Monday, November 30, 2015

Sight Words on Display

Each year presents new challenges, right?  Well, this year my challenge has been sight words.  In the past, the majority of my students have picked them up fairly well.  This year it seemed like they were getting off to a rough start.  So my brain started thinking and searching for something to do to help them learn them.  I tried every trick, worksheet, chant, etc. that I could think of.

My problem with Reading Street is that they introduce the sight words on Tuesday (look at them, say them, use them on a workbook page), review them on Wednesday and Thursday (with a quick workbook page), and bam.  Tested Friday.  I always thought that was insane to expect them to learn them with such little involvement and engagement with the words.  Sure, they're in the story and maybe a decodable reader, but really?  I use Jessica Tobin's sight word notebooks, my own Say It, Write It, Find It booklets, and post the words up on my word wall and focus wall.  The ones who "get" sight words got them just fine with these couple of supplements.  But for my strugglers, it just still wasn't connecting for them.

One day I got desperate and made a comment, "It's like I have to walk around with a Post-It note on my forehead with a sight word on it so they can stare at it all day!"  Stop.  What?  My brain started going crazy about how that might not be such a bad idea.  I started thinking of all the ways I could literally make them stare at the words at every possible moment during the day.  This is about as close to "in-your-face" as it gets!

I whipped up these little Sight Words Badges and wear one every. single. day.  My students love it!  They can no longer call me Mrs. Kirby.  They call me Mrs. Whatever-Badge-Is-On-My-Shirt.  I can't even tell you the excitement they have walking in the door to see what my new name is.

I printed them all out and laminated them.  I keep them in this cute little tin from Target so they are easy to find and grab.  I found the badge holders at Wal-Mart in the office supply section.  They fit perfectly into the plastic sleeves!

I have to warn *might* get some looks, stares, and giggles from fellow co-workers when you forget to take off your name badge.  Or they might just start jumping in on the game and calling you by your sight word.  This may or may not happen to me... ;)

Another way I found to help my students retain their sight words is by labeling their tables by words. I used to call them, "Table 1, Table 2, Table 3, etc."  I've even done letters, animals, colors, etc.  But labeling them by sight word is JUST as exciting to them, plus their table name changes every week (although I may start moving them around each day, just for more exposure to each word).

I simply put their sight words on a piece of paper, folded it in half so that each side has the word on it, and stuck it to their tables.  SUPER easy to put together and to display!  They're seriously so easy to change out.  I also printed them on colored paper so that they pop a little more.

You could hang these from the ceiling or simply fold them into little table tents that stand alone on tables.  Our fire marshall prohibits us from hanging anything from the ceiling (boo!  hiss!), so I had to get a little creative with how to label my tables.  I found these fun, sparkly clothespins at Hobby Lobby.  I got some short wooden dowel rods and some half-sphere styrofoam pieces.

I simply glued the clothespin to one end, stuck the other end in the styrofoam, and then stuck the whole thing down in their table caddies.  Voila!  The kids don't mess with them because they had a ginormous warning from me.  ;)

To save myself some time (and maybe you, too), I've put both the Sight Word Badges and Sight Word Table Signs into a file that's easy to print and store.  It includes sight words from 1st Grade Reading Street, 2nd Grade Reading Street, and all of the Dolch words.  With the TPT sale right now, it's even on sale!  ;)

One more way that I found that helps my students with their sight words is by writing them on the wall with a chalk marker!  I write the words on the wall by the door each week.  We read them as we leave the room and as we wait by the door.  I'm constantly reviewing the words with my students because they are right there.  

Bottom line?  Make sure your weekly sight words are EVERYWHERE and in plain sight!  I have noticed a remarkable difference in my students' sight word retention.  Plus, it's all so fun!


  1. Great ideas! Thank you, I will be wearing a different name badge tomorrow!!!

  2. Great ideas! I will be wearing a different name badge tomorrow!!!