Sunday, January 22, 2012

Using the iTouches for learning sight words

I don't know about you, but I have more fun teaching sight words (or high frequency words) than almost anything else. Sounds silly, doesn't it? Teaching something so ordinary and necessary and simple, and having it be crazy cool? Part of the reason is that there are so many opportunities for using technology while teaching those boring high-frequency words; let's face it - we know that tech sells, and we have huge kid buy-in when we bring it out. Why not combine the two and see where it goes?

I started with Powerpoints of the 5 new sight words I introduce every week. Once I created the first one, it was easy to edit and save the next week's words. The best trick I learned was to throw a fun picture in the background. Changing up the characters each week gives the kids a surprise to look forward each Monday. By using animations and transisions, the letters come up one at a time, and we read them as they appear. When the whole word is present we read the word together.

sample sight word powerpoint video
Please do not share this video, the images are copyrighted and are used for my personal use only.

If you'd like a base file to start with, I have a plain one you can download for free here. You can go to "view>slidemaster" and change the font, the font color, and add an image in the background (make sure you sent it to the back so it doesn't cover your words)!

With PowerPoint you can save a slideshow as a video, which means you can load it onto an iTouch. This week my kids will be able to choose from 16 weeks of sight word clips, as well as some other sight word videos (this next part is what really got me excited about using the iTouches this week!) Did you know that you can find zillions of phonics-based songs and skits on YouTube? They come from our favorite shows, such as Between the Lions, but also from artists who are mostly unknown. I searched for videos that are essentially sight word songs, and then I used Keep Vid (a free internet program) to download the videos onto my laptop. By using KeepVid you don't have to have access to the internet to view the videos, and it is especially useful if your firewall protection blocks you from using YouTube at school. One of my favorite things to do is set up a Smartboard document with my learning target first, a short video on whatever we are learning about, and then an engaging activity we can do together. You can just drop those videos you have downloaded using KeepVid into the Smartboard page. Here is a sample video that I will be throwing on the iTouches this week with the PowerPoint sight word videos.

Words, by A. J. Jenkins

I can't wait to watch my kids using the iTouches this week. I'm going to do a check with one of my little ones who is struggle with sight words and see if she can read more of them by the end of the week if she used the iTouch each day this week. That would be so totally cool if it helped her learn them quicker.

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