Are you ready for some football? I absolutely love football! From our friday night high school games, to traveling to Michigan State University to watch the Spartans to weekend pro games. Love it all! Your little football fans just might get a kick out these activities.
Here’s a little football FREEBIE for you. The Make, Take & Teach Football Addition Game makes for a fun center activity for practicing math facts to 12. Super quick to make.
Need a little activity for practicing sight words? When you download this file, you’ll receive all Dolch 220 sight words printed on these colorful footballs. This game is a fast-paced game with lots of opportunities for practice. To play the game, students take turns choosing footballs and reading words. If the player chooses a “Touchdown!” ball, he/she can pick 3 more footballs; however, if a “Penalty” ball is chosen, all the balls must be put back in the pile. The player with the most balls at the end of time wins the game.
The football-themed sight word game was such a hit, I thought I’d make the same game for working with consonant-vowel-consonant word. This particular activity is ideal for our little first graders who are learning to blend sounds into words.
Do you have those very special go-to activities? The spider web game is definitely one of mine. I started my career as a Speech and Language Pathologist many years ago and the spider web game was one of the first games I made. My very dear friend and mentor, Jill, introduced me to this game as she was using it with her students working on specific sounds. I quickly made one of my own for my therapy sessions. This game was so much fun the kiddos started asking to play it in September and kept wanting to play it through Thanksgiving. This activity is so versatile, I just adapted it for use with sight words.
To create your own game, you’ll have to make a spider web. All you’ll need is poster board and a black Sharpie marker. You can make your web any size you wish, but I wanted mine to fit on the table so I cut my poster board into a 14″ x 16″ rectangle. This way I have 2″ at the top to put my title. Now print the word cards on cardstock and the title and spiders on a full sized Avery label (you can also use office paper and then glue them on). Cut out the word cards and the spiders. Now place the small spiders on the lines of the web. Be sure to put at least 2 spiders on each level of the web and one spider on a line going into the center.
To play the game have each player place their game marker on the outside layer of the web on a space without a spider. Players take turns drawing a card, reading the word, and then moving the marker the number of spaces listed on the word card. If the player lands on a space with a spider, he/she can move to the next inside layer. Players continue taking turns reading words and moving their markers within the layers. The first player to reach the center of the web wins.
When you download this activity you’ll receive word cards with all 220 sight words, the title and spiders needed to make the game, and the directions for making your own spider web.
Just for my first grade friends, we made the Spider Web Game for practicing consonant-vowel-consonat words. This activity is also available through the Make, Take & Teach website or through my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Well, that’s it! The game is super fun! Hope your students love this game too.
It’s been nearly 10 years now that our schools have been using the Dynamic Indicators of Early Literacy (DIBELS) Next as a school-wide reading assessment. DIBELS was first introduced as part of Reading First and fit so nicely into our new Response to Intervention initiative. The DIBELS Next is a valid and reliable screener that can identify students at-risk for reading difficulties. The idea is that if we can identify those students early, we can put in place interventions to actually prevent the reading problem! Personally, I love this assessment. It does exactly what it is suppose to do. In the ensuing years; however, misunderstandings of the assessment have lead to inappropriate use of the data as well as inappropriate instructional practices. One of the issues I have surrounds the use of the Nonsense Word Fluency assessment.
What is the Nonsense Word Fluency Assessment?
Nonsense word fluency measures a student’s ability to decode individual phonemes (use of the alphabetic principle) and then blend the sounds together to read words. There is a large body of evidence that supports the use of pseudowords (nonsense words) for assessment purposes. According to research (Ravthon, N., 2004) “pseudoword decoding is the best single predictor of word identification for poor and normal readers” and is the “most reliable indicator of reading disabilities” (Ravthon, N, 2004; Stanovich, 2000). The assessment is really that powerful and when you administer the assessment, you glean a lot of information on the child’s mastery of the alphabetic principle as well as his/her ability to blend sounds into words. On the DIBELS Next NWF assessment, the student is given a page of “nonsense words” (pud, dak) and essentially asked to read the words. Some students are able to read the whole words (/pud/, others say the sounds (/p/ /u/ /d/), and some use onset-rime (/p/ /uk/). The assessment is a one minute assessment and the assessor records sound errors as well as if and how the student blended the sounds. A score is recorded (22 correct letter sequences/3 whole words read) and then compared to a set standard for the students grade. Using this score, the teacher can determine if the student’s ability falls within the benchmark (doing fine), strategic (require some additional instruction) or intensive (significanlty at-risk) range.
