Rainbow Words- Learning our Sight Words

It is the time of the year where we really start to learn our sight words. For my students, this is a very hard thing to do. Most of my IEP students have not mastered letter identification and letter sounds yet. Even though they do not know all the letters and sounds that does not mean that I am not going to teach sight words. For instance, all my students know the word the but they may not know that the letters are t-h-e.

I base my sight words off of a few things. One place we get our sight words is through FAST. On top of FAST we also have a list of 50 Kindergarten sight words and when they are in first grade they work on Bedrock Sightwords. So, I took from all of them and came up with our 60 sightwords that I want them to know/be exposed to by the end of the year. We call these our Rainbow Words. You can choose any set of words to use and determine how many will be in each color depending on your group.

I post these on my whiteboard. I debated whether or not to show this two ways. The first way, which I decided on using, was to have all the words up on the whiteboard from the beginning. This way they can see them when they are reading and writing and use it as a resource. The second way I thought about using the rainbow words was to have the outline with dry erase marker on the board already and then put up the words that all the kids were proficient in to grow our rainbow and watch our learning progress. Since I have a small number of students the second way would work for me. I ultimately decided on using them the first way I described because I teach 5 different small groups a day and each group is at their own place with learning sight words. I would have to constantly change the board between groups and that is just not possible some days (ok most days).

I introduce 5 new words a week and test sight words every other school week (according to IEPs). I found something online years ago that I try to follow when teaching sight words. It was called sight word soup. First, introduce the word in isolation and then by the end of the week they are reading and writing the words in context. This is how my overall week looks like with sight words. I aim to make these activities take about 5 minutes.

Monday- Introduce 5 new words (try not to make them to similar so they are not confused). First we look at each word individually and look for any known parts/sounds. We spell the word and use some sort of manipulative to create each word (play dough, salt, rainbow writing, wikki stix, etc…). I then write them in a little book (mini composition books) for my students to practice throughout the week.

Tuesday- We play a sight word game like Go Fish, Memory, Guess the Word (like hangman). I use all of the weekly words and then some past words that students may not be solid in yet.

Wednesday- I use sentence strips to write a sentence using each of our weekly words. I try to incorporate words that they have already learned so they are not spending the entire time trying to decode other words.

Thursday- As a group we create our own sentences using each word. We then use interactive writing to write our sentences together, highlighting our weekly words.

Friday- I have the kids write their own sentences using the weekly words.


In addition to this we practice reading all the rainbow words that we have learned at the beginning of group.

Below is how I keep track of student data. Each student has a rainbow that they get to color when they know the sight word. I put a library pocket in the center and created a little brag tag for each group of colored rainbow words that they receive when they know all the sight words in that color block. This helps me see which word they are still struggling with and which ines they know. 

ABC End of the Year countdown- take 2

So, last year the idea of a countdown to the end of the school year was a spur of the moment decision without much thought and planning put forth. This year I contemplated doing a countdown or not (I’m teaching with a new co-teacher so I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be stepping on toes if she already had something planned). In the end I decided to do the countdown in the ABC format, they’re kindergarten so it makes sense.

I made the punch out board a little different this year and I LOVE how it turned out so much more than the one I created last year. This year I went to Dollar Tree and purchased a tri-fold board, snack cups, and tissue paper in rainbow colors.

Next, I laid out the 26 snack cups on the tri-fold board to see how it would all go together. I traced around the inside lip of the snack cups so this way I could just slide the containers in and not have to worry about students punching the cup out of the board. Also, this allows me to reuse everything (except the tissue paper) each year. I used a box cutter to cut the circles out and then placed a slip of paper that read the daily letter and what it stands for. For example one paper says B is for Balloons and another would read G is for Games and Gum.

It is not the cutest board but it gets the job done. For next year I will probably decorate the board before we start the countdown to make it more visually appealing.

Here is the letter that I send home with families before we begin to let them know what we will be doing each day. Some days require bringing something from home. Click for end of year countdown 1. I will let you know it is not the prettiest of things but it gives you an idea of what we are doing in my classroom.

Mini Farm Animal Unit

A few years ago we as a kindergarten team we completed a whole non-fiction unit on farm animals. Fast forward a 2 years and we are using Lucy, so our writing looks quite a bit different than it used to. We did still talk about farm animals but it was mostly about teaching schema and adding to the file folders in our brain.

For my small groups I decided to keep going with the farm animals. We started it off with a little poem called Old McDonald. I know, it’s not a nonfiction text, but the kids love it and it got them thinking about different farm animals. Next, I had each group (except one of the groups due to time constraints) choose a different farm animal to learn about.

I then created little non-fiction all about books in a way that the students’ would be able to fill out our can/have/are chart on each animal. To create the anchor chart I cut up sentence strips and used sticky tack to attach them to the poster. This helped when we got to the independent writing stage so the students could just grab their idea off of the chart and use it as a modeled text.

Each student had to write three sentences: what _____ can do, what _______ have and what ______ are. After they wrote their sentences I had them practice reading it out loud and then I recorded them individually reading their writing. I turned these recordings into QR codes for each child and attached it to their writing page so that way people can read their writing and also hear the student reading their own writing.

We then made paper plate animals to put on the top half of their writing page and I hung them out in the hall for everyone to see.