Tuesday I worked with the first graders. I again worked one on one with a select group. These were the children who need more attention and practice in order to read confidently. To get them to a feel good about reading point, lots of things have to be done.
Tuesday each child was with me for an extended period of time. We had sand to play with, more about that later. We had the word family cards to go over. We had a word list to practice and then they read the little book to me. This is a lot. First graders have problems sitting still for very long. They twitch, they squirm, they sit on their legs. Sometimes they fall out of the chair. To get all this done without tiring them out or frustrating them is hard. Sometimes I get it right, but sometimes I stop and send them back to their desks before tears happen. Those tears could be the student, or maybe mine. Teachers get frustrated too.
Tuesday it all seemed to work. No tears and no frustrated children. I think "playing" in the sand made things go better. Ms H had a rimmed cookie sheet with bright green sand in it. The children were to look at an index card that had a word from the Dolch sight word list. They were to say the word, spell the word, then write the word with their finger in the sand. This was another way of helping them to remember the sight words. Say it, spell it, touch it. And sand is way more fun than paper and pencil.
I was a little afraid we would have sand all over the table. After each word we shook the cookie sheet to smooth the sand. After I convinced each child not to pick up the tray, there was very little mess. The children really liked this exercise. And it helps. They are working longer on a word using different senses to learn. With the sand tray no one was frustrated. Make an error, who cares, more fun in the sand.