This past week I had the pleasure of meeting with my 1st grader’s teacher and several spectacular special ed consultants to review the progress and milestones obtained during this current school year and to set some new IEP goals for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year. Throughout the meeting, the recurring theme that kept creeping into the conversation was how important it was to maintain the progress my daughter had made throughout the coming summer months. So I got to thinking…
“What can I do to include reading, writing and math into our summer activities?”
There must be some creative ways to “sneak” some learning into otherwise summer-appropriate activities. I mean, what rational 7, almost 8 year-old wants to spend her summer vacation holed up in our kitchen with sight words, right? So, here are a few of the ideas I came up with that we will be putting into practice at our house this summer. If you have some ideas of your own, or fun ways to expand on these, be sure to share them with me below.
See-It, Spell-It Hopscotch
One Idea I had was to turn a numbered hopscotch board into a spelling board. Instead of numbering the squares 1 to 9, use letters and word chunks instead. This may take a little planning ahead of time if you want to do 5 or 6 letter words like I did for the board above but what a fun way to practice sounding out words and spelling sight words from memory. It narrows the possible next letter choices down to just 2-4 possible choices, making spelling just a tad easier and LOTS more fun!
In the board I’ve created, pictured above… and yes, I did plan it out in Photoshop because I’m THAT much of a nerd… I can have my Katy spell at least 13 different words using just one letter per row, or I can up the ante and have her spell 6 additional words that contain more than 1 letter per row. Some of the easier words, I’ve drawn out to the sides including: Shirts, Shapes, Sharks, Water, and Bites. Some of the more complex words include: Bitter, Sharper, and Winter. How many more words can you find to spell?
Sight-Words Scavenger Hunt
One of the things suggested during my daughter’s IEP meeting was to include sight-word in everyday activities as much as possible. Her teacher suggested labeling toys and items in her room and around the house, and requiring her to read 5 sight-words prior to going swimming, enjoying an ice-cream or whatever summer activity she’s set her sights on.
An idea I had along these lines, which my daughter’s already very excited about, is a sight-word scavenger hunt. I’ve bought a pack of index cards upon the front of which I will print 1 sight-word and on the back, a clue that leads to the next note card. I will hand her the first card and which, for example could have the word “There” on the front and clue that says “Look under your bed.” on the back. She will first have to read that sight-word to my satisfaction and then (with my help) read the clue on the back to locate the next step of the hunt. At the end of the hunt she’ll find a “treasure” or a treat that she can enjoy as part of her summer of fun.