Sometimes students have no idea how to go about studying efficiently, so of course they don’t do as well as they might. I’ve developed a strategy to help my students better organize the study process. I’d like to share it with you to use.  I hope it is a useful start to help you help your students develop more efficient study processes.

[embeddoc url=””]


sight wordsHi everyone! Elona invited me to be a guest blogger, and I jumped at the chance! My name is Heather Rice, and  I write sight word songs. What’s a sight word song? It’s a song that spells out a sight word. I began writing sight word songs to help my daughter Sarah, who has Autism and moderate mental impairment.

Sarah was really struggling to learn her sight words. She was so frustrated that she began to pick at her skin with anxiety the minute the sight word cards came out.  I knew I needed a different approach. But what else could I try? When I thought about it, it occurred to me that the one thing she was good at remembering were the words to songs!  That’s when I began writing songs to spell out sight words.

I write my songs to the tunes of well known children’s songs, like “Row, row, row, your boat.”  I keep each song short, and I repeat the spelling of the sight word. Also, all of songs have a “hook.” Either the song is funny, or it tells a story. (Actually, most of my songs do both).

To help Sarah learn the song, I began making Power Point slides and worksheets to go with each song. Each song uses clipart to illustrate the song, and a great deal of the clipart was ordered especially to fit the song. Each song comes with 3-5 worksheets. Every CD also comes with a Power Point presentation that includes a slide for each song. I don’t charge extra for either the worksheets or the power point presentation that comes with each CD.

I hope you’ll listen to the sample  Sight Word SongsI have three different CD’s available. One for pre-k. One for kindergarten, and one for Ist grade. Each CD is $15.00, and has between 20-23 songs on it. You can purchase a sight word CD at:
Thanks for listening!

Heather Rice


Comment by Elona Hartjes


Thanks for agreeing to be a guest writer on my blog.  

 Necessity is the mother of invention. Heather was inspired by necessity to create her sight word songs, Power Point  presentations, and the work sheets.  I’m delighted that Heather wrote me to tell me about her experience trying to teach her daughter sight words. the sight word songs she wrote, and the fact she is making her sight word songs  and supporting materials available to us  at the teachers- pay- teachers site. I believe in  differentiating instruction to honour students’ interests and strengths and that Heather’s CD’s and accompanying materials would be a valuable teaching tool to this end.

 I find Heather’s Sight Word Songs  very engaging. Just today, I heard an interview on the radio that talked about what a powerful teaching and learning tool songs can be for students of all ages. Using songs as an instructional tool is an excellent  way to differentiate instruction and honour a student’ s strengths.  In Sarah’s case, Heather honoured her daughter’s strength of remembering words to songs to help Sarah learn to read sight words.  I’m glad Heather has made her CD’s and support materials available to us at the teachers-pay-teachers online store. Teachers need to support one another.





Doing well in school and in life depends on more than a high IQ. I’ve taught students who have had a range of IQ’s. Not all my students who scored high on IQ tests did well in school. Not all adults I know who are really IQ “smart” have lived up to their potential either. High IQ is not sufficient for success in school or in life. I tried to help my students in my Learning Strategies Class to understand this and would teach a unit about characteristics of successful people.   We’d  read about  successful people to determine the  characteristics they shared. I’d like to thank Angela Lee Duckworth  (TED talk below) for sharing her research findings that grit is a significant predictor of success. She defines grit as the

passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Grit certainly could explain why some people who had the misfortune of being born into dire circumstances are able to rise above everything to do well in school and in life. (There I go again, wanting to challenge the definition of the good life by quoting Socrates’ and other philosophers’ definition of a good life- one of my last courses was a philosophy course and it’s still fresh in my mind.) Of course grit isn’t a sufficient condition for success either. It’s a necessary condition. Things such as having emotional support are necessary  for success as well.

When I ask my students what they think success is, many say having lots of money. The more money you have, the more successful you are. Sad.  But, that’s a whole other topic.  Even making lots of money usually takes grit.

I should complete my MEd by the end of July. I’ve really enjoyed the journey thus far.  I completed my teacher training  over 30 years ago and am enjoying revisiting education issues  once again after all this time.  Some things have changed  but somethings haven’t changed. I must confess, I’m always envious of new teachers because their training is more recent, and they know a lot of things I don’t know.   A lot has happened in education in 30 years. I like to keep on top of things so I’m always eager to learn from new teachers and to share what has worked for me. I like the Board’s mentoring program because it allows old experienced teachers like me to share with new teachers and vice a versa.  Experienced teachers and newbie teachers have a lot to give one another.  I bet newbie teachers don’t know how much  they can help experienced teachers. I’ve retired from classroom teaching now, but I’d love to go back and share what I’ve learned with other teachers that helped me be successful in my classroom.  Newbie teachers have shown  me  how to use new digital technology in the classroom that helped make my classes more engaging for my students.  What are some things you’ve learned from newbie teachers?

Next Page →

 Subscribe to stay up to date. Teachers at Risk is informative. It's free.

  • apple144
  • Meta

  • Archives