Hare Krishna Dear Parents,
We are going into week 4 in Jagannath Class so the children have all settled well into their routines. I am so impressed with how nicely these children work together…it truly is a joy to teach them!
At the Temple
We are having a positive school-wide focus on temple etiquette. It’s important that our children learn to behave in a respectful manner at their place of worship. At the same time we want them to have a blissful experience when chanting and dancing for the Lord and enjoy the whole experience. We are therefore encouraging both!
Working together, Learning Together!
When kids work and learn together …here are some of the things that they achieve. Sometimes it may look like they are just playing…but look closer and see what’s going on!
- self-awareness: recognizing feelings and identifying interests, strengths, and weaknesses.
- self-management: managing feelings and behavior to control impulses and persevere in achieving important personal and academic goals.
- social awareness: understanding the needs and feelings of others, while appreciating similarities and differences among individuals and groups.
- relationship skills: maintaining positive relationships with others.
Studies of cooperative-learning strategies regularly report an increase in engagement and active participation in the learning process, which in turn increase student motivation, time on task, and retention times and improve cognitive reasoning and the ability to see from others’ perspectives.
Sight Words…what are they and why we need to know them…
Successful readers use a number of tools to help them understand books. One of the most effective and powerful reading tools that parents and teachers can help children develop is sight word recognition. When a child is able to grasp and identify sight words instantly, he is well on his way to becoming a thriving reader.
What are Sight Words?
Believe it or not, 50% of all reading in books are made up of the same 100 words! The most frequently used and repeated words in the English language are known as sight words. This list of words includes words like… the, a, is, of, to, in, and, I, you, and that. Think about the number of times that you have seen these words in a piece of reading material. It’s probably too many times to count.
Sight words are critical to reading not only because they are used so frequently, but also because many of them cannot easily be sounded out or illustrated. Imagine what reading would be like if you attempted to sound out the word, walk ,every time you encountered it in your reading. Then imagine that you do not know the word the. You cannot use the pictures accompanying a text to help you decipher this word because it cannot be illustrated. Using phonics or picture reading skills for words like these is useless and fruitless for readers, especially those who are in the early stages of developing their decoding skills.
Because they are used so often it is important that readers be able to recognize these words on sight (hence the term “sight words”). When a reader masters sight words she is able to understand at least half of the words in a particular text. By eliminating the need to decode these words, the reader is able to focus on those that are more difficult and less familiar.
Fun Games to Practice Sight Words at Home
Paper Plate Toss: Write sight words on paper plates. Use them like frisbees to throw after reading the word. Add in some additional fun by adding a target.
Flashlight Words: Turn off the lights. Tape words on the wall or ceiling. Use the flashlight to sine on the word, then have your child read it.
Go Fish: Wish a duplicate set of word cards play “Go Fish.” You can easily make your own cards out of index cards.
Stepping Stones: Place the word cards on the floor, making a fun stream going across the room. Have your child walk over the stream. As they step onto the stepping stone (word), have them say the word before they move on to get to the other side of the stream.
Tic-Tac-Toe: Write words in the tac-tac-toe spaces. Take turns selecting a space to read. If read correctly, an X or O is placed on the space until someone wins.
Word-O: This is played just like BINGO. Fill in a card with the words that you are working on. Call out the words and mark the spaces. The first one with a card covered calls out the word “WORDO!”
Word Hunt: Look for target words in books or in the newspaper. If using the newspaper your child can highlight or circle the words that she finds.
Word Jump: Write the sight words onto the driveway. Call out a word. Have your child jump their way to the sight word.
SNAP: You put the sight words you want them to practice on flash cards and put the flash cards into a jar. Also, you write the word SNAP on a few flash cards and put them in to the jar. The kids can play in partners or in a groups of 3 or 4 with siblings. They take turns pulling a card out of the jar. If they can say the word on the card automatically with no struggle, they get to keep the card. If they struggle, they have to put it back. If they pull out one of the cards that says SNAP, they have to put all of the card they’ve drawn back. The first person to 5 cards (or 10) wins!
Stair Chase: Place two sight word cards on each stair. Let them pick one sight word on the way up, saying the word and picking up the card when they get it correctly. Have them practice the other sight words on the way down.
Coin Toss: Put words on the floor. Children take turns tossing a coin onto a word and saying the word. If they get the word correctly, they keep the coin. If you like, first to 10 coins wins. Or see if they can collect all of the coins.
Concentration: Create two sets of word cards. Place the word cards face down. Have your child turn over two cards, trying to make a match. Continue until all of the words are matched.
Play who am I? Lay out the word cards. Then give the child clues to what the selected word is. For example, if the word was “red,” you could say – I rhyme with bed. I had three letters. I end with the letter D. Have the child locate the word.
Chalk Writing: Go outside and practice writing the sight words with chalk on the sidewalk.
Beat the Clock: See how many times your child can write a word in one minute. Or see how many flash cards your child can read in one minute.
Words You Can Eat: Write your words in whipped cream, peanut butter, carrots or anything you can eat.
Salt Tray: Grab a tray or baking sheet with edges. Pour in salt. Write the word in salt. When your child says it correctly, they get to erase the word.
More Fun Ways to Practice Sight Words: Write Them Out
Having your child recite sight words isn’t the only way to have them practice sight words. Having them write them out in fun ways helps them learn the spelling, too. You can make words using:
- Wiki sticks
- Alphabet stamps
- Scrabble tiles
- Magnetic letters
- Popsicle Sticks
- Salt on a Tray
- Sidewalk Chalk
- Sticks (in sand or dirt)
Quick Learning Tips
Fractions are a lot about concepts at this early stage. I have one word for you to remember to help them get this concept and that is…sharing! When sharing something …cut it into halves, quarters or thirds. Talk about each piece…eg this is one out of two pieces…that is a half and show symbol ½. You can show fractions when sharing food and objects with brothers and sisters too.
Back in the 50’s/60’s (dating myself here!) we all played on the street after school. We played tennis or other ball games right on the road (not recommended these days) or went to the local park (all by ourselves!). Things have changed in society, but it’s still important for our children to get outside and get some fresh air. I can still remember that most of us (five kids) did not want to go outside to play, but my mother would open the door, point her rigid finger and tell us that she would call us in when dinner was ready! Below are some pictures from that era in Britain…but we did the same things in Australia! So parents, don’t be afraid to ‘encourage’ your kids to get out and play after school – they really do need some fresh air – especially after being on the bus!