Wednesday 22 July 2015

Daily Schedule - Sight Words and Poetry/Phonics

One of my projects this summer was to plan out how I wanted to teach sight words and phonics skills next year. My curriculum does not dictate what phonics skills we have to teach and which sight word lists to practice, so I came up with a yearly scope and sequence that I am pretty happy with! At the end of this post you'll find a link to a bunch of freebies. This chart is in there (and it's editable).

I have set aside about 20 minutes a day for sight words, poetry, and phonics. It usually works out to be about 5 minutes sight words, 5 minutes poetry, and 10 minutes phonics.

My plan is to teach five sight words a week. My word lists come from Dolch, Fry's, and a few randoms thrown in! The phonics skills are based on what I feel my students need to work on Grade 1. We spend the first few weeks reviewing the alphabet sounds (I like Beverly Tyner's sequence.) Then we move onto short vowels, silent E, digraphs, long vowels, blends, bossy R, and some diphthongs. Even though I teach this stuff whole group, I do spend time in my guided reading groups doing more focused work on sight words or phonics skills too, depending on the group's needs. 

Each week I display the five sight words of the week on this little board. I bought a little white board from the dollar store, added the title and some clipart, and stuck on five little Stikki Clips. (Have you heard of these things? They are pretty neat. I bought them from Really Good Stuff. Apparently they stick super well to cinder block walls!) Each week I just stick the words in the clips. Easy peasy! At the end of the week we retire the words to the word wall and on Monday we put up five new words.

Here's a peek at what we do all week long with these words:

On Monday we introduce the sight words and practice them using some free chants from Cara Carroll at The First Grade Parade. Then we make a little mini book. Students cut apart the squares, staple it in the corner, and then practice tracing each sight word and colouring it (or rainbow writing it). They keep these mini books in their book boxes for a couple weeks to practice the sight words. They can read them during "read to self" time. 

On Tuesday we make and break the words. I scramble up the letters in each word and we practice putting them back together. I do this on the Mimio, but you can just use magnetic letters. 

On Wednesday we play Guess the Word. It's like hangman. I put dashes up for each letter in the word and the students take turns guessing letters. I cross off the letters they guess and cross off a section of the picture each time they make an incorrect guess. There are ten different monthly themed pictures. I don't just use the words of the week--I take any word from the word wall! 

On Thursday we read the Mystery Sentences. I write five sentences that each have one of the words of the week in it. We read the sentences together and try to figure out the missing word.

On Friday we play Swat the Sight Word. On the projector I display a page with the five words all over it. I choose two students, give them each a fly swatter, and call out one of the words. The students try to swat the word. I love this because there's not one winner; they can both find and swat a sight word! :) They love this game!

**I don't have any of the Mimio files for you to download, but I have put a blank PDF version of the four activities (Tues-Fri) into the freebie file. You can import the PDF into Mimio or Smart Notebook and add your own text to create the activities yourself. I have also included my sight word books and an editable version so you can put in your own five sight words.**

I keep all of my sight word stuff for the week in page protectors in my Phonics & Sight Words binders (blogged about this here). The sight word lists are three weeks of sight words. I use them during Word Work. I'll blog about this more later!

I number the back of all my word wall cards so that at the end of the year I can easily organize them back into the proper week.

After our sight word activity, we look at the poem of the week. I have poems from a variety of different sources, but mostly I use Deedee Wills' Poetry Station Packs. They are amazing! I place the poem onto sentence strips and display them on a large pocket chart. On Monday we read the poem together, on Tuesday we look for certain letters or phonics skills, on Wednesday we ready in different voices for fluency practice, on Thursday we highlight our word wall words in the poem, and on Friday we put the poem in our poetry folders. Sometimes we will highlight the word wall words in our folder or draw a picture to go with the poem. 

Then we have phonics time. On Mondays I usually introduce the phonics skill with a story, such as the Scholastic Phonics Tales. Then we brainstorm a list of words that contain that phonics skill on chart paper.

On Tuesdays we usually do some sort of phonics activity. My students love Babbling Abby's Highlight a Word from her Word Work packs

On Wednesday we usually do a read and match activity together. These cards are from Reagan Tunstall's Big Phonics Bundle. I love this bundle! It has so many activities for so many phonics skills!! It is well worth the price.