Why is the NWF assessment timed?
All the DIBELS assessments are timed. This is because we want to not only assess whether a student is accurate with their sound-symbol correspondence, we what to know if the student has learned the letters and sounds to automaticity. In other words, are they so good at their letters and sounds, they can quickly and easily say the letter sounds. Students may be somewhat accurate with their letters and sounds, but if they are unsure and slow, their ability to read text and decode unknown words efficiently will be affected.
Purpose of the Nonsense Word Fluency Assessment
The presenter at my training many years ago said something to the effect of “nonsense words are used more for assessment and not as an instructional target”. In other words, the ultimate goal is not for students to read make believe words. The purpose of the assessment is two-fold. First, we want to know if the child knows the most common sounds for the letters and, second, we want to know if the child can blend the letters together to form words. Real words cannot be used because there would be no way of knowing whether the child is recognizing the word by sight, therefore, we are not isolating the skills that we wish to assess. It is important to think of the student’s performance on the NWF as an “indicator” of the child’s understanding of the alphabetic principle as well as the ability to blend sounds into word. The DIBELS Next is a screening assessment. The assessments are predictors of later reading performance. Below benchmark performance on the NWF assessment is an indicator that the student does not have mastery of the alphabetic principle and/or is not yet profient at blending.
Use of Nonsense Word in Instruction
Let’s use the medical model to help us understand the use of nonsense words in instruction. Last year I went to my family physician for a physical. A series of routine screening tests were performed. Based on the results of those tests, it was determined that I had high cholesterol. Now, I don’t “work” on my cholesterol number. I work on the factors that contribute to a higher than desired cholesterol (diet, exercise). Same holds true with the use of nonsense words. Students don’t necessarly need to “work” on nonsense words. They need to work on the skills necessary for quick and accurate decoding unknown words (alphabetic principle, blending). It is always helpful to analyze a student’s performance on this measure. Analysis of the errors as well as if and how the student blended words helps when planning intervention. Here’s a planning sheet to get you started:
Click the following link to download this 2-page freebie NWF Planning Form
So with this in mind, here are a few more thoughts and ideas:
Kyle (fabulous artist) did such a wonderful job designing these candy corns. I just love them- and the kiddos do too! They were such a hit last school year. This year I added the vocabulary activity. They are super easy to make. Simply print the candy corns on card stock and cut them into three separate pieces. That’s it! Your center activity is all set.
The Candy Corn Alphabet activity is perfect for students just learning letters and sounds. Students match the beginning sound to both the upper- and lowercase letters.
Many of our preschoolers and kindergarteners need extra practice with rhyme. Rhyming activities help students develop critical phonemic awareness skills. When you download this activity you’ll receive 16 colorful rhyming candy corns.
Okay- so here it is! The brand new Candy Corn activity for vocabulary. This activity is ideal for our little preschoolers, students with language delays or students learning English. When you download this activity you’ll receive 24 colorful candy corns with pictures that “go-together”. Not only can you have your students match and name the pictures, you can also have them say why they think those pictures are matched. Great activity for expanding oral language.
It’s always fun to put a little seasonal spirit into centers or your small group activities.
I’m really loving my tabletop pocket chart that I picked up at Walmart. It’s perfect for small group instruction. Unfortunately, you can only find these during the months of July and August when school supplies are available- bummer. After searching the web, I was able to find a similar tabletop pocket chart. It’s a bit more expensive than my Walmart find, but it will work just as well. If you weren’t able to grab one at Walmart this year, you might want to check out this option:
So, I’ve been creating activities for my pocket chart. I’m slowly, but surely working my way up the phonics ladder. So far we have Pocket Chart Pictures for Early Literacy and Pocket Chart Pictures for Short Vowels/Consonant-Vowel Consonants. I just recently finished Pocket Chart Pictures for Word Families, Blends and Digraphs , R-Controlled Vowels and Vowel Teams. Each volume is jam-packed with colorful pictures ideal for sorting activities.
