Saturday, October 13, 2012

Parking Lot Sight Words

Okay, technically this isn't a "craft".  I've been working lately on teaching manipulative's for my children.  I don't want to start yet another blog so I've decided to post teaching activities I put together on this blog.  This is a long post and somewhat complex.  If you have any questions on what I did, please contact me and I will try to clarify any rough spots. 

Through Pinterest I found the idea of putting sight words on a "parking lot".  You can see the website HERE.  My boys have an awful lot of Hot Wheels cars.  I wanted a parking lot where I could change the words often.  I took some left over poster board I had and drew spaces that would fit the dimensions of their cars.  I put some packing tape down the center of the spaces so I could tape my sight word cards to the poster without ripping the poster when I removed them.

I took 3 x 5 cards and cut them to fit in my parking spaces.  I wrote 1st grade sight words on one side, and 2nd grade sight words on the other.  Then I laminated the cards. 
I made 1st grade words blue and 2nd grade words brown.  I began with the 1st grade words.  Once my son went through those to an efficient degree, I began putting the 2nd grade words face up.  After he is able to say a 2nd grade word correctly the first try, I flip it to the 1st grade word as review. 

I sit my son down with this poster and a bag of cars.  I walk away and he spends some time covering all the words he knows with the cars.  (My son has a difficult time staying focused on a homework assingment if I am not right on top of him.  I love that this activity keeps his attention without my help!!!)  

When he has found all the words he knows, he calls me over.  He then removes the cars one by one and has to tell me what each word is.  If he gets it right, we remove the card (or flip it to the other side).  If he gets it wrong, we review the word.  Any words he didn't cover with a car, we practice together.  Those words stay on the board for the next time we play with the parking lot until he is able to say it correctly on his first try.  

I try to have a good mix of easy and difficult words on the board every time.  To keep his motivation high, I make sure there are some words he can remove each time we play.  If we play often, he is able to master and remove difficult words after three or four sessions.  For this to happen it is important we do this everyday or every other day.
 My younger son wanted to use the parking lot as well.  I took some of the playing cards out of our Candy Land game.  They are the perfect size for our parking spaces.  He used the cards to practice naming his colors.  I will soon use this to help him practice numbers and letters. 

 They find this game very motivational because they get to "drive" their cars around the parking lot while looking for a word, or color, they know. 
My first poster was made quickly.  I wanted to see if the activity would really hold my sons attention before I invested a lot of time making a nice poster.  After several weeks of use, I decided to make a more elaborate poster.  This time I used a black poster with white lines (whiteout tape) to represent a parking lot more realistically.   He loved it.  I think the black background gives the white cards and a better focal punch. 

 The first thing I did was to draw the white lines with the whiteout tape.  Next, I covered the entire poster with packing tape to make sure the whiteout lines would not be rubbed off or smeared by the cars and general use.  With the last poster, my double sided tape was on the cards.  When ever I took them off the poster the cards would stick to each other unless I removed the tape.  For this poster I wanted the tape to remain on the poster, not the cards. 

I placed a piece of double sided tape down the center of each parking space.  Then I added another piece of packing tape to cover each end of the double sided tape leaving the middle of the double sided tape uncovered.  This way, when I set a card on a parking space, it sticks to the double sided tape but does not come off the poster when I remove the card.  Eventually these "permanent" piece of tape will wear out.  Then I will need to recover it with another piece of double sided tape and again cover the top and bottom ends of the double sided tape with packing tape to keep it in place.  (I hope that explanation isn't too confusing. 

I used the sight word lists my son's teachers sent home. 

I have also decided to keep records of which words he gets right and wrong, and how often.  I began by writing each word down on graph paper and assigning an arbitrary number to each one.  I put that number on the bottom right corner of each card.  (I suppose you could place them alphabetically on the graph and not need the numbers in the bottom corner of the cards to find them on the graph.)  I have written the 1st grade words on the graph in blue (alternating with purple so my eyes don't bug out looking at a sea of blue) to coordinate with the 1st grade cards in blue.  2nd grade graph words are in brown (and blue, again just to make it easier to look at the graph) to coordinate with the 2nd grade cards. 
When he says a word, I look at the number on the card and find it on my graph.  I then write a dot if he gets the word wrong and a slash if he gets it right.  Words he didn't attempt do not get marked.  I can then see how long it takes him to master a specific word from the point he begins attempting the word on his own. 

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