FREE Early Finisher Reteach Digraph Sight Words High Frequency Words

Is "ck" a digraph?  I was recently working on a new file that includes digraph printables. When I was shopping for digraph clipart, I noticed that some of the files included "ck" clipart.  
I was taught that a digraph was two letters that make a new sound. You do not hear the individual sound of "c" or "h" with a "ch" digraph.  The two letters make a new sound.

Teacher Facebook groups are good sources for new and veteran teachers. One of my FB groups includes teachers from different location and wide variety of experiences. The "ck" question seemed like the perfect topic for this group. Sure enough, there was more than one definition for a digraph.
Melissa Lee Bates, a member of the group, shared the second definition. She said this definition is from Saxon Phonics curriculum. Using this definition, "ck" would be digraph.
When you are grading students' work, do you find that some of your students need more practice?  In a perfect world, you would pull this student and that student for specific skill work to fill in the gaps. Time to pull materials, time to meet with students, and other issues get in the way when you are in the trenches.

You can set up a early finisher, reteach center or personalize your morning work.  If you are like me, you need to clean out your files.  Does a teacher really need 12 copies of a specific worksheet?  Purge your files for your New Years professional resolution.  After purging your files, sort the pages by skills that students typically need to extra practice. Make files by skills (short vowels, long vowels, digraphs, addition, addition with regrouping, etc.) and add pages to the files.  You will have more than one type of worksheet in each file.
Students will select an assignment from the skill file that he or she needs to work on.  This is an easy way to differentiate your morning work or early finishers. To provide extra motivation for your students:
  • Let students choose the worksheet from the file.
  • Set up the center with special supplies like gel pens, 64 count crayons, smelly markers, etc. 

Would you like some freebies to set up your reteach center?  These printables also work great with your early finishers.

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Sight Words and FREEBIE
Whether your school uses Dolch, Fry, or another list of words, your students will spend part of their day studying sight words. Sight word knowledge impacts students' reading achievement.

Recent research has shown the importance of handwriting. The process of writing engages parts of the brain which enhances memorization.  This is true for all ages which is why college students are encouraged to take notes by hand rather than typing them on their laptop.

Tracing vs. Writing
Should students trace letters?  Tracing letters provides some benefit such as providing a correct model for letter formation. Tracing is good activity when handwriting is the goal. It does not maximize students' learning potential when reading. Students need to write the letters in order to stimulate the different parts of the brain.

Is Handwriting Important?
When I began teaching, handwriting was taught as a teacher directed lesson each day.  This was back in the days of the ball and stick method.  We did not have a longer school day. To utilize our time effectively, we incorporated other skills with our handwriting lesson.  We integrated sight words and facts from our current science or social studies unit into the sentences students were copying.

Why was so much time devoted to handwriting if students already know how to write letters?  Conservatively speaking, a 15 minute per day was 75 minutes per week spent on handwriting instruction is a statement of the importance our school placed on this topic. We noticed that students as a whole scored lower in the written part of the standardized test.  The test scores of bright, capable students did not reflected their knowledge.  Over the course of the school year, teachers became familiar with their students' handwriting.  This familiarity with students' handwriting became like a shorthand.  Teachers and parents could read the students' handwriting, but it was difficult for an outsider to read some of the letters.

The person grading the written portion of the standardized test had a limited time to grade each test.  The grader default was NOT to "assume the best" when he or she could not read the students' handwriting.

Once parents understood that handwriting could impact test scores, they were supportive, which meant neater homework.

Keep in mind this was in the early 1990's when children spent more time writing. Ironically, many schools quit teaching handwriting at the time when children began spending more time on technology and less on writing.

You can read more about how writing enhances learning at the following links:

Integration is key to this! You can easily set up a handwriting center which also includes writing with a simple activity like the picture above or the picture at the top of the post. Students practice tracing letters which is important for learning correct letter formation. Plus, students will write the sight words and sentences.

Make your center more engaging by letting your students use a variety of school supplies such as colored pencil, thin markers, or gel pens.
Would you like to try a free sample?

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Christmas Dig Deeper with these Early Finisher Lessons

Do you have a student that is hard to reach?  When I get to the bottom of my teacher toolbox, I usually have one of my Dr. Phil moments. "How's it workin' for ya?".  When traditional methods haven't worked, it is time to think outside of the box.

Time in the schedule is like money, there is less of it each year.  You have to spend time and money wisely.  When I began teaching - long ago when there was more time and money - teachers had more time to include activities that were creative and thought outside the box.  As more expectations were added to my plate, I found myself doing fewer of these lessons. 

One inside recess day,  I gave my kindergarten students die cut letters.  I told them that they could flip, arrange, move the letter on the piece of paper that I gave them to create something new.  They would finish the sentence "This used to be the letter __, but now it is ___".  This activity turned on the switch for one of my students.  He had trouble learning his letters with the traditional methods.  Once he began to see letters as pictures in his mind, he was able to quickly identify the letters.  This thinking outside the box lesson was exactly what he was needing.  
Time is an issue.  Punching out letters with a die cut is not doable for teachers.  I made some lessons using some seasonal things, which is much more time friendly than punching out letters.  Collect the seasonal items and use them year after year. I found the mini stockings at Dollar Tree.

You can set this up as a early finisher center or activity.  Students love the lessons. You will love how the lessons make your students dig deeper in their thinking.
Want to differentiate the lessons?  There are task cards included that you use to differentiate your expectations.

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Christmas and Winter themed Break Break + FREE party kit

Are you students restless, having trouble focusing, and paying attention? Try to include more brain breaks throughout your day. A few minutes here and there can make a huge difference.
By this time of the year, you may want to try some new brain breaks.  This also works well as an inside recess activity.

Dollar Tree has small Christmas and winter theme pillows like the ones in the tub in the picture.  You can put your students in small groups (the number of holiday pillows) or use one holiday pillow with your entire class.
Use the pillow to play "hot potato".  To play the game:
  • Students sit in a circle or circles
  • One person begins the game holding a pillow
  • Music is played - holiday music will make it more fun
  • Students pass the pillow to the person on the right, each person continues passing the pillow until the music stops.
  • The person holding the pillow when the music stops is out of the game.
  • That person out of the game hands the pillow to the person on his/her right and the music begins again.
  • Continue until there is only one person who is the winner.
You can train a student to be the person in charge of the music.
Do you have students that do not celebrate holidays this year?  No problem, Dollar Tree has a snowman pillow.  
This Brain Break activity can be used for inside recess or at holiday parties.  I have a FREE winter party kit.  Click on the picture below if you would like to check out all of the ideas and get a FREE copy.

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