When you download the Pocket Chart Pictures for Word Families you’ll receive 69 colorful pictures designed to teach 16 different word families. You’ll also receive 92 word family word cards.
Pretty soon we’ll be introducing blends and digraphs to our little first graders. The Pocket Chart Pictures Blends and Digraphs will certainly come in handy. When you download this file, you’ll receive 65 picture cards with common consonant digraphs (sh, ch, th, wh) and 85 pictures cards with consonant blends.
That’s 150 pictures! You’ll need a way to organize them all. I thought color-coding may be helpful. For this volume, I coded all the pictures of the digraphs blue and the blends red. I was lucky enough to pick up these colored snack containers at the Dollar Tree. They are the perfect size! And they MATCH!
After mastering blends and digraphs, we move right onto r-controlled vowels and vowel teams. This Pocket Chart Picture volume includes 129 colorful pictures. Again, I color-coded the pictures for the sake of organization.
Creating fall themed center activities is so much fun. Living in northern Michigan, you just can’t help but love autumn. The colors up north are absolutely gorgeous! We planted an apple tree in our backyard three years ago and this is the first year that we’ve actually been able to harvest a few apples from the tree. Actually, we have more than just a few. It’s been a great year for apples and we’ve been cooking up a storm! I love making applesauce and my husband enjoys apple crisp. Okay, okay, back to school…. here are a few apple-themed activities. The Apple Orchard- Alphabet and the Apple Orchard- Word Families activities are great for either your small group instruction or as activities for your literacy centers.
The Apple Orchard Alphabet Activity contains 25 (x not included) apple orchards with over 125 colorful apples ideal for matching activities. This activity is available through the Make, Take & Teach website or through Teachers Pay Teachers.
The Apple Orchard- Word Families activity contains 15 different word family orchards with over 60 colorful apples with pictures containing targeted word families. This activity is also available on the Make, Take & Teach website or through my Teachers Pay Teachers online store.
Hoping that you are enjoying this season too!
The Make, Take & Teach Write-It Phonics Cards have been one of the all time favorite activities for literacy centers for practicing targeted phonics skills. I started with the beginning and ending sounds and am slowly but surely working my way up the phonics ladder. I just finished the Write It Phonics Cards for Vowel Teams! When you download this product you’ll receive 47 colorful cards with pictures of words containing the oa, ee, ea and ai vowel teams. They are so easy to assemble. All you need to do is print the pages, laminate and secure them together with a 1″ loose leaf ring. Super simple! Have your students write the correct vowel team on the card and when done, wipe them clean and use them over and over again.
If you like this product, be sure to check out these other Write-It Phonics Cards:
The Dolch sight word list is a list of 220 words that make up between 50-70% of the words we encounter in text. Most of these words are “service words” that must be quickly recognized in order to read fluently. Many of the words cannot be sounded out and they need to be learned by “sight”. Because the words must be identified quickly (just like a popcorn kernel pops quickly) many teachers tell their students that these words are “popcorn words”. The words just need to “pop”. Our little kindergarteners and first graders love this concept and you can have tons of fun using the popcorn analogy to teach sight words. When you download the Dolch 220 Popcorn Words file, you’ll receive all 220 sight words printed on colorful popcorn kernels. You can place these kernels on you classroom wall. Great for practice during whole group instruction or even within centers. Students can also refer to the words while writing, too!
Okay, so maybe you just don’t have the wall space. Here’s a personal-sized popcorn words activity that you can place on a file folder. You can use this activity during your small group instruction or create a folder for each student in your class with the words they need to learn or the words that they know (your choice). Your students will love having their very own popcorn words file folder!
Learning sight words is so important, but who says it needs to be all drill-and-practice? Incorporating themes like using “popcorn words” and games keeps our little ones engaged.