Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Trees from Craftsticks

Definitely not original, but they do turn out darling.

Excellent fine motor skills.

We did find out that the slick backs on the jewels would not stick well with regular glue. A little scuff on sandpaper roughed them up enough to hold. Otherwise, low-temp hot glue will have to be used for these. 

Sequins, finger prints with paint or stickers could have been used instead, but the children REALLY like these jewels.

In order to make them hang facing on the tree, I crossed the ribbon in the back like this.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sight Word On-Line Games for Beginners

I wanted to find interactive games for my beginning sight word learners. I started this post thinking I was going into a great deal of research, would be playing a ton of games with the children, and having to sift through to find my 10 favorites. Sadly, I only found a handful of FREE on-line sight word games appropriate to the youngest learners, and only about half could I recommend. Even then, there were issues I had with nearly every one. PLEASE feel free to comment with any additional ones you have come across and can recommend! 


  • It has 3 levels of play.  It automatically moves to the next level once one is completed, but offers the chance to play the same level again. 
  • Offers four choices each round, a good quantity, and allows the child to keep playing words until the correct one is chosen, marking out the incorrectly chosen ones.
  • Visually appealing, words are easy to read, smooth play.
  • The in-between movement game, you only have to get relatively close, not exactly below the target to get the point. 


  • Hard to understand the words. May be hard for a child to do independently. I had them on my lap and simply repeated the words for them. 
  • It offers to take you to the next level even if the first level was not mastered. I would like for it to remain at the same level until a certain percentage of accuracy had been obtained.
  • For younger children, the movement game in-between levels may be difficult as well. Even I had trouble moving the monkey quickly and accurately enough with the arrow keys. The mouse doesn't work on that game.
by Cookie

  • Automatically goes into full screen mode.
  • All 5 levels of Dolch sight words to choose from.
  • Background is blurred so the cards really stand out.
  • Text is bold and easily read.
  • Matched cards disappear, making the game board cleaner.
  • Graphics are sharp and visually stimulating.
  • Narration is distinct.

  • No "all words" option for play.
  • No option to change the game board size.

  • Visually appealing, with movement. Cards stand out from the more muted background.
  • Words are bold and clear.
  • Narration, even though it has an accent, is clear.
  • Different, with the sound on the bottom and the words on the top row to match.
  • Full screen option.
  • With the movement, young children may become distracted from the task at hand.
  • Games are only available by level, no all-word or mixed level play.

  • Full screen option.
  • Visually appealing and easy to read.
  • Manipulation of graphics is good for little hands...drag and drop is relatively forgiving and clicking anywhere inside a yellow box will give the narration, not just in the little bubble.
  • Every new game has a fresh list of words for continuous learning.
  • No way to set the words you want to work upon 
  • No way to change the number of words presented for younger students.

  • Visually interesting.
  • Progress indicators/rewards.
  • Drag and drop very forgiving, anywhere in the box.
  • UNDO button a little hard to find. will need to be pointed out to children.


  • All 5 levels of Dolch words, plus just nouns and all words.


  • The green and white words against the green and white background, along with the smaller font of the words, made them harder for the children to read.
  • The game board takes up less than half of the screen size. I wish it was larger or had a full screen option.
  • With 16 choices, it was more difficult for my beginning readers to remember the word long enough to go through so many selections, especially since the words were harder to read. Since I do computer work with my students, I just kept repeating the word for them.

They also have an Sight Word Bingo ap in iTunes for .99 that may work better on the iPad where it would possibly show larger. I still don't like the lack of contrast between the background and the words. It has a rating of 4/5 stars in iTunes.


  • Game board can be adjusted for 6, 12 or 24 squares. 
  • It is progressive.
  • It uses both Dolch and Fry word lists.


  • Wish that the game board was larger or had a full screen option.
  • Wish the words were in bold so easier to read from my lap for the little ones.
  • Just my own opinion, I prefer concentration games that create an image afterward, or something to give the children a visual reward.

Others I don't recommend:

Starfall - Concentration: No choice of levels, automatically goes to a much higher level each round, no chance for mastery at a given level. Repetitive and limited words used.

ICT Games - Dinosaur Words: Difficult to understand, no indication to click to start, no indication of error, no choice of levels. 
Sight Word Games - Dinosaur Eggs

ICT Games - Word Reader: Difficult to understand, no indication of error, no sense of progress, no choice of levels.
Sight Word Games - Word Reader

BBC Education - Star Words: Small screen, where the words go is the same color as the background, making it difficult to see the shapes, repetitive words, no choice of levels, drag & drop is a little touchy.
Sight Word Games - Star Words 

Crickweb - Color Words Match: Wish there was narrative of the word, but other than that it's just a simple game appropriate to the subject. I like the one I listed above better.
Sight Word Games - Colour Words

Crickweb - Number Words Match: Again, wish there was narrative of the word. Simple game appropriate to the subject. I re-opened it several times and the board never changed around, so limited use.
Number Labelling

For more advanced sight word learners and readers, there are additional spelling games, fill-in-the blank games, and drag/drop games. Not many, but some. Since we are just beginning sight word recognition here, I focused on the games appropriate to my students current development for this post. 
Tags: sight, words, sightwords, literacy, games, on-line, computer, free, reading, Dolch, fry, teaching, preschool, pre-school, child care, child, care, early, elementary, kindergarten, interactive, English, book, books, pre-reading, frequency, kid, kid's, children, number, color, colour,