Here is a tried and true, kid tested and teacher approved, NEVER ENDING Sight Word Game.
This game is very easy to create and can be used again and again and again. You will need a sight word list, Sharpie, container like an old coffee tin, and foam squares that can be found at the dollar store. There is a pack of 400 foam pieces precut here on Amazon for a GREAT price!
First, you will need your sight words broken into groups. You can separate them any way you would like. Some examples you could you to group your words include making groups of Dolch words or Fry words. If you use Dolch words you could further separate the groups into such as PrePrimer or Primer. If you use Fry you could separate the groups by lists. You could also create groups by grading periods like 1st Grading Period words and Second Grading Period words.
Take your Sharpie and write the words from each group on one color foam pieces. Using color coded foam pieces is a huge help in case the pieces get mixed up. (AND the world knows I color code everything.) Writing the words on the foam pieces is the hardest task because it takes time. You can give this job to a parent who likes to help out from their home. Once you have the words on the pieces, take a few extra pieces of the foam and draw a star on it.
Now, put all the color coded pieces into a container. The quieter the best… trust me. I made a set for letters and sounds to start the year off on yellow squares. Then, I made each set of words on red, then blue, then green pieces and put them in their own containers. This helps me because the colors go from darker to lighter… from easier to harder if you will.
Here is a glimpse of the yellow set. This set has uppercase letters on side and lowercase letters on the other side. I also added digraphs and blends as we are ready for those sounds, this helps us keep the game going after my student learn most of their sounds. There are only star pieces on this set. We start the year off with letter identification but change into sounds when we are ready.
The red game has my schools first set of sight words in it. It also has star pieces and arrow pieces. This reverses the order of the game, which is detailed below. This game piece adds an extra sense of fun and surprise. The blue game contains my schools second set of sight words. This game also has star pieces, reverse arrow piece and new pieces that read “Boys in” and pieces you can’t see that reads “Girls in.”
How can I differentiate?
The biggest question I get is: “How do your students know which game to play?”
I track my students and their sight words and assign them a color coded game based on their abilities. Then I post which game I want them to play. It is a real difficult, specific science:
So here it is:
Yep. Colored construction paper!
I write the name of each kid on the color sheet they are to play.
When a student is close to being ready to move up… I let them test out their new game to see how they do. If a lower group is struggling with a game, I send down a student who knows more words to help guide them. In other words, I can and do move students up and down as needed.
How do you play?
Finally, how do you play? Begin with students who are assigned to the game sitting close together with the bin between them, as shown in the picture. You can play this game with a few students or even whole group, which is how I teach my class to play. Now, students have to close their eyes and reach into the bin, one at a time. They can take out ONE piece at a time. If they take out more than one piece, they have to put ALL their pieces back in and skip their turn.
The student whose turn it is takes their foam sight word piece and reads the word out loud. Then they have to show the other students so everyone can hear and see the word. This helps check for accuracy. If the student gets their word right, they keep it. If they get it wrong they have to put it back in. Then the next student gets a turn and then the other. If any student pulls out a star piece, they have to put all their words back into the bin! This is the variable to the game that makes it keep going and going.
Now the special pieces! You can add any fun pieces you want to. I use an arrow to reverse the order the game is going. So if the students are moving clockwise, they now have to take turns clockwise. If they pull a “Boys in”piece, all the boys have to put all their pieces back in. Same for the girls and for the “All in” piece. Lastly, have fun with this game and let your students have fun.
Simple, fun. A great skill building activity and sight word review.
There is never a winner. There is never a loser. This is an ideal time filler.