Letter & Sight Word Matching with Dollar Store Mini-Cups Posted on 13 Aug 17:30 , 0 comments
Did you know that you can purchase itty bitty plastic cups at the Dollar Tree that can be used for LOTS of different things in the classroom? First, I’ll tell you a little secret: yup, they’re shot glasses. I don’t know if this makes them “taboo” for the early childhood classroom, but my students that I worked with last week at the Shepherd’s Pantry’s Reading Camp absolutely LOVED learning and playing with them! And I think that the size is AWESOME because they are easy for little ones to hold, and the size also makes them very easy to store.
Making these little cups is exceedingly simple: Just purchase them, get a permanent marker, and start writing! Just notice in the picture below how I wrote the letters on the green cups near the top of the glass, but I wrote the letters on the pink cups near the bottom of the glass. That’s important, because that way when the children match them up, you’ll never have one letter (or word) covering up another.
Of the three children that I was working with, two needed to review the letters and sounds, with one of them knowing most of the letters and sounds, and the other knowing only a few. Another child was well beyond that and was working on sight words. All three had finished Kindergarten, but I assume that the two of them likely had to work on learning English skills before they could pick up very much at school. Also, remember that this was a food bank/shelter that I was working at- so there were other issues influencing their abilities to learn as well.
In any case, I simply differentiated my lessons as much as I possibly could during each of the four days I was there. We all worked together at the same time, but each child was working on different skills. I made a full set of ABC cups for the child that was working on the whole alphabet. For the other child, I just gave him ABC cups for the letters he needed to learn, plus a few for some basic sight words. And then for the last child, I tested him to see which sight words he needed, and then gave him cups for just those words. Then at the end of the week, I let each child take home their cups in a zip baggie to keep.
As the children worked, I continually asked them to tell me what letter or word they had in their hands. A few times, I found them matching them up incorrectly, and this was a bit of an eye-opener for me, and helped me realize that they also had some issues with visual perception that I might need to address if I could.
The glasses from the Dollar Tree come with 24 in a pack, which is not quite enough for the whole alphabet, so I just skipped two of the easier letters for my neediest little one, (two packs were necessary since each letter requires two cups.) You can get them on Amazon, too- but of course they are a bit more expensive there. A few of them cracked, but they were still functional for matching purposes.
My little ones REALLY wanted to build towers with their cups, and I told them that after they finished matching them up and reading me their words or letters, we would do that. It was a HUGE motivator for them- and really a very good exercise for developing cooperation and fine motor skills, because the cups have to be placed very carefully or the entire stack will fall down. And of course, as they worked, I still kept on asking them to tell me what letter or word was in their hands. It worked!
For more Sight Word help, check out our Animated Sight Word DVDs!
And check out our Letters & Sounds DVD!
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