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Hurray for Basketball Sight Word Champs!


I can honestly say, I’ve never been the cheerleader type of gal.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  We all have our interests and our gifts.  It was just never one of mine . . . until I became a teacher.   Little did I realize as I sat through all those education classes just how much of my day would be spent cheering on my students, building up their confidence and celebrating their successes.  But you know what?  It’s the best part of the job!  Really!

On any given day during the school year, you can hear my students practicing their ball words.  Ball words are the sight word fluency activities that students use to master their sight words in my classroom.  If you’d like to learn more about this system, just click HERE.

Students don’t just work on their own.  This is a team effort.  Once students pass a level, they work with their classmates to help them pass too.  Oh sure, I have more than half my class right now that have passed all their ball words (220 words) and have moved on to Speed Readers (sight word phrase fluency), but they know, their most important job is to work as a TEAM to get everyone passing words.  

So today we celebrated another class milestone.  Every single student in our class has mastered the the third list of ball words–Basketball Words.  That’s 60 sight words mastered for every single student.  Of course, many have a significantly greater number of words, but this is our team.  This is what we have accomplished together.  And when that happens . . . we do it up BIG!


Well, in reality, it wasn’t all that big a celebration, but when you’re in kindergarten, a little something can be pretty dang terrific.  But that’s the beauty of kindergarten isn’t it?  I mean, you really only have to do a little something special, a little something different and fun and suddenly you hear . . .’Mrs. McGuire, this is the BEST party EVER!’  Man, I love kinders!

So in my quest to throw the biggest, bestest party ever, I ran off some sight words on basketballs and put them in a basketball Easter basket, grabbed some snacks for the occasion (I have a wonderful aide who makes cupcakes for every Ball Word party.  Love her!), dumped some candy from my sons’ candy basket into a basketball piñata. (The boys love the idea of getting candy, but they never eat it! It’s a great problem to have and supplies my piñata addiction.)


So we made quick work of the piñata and moved right on to the heart of the party . . .


 . . . Sight Word Basketball!!!  So in my Basketball Word packet, there is an editable file where you can write any words you like on basketballs.  I simply took that file and printed all 220 sight words on basketballs for this game and printed them on paper.  I roughly cut the balls apart.  Nothing fancy!  I just cut them enough to separate them.  They were going to get crumbled up anyway so it really didn’t matter.


Then I line my students up to face off each other in a sight word showdown style activity.  Two students line up, and the first one to say the word correctly gets to crumple up the paper ball and try to make a basket for their team.


By this time of year, my students are well versed in the art of good sportsmanship, cheering each other on and not giving a general hoot about who wins or loses, because, ‘ . . . even if you’d don’t win, at least you got to play.’  I have to give a lot of credit to this handsome 5th grader who comes in everyday after he finishes his own school, to work with these little guys and their sight words.  (Sorry!  Small proud momma moment I had to share!)  On days when it’s difficult to motivate some of my most wiggly worms, Mac can get them working.  So he got the honor of being the referee for this Basketball Sight Word Game which made my kinders love playing it even more!


As you can see from all the paper balls on the floor, it was great fun and an engaging and kinesthetic way to practice sight words.  I’m so proud of how hard this class has worked to master their words, and how well they work at encouraging each other.


They’ve become some great little cheerleaders on their own which makes this teacher even more proud.  


Marsha Moffit McGuire

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