This is a compilation of games and activities which were posted to the 1st grade mail list.
WHOLE CLASS GAMES
Bean Bag Toss
Materials: One shower curtain liner divided into 20 boxes with a permanent marker
Words on large cards
Attach the words to the shower curtain with tape or rubber cement before the game is being played. Put the small numbers on the corner of the cards. Divide the class into 2 teams. Each team will take turns throwing the bean bag to a square. If the student can read the word the bean bag lands on, the team gets the number of points on the card. If the student misses the word, the other team gets the chance to say it. The team with the most points wins the game.
Around the World
Materials: Word Cards
All the students sit in a circle. (Or the students can remain at their desks.) One student stands behind one student who is sitting. The teacher flashes them a sight word. Whoever says it first moves on to the next student. The student that makes it back to their own desk or starting point is the winner. This is a pretty popular game, but the little ones love to try to stop someone who is making it "Around the World"!
Tic Tac Toe
Materials: Chalkboard with the tic tac toe board drawn on it
Divide the class into X's and O's teams. Write words in the tic tac toe spaces. Take turns having a member of the team come up and selecting a space to read. If he is correct, they may put an X or O for their team. If they are incorrect, the other team gets to send a player to the board to try the same word. You can keep score if you want. You can already have these boards made up on overhead transparencies to save time and keep the game moving if you are using a variety of words, like the sight word list.
*You can also give everyone a blank copy of the tic tac toe board, and put the list of words on the board. Have them place the words where they want in their board. As you call the words out, you will have to say if it is an X word or an O. The first one to tic tac toe is the winner.
Materials: Blank "Wordo " cards with 9, 16, or 25 blocks.
Copy of words being studied
Have students fill in the card with the words that you are working on. Tell them that each card will be different and to try to mix up the words they are using. Playing the game is just like BINGO. Call out the words and have the students spell it out loud with you and then mark their spaces. This will give those who are unsure of the word some extra help. The first one with a row covered calls out the word "WORDO"! Let the winner be the one who calls out the words the next time.
Materials: Sight words of 4 levels. Make them on different colored cards and have the type of hit that each represents on each color posted somewhere that everyone can see it clearly.
Places in the room marked as 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, and homeplate.
Divide the students into 2 teams and let them name themselves. Designate one team as home, and the other as visitors. Mix up the cards. One child goes to the homeplate. Draw out a card. Match the color to the type of hit they are trying for. If the student can read the card correctly, they may move according to the type of hit. (A single --move 1 base, a double - move 2 bases, a triple-move 3 bases, and a homerun-go all the way to homeplate.) Make sure that you have some strike out cards in the word cards also. If the student is unable to read the word, it is considered an out. After 3 outs, the next team gets to "Bat". Keep the score so that everyone can see.
Materials: Word lists on the chalkboard
Write on the chalkboard two columns of words that are approximately equal in difficulty. Write as many words on the board as there are children in the relay. Children are divided into 2 teams, and stand in two lines at right angles to the chalkboard. At the signal, the first child in each line points at the first word in his respective column of words and pronounces that word. If his pronounces it correctly, he is allowed to erase that word. The game is won by the side that erases all the words first.
Team Sight Word Race
Materials: A group size set of sight words
The children are divided into 2 teams. Each team takes a turn attempting to pronounce a word turned up from a pile of sight words. If one team misses, the opposite team then receives a chance to pronounce that word in addition to their regular turn. Score is kept on the number of words each team pronounces correctly. Do not have members sit down when they miss a word, but have each team member go to the back of the line after each try whether successful or not. This enables all members to gain equal practice and does not eliminate those people who need practice most.
The Head Chair
Materials: Group size cards
Mark one chair in the circle as the "Head Chair". Play begins when you flash a card to the person in the "Head Chair". A child can stay in his chair only until he misses a word. When he misses a word, he goes to the end chair and all the children will move up one chair. The object of the game is to try to end up in the "Head Chair".
Make up 1 or more game boards; use your own creativity. I like to make mine
as interesting as possible. It is a good idea to make some game boards with
fewer spaces and some with more. Then you can pick and choose which board
you want depending on the amount of time available for play.
In a small group, the students roll the dice to see who will go first. Then,
each students takes turns doing the following. . . Student rolls the dice.
The teacher/para says a word that the student should try to spell. If the
student spells the word incorrectly, the teacher shows it to the student for
a few seconds, then hides it. The student attempts to spell the word again.
Usually the student gets it. If the student spells the word correctly, they
may move the number indicated on the dice. While the next student is
rolling, the previous student should write the word he/she just spelled on
After playing one round of this game--I often have the students write each
word on their list three times, write sentences with the words on their
list, and/or add the words to a "spelling notebook" that I have them keep.
For a small group of two students, allow them to play tic tac toe, either
with colored chalk on the board or with colored pencils on paper. Or, you
could purchase commercially made tic tac toe games with manipulative pieces.
Before a student can place an "x" or an "o" on the grid, he or she must
spell a sight word correctly.
This next idea is more of a general tip than an actual game. Here's the tip:
diligently search at bargain stores and tag sales. Often, you can adapt
already made games. A colleague of mine buys small, round tag sale stickers
and uses them and a permanent pen to change game boards. She has shelves of
outstanding materials that cost her next to nothing.
Kids never get tired of BINGO. It amazes me! A couple of neat ideas: (1) Use
non-toxic bingo markers on photocopied bingo boards. (2) Use colored pencils
to x out words on the photocopied cards. (3) Buy magnetic bingo chips and a
magnetic wand. The child who loses at BINGO can be the one to pick up the