Monday, March 26, 2012

Poly Spot Sight Words/Spelling Game

Do you know those ideas that evolve from a passing thought? This is one of them!

My principal got us us poly spots to do some exercise and movement in the classroom, and I used them occasionally, but not too often. One day at a staff meeting, my principal asked how we could use poly spots to teach across the curriculum.

This picture links you to Amazon if you want to buy some poly spots or read more about them... they're $15 for 6 of them (yikes)!

Off the top of my head, I could think of a few ideas for math but ELA?!  It took a bit of thinking but here's what I came up with!

I print our current sight words on index cards in all different colors, and I print enough so that each child has five cards.  It ends up for a lot of cards!  I only print one set for each month so I'm not printing them too often!

When I do the lesson, I give each student a poly spot and five cards (the cards are stored with 5 cards together of the same color together for time/organization purposes).  I make sure that each student has five cards in a different color than their partner.

I have the students hide their five cards under their poly spot and put some music on the smartboard in Smart Notebook.  I link each speaker with a different upbeat, kid-friendly song and let the kids pick which song they want to play.  The kids love the bright speakers!

Click this picture to download the template for the Poly Spot Words Game!  I can't include the music because of copyright obviously, but I provided step by step directions on how you can link the speakers to your own songs!

Anyway, back to the game.  Each child has their five cards under their poly spots and when the music starts, the kids dance around!  When the music stops, they have to stop dancing and pull a word out from under their poly spot.  I play two different variations of this game:

1. Reading - Show your partner the word you picked and have them read it.
2. Spelling - Read your card to your partner and have them spell it for you.

Once the partners read/spell the words, they trade cards with their partner and put them at the bottom of their pile.  (This is where it is helpful to have the two different colors... I used to give each pair the same color but they some students kept picking the same two words!  The different colors help students find a new word quicker and helps keep some variation with the words!)

At the end of the game, I collect the cards in groups of five to store for next time.  The kids absolutely love playing this game and ask to play it all the time!

My favorite part of this game (aside from the music, dancing, and excitement!) is its versatility.  A 3rd grade teacher at my school had the kids write their own word problems on index cards and answer their partner's word problems.  You can literally use this for any sort of review... my kids even asked me if we could do this for number order before our math test! 

Come check out some other great sight words ideas at the linky party hosted by April over at Wolfelicious:

Also, be sure to visit the sight word/spelling ideas visit the linky party going on at The Lesson Plan Diva!

Let me know how you could adapt this idea to use with your kids!  Or let me know any other fun ways you use poly spots in your classroom!


  1. Such a creative and fun idea!! Thanks for sharing! :)
    Wild about Teaching!

    1. No problem! I'm so glad you liked it!

  2. Um, wow. That's a lot of work! I'm your newest follower.

    First in Maine

    1. It is, but once it's made, it's done forever! Or alternately, you can have the kids write their own words on the cards... less work for the teacher is always better!

  3. I just found your blog:) I am so ready to try this out! I love the Smartboard but have never used it with sound like this. What kinds of songs do you use? Would love to know more. I teach 1st grade.
    Thanks, Jackie

    1. You can use any upbeat songs that have kid-friendly lyrics... My class loves "Who Let The Dogs Out" and "Ole! Ole!". The smartboard file shows you how to link the song so you can really use any songs that you already own. Let me know what songs you decide to use or if you have any more questions!

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  5. I am a music teacher and I have used the spots for creative movement. I play music relating to a theme and have the students move through space. When the music stops they freeze on the nearest spot and create a statue relating to the theme I have given them. Some of the themes I have used are jungle animals, summer recreation and careers. This could be a wonderful brain break activity for the classroom....the kids love it!

    1. That's an awesome idea! Can't wait to try it! Perhaps I can use it with my plants theme!

  6. This a great idea! With common core, 5th graders could use it w/ prefixes and suffixes!!! Awesome!


    Melanie Miday-Stern
    aka Tiggysmum70

    1. That's an awesome idea! Plus, the 5th grades would be able to make all of their own cards themselves.... which makes it easy to set up and gives them more ownership of the game!