Have you had any V-8 moments in your teaching career? I had three big V-8 moments when I taught kindergarten. This Popcorn Sound program, the Bubble Gum Program, and Home Journals made a huge difference in the growth I saw with my students. I only wished someone would have shown me these tips earlier. I later used this Popcorn Sounds program when I moved to 1st grade with my RTI group.
When I taught kindergarten, I made my Popcorn Sounds homework folders before school began so that when I was ready to do my beginning of the year testing, I could use the Popcorn Program score sheet. I marked my students letter sound knowledge which was my placement test. This is a differentiated program. Students work at their own pace. Once they finished with the Popcorn Sounds Program, they moved to the Bubble Words (sight words) Program.
I also organized my Bubble Gum Program materials before school began. If you teach kindergarten, you may not have a student that needs this program the first week of school, but at some point of the school year you might. It is nice if you are ready to go. Plus, if you have a parent that ask you at Back to School night how you are going to challenge their child, you can whip out your handy dandy tub of Bubble Gum materials and show your parents that you are very capable of enriching their child. It gives them peace of mind and you a peaceful year.
I used these programs when I taught at Title I schools and schools that had students who came in well prepared for school. What both sets of parents have in common is they want their child to do well in school. I did find that I ended up (because of parents’ questions) using two different approaches when working with parents.
While the Title I students may not have had as many educational opportunities before they came to kindergarten, I found the structure of this program gave the parents information and weekly reports that kept them and their children engaged with the program. I spent a large part of my Back to School night giving examples of ways that parents could help their child. The way I couched it was, “even though I’m a teacher, I still ask my daughter’s teacher, what approach he/she uses when teaching X, Y, or Z because I don’t want to confuse her at home by using a different approach. ” So, I told them not to get offended if I send home notes from time to time giving suggestions of ways to help their child. It’s not that I don’t think they know how to help their child, it’s that I want to make sure that we are using the same approach.
Parents of the well prepared students are goal oriented. The weekly report showing them their child’s score is extremely motivating to most of them. Occasionally, I had one or two parents that got a little too motivated. At the Back to School night, my speech’s approach was more Leo the Late Bloomer approach. Yes, I want parents to work with their child, but find the balance so they aren’t putting too much pressure on their children. All children will eventually bloom with enough time.
There are 6 different BINGO cards included that you can use with your reading group, use at inside recess, or have a parent volunteer use with one of your groups.
There are 4 different assignments included so you can set up a Popcorn Sounds center.
Sometimes students will forget to bring their folder on test day. I send home the reminder note with those students. I only test on Fridays. If we don’t have school on a Friday then we skip that week of testing. There is also other parent communication included. There is a parent letter explaining the program and a parent note asking for supplies. Sometimes your PTA will help you with supplies, too.
It’s never too early to begin goal setting lessons. I included a goal setting lesson idea and the printables in the pictures above which you can use to set up a bulletin board.
There is also a happy note that you can send home when your students learn all the sounds. I had a popcorn party when my entire class “graduated” from the Popcorn Sound program.
I am in the process of revising these 3 programs. I just finished revising the Bubble Gum program. If you previously purchased it, you may go to “my purchases” to download the revised version for free.
I also have a Letter identification or letter naming packet with the same format.
Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE.
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