Dolch Word Cut-out sheets

I am a HUGE advocate of teaching emerging readers Dolch Words. As you all know, I am a massive advocate of phonics, but only as part of balanced approach to literacy instruction. Sure, kids need to learn the “code” behind our language so that they can “sound out” unfamiliar words. We also want to develop fluent readers, however, and not the have him/her sound out every word on the page. To do this we need to build up a “Lexicon” or library of words that children instantly recognise and read. Sight words account for a large percentage (up to 75%) of the words used in beginning children’s print materials.
Dolch words offer serious bang for your buck in this regard. There are 220 words in the carefully graded list. (adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, pronouns, and verbs) along with a supplementary list of 95 simple nouns. Ideally, all young readers should learn these words by sight.
I teach the Pre-Primer level to my Junior Infant pupils. We are making pretty good progress if I do say so myself :) I create the following format of worksheet for the first 16 words:

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I am sure that  some of you might find these Dolch Word Cut-out sheets useful with your class or indeed your own child. Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. Would you like to see more of these Dolch Word Cut-out sheets for the remaining Pre-Primer words? Would some of you prefer Comic Sans as a font? We teach pre-cursive so these worksheets are perfect for my kiddos. Anyway, let me know your thoughts.

Please click here to download the set of Dolch Word Cut-out sheets.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh :)

More Easter Egg Hunt Printables

Last year I used a different format for our Easter Egg Hunt and it worked WAY, WAY, WAY better. For obvious reasons we will be using the same format this year. Intrigued…? Well then read on!

We held our Easter Egg Hunt inside the school building as we were effectively a building site on the outside. Hiding treats amid the rubble and diggers didn’t seem like such a great idea. As a Green School, we didn’t particularly like having to wrap each treat in a plastic bag before hiding it in the garden. We did so for hygiene reasons but wrestled with the waste that it generated. Finally we had children with dietary needs/allergies that could not eat chocolate. We did not want them finding and munching on eggs. So here was my super-duper plan!

I created blank name tags. I created 2 tags per child. The Students’ Council stuck these tags all around the school. Some were under benches, others on the floor, others still on skirting boards… You get the general idea. Tags were low and accessible to our kiddos. Each child needed to find the 2 tags with his/her name on it. Once found, they cashed them in for treats. This allowed us to ensure that those with dietary needs only got what they could eat. The Easter Egg Hunt also took a lot longer and seemed to be much more enjoyable. The treats we provided were: Easter Themed Rice Krispie Buns, these had jelly beans on top and  easter themed chocolate lollipops. I almost forgot, we gave out ‘Bunny Tail” marshmallows to buzz them up before they started their hunt.

Please click here for your own Easter Egg Hunt Printable name-tags.

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Don’t forget to download and print my free Easter Egg Hunt Printables too.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh :)

Easter Themed Maths Journal Prompts

I really like using seasonal themes and real-life experiences to bring maths to life. Here are some free  Easter Maths Journal Prompts that you can use this week.

You can see that the first two require more a little more thought and logical processing. I don’t expect all of my kiddos to fly through these ones. I like to use mind benders to challenge children to problem solve using know information to deduce the unknown. These would be great for Senior Infants too!

The final two prompts relate to the topic of Weight. We are exploring that in class at the moment so the prompt is perfectly timed for us.

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I hope that your class/child enjoys these Maths challenges. I can’t wait to start using these Easter Themed Maths Journal Prompts with my class tomorrow. We have already glued in the Easter Bunny prompt so we will hit the ground running tomorrow!

Click here to download my Easter Themed Maths Journal Prompts

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh :)

Prim-Ed’s Gross Motor Skills Development Activities

I recently found a fantastic Prim Ed resource, Gross Motor Skills Development Activities. It would be an amazing resource for Learning Support Teachers, Resource Teachers, Infant Teachers, Aistear, Pre-School Teachers,  or parents of children with coordination difficulties. Because I love you all so much I have even given you a curriculum match up guide so keep reading!
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Over the years I have taught many children with Dyspraxia and other coordination difficulties. It’s  great to have a resource that you can dip in and out of. Gross Motor Skills Development Activities is very easy to follow and extremely comprehensive:

  • Seven sections  which cover- Spatial and body awareness; Locomotor skills; Ball skills; Equipment; Sensory tables; Creative play; and Games, obstacles and relays

I have to say that the that I will definitely be using Gross Motor Skills Development Activities when I sit down to plan my P.E Scheme next year. It ticks so many boxes in the P.E Curriculum:

  • Creative Movement
  • Travelling
  • Jumping & Hopping
  • Throwing & Catching
  • Rolling
  • Batting
  • Parachutes
  • Hula hoops
  • Skipping ropes
  • Games
  • Obstacles Courses

Here are some samples to whet your appetite:

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We have a few commerically bought scoops but not enough. I will definitely be making my own now that I have read this. Inspired! They would also be much, much easier to catch a ball with. I can start with these homemade ones and then advance to the others. SCORE!

