Tuesday, February 14, 2017

One Game - Many Objectives

We love games that help children practice their math skills along with giving them important opportunities in speaking and listening skills. This is a game that we have found holds the attention of everyone, from preschoolers to adults.

Begin by cutting out the following shapes: large triangles, circles, and squares in 4 different colors. We have used red, blue, green, and yellow paper as shown below. 

Then cut out small triangles, circles, and squares in the same 4 different colors. 

Hide one of the shapes. Children are to guess this hidden shape by asking yes or no questions. For example, a child may ask, “Is it red?” You reply with a yes or no.

Keep track of how many questions are asked by tallying them.

When children think they know the hidden shape, someone may ask, “Is it a large, red triangle?”

Celebrate when the shape is guessed correctly.

We like to divide the class into two “teams.” Keep track of which team guesses the hidden shape using the fewest number of questions. This means team members must listen carefully to one another.

You can easily spot all of the integrated objectives of this game: listening skills, thinking critically about questions, formulating questions, understanding adjective order, asking complete questions, recalling responses, understanding and counting tally marks, identifying shapes, and identifying colors. You can differentiate for members of your class in many ways by using this simple game.

Standards Alignment:
NAEYC – 2.D.01 & 2.F.06.
Head Start – VIII.A. & B.; X.C.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

High-Frequency Words For All Learners

High-frequency words, Dolch words, Fry list, sight words…many terms for the words our young children need to learn to recognize. We have previously explained the five components of reading here.  Under the reading umbrella, one of these components is vocabulary. When children are emerging readers and writers, vocabulary means recognizing sight words. Later, vocabulary focuses on words that students may be able to decode (sound out) but cannot understand. Then teachers focus on using context clues, Greek and Latin roots, etc.

As teachers of young children, we focus on teaching sight vocabulary. We want our children to recognize words like this:


Many of these words DO follow phonics patterns. The word it is an example.  Let’s take a look at the pre-primer list of Dolch words. Many of these words can be taught using phonics principles. This is helpful for children who are auditory learners.  Below we have listed words from this list that follow the early short vowel rules and the common long vowel pattern, vCe.  We have listed 18 out of the 40 pre-primer words. Many of the remainder words like play do follow higher-level phonics rules but because they are further along the phonics continuum, we have not included them here.


Look for more posts on teaching both visual and auditory learners as you focus on high-frequency words.

Standards Alignment:
NAEYC – 2.E.06 & 2.E.09.
Head Start - VII. B & D.