On Thursday we do another phonics activity... this might be a cut and paste activity or a read the room activity. I have so many things in my files from The Mailbox Magazine or other TpTers. I might also have a Phonics Read the Room pack in the works... but we'll see about that! ;)

On Friday we usually play Roll & Cover or Roll & Write. I photocopy the black & white versions of these games onto coloured paper so we can play as a whole group. Then I place a few laminated, coloured versions of the game in our word work centres so students can play them again during guided reading time.

I keep all of my phonics stuff for the week in page protectors in my Phonics & Sight Words binders (read about this here). 

The first five weeks of school are a little bit different for phonics because we are reviewing our alphabet sounds. We still do sight words each work (although the very first week of school we just focus on our names) and we do a poem of the week, but each week we focus on five (or six) letter sounds. I like to use Beverly Tyner's sequence. (If you haven't read any of her books, check out Small-Group Reading Instruction. It's really great!)

I'm planning on using activities from my new Alphabet Practice pack. Each week the activities are the same, but it focuses on a different set of letters. The first week is BSMAC, then TDLRI, JGHON, PUQWY, and lastly ZXEVKF.

On Monday we will practice the sounds that each letter make by chanting "b says /b/, m says /m/, etc." We sometimes add an action to go with it, like biting an apple for /a/ or bouncing a ball for /b/. Then we do a card sort in the pocket chart. We will sort the picture cards based on their initial sound (or final sound with X).

On Tuesday students will do a colour code activity. They have to write the initial letter of each word, then colour the picture using the colour code. Great practice for those colour words as well! Then when they are done, they can play Spin to the Top. They spin an uppercase letter and practice tracing the letters. When one letter reaches the top, they win!

On Wednesday we do a read the room activity. I place 12 cards around the room. Students find the card and write down the letter the word starts with beside the correct number. When done, they do a letter search on the back. They circle and count each type of letter and write number beside it. Great for identifying letters in different fonts!

On Thursday we do a cut and paste sort. Students have to glue the correct lowercase letter and two beginning sound pictures beside the correct train engine. Then when they are done, they can play Roll to the Top. They roll a die and practice tracing the correct lowercase letters. When one letter reaches the top, they win!

On Friday we play a game. Either small group beginning sound BINGO (included in my Alphabet Practice pack), Roll & Cover, or Roll & Write. Check out these products by clicking the pictures below.


Well I hope that gives you some good ideas for teaching sight words, poetry, or phonics! Click the picture below to download some of the freebies from this post.


  1. Oh. My. Gosh. You just saved me a ton of work since this was on my list of things to work on this summer. First I've been remodeling my office/sewing room then this was the first thing I wanted to conquer. I've been reading about teaching phonics and the order to teach the elements but it seemed like there wasn't a consensus on the best order. Well you just made my life a LOT easier. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    1. AMEN!! This is what I have been trying to envision and you really came to the rescue! Thank you!

  2. Thank you so much for the great ideas and the freebies! I cannot wait to get started this year and these pages are just the ticket! Hope you have a fantastic summer.

  3. do you have a list like this for second grade? I moved up this year and would love to have a pacing like this for second grade!

  4. Wow! What a help to me! I've started homeschooling my 11year old son with down syndrome... He's at about a 1st grade level and this is going to help tremendously. Thank you for sharing. :)

  5. You are a genius I must say. I'm a speech trainer and I find this extremely useful. Thank you!

  6. Why not teach sight words that are related to the phonics lesson for the week? Most of the sight words are completely phonetic.

  7. I have a list of words related to the phonics lesson of the week that they can practice during word work as well. The "sight Words" of the week are more high frequency words to help them with their writing. We put them on the word wall at the end of the week and the students are expected to be able to spell them independently (or learn to find them on the word wall to help them spell it).

  8. Love the activities, binder organization, and dry erase board. I just purchased one and plan to decorate it with some colorful washi tape.

  9. Are these common core aligned?

    1. Nope, sorry. I'm a Canadian teacher. We don't use the common core.

  10. This is amazing! If I am using Jolly Phonics in my classroom (which is taught in a different order than what is listed above) can I still teach the sight words in the same order as you have above, or should it be altered?

    1. I'm sure you could use the same order that I did. The sight words aren't related/connected to the phonics skills at all. They are mostly high frequency words that students need/want to spell for writing or that occur in a lot of the early guided reading books I use. Hope it helps you!


    2. No. Jolly Phonics has its own list of Tricky Words which has an order that has been well thought out. The phonics rules are related to the high frequency words as they should be.