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There are lots of Black Line Masters/BLM’s that would make station teaching so much easier to plan for and set up. They are clear, large and well illustrated:

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In fact, I was sooooo excited to see how useful this book would be from P.E class in general that I sat down and created this!:

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If you would like a copy of my table showing exactly how Prim-Ed’s Gross Motor Skills Development Activities exactly maps onto our P.E Curriculum click here. It will make you planning a lot easier ;) I clearly have too much time on my hands, LOL!!!

Click here to purchase Prim-Ed’s Gross Motor Skills Development Activities or to view sample pages.

For those of you who follow my blog from abroad it is worth noting that Prim-Ed’s Gross Motor Skills Development Activities is available as a digital download. Click here to purchase as a digital download.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh :)

The Gingerbread Man Dolch Pre-Primer Game

Today’s post was heavily requested following the photos I uploaded to Facebook last week. It was a big hit with my kiddos so it should go down well with yours too ;)

I am always trying to create fun ways of learning/practicing Dolch Words. I will be teaching my class to read the Pre-Primer List:

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Click here to download the above sheet from mrsperkins.com

I created the Gingerbread Man game as we were reading it for our story that week. I try to theme teach where possible. I found some fabulous glittery pipe cleaners in the art section of Tesco. The red ones were just perfect for a mouth, after I cut each pipe cleaners into thirds. I also used buttons and mini pop-poms from Mr. Price to allow them to “build” their gingerbread man. I slipped 5 words and fox into my Carson-Dellosa Differentiated Instruction Cubes. Regular followers will be acquainted with my long running obsession with my Carson-Dellosa Differentiated Instruction Cubes! Once they had coloured in their Gingerbread Man, we were all set to play!

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They just roll the dice and read the word The first person to complete his/her Gingerbread Man shouts “Run, run as fast as you can! You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man!”. Rolling a fox is effectively “miss a turn” and the game rotates back the following direction. You should hear the groans and moans when the game swaps direction around the circle!!!

I create the Dolch Pre-Primer words and the Fox to exactly fit my Carson-Dellosa Differentiated Instruction Cubes. You could print multiple copies of the words,  place them face down and have pupils draw a card to play. I would highly recommend purchasing the cubes if you are a classroom teacher!

Here are some photos of the game being played last week I particularly like to one with the sad face. Clever, no?!

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Click here to download the Gingerbread Man sheet (available as colour and B&W)

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Click here to download the game cards for your Differentiated Instruction Cube:

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Have fun,

Miss Mernagh :)

 

Prim-Ed: Cutting Skills Series

I like to spend a lot of time at the beginning of the year working on fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. I feel that it is always time well spent. It can be tempting to jump into handwriting as it takes and age to teach all 26 letters of the alphabet not to mention the trauma of writing words and sentences! Oh man, it can be hard, hard work!!!

I was really excited when Prim-Ed gave me one of their Cutting Skills books to road test. You can see that I used Stage 4. I already had an ancient cutting skills book from Prim-Ed, an oldie but a goodie, which is out of print.

 

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Click here to visit the Prim-Ed website and see some sample pages

I have to say that I really liked this cutting skills book, as did my pupils. It has lots of challenges that are introduced in a really gradual way. This allows children to move on in very small increments. I really, really like this! I love that this Developing Cutting Skills book covers just corners and curves. Most, but not all,  of my pupils were already able to cut along straight lines. Some were actually completely unable to use a scissors which is another issue entirely.

There is a great assortment of worksheets to choose from. There are some really simple sheets that allow you to just cut along a curved line and even indicate where you should place your fingers when holding the sheet. Then there are more that involve pupils cutting out large animals and masks. These were a big hit as we had explored Dear Zoo in literacy. My kids loved colouring and cutting out their Zoo Animals! I swear that my classroom sounded like a Zoo at times with all of the animal sound effects that accompanied their cutting ;) Some of these sheets have tricky nooks and crannies to cut out. It is interesting to see who could potentially grow up to be a brain surgeon, cutting with great care and precision, and who can “hack” things to bits. Couldn’t come up with a career path to turn this hacking skill into a positive. Any ideas?  Leave a comment below!!!

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The “jigsaw” format ones are easier to cut out and come earlier in the book. Some of my kids found pasting them back together to be a much, much tricker process. They are learning to take time to lay the pieces out in the correct order and glue them down one piece at a time. It seems that making jigsaws might be a thing of the past. With each passing year I see more children challenged by them. Shame, they are so important for fine motor control and visual discrimination skills.

 

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I am so, so proud of my kiddos emerging skills that I have created this fun certificate. I will be presenting them to my class later this week. I am hoping that it will provide an incentive to some to slow down and stop attacking their page with the scissors, lol! I know that they are actually more skilful than it can first appear. When I sit beside them and remind them to  cut slowly using “small bites” of the scissors their cutting skills blow me away.  Turn around and count to 3 and it’s Edward Scissorshands!

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I am really happy with my Developing Cutting Skills Book. Well done Prim-Ed. It will be a well used teacher resource for years to come! If you have looked at the photos of our Pumpkins you will see just how skilled my kiddos have become at cutting. I am one proud Teacher!

If you would like to download a copy of my  Cutting Skills Certificate please click here. It is available in both black and white and in colour.

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 18.12.20Have fun,

Miss Mernagh :)