care. Share your experience with using dot cards for Number Talk sessions. I love success stories!
Interesed in personal professional development, or PD for your grade level team or school? Please contact me for special rates. I can meet via Zoom for just about any need you have (math or reading). I’d love to help!
]]>I have been using dot cards for many years with K-2 students as part of my Number Talks routine. I’d like to share some ways to follow this routine using both ten frame dot cards and random dot cards. These are also easy to use via distance learning situations.
If you haven’t tried this before, you are in for a treat! It is so nice to listen how students process their thinking. I never cease to be amazed at how developed a child’s thoughts can be expressed . . . and how many children take this as a challenge to see how many ways a dot picture can be explained. I often feel I learn so much about my students capabilities (or sometimes the deficits) during this type of Number Talk session. Look for my recommended links below (FREE).
What are the benefits?:
Materials needed:
General procedures:
Here are some examples with sums less than 10:
Here are examples using 2 ten frames to illustrate quantities greater than 10:
Next post: I will feature ways to use the random dot cards for your Number Talk sessions.
Do you need professional development for yourself, your team, your school? Please contact me and we can work out a plan that fits your needs. I can provide personal help via email or Zoom all the way up to custom made webinars or power point presentations. Let me know!
Do you know students who need extra help at home via online tutoring? See my link for Varsity Tutors and mention my name.
Do you want to do some online tutoring yourself at a time that works with your schedule? See my link for Varsity Tutors and mention my name. Feel free to ask me questions as well.
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This post will feature some more number pairs / number bonds activities as well as ideas for informal assessment (along with some FREEBIES). See the previous post for Part 1. Also, here is another cool virtual manipulatives site: https://toytheater.com/category/teacher-tools/ You will find lots of materials for students to use to help with these activities: counters, bears, two-color counters, whole-part-part templates, Rekenreks, etc. Check it out!
For all of these activities, the student should be working with the number of manipulatives to match their focus number. They should do several different activities using that same amount to get lots of different experiences making the same number pairs repeatedly. After a generous amount of practice, assess the child and move to the next number when ready. An important feature of each activity is for the student to verbalize the combination being made. Using a sentence frame they can have with them or putting it on the board for all to see is a plus: “____ and ____ makes _____.” Students will usually need reminders that you should hear them saying this. It takes if from just playing to being cognizant this is a serious math activity.
Assessment:
Let us know if you have tried any of these, or if you have others that you’d like to share!
As I’ve mentioned before, as a consultant I am available to help you as an individual, your grade level team, or your school via online PD, webinar, or just advice during a Zoom meeting. Contact me and we can make a plan that works for you. If you are interested in tutoring during your “spare time” check out my link for Varsity Tutors on the side bar. Mention my name and we both get a bonus. Have a wonderful, SAFE week. Mask up for everyone!
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