Create your own pointers for your kindergarten classroom. Here are 5 easy, outside-of-the-box pointers that make reading just a little bit more fun.
Pointers are a handy tool we often use as primary school teachers to literally point to things. Think of it as an extension of your arm to point to things in a big book, across the other side of the whiteboard or up high on the wall.
In the business world, they use laser pointers. In kindergarten, we use fun pointers.
These 5 different types of fun pointers are easy to either make or cheap to buy and use in your classroom.
All it takes is looking outside-of-the-box at some free home-improvement tools and Dollar Tree items.
Giant Fly Swatter Pointer
Have you ever considered what you could do with a novelty item like a giant fly swatter?
You'll love this idea! It'll take a dollar and about 2 minutes.
Create a word-finding big book pointer using a pair of scissors (or an exacto knife) and snip out a rectangle shape from the flyswatter weave. Just be sure not to leave any jagged plastic edges.
It's novel and fun. Students can also use these when they play swat the sight word and you get this tool to pull double duty for you. Score.
I love that it can replicate those expensive "word-finding" pointers you see available in teacher-resource stores.
Now, let's take the same idea but make it smaller.
Hand-Held Word Windows
Sometimes you don't need such a large window to frame words in a big book.
That's where this paint chip word window comes in handy.
These simple little cards are actually free paint chips from Lowe's. All I did to make them better was to dig into my teacher stash of stickers and ta-daah - hand-held word windows.
These pointer cards are laminated and ready to go.
These word windows are essentially a mini-version of what the fly swatter does.
I use them during guided reading groups too.
Find letters, words, punctuation and even spaces because these block out surrounding print and it really makes them think.
Here are some standards you can work on using both the giant fly swatter and these hand-held word windows:
- K.RF.1.a-2. Distinguish pictures from words by pointing when prompted.
- K.RF.1.a-3. Locate on a printed page where to start reading with multiple lines of text.
- K.RF.1.b-1. Distinguish letters from numbers on a printed page by pointing.
- K.RF.1.b-2. Locate a letter on a printed page within text.
- K.RF.1.b-3. State that letters are placed together to form words.
- K.RF.1.c-1. Isolate words within printed text.
- K.RF.1.c-2. Point to individual words using one-to-one correspondence.
You can practice these skills with the next kind of pointer.
Magnifying Glass Pointer
When it comes to teaching kindergarten, if you can make it fun, it's so much easier to teach.
That's one reason using a magnifying glass works so well.
Instead of exploring insects, we're exploring print.
My kinders love using these in our big book center to explore print, sight words and punctuation.
I use one during whole group phonics instruction when we are finding 'bits' or word chunks.
Of course, small hand-held plastic magnifying glasses work great too.
Try to find ones that aren't ultra-cheap in that they actually do magnify... that'll make a good difference in hooking your students with the novelty factor.
Paint Stick Pointers
You can create your own pointers using free paint stick stirrers. Simply ask for a handful at your local DIY store in the paint section.
I've made some printable toppers that you can laminate and hot glue onto the top of the stick and you're set to go.
Water Blaster Pointers
Okay, don't roll your eyes at me on this one.
These water blasters come in two sizes at the Dollar Tree but I love them because they extend.
The small ones are great for whole group instruction since you can point directly in front of you or extend to reach across your entire easel.
Just the idea that these hold water and that they move make these captivating for my young boys.
But, there's no water involved, so there's no reason to shy away from using these awesome tools as classroom pointers.
You may have to model proper usage just as we do with anything else but they have amazingly far reach.
Here's why I love these long water blaster pointers most:
You can maximize your wall display space.
These long ones put charts, displays and bulletin boards within their reading reach -- especially when they are reading the room. It's awesome.
Now that you're ready to use fun pointers in your classroom - be sure that you have a place to store them.
How to Store Pointers
If you build up a collection of pointers, you'll want to store them wherever they are used the most.
Pick something sturdy that won't tip over easily.
A summer utensil caddy organizer has a wide base, keeps smaller pointers upright with cross-sectional inserts and makes them easily accessible.
It would be easy enough to hang a 3M hook on the wall to store the giant flyswatter.
But a plastic wall-mounted caddy for storing shopping bags totally works for storing tall pointers too.
There you have 5 easy, outside-of-the-box pointers that make reading just a little bit more fun